Even after many years of innovation, some old technologies simply can’t be replaced.
In the world of guitar amplifiers, this applies to tube-driven amps. Despite all the advancements, most electric guitar players still prefer them to newer solid-state models.
But tube amplifiers are expensive and somewhat demanding when it comes to maintenance.
Luckily, the same innovation that is trying to replace tube amps has also led to new models that are smaller, simpler, and much less expensive.
The best example of this is the Bugera Infinium V5.
Let’s take a closer look at this engineering marvel in this review and find out if it lives up to the hype.
Table of Contents
Bugera Infinium V5 Review: Overview And Features
Bugera has managed to perfect the art of delivering quality amps that are compact and priced in the budget range. The Infinium V5 is the best example. It is a small, vintage-oriented guitar amplifier that can do far more than you would imagine at first glance.
While it only has 5 watts of power, that is actually a good amount for a tube amp. It’s not going to blow anyone away, but it can come in handy for both live shows and studio settings, as well as being a great practice amp.
As a tube amp, it has a specific tone and is definitely not as versatile as a solid-state amp would be. But obviously, the tube-driven tone just sounds far better. With the Infinium V5, you get that vintage British tone that is ideal for blues and blues rock, as well as jazz.
If those are your genres, you simply can’t find anything better at this price. That is why we voted it the best small electric guitar amp on the market.
- 5 watts of power
- 1x 12AX7 preamp tube and 1x EL84 power amp tube
- One channel
- Controls for volume, gain, tone, and reverb
- Power attenuation down to 1 and 0.1 watts
- 8-inch Turbosound speaker
- Can connect to another speaker cabinet
- Headphone output
As the model name suggests, this amp has a total output power of 5 watts. It’s also pretty compact, with only a single 8-inch speaker. It is a Turbosound speaker, which replicates the sound of classic British-style amplifiers.
This goes hand in hand with the amp’s tube configuration, which also delivers a British tone. However, the configuration is a bit modest, with only one 12AX7 valve in the preamp and one EL84 valve in the power amp section.
You’d generally expect at least one more power amp tube or a rectifier tube, but this configuration still does the job pretty well. With the EL84 valve and the aforementioned 8-inch speaker, you’ll get that slight boost to the mids that many guitarists prefer.
We do wish that this amp had a better speaker. That said, it’s still quite good and you can’t expect more considering the price tag. Plus, you can attach it to a separate speaker cabinet with a minimum of 4 ohms of impedance.
Just like the tone, the controls are also vintage-oriented. They are quite simple, with only the essential controls for input gain, output volume, tone (basically a treble roll-off), and the reverb intensity level.
It’s a single-channel tube amp and it can achieve a distorted tone if you push it a little over the limits. You can also get more out of it by adding an overdrive or a distortion pedal into the equation, giving some very saturated and dynamically responsive tones. But overall, this amp primarily focuses on blues and blues rock stuff, which are the genres where it works the best.
Another useful feature is the power attenuation. Using the switch located on the back panel, you can reduce the power down to 1 watt or even to 0.1 watts. This mostly comes in handy for those quiet practice sessions where you want to play without compromising on the quality of the sonic output.
Advantages And Disadvantages
- Budget amp that outperforms its price tag
- Ideal for blues and blues rock genres
- Great platform for pedals
- Great dynamic response
- Simple to use
- Speaker could be better
Bugera Infinium V5 Vs. Yamaha THR10II
It seems that, as the years go by, guitar players prefer practicality over perfection. This means they’d rather go with a small piece of gear, even if it means a lower tone quality.
Luckily, there are amplifiers these days that are both small and deliver great tone, like Bugera’s V5 Infinium model. But, as mentioned, it has a very specific tone. That’s why we also want to take a look at the Yamaha THR10II.
This is a completely different amp. It is just as small and delivers about the same power, but the tone is not quite on the same level. On the other hand, it is far more versatile.
While the V5 is a vintage-oriented tube-driven amp, Yamaha’s THR10II is a small lunchbox-sized solid-state amplifier intended for practice, home recording, and some busking settings.
Since it is a solid-state amp, Yamaha’s THR10II has 20 watts of power. In practice, these two amps are about equally loud, since tube-driven amps can do more with a lower output wattage.
The other major difference is that Yamaha’s amp has an internal digital processor capable of amp modeling and different effects. What’s more, you can use it for bass guitars, acoustic guitars with piezo pickups, and even microphones. All of this works through the amp’s two 3-inch speakers. Having two speakers also makes the use of stereo effects possible and these are included with the amp.
The THR10II also comes with an integrated USB audio interface. You can pair it with your computer and record music in real-time, or just tweak the amp’s different presets. You can even use the amp’s Bluetooth feature to play backing tracks or just use it as a regular Bluetooth speaker.
In short, the Bugera V5 is mostly oriented towards old school classic stuff., while Yamaha’s THR10II is much more versatile in its tone and it works great for jams and practice sessions and also enables you to record music at home.
Learn more in our complete Yamaha THR10II review.
Bugera Infinium V5: Conclusion And Rating
If you’re looking for a nice and simple tube-driven amp, the Bugera Infinium V5 is the first model you should take a look at.
It has a very specific tone, but if you’re into blues, blues rock, or jazz, or you’re looking for that vintage British, dynamically responsive tone in general, you simply can’t beat this amp for the price.
In fact, you won’t find another tube amp that’s any good for anywhere near this low a cost. You might even be discouraged by the budget price and the not-so-famous brand, but rest assured, this is a quality amp that really delivers a punch.
That is why we give it a Musicaroo rating of 4.5 out of 5. Based on price to performance alone, it would have been a 5, but we took off points because the specific tone is obviously not going to be right for everyone.