Review:Bugera 333xl head

December 23rd, 2008 by Andres Gallo

Bugera 333XL


Design is something this amp head packs, especially for the price. It has three channels, an effects loop, and a whole lot of options. The amp looks and feels durable, and has a grill cover in the front, back, and top which should keep the tubes nicely ventilated, while at the same time making the amp look more attractive. The amp is very attractive, but I wish they had use real metal for the decorations.
Beyond the appearance of the amp, as mentioned the amp is feature packed. It has three channels, and comes with a footswitch allowing the player to switch between the three channels, as well as turning of the effects loop on ad off. In the front of the amp, it has some LED buttons that the user can also press to change the channel, and they stay lit to let the user know what channel is currently active. It also has a built in reverb, which functions with the same LED button principle.
Other things that have LED buttons in the amp is the effects loop, and the XL switches which boost the bottom end making the sound bigger. There are also knobs to control the parameters of all the functions turned on/off by these LED buttons. For example each channel has equalizing knobs and a volume knob, and all channels except for the clean channel have a gain knob. The reverb also has a knob to increase/decrease the reverb, and the effects loop has two knobs to control the signal in the send/receive output and inputs, giving the player immense versatility.
Not forgotten are the very important Master volume knob, Presence knob, Standby Switch, High and Low gain inputs, as well as the line out. The presence knob for example is a really awesome EQ type control.
The design is not perfect however. One thing I don’t like about the design, is that its construction uses plastic knobs, which makes me wonder how other things inside are constructed, and one thing which is really annoying is that the noise gate does so little controlling hum, it almost seems as if it was broken or something.


Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. There is always a really annoying background noise in the background, which is annoying as you use higher gain pickups, and higher gain tones. This is not a problem unless you have really high gain pickups, and have a tendency to put the gain all the way up. However, such problem is easily controlled with a good noise suppressor, and the amazing tone this amp delivers makes it worth it. Every tube amp, I have tried hums anyways.
On the clean channel the background noise is almost not there, and the clean channel is very warm and pristine. It’s surprisingly good at this price, especially considering this is a high gain amp. It is one of the sweetest clean channels I have heard. The clean sound has lots of vivacity, and very articulate definition. The clean sounds really amazing with single coils or coil split humbucker pickups. It has so much body, yet the notes all ring out so nice and clear.
The crunch channel allows for a huge range of tones, going from a light overdrive all the way to Van Halen type tones, and impressively the sound stays defined through out.
The lead channel has lots of bottom end, and lots of gain, which make the leads really stand out. I can see some people would like to use this channel for overwhelmingly heavy riffery, as it can have some levels of gain that are just insane. In other words the versatility with this amp is phenomenal. The lead channel however begins to lose clarity when pushed to the extremes, however, I don’t see why anyone would play with such a gain packed tone.
While each channel sounds splendid, is the ability to do really good clean, and high gain both in the same amp, that makes it special. At this price range amps usually perform outstandingly in one, or the other, and sometimes neither, but never on both clean and high gain applications. This is a do it all amp, and once again I have to remind you readers that the clean channel is phenomenal, and so is the crunch channel, both which are “toneful” and extremely versatile.  In spite of the few negative things I mentioned this is without a doubt one of the best, if not the best value in high gain amps.


The construction of the amp, feels well constructed. The only thing that worries me is that the material of the knobs, the grill and decorations is plastic when it should have been metal. With that said, I am left wondering about what to expect of the materials in the inside, but I am confident it will last. It sounds so good, I am sure, or at least hopeful, it’s construction was all thought out, but I guess I’ll find out with more time.

Customer Support

I have no experience with their customer support.

42 Responses to “Review:Bugera 333xl head”

  1. Tim Says:

    I’ve owned this amp now for just 4 days when I read reviews of this tone monster I had reservations as to rather or not I should waste my time or money buying it there’s so much bad press on it but I went to youtube listened to some sound clips of this amp and the more I listened the more I thought about it.
    The night I ordered it was the same night I found I was having problems with my Carvin X100B which is no where near the ball park of the tone the Bugera gets.
    In closing there are a couple aspects of this amp that seem to take a back seat to who you can impersonate with this amp and its tone and gain and what not no one has mentioned the fact that Bugera has made it easy for the owner of this amp to change their own tubes and set the Bias to the correct voltage when t=you do have to change the tubes.
    And the guy was going to the trade shows to show these amps off tot he public made it sound like you couldn’t switch the reverb from channel to channel witht he foot switch which is not true at all to be able to have the reverb on all channels as soon as you turn the amp on go through all three channels turn the reverb on manually.
    Other than that its a far cry form my Carvin thats for sure.

  2. admin Says:

    It is indeed an awesome amp. Something I did not include in the review which I think its really awesome is that the reverb is not universal. That means you can set the reverb to show only on specific channels. I have it on in the clean channel and lead channels most of the time. I like the crunch channel drier. Its a great feature as you can have the reverb change with the channel. On other amps I have tried you have to change the channel and step on a reverb switch which is not as versatile.

    I keep on finding new cool things and tones out of this amp. I think it is an amazing amp. I have not seen any negative press on it yet.

  3. Dave Reeves Says:

    I’ve had this amp since last August. Its awesome, I love it. Check out my clips of it on you tube, my user name is dingle1.
    A couple of misleading points in the review above.
    The hum, well mine doesn’t do it and never has. If you mean while the volume on the guitar is fully up, then of course it will hum, thats not the amp though, its the pickups.
    I have guitars fitted with EMG’s and semour duncans, no noise problems at all with mine. If the volume on the guitar is open, play it, don’t listen to the white noise it makes.

    The grilles. The front chrome fins are plastic coated with chrome. The front and back main grilles and the top vent grille is definitely steel, and very sturdy they are too. The whole thing is held together with chunky screw bolts, rather than wood screws or self tappers.
    As for the platic badge and nobs……..who cares. Most amps have platic badges, and many have plastic nobs. Many top draw 4 figure boutique amps have plastic chicken nobs.

    Do they break down? Yes they do on occasion. I know of someone who’s had a transformer blow. The good news is Bugera repair with brand new parts free of charge, all shipping costs paid, and they come back with a new set of valves as standard service whether they need them or not. The trunaround is pretty quick too. This is for the first year of th warranty.
    After a year, well any tube amp could break after a year, most of them do at some point in their life, regardless of how expensive they are.
    Generic transformers are easy enough to get. Ebay is awash with decent tubes, and the inner electronics are nothing revolutionary, nothing a competent amp tech couldn’t deal with.
    At this price, if you’re a touring musician and need peace of mind, get two. You still got change left over from the price of a dual rec to buy a nice guitar ;-)

  4. Heath Markwell Says:

    I am the guitarist in the santana show in Sydney Australia and work as a session musician and I am about to record a solo guitar album.I brought this amp by choice not price its amazing so far.Weather its reliable or not as a pro amp I guess time will tell.

  5. Heath Markwell Says:

    I know of two people so far that have swapped their Marshalls for one,weather thats a good idea I dont know.For me its great for Santana because he used Marshall,fender and Boogie and with the 333xl I can get the variety of sounds that is needed for Santanas recordings, which I try to play note for note sound for sound.For session work I need an amp to be able to get various sounds depending on what style I am required to play.This amp is the best that I have come across,I owned a 57 fender before this one and I found it frustrating regarding sound varation.
    Sure the amp doesnt have the legendary sound as a Marshall and I like that because its differant and unique in its own way.

    so far I have only heard metal players play this amp which is great but this amp can do alot more than that,its voice is sweet, subtle and pure which is needed for the studio muso.The only thing that concerns me is I have heard about these babys breaking down which scares the shit out of me as I play and tour alot and this I dont need.

  6. bill reseter Says:

    i bought my 333xl after much thought and a couple great videos from dave reeves 2 posts up.. i played ampegs and mesa and so on… got my 333xl yesterday and beat it up for 3 hours straight… whipping through channels and at a very high volume in my studio… this amp sounds amazing… has amazing versitility.. and with 3 channels for $600 its a steal.. only thing i had that sounded better was my highly modifies tripple rectifier… this amp is well worth the money.. plastic knobs? every amp i owned had plastic knobs… plastic name tag? my car has plastic name tags..haha…. great amp… thanks again dingle1.. i will too have some vids on you tube soon

  7. mark Says:

    Great amp, it does my tone better than any amp I have owned. JVM, DSL, TSL, Road King, Blues Custom, Palamino, Ibanez something?, Laney, Carvin V3, I know there are more but for my tone, I would take this any day over the others. Saying that I am on my third one. The first one died after one day. No problem traded it and moved on. The second one died after three months, it went for service quickly and I had it back in about threee weeks, they just replaced it. Much better customer service than I have ever gotten from korg/marshall, I absolutely hate dealing with them. The circuit board looks well layed out, the thing I don’t like is there isn’t a released schematic for it. I sure wish someone would leak one out because that makes me owning this amp for the long term a real possibility. But tone for tone, I would put this up against any of the others I mentioned (my opinion). And the price, wow, three channels, foot switch included, reverb, effects loop for 500-600 dollars. I like it alot. I just really wish I had a schematic.

  8. orlando Says:

    ill wuold like to buy a bugera amp but im not sure about if the combo is with the amp also or just the head

  9. admin Says:

    Orlando, the combo is the speaker with the head. Keep in mind however, in a combo the head is sort of built with the head in a single unit. Think of it as the speaker and amp in the same unit. Usually combos don’t have all the same features as the head and cabinet combination. The combo has gotten rave reviews however. It may be worth checking out.

  10. Zane Matthews Says:

    I recently got a 333XL head, and a Bugera cab. Gear Snobs won’t like it because you it doesn’t cost a gazillion bucks. And they won’t admit that the head and cab stand up next to just about anything(I haven’t heard EVERYTHING). I took it to the band’s studio where we were writing our next release, and worked it to the hilt for four days, at about 8-10 hours a day of hard playing at maximum volumes, and it rocked with no signs of fatigue. If you are thinking about getting one, do it. Read the owners manual too, don’t be a douche and act like you know it all. Take care of this amp, and it will take care of you. -Zane Matthews

  11. mike brown Says:

    HI ive just receved my 333XL Burgera combo am about to do my first gig tomorrow so watch this space as i will let you know how this amp performed feb the 18th

  12. mike brown Says:

    sound great

  13. TheRutherfordExperiment Says:

    I purchased this amp on Feb 14th.Bottom line here is nothing compares to this or even comes close for the price of it.Dingle had a hand in my purchase as well as a few other musicians that post vid’s on you tube.The sounds you can achieve are amazing and it is very versatile.I have not touched my 5150 since it got here and I could not be happier.I plan on doing a demo with the 6262 soon and im sure I will have the same things to say about it. Great Buy

  14. Maiya Says:

    Great post, thanks for the info

  15. Murrco Says:

    I bought a 333xl JUNE 2008, I got it the day they were released on the American Market, GREAT TONE. It stopped working after 45 minutes. AMS sent me another, worked great for 20 minutes. Contacted Behringer and Behringer Support was great, but 6 amps later, yes 6 amps later, I got one Bad A## machine. I own a recording studio and have several 1/2 stacks and 2-12’s. The Bugera Bleeds R -n- R. It was worth the trouble.

  16. Dibernardo Says:

    Hi! Very nice blog, back to reading, bye!

  17. Adaway Says:

    Ohh … It seems you have done a lot of reachearch before this post .Hope you dont mind me linking this post on my website . video songs

  18. Czaplewski Says:

    Nice entry, thanks for the information.

  19. the hassles Says:

    to cut costs, there are some concessions made on this amp, none of which save one, however, affect the sound. you pay for the sound, and get that – with mostly plastic hardware. still feels solid despite this. the FX loop is my only problem and really is only useful as a dampener, which is fairly useless.

    this amp sounds as good as fender on the clean and far far better than Marshall on the lead, and that is why you would buy it. if you have enough for engl or orange, they sound better still, but do not buy a marshall and to a lesser extent pevey or carvin if you have the option to buy this. with the extra money you save get some nice pedals and maybe a soda.

  20. JoeyDahlia Says:

    I use the Ampeg vh140 c and I dout the 333xl is better for lead then the Ampeg,But for rhythm I like it alot..thats why my 333xl is on the way!

    I agree the hum is from the pickups to high and plactic knobs..I will be be very carful turning them..

    If they used metal knobs and grills we are looking at 900.00

    Also do you think the bugera 4×12 would be better then a custom 2×12 with g12’s

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  25. Laa Says:

    Hey, nice post, really well written. You should post more about this

    Can i post this on ?? Free SMS

  26. Shane Says:

    This is a great post its helping me with my decission i play through a Fender MH-550 Guitars Gibbson Les, Schector Dimond serise and a Ibenez S-serise 7 string, i have been considering buy this amp for a while and every time i go to by one the same thing keeps coming up Reliablity this is were my decission is hard as i have been offered $900.00 for the metal head or a straight swap For the sovtech mig100 i am still considering selling and getting this amp any help on this reliablite issue please as it is the only thing stoping me from buying :D

  27. GerryGtr62 Says:

    Just scored a great deal on a Bugera 333XL half-stack over the weekend–as a former owner of many Marshalls, Randalls, Laneys, Peaveys, Mesas, Crates and Carvins [i go thru amps like water, LOL!!] the tone absolutely kills–and on-top of that, the previous owner made some sweet upgrades, like throwing JJ KT77s for the power amp tubes and gold-tipped JJ ECC83s–this is going to be the total stopgap for me, i’m in tonal bliss!!! :D

  28. Jimmy Says:

    Thanks for all of the comments here. I am considering this amp after much research. I have to play it of course first to truly determine it’s worth/value.

    I agree that all of the boutique amp snobs are just pissed that Bugera figured out how to make a cost effective amp that rivals the competition. $699 is as cheap as I have seen for the combo. Does anyone know if there are any major/minor differences in the head vs the combo??



  29. Felipe Says:

    I got to try the combo, and its for the most part the same as the head. But with the different speaker however, it will sound different. 4×12 move so much more air. Its possibly one of the best combos for metal, and the clean is once again simply amazing making it super versatil.

  30. sam Says:

    im getting my bugera 333xl head in two hours guys and later tonight im going to surprise my band with it and we shall rape earholes with the tube power of this awsome amp. :twisted:

  31. Elvis Schirm Says:

    Hi. I don’t read many blogs, but yours is of thelittle I read.Have a awesome day!

  32. shred guitar videos Says:

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  33. Scott B Says:

    After a month of numerous guitar store trips, taking back a couple of amps, I ordered the 333 XL Combo today. I was looking for a tube amp that is very clean for the days i want to use pedals/stomp boxes, but have the ability to grind out some awesome metal all by itself. I originally bought the Egantor tourmaster combo which was a nice amp overall. Chords sounded really good, but it didn’t have the bite when playing lead riffs. It sounded like an amps with the gain at 5 or 6. For that money, I couldn’t accept that and I didn’t want to rely on stomp box to do lead gain. My next purchase was a Line 6 MKII hybrid amp. It’s pretty cool, but sounds too solid state and not so clean. By day 1 of owning it, I was ready to swtich. I went to a store and tried our the 6260 combo and 333XL combo and was impressed. I love the 333XL because I can preset which channels use reverb. It played clean and the gain on the lead and crunch channel…..WOW! Awesome. I can turn on some reverb and play lead and it sounds great. The reverb works very nicely and I’m glad its digital. I’ve read about quaility issues with Bugera, but i believe that was the earlier days. They’re much, much better now.
    I cannot wait to get this beast of an amp. By the way, the Line 6 MKII has some issues. its a brand new amp but the master volume knob has noise in it when turning up. Also, I hear some strange white noise when the guitar volume is down all the way. Wierd.

  34. Mike Says:

    Thanks’ for the info. I have been reading up on these different bugeras for a couple of weeks now and you all seem to be in line with what others are saying. I was thinking of going with one of the combos myself as I don’t play out anymore and only hold concerts in the family room these days. The combos seem to have the same features from what I have seen. Does anyone know of the EL34s come with combo version of the 333xl? I have looked at the 1960 and the 6260 and they come with lower outout versions of the 6l6 tube family.

  35. Rick Says:

    help me please. i bought the 333 and i first need to know( this is my first tube amp) are the tubes supposed to have a blueish glow in them. and if anyone could help me fix the apparently overactive noise gate i would be eternally grateful. u can reply to

  36. Mesa Amps Says:

    Hey man, that’s an great article. Do you mind if I post a trackback on my blog? You’ll probably get some traffic from it. Look forward to read more.


    I have had my Bugera 333XL 2×12 combo for about 2 months now and I have to say THIS AMP ROCKS!!!. It can play anything from crystal clean smooth tone on the CLEAN Ch. or with a little patience and EQ tuning it will shred anything from highly distorted metal tones to ear piercing heavily distorted death metal tones and or ANYTHING IN BETWEEN. I have found my favorite tone( we all have that one favorite sound that we play the most) by adding a Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer pedal which I play on the clean channel with about 1/4 turn on the reverb, and the settings on the pedal at overdrive=8, Level at=4-6, and Tone depends on which guitar and or Pickups I am using. I mostly use my Ibanez RGR421EXFM with dual EMG HB’ers which is a metal monster to start but I also play my Fender American Deluxe Strat HSS and get killer tones from single coil cleans or killer distortion from the bridge HB. I love the affects loop. I use a line6 Pocket Pod that I loop via fx loop and use my pedals direct to front input. This way the pod doesn’t have any type of bypass so I can play my pod tones and affects with the fx loop with the step on the pedal of the bugera floor pedal or turn the loop off and use my other pedals direct. It is the perfect setup for me. I tested ALOT!!! of different tube amps and the 333XL combo just had every tone you could want and they ALL SOUND AS GOOD AS OR BETTER THEN ALOT OF AMPS TWICE THE PRICE. Does anyone know of any tubes other then the 6L6 or EL34 tubes. I use EL34 and love them but was curious if there is another tube that worked. LIFE IS TO SHORT NOT TO PLAY IT LOUD!!!!

  38. Lewis Says:

    Dingle1 an his cronies persuaded me to check this amp out, and after an age of ummin an arring i finally ordered mine, will be pickin it up from shop in brum, god im excited
    ( i also hav the matchin cab comming too! :D )

  39. Andres Gallo Says:

    Well man. You are going to be really happy. Up to this day it is still my main amp. I have a custom made Phaez amp, and an Awesome evans amp. The bugera sounds soo good in soo many styles that is just so versatile and awesome.

  40. Andres Gallo Says:

    Yeah man that amplifier is effing awesome. I still like it best with EL34 tubes. I dont recommend switching, but KT77s are another good option

  41. Andres Gallo Says:

    Hey man. Please do

  42. Adam Says:

    Got the 333xl Infinium a couple of months back. Just bought a 1990 Infinium for the second guitarist of my band. I’d recommend one of the first things you do to be to change the tubes – bugera’s are ok, but there are much better tubes available. It’s so easy to change these babies out and it seems to do exactly what it says – plug and play. I’m using two Mesa (Red) 6l6’s and 2 Electro Harmonix EL34’s right now. DON’T buy the non infinium series – aint worth it not. Pay the little extra and save on techs in the long run. The tone on my rig now is A BEAST. We’ve just started playing around with the 1990 which is nice also – only on stock tubes right now. Have a blast. It’s awesome. The Bugera Cab is also decent, and much better defined when you don’t use Bugera Tubes.

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