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Review: Bugera BTX36000 "The Nuke" Bass Amplifier Head

Review: Bugera BTX36000 "The Nuke" Bass Amplifier Head

A supposed 3600 Watts of bass power, enough to power Wembley

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Last Edited by: Jack Stovin June 29th, 2012.

3,600 Watts of bass output? No that isn't a spelling mistake, I haven't added an extra 0 at the end by accident. WTF? Surely this can't be true? And if it is, who the hell needs 3,600 watts of power in an amplifier anyways? Well Behringer seem to think there is a market out there for an amp of such massive power output and as such they have wrapped it all up into this nice little package which is subtly nicknamed "The Nuke".

Apparently, the BTX36000 will output 1,800 watts per side which adds up to an impressive 3,600 watts when used in bridged mode. It also has the built in option to run in bi-amp mode which gives the user control of the crossover frequency and output of each channel of this beast of a bass amplifier. What does that even mean you may ask? Well, say you have a cab that is amazing for bass tone (15's) and one that is amazing for the treble bass frequencies (10s), then you can control what gets output where allowing full control over the way that the sound is output from the amplifier.

Out of the Box

Taking "The Nuke" out of the box the first thing you are likely to notice is the weight. If you have a bad back or are weak when it comes to picking things up then you will probably need a friend for this one.

Looking at the back of the unit you will notice that the Bugera BTX36000 Bass Amplifier Head has more options than your regular bass amplifier which will often only have speaker output and/or DI connections.

The exhaustive list of backend options are:
  • Effects Loop - Consisting of a Return Channel A&B and an effects loop send.
  • Insert Channel A - Includes a Power Amp and Pre Amp input
  • Insert Channel B - Includes a Power Amp and Pre Amp input
  • Line Outputs - These are split into the two channels again and are available as both XLR and 1/4" line outputs.
  • Speaker Outputs - Speaker outputs for Output A / Low or B / High and one speaker output for the Mono Bridge.
  • Tuner Output
  • Footswitch Slot
This is where my first problem springs up with the Bugera BTX36000 Bass Amplifier Head. It only has Speakon speaker outputs and does not have the regular and more widely used 1/4" speaker outputs. Now my bass cab has both and my previous Behringer bass amp had both but this top of the range bass amp only has Speakon connections which resulted in me having to spend the ridiculous 20 pounds for a Speakon cable to connect this amp up and try it, resulting in a delay in playing with this bad boy.

The Bugera BTX36000 Bass Amplifier Head is an attractive looking bass amplifier head and is rack mountable which is a very sexy prospect for me and any other gear geek out there that loves their 19" gear racks.

The front of the unit is equally packed with settings and options and consists of the following, holes, knobs and sliders:
  • Input - to plug your bass guitar into of course
  • Tuner Output
  • Input Controls:
    • Mute Button - which is on by default allowing you to avoid someone accidentally blowing up your speakers if the thing is on 10 when you turn it on;
    • -10db switch - this should be selected if you have an active bass, and this should have possibly been labelled as such;
    • Gain Knob - Basically the volume control for the input;
  • Compression Controls:
    • Active (On Switch) - turns bass compression on and off;
    • Compression Knob - controls how much compression is used;
  • Equalizer Controls:
    • Ultra High Switch - treble boost for more bass presence;
    • Ultra Low Switch - bass boot for more bass boom;
    • Bass EQ Knob - controls the bass output;
    • Mid EQ knob - controls the mid EQ output and is coupled with the Frequency knob i.e. this knob controls the amount and the frequency knob controls the actual frequency this effects;
    • Frequency Knob - selectable mid frequency control knob at the critical bass frequencies
    • Treble EQ knob - controls the treble output;
    • Bright Button - Adds further brightness to the sound if needed;
    • Graphic EQ Button - Selects whether or not the graphic EQ is used for the tonal control or not.
  • Graphic Equalizer - 9 Graphic EQ sliders and one level slider for even further and more finite tonal control over the important bass frequencies.
  • Master Controls:
    • Master Knob - Controls the master output of the bass amplifier;
    • FX On - Allows the FX loop at the back to become active;
    • Limiter - Add an output limiter to the output signal;
  • Crossover Controls:
    • Frequency Knob
    • Balance Knob (low, flat or high)
    • Mono Bridge Switch (as previously mentioned)
    • Bi-Amp switch (as previously mentioned)
As you can see, and as my fingers most definitely agree (RSI anyone!!), this amp is packed with huge features and a great amount of tonal control. The amplifier even comes with a footswitch that allows certain items to be controlled from the floor while you are playing live - my favourite of these is the ability to switch on and off the Graphic EQ which you can use for all sorts of things including a bass boost which is great for choruses etc.

Under the Hammer / In Use

This far I was very impressed with what I was seeing and although I had to patiently wait for my new Speakon cables to arrive, when they finally did it was worth the wait. Simply plugging a bass guitar into this amp resulted in a great sound. Sitting for a moment and playing with the sound resulted in some amazing bass tone and I instantaneously wanted to use this on a recording. I was mostly fascinated by the Bugera BTX36000 Bass Amplifier Head's ability to create full, deep and rich bass whilst offering amazing clarity on the mid range and hi frequencies. I had honestly never heard anything sound so good.

Unlike guitar, getting good bass tone has been slightly overlooked with the advent of all the guitar and amp simulators. Sure the Toneports and PODs have bass versions and although I have been able to output good tone I have always been left wondering where I could find that full, rich and present bass tone I had always wanted. Well luckily for me, the Bugera BTX36000 Bass Amplifier Head was it and I finally had it in my studio! Good times. I sampled the Bugera BTX36000 Bass Amplifier Head with a Behringer 15" bass cab and I also DI'ed it using an XLR cable. I found that I always ended up doing both to get the full tone I wanted as the cabinet output much more bass tone than the DI and the DI output a nicer mid/hi tone.

However, after almost forgetting about the 3,600 watt boast I wondered how, if this was true that this amp wa snot any louder than any of my other bass amps. In fact, turned up almost full you could still comfortably be in the room with it, and I would challenge Bugera as to how this amp is supposed to output this amount of power and although I appreciate this is when it is output through two cabs with the appropriate power output, my observation was that in fact my other bass amp was louder than this, although the tonal quality was nowhere near as nice. Maybe, I am wrong or maybe I am doing something wrong but I am sure this is a marketing tactic for the bass player that has a million 8x10 cabs and is all about his power output.

I also fell in love with the Compressor here and although at 10 you can here some slight treble clipping, the resulting tone is also delicious if you are looking for a nice compressed bass tone, which in this instance I was.

As far as bass tone and sound goes I am comfortable in stating that the Bugera BTX36000 "The Nuke" Bass Amplifier Head is the nicest sounding bass amplifier I have ever come into contact with. All of the bands that have used this amp on their sessions at my studio have been blown away by it and a few have even gone out and either purchased or started saving for a "Nuke" of their own. It was starting to become clear why it is nicknamed "The Nuke", because it is the bomb!

The Bottom Line

Regardless of where and how we set the tone on this amp it sounded amazing, even straight from the box which is perfect for the bass player that doesn't know how to get good tone for themselves with their current amplifier. "The Nuke" is the bass amplifier I have always been waiting for and I am amazed at how so much can be delivered here for such a low price. Bugera continue to amaze me with the quality of their products and I highly recommend the Bugera BTX36000 Bass Amplifier Head to any and all bass players out there. You simply won't find a bass amplifier better than this for the money.

  • Amazing tone;
  • Built in Compressor and Limiter;
  • Included Footswitch;
  • Full tonal control including a Graphic EQ;
  • 19" rack mountable;
  • No 1/4" Speaker outputs;
  • Heavy;
Price: 550 pounds


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