I’ve now blown up my Second VHT 12/20 – 12/20RT so I threw myself on the mercy of the Tone Gods. I will say VHT stood behind their warranty every step of the way which was great but their QC needs help. That being said I played a ton of Amps these last few weeks in between the general complications I had from surgery Late last year. I played a Marshall SL-5c (The new Slash Combo announced at NAMM) which I loved but it just wasn’t loud enough for small gigs, boy it sounds nice though. I played the Blackstar HT and Venue, the Egnater Tweaker 15, The Jet City JCA20H and the JCA22H which I thought were just amazing and was ready to go forward with one.
Then I had the fortune to Noodle around on the Bugera Vintage 22 Combo just to kill some time while I was waiting on my friend who was in pro audio looking for her new mic. I never even considered a Bugera even though a great player I know from LA Shane Gibson (Korn – St0rk) has spoken to me very favorably about them in the past. One, they’re made by Behringer and two Shane has / had an endorsement with them so I took it with a grain of salt. Bad idea, I was just blown away by this little amp. It’s a true EL84 monster with a Mid Roll on/off Switch that turns it into a snarling Marshal. I’m still scratching my head on this because it’s the bottom end amp in its class price wise so I did some research.
I found that Bugera is a pet project of the mucky mucks at Behringer who aren’t known for making but a scant few quality pieces of gear over the years. The Eurodesk in the 90’s is their claim to fame but I haven’t been impressed by anything from them since then with the exception of the early model (92 to 97) of ultragain pro Mic Pres (I own one). Behringer is cheap import low-end amateur garbage (only my opinion of course) for the most part who’s target clientele are amateurs and high school kids not pros.
In asking and reading info on the interwebz I found that Bugera is: 1) Manufacturing their own valves, you can purchasee them from any of bain capitals (vomit) music stores online (GC, Musicians friend etc) 2) Manufacturing their own speakers and…. they aren’t crap like all the others I’ve had the displeasure to hear (Behringer’s PA cabs are very poor sounding) 3) Manufacturing their own caps and transformers. When the funds for my Blown VHT came through I took the Vintage 22 home for several hundred less than the VHT was worth. I’m still scratching my head, the thing sounds like a million bucks. Raging EL84 overdrive, amazing cleans and the reverb is beautiful. AT this point my scalp is wearing thin from all the scratching. Cheap Asian import amps don’t sound like Marshall JVM or Blues Breaker Combos that are up to 2k a pop.
The videos I’ve made in the past (Kustom Defender v15 is coming up next) are because I couldn’t find anyone else such as Tone King etc. who’ve made one, but I’m not planning one for the Vintage 22 because there are plenty. However I did find this really above average and very comprehensive video by Grammy and Emmy award winner Vaughn Skow who clearly feels the same about the amp as I do. Check it out below and go play one of these puppy’s, You won’t regret it!