Compromise.

It involves making a decision that you didn’t really want to take, but it seems like there is no other choice. So you take the best available option.

Compromising on amplifier design is something we don’t do very well with at Orange. That’s why all our amps are analogue, no digital or modeling. It means you’re starting with a baseline tone that feels natural, detailed and sweet sounding.

Analogue Amplifier Clarity

The type of amplifier can make a huge difference, from the chiming transparency of analogue solid-state gear to the woolly mid-range tones of an all valve amp. That has a big impact when using outboard gear like pedals and modeling processors. Adding layers of tone or effects can create truly unique sounds, but that’s not always what people want. That all comes at the front end.

Imagine it’s like making standard curry base. It doesn’t matter what type of curry you make with that mixture, without paying close attention to those first steps, you won’t get what you’d expect.

That’s why we created a range of new amps with a specific set of characteristics so you don’t need to compromise. You can have your cake and eat it.

The Crisp

The brand new Pedal Baby 100 is specifically designed to produce a truly transparent clean sound to run your pedal boards through. Weighing in at only 3kg it has all the mojo you’d expect from a Class A valve amp inspired design, but without that sterile frigidity you’d expect from a digital Class D amplifier.

The front end is Class A FET technology, while the power section is class A/B, providing a solid-state analogue output. That means you get back all the dynamics, punch and natural sound that are missing from modern power amps; neutral but still flattering.

Now as any touring musician will tell you, there’s nothing quite like the semi-inflated balloon feeling you get when you fly out to a show and realise your travel amp is underwhelming quiet onstage.

Unlike many of small Class D amps, the Pedal Baby 100 is bridged and that makes a big difference.

Most Marshall or Orange cabs are 16 ohm, which means in real terms the Pedal Baby 100 gives you around 70-watt clean power, and 100 watts at 8 ohms. Many Class D amps will only produce 1/4 of the marketed power at 16 ohms and half the power at 8 ohms.

The Clean

In the 1950’s technology opened up a whole new opportunity for musicians especially when it came to clean tones. Tremolo reached maturity by 1963, and from that point onwards hit after hit used the effect in new creative and musical ways.

TremLord 30 captures that era perfectly. A 30w all valve guitar combo using EL84 valves, which gives the amp a middy vintage warmth to the clean channel, not to mention the additional headroom for your outboard gear. On the output side, the headroom/bedroom setting allows you to reduce the volume so you can drive the amp into its sweet spot.

Already quite different tonally from the ultra-crisp Pedal Baby 100, the TremLord 30 also features a two-spring reverb tank adding masses of splashy, crashy flavour, adding to that timeless clean tone.

What makes the TremLord 30 unique from other products on the market is the tremolo itself. There are two footswitchable speeds, so no need to make on amp adjustments; it just takes a click of the pedal to go from a smooth tremolo to a choppy ‘Riders on the Storm’ type effect.

The biggest twist though is the FX loop is being on the power amp section, which means you can run your FX after the Tremolo, putting that unique sound into your modern setup.

The Creamy

The classic Orange Amplifier clean sound has always been synonymous with a warm mid-tone that sounds creamy and thick; oozing with pure class. It’s an aural homograph, redefining the word filthy. It’s that sound you don’t just hear but you feel, faithfully representing the harmonics as they move from fingertips through to your speaker driver. To some that might be classed as adding colour, yet that’s far from the truth.

Our flagship AD30 has two separate signal paths, the clean channel is voiced in the traditional classic Orange voice whereas the second channel has a tighter bottom end with more gain and a quicker attack, more suited to artists that prefer their pedals to do all the work. Additionally, the valve rectifier produces natural compression that is responsive to your playing style, the perfect all-rounder amp for country pickers through to indie artists.

Since 2004 the Rockerverb (and now Rocker 32 combo) has transformed the ‘high gain’ amplifier market. It was adopted in the droves by metalheads from across the globe, artists such as Slipknot, Fall Out Boy, Evanescence and Mastodon. However, the amp is not a one trick pony.

The Rocker range is that timeless classic: vintage meets modern. Now in its third generation, the MKIII is the bastard grandson of an inspired idea, and once which now features a clean channel with a ‘chimey’ response and increased headroom. Even with the changes, it still retains that classic Orange Amplifier mojo.

Rounding up

Whether you’re looking for something that’s pure simplicity, designed to offer a specific texture or you’re just wanting to deliver that classic clean tone, there’s no denying the gleeful nature of plugging your guitar straight into an Orange Amplifier.

We take a lot of care and consideration during the design phase, matching how people are using their gear; driving home new blends, creating modern classic tones people will talk about for years to come.

Once again Desertfest London has gone and done it and put together yet another cracking lineup for this year’s festival featuring bands and artists such as OM, Fu Manchu, Earthless, All Them Witches, Kadavar, Electric Citizen, Witch and more. We might still be a while away, but we’re impatiently waiting as we count down for the festivities to begin.

The festival is held every so slightly later than usual this year as it’s taking place over the weekend 3rd to 5th of May, and as spring should have properly sprung by this point we’re hoping for even sunnier conditions than last year – there is just something beautiful about casually bumping into about 98% of the people you know drinking sunny pints at 3.45 on a Friday in the designated Desertfest area outside the Black Heart, browsing through records and merch while chatting along. 

Desertfest means madness to us at Orange, and we’d probably all clone ourselves if we could to stretch out between the different venues to catch all the bands as well as conducting all the interviews, shoots and unsuccessfully trying to upload Instagram stories while in our favourite but 4G-less basement at The Underworld. In many ways, it’s very much like a wedding, our wedding – lots of planning and excitement during the months leading up to it, until day one’s all of a sudden there and you’re jet launched into an overwhelming experience of people to talk to and a gallon of booze thrown into the mix. Not your average day in the office, and sometimes it’s hard to differ between working hard or hardly working – somehow the two go hand in hand delightfully during this weekend.

As always, there’s always some acts that excite me to the point of explosion, last year it was Hawkwind who’s set timed perfectly with me finishing all interviews for the weekend, allowing embrace the space and go full Rainbow Rhythms in the crowd during their set. This year I’ve got my heart set on Earthless at The Roundhouse despite having seen them a whole bunch a times before, the last one being at Brighton’s The Haunt where I for a second thought I’d take off into hyperspace during the 20 minute long into. My heart sings for Earthless, the finest psych connoisseurs and masters of their instruments, and some of the kindest people in the industry. I spoke to guitarist Isaiah about his expectations towards the gig, and being one of the bands chosen to close the festival at Roundhouse on the Sunday;

Earthless at Islington Assembly Hall April 2018

“We’re stoked and honoured and excited to be playing with all these bands that we love, and to play a venue such as the Roundhouse makes the whole thing even sweeter! We can’t wait to get to London and let it all out.”
– Isaiah Mitchell, Earthless

Another band I’m genuinely stoked to see at the Roundhouse is All Them Witches – having first seen the band play London’s Lexington just three years ago it’s incredible to think how much they’ve grown during those years, from Lexington to Scala to Koko to the Roundhouse – almost sounds like a classic case of “dreams come true”. Having recently parted with their keyboard player the band is now performing as a three piece, so seeing how they’ve adapted their music to be performed one man down is pretty exciting. Everyone loves a power trio, and ATW might just be the next big one.

Day passes and weekend tickets are up for grabs via Desertfest London’s website, so get your hands on yours before it’s too late.

Orange is well known as being the go to amp for anyone who wants distortion. From British Crunch to total filth. What people don’t associate with Orange is a clean sound and let me tell you, Orange does clean pretty bloody well actually and has done since the very earliest days. Remember, “Albatross” by Fleetwood Mac? Recorded using Orange Amps.

Let’s take a hard and heavy amp such as the Rockerverb 100. Favoured by artists like Jim Root of Slipknot and Brian “Head” Welch of Korn, you may have the impression that it’s distortion only but nothing could be further from the truth. The clean channel has an extraordinary amount of headroom making it a perfect platform for FX pedals. If FX aren’t your thing and you want chimey, bell like clarity – we’ve got you covered. Orange Amps Technical Director, Ade Emsley who is an afficionado of tone has designed even our high gain amps so that they clean up beautifully on the dirty channel too.

Of course, there are all sorts of clean. Perhaps you’re more of an “Edge of Breakup” clean kind of player. Once again, there’s an amp for you in the AD30HTC. Do you need to shape your tone more? OK Check out the TH30. See where I’m going with this?

Let’s be honest, an Orange Amp is always going to sound like an Orange Amp and when it comes to crunch and distortion, may I with all due modesty say we’re pretty damned good at it but that doesn’t mean we’re a one trick pony amp company. 2019 has seen the launch of some of the most innovative products Orange has ever produced and guess what – they do clean spectacularly well! The Tremlord 30 is our take on a vintage amp of the 50’s and is so clean, you could eat your dinner off it, while the Pedalbaby 100…Well it’s a power amp. What else would it do?

There are many amps out there that do clean superbly well and are better known than Orange for doing so but the next time you’re thinking about an amp for your cleans, bear Orange in mind. You’ll probably be very pleasantly surprised.

Sean: Hello I’m Sean and I play guitar in the band Shame.

Josh: My name is Josh and I play bass.

Eddie: I’m Eddie from Shame, I play guitar.

Sean: On the amp I pretty much only use the natural channel, if i’m not using in combination with another amp I will probably use the dirty channel, just to give it a bit more drive. But I usually get that from my pedals, I like a clean tone as a base.

Eddie: Live I’m using the Tiny Terror channel but when we have been in our rehearsal studio i’ve been using the Fat channel and I have been experimenting with that. For me it’s a lot more accessible than a lot of other amps because i’m not really into the whole EQ’s on amps thing, I have an EQ pedal. I prefer to work from my pedal board rather than the control settings of my amp and for me Orange really works great for that because it’s quite simple.

Sean: I would say the Rocker 32 is a base for it because you already get a full, round sound from just that one channel.

Sean uses the Rocker 32

Eddie: I think Orange amps are almost built for those guitars in a way, I think it really helps capture every element of it and really pushes the sound well. I am now playing a Telecaster with humbuckers, so I think having two Orange amps with guitars with humbuckers sounds really good. Obviously the differences in our pedal setups, there is a distinction when there needs to be a distinction but also our guitars can blend when they need to, which is a very important part of our sound.

Sean: This amp is perfect for me, as its just got one knob, just the one!

Josh: The controls of this amp are very easy to use, there is just a bass, mid, treble, which I like. I never really mess around with graphic EQ’s and stuff like that, so it’s perfect for me.

Josh uses the Terror Bass

Eddie: The simplicity was a really big, factor for me, they also just look like really iconic amps, it’s the sort of thing you associate with big stage shows. It’s just really iconic british tone.

Sean: One of the best things is its size because its only like this big and its really light. I’ve never been a big believer in needing a massive amp or a massive stack to get a good sound. I think simple is usually best for me. I say it translates really well, we have used it all across this year, like we used it on the main stage at Reading and that’s possibly the biggest stage you can play really, and then to smaller club shows in the UK and it’s just great.

I’d say for me Orange is all about the tone because there was a period when I destroyed my fuel tank on my pedal board when we were rehearsing for this tour. So we were just playing and this amp doesn’t have reverb and i was just playing through the clean channel with absolutely nothing on it and it just sounded brilliant. So I would say the tone, it’s the kind of amp, I mean I put pedals through it but it’s the kind of amp that you wouldn’t need to put anything through it to make it sound amazing.

I think I had always been scared, I kind of stick to what I knew, never really try anything else. But then we came in and played through it, it just sounded so much better, instantaneously. I think it is the simplistic aspect but also Orange does have a legacy, especially from Britpop in the 90’s.

Eddie: To be honest i’d always associated it for some reason with heavy bands and it might be just a visual thing with the amps being mostly really big cabs. I think the connotations of the name like Tiny Terror stuff conjures images of really heavy, hard rock bands. Since trying them, the versatility of the Orange equipment was definitely opened up more to me a lot more. I wasn’t expecting them to be able to offer a really nice warm clean tone but also handle gain really well, so it was a pleasant surprise.

February 2nd’s “The Classic Rock and Roll Party Benefit Concert” was a great success. The event raised nearly $400,000 for Home Safe, a nationally accredited non-profit organization protecting Palm Beach County’s and South Florida’s most vulnerable residents – victims of child abuse and domestic violence. The event’s silent auction included a Crush 20RT Combo, which auctioned for $450. The celebrity guest was Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden and KC and Sunshine Band brought the house down. Orange is proud to have played a key role in helping to raise money and awareness for Home Safe.

Our annual Wish Granted competition has become one of the most anticipated giveaways in the industry and every year we get tens of thousands of entries.

This year we’ve reached out to a few of the winners to ask them if they’d like to talk to us about how if felt when they got the call from Orange Santa.

Mark Johns with his Crush Pro 120 Head

Your Name:  Mark Johns
Country:  UK
What made you enter the Wish Granted competition? Watching Cliff Coopers YouTube wish granted post inspired me to enter the competition.
Where did you first hear about Orange Amps?I first heard of Orange Amps back in the 70’s, a local band used an Orange PA system.
Have you ever owned any Orange products before?The only Orange product I owned prior to the competition was a crush 20RT. I still have it. I think it is superb and it gets played everyday!
Anything else you’d like to say?  I would like to add that Winning the Orange Crush Pro 120 felt like a lottery win. The best news I had all year!! I find the sound and look of Orange amps quite unique and like no other amps I’ve owned or played. Sonic and visual works of art. My Crush Pro 120 win has inspired me to develop further as a guitarist. The sounds that this tone machine is capable of surpass all my expectations and suits my playing style and musical tastes. It’s everything I hoped it would be and more! Please pass on my sincere thanks to Mr Cliff Cooper for his generosity and musical spirit, it really is going to be a wonderful and musical 2019!


Russell Graham with his Omec Teleport

Your Name:  Russell Graham
Country:  UK
What made you enter the Wish Granted competition? Popped up on Facebook.
Where did you first hear about Orange Amps? First practice studio I ever used had Orange amps and cabs
Have you ever owned any Orange products before?  Yes, I own an OB1-300 Combo
Anything else you’d like to say?  Thanks once again for the prize, easy to use and practical! Also check out my band http://www.bitterdivide.com


Chris Duran with his Bax Bangeetar

Your Name:  Chris Duran
Country:  USA
Anything else you’d like to say?  Thanks again ORANGE Amps!!!! The BAX BANGEETAR is already redefining my tone and has earned a permanent spot on my board. The range and control of this pedal is off the charts. This pedal is amazing, a true work of art.


Farrokh’s girlfriend Parisa, models his O-Edition Headphones

Your Name:  Farrokh Mehryary
Country:  Finland
What made you enter the Wish Granted competition? I saw it on the Facebook first time. It was a very cool competition, not requiring me to record a video or similar things. I just had to tell what I wished for.
Where did you first hear about Orange Amps? I saw them on many OASIS videos and loved their sound, also the Tiny-terror head was extraordinary at the time! The first real-tube lunchbox head! It was massive news everywhere.
Have you ever owned any Orange products before?  I had Tiny-terror head.
Anything else you’d like to say?  Yes, I like to thank you for making the community happy, especially in Christmas time. I am a foreign student living alone in Finland, far from my family, and this was the only (Christmas) gift I received this year! Thank you orange! :)


Adam Critchfield with his Crush Bass 50

Your Name:  Adam Critchfield
Country:  UK
What made you enter the Wish Granted competition? Saw it on Facebook, love Orange and thought I’d try my luck.
Where did you first hear about Orange Amps? To be fair probably Oasis.
Have you ever owned any Orange products before?  Unfortunately, no.
Anything else you’d like to say?  Superb company with some great gear. Epic-ly good sounding amps. If you wanna support me in my journey as a bassist feel free lol



Yokoo with his Rocker 32 Combo

Your Name:  Yokoo
Country:  Japan
What made you enter the Wish Granted competition? I am a big fan of Orange products and I happened to find it on your website.
Where did you first hear about Orange Amps? Originally I happened to watch the video demonstration of TH30 and I was surprised to see such a gap between the sound itself and the color image. After that I became an amp sound seeker from a pedal sound seeker.
Have you ever owned any Orange products before?  I own OR100H, Micro Terror, Bax Bangeetar, PPC212OB, PPC108, and now Rocker 32! I enjoy colorful tones of Orange daily.
Anything else you’d like to say?  I would like to try more Orange products for the tone. I was very curious about the tone of Rocker 32 so I could not be more pleased for winning it. Thank you so much. I will use it for a long time to come.



Steve Blanco with his OBC112

Your Name:  Steve Blanco
Country:  USA
What made you enter the Wish Granted competition? Because I love Orange amps.
Where did you first hear about Orange Amps? Many years ago as a kid. I grew up with music in my life, and saw pictures in magazines, and of course on stage at shows. Some of my favorite players like Geddy Lee used them, and I have friends that have Orange amps.
Have you ever owned any Orange products before?  Yes. I own and tour with a Terror Bass 500 (old model) head, which has been all over the place with me on tour. I also have several Orange practice bass amps, and a small guitar amp.
Anything else you’d like to say?  I’m a fan of the Orange brand, not only because I think they are the most amazing sounding amps, but also because the way Orange has been able to remain true to its mission over the years. Sort of a blend of edgy and elegant, while maintaining integrity. Music is a powerful device in this universe, and the way my basses sound through my Orange amps are a testament to that power. Thank you!

For many of you Orange might be known as a stoner rock company, which, fair enough, is an easy assumption to make as we have quite a fair bit of heavy bands on our roster, and regularly share that picture, you know, THAT picture of Matt Pike with the stacks of amps across our Instagram. However, Orange is for everyone, and for example, in Japan, we’re known as a clean sounding company, now would ya believe it?! In the name of Orange and it’s diversity, let’s take a look at a few of our artists who are proudly sporting some clean Orange sound.

Tyler Bryant, Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown

Rockerverb MKIII

Guitarist Tyler Bryant of Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown fell for the blues at an early age, and moved to Nashville at the age of 17 to make music. He has since proven himself as an incredible musician, and have toured or played with bands and artists such as Jeff Beck, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Bonamassa and Guns ’N’ Roses. He’s released two albums and EPs with his band, and continues to tour and make music.

Graveyard, Truls Mörck

AD200
Sweden’s Gothenburg has almost become a mecca for this whole 70s revival thing with bands such as Graveyard, Horisont and Witchcraft making names for themselves far away from their Nordic borders. Truls was originally the guitarist of the band, but left after their first record to focus on different things. However, low and behold, a few years back the band saw yet another change of lineup and was this time in the need of a bassist. Truls joined the band again, and have now been playing with them for the past two records “Innocence & Decacence” and 2018´s “Peace”. Truls wasn’t too familiar with Orange when rejoining the band, but as former bassist Rikard was an avid Orange user it seemed natural to give it a go. Having tried a few different amps such as Ampeg and Fender, he eventually decided on Orange as it seemed like the best fit for the kinda music they were playing. “They’re pretty straightforward without too many buttons, so it’s quite easy to get good sound.

Grateful Dead, Bob Weir

Rocker 15
Bob Weir, founding member of ICONIC hippie psychedelic peace and love loving pioneers the Grateful Dead and the original acid granddad. It all started on new year’s eve in 1963 when a sixteen year old Bob heard banjo music played from Dana Morgan’s Music Store while he was wandering the streets of Palo Alto looking for a club that would let him and his other underage friend in. Intrigued by the music they were hearing, they were lured in to the store where a young Jerry Garcia was sat playing. Bob and Jerry ended up spending the night playing music together, and decided to form a band, which later saw them at the front of a hippie revolution. In 1994 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame due to his time in Grateful Dead. He’s also played in various other bands such as Kingfish, Bobby and the Midnites, and RatDog, all while maintaining a solo career.

Bad Religion, Jay Bentley

4 Stroke

Jay Bentley is the bassist and one of the founding members of political Californian punk rock band Bad Religion, and have with the exception of a little break from ’83 to ’85 played with the bands since the formation in 1980. The band is known for their philosophical, social and politic lyrics and their vocal harmonies, and are considered to be one of the best-selling punk rock bands of all times, with more than five million albums sold worldwide. When not playing with Bad Religion, Jay has also been touring regularly with punk supergroup and cover band Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies, filling in for bass for Fat Mike.

Temples, Tom Warmsley

Tom Warmsley of Temples

OBC410

Formed in Northamptonshire in 2012 Temples kind of just exploded into the UK music scene with their neo psychedelic and modern take on classic British pop rock. After the release of their debut album “Sun Structures” in 2014 you couldn’t leave the house without hearing the single “Shelter Song” played relentlessly on every corner, and the album charted at number seven in the UK. Bassist Tom Warmsley is an Orange ambassador, and has this to say about our amps: “Orange amplification is as strikingly integral, alien, gorgeous and mysterious as it was in 1968, a true transition period of British amplificiation. In every instance of footage, the amps look as psychedelic as the bands playing through them.”

Back when the gods of rock were bending our minds with new styles and sounds, it was clear that besides their immense talent, analogue amplifier technology played an imperative role. Even though amp design back then was still in its infancy, that classic analogue tone is still highly sought after. So much so that many manufacturers are attempting to recreate those sounds through digital modelling amps.

Arise the first digital amp

You may or may not know this but Orange Amplifiers were at the forefront digital amp design way back in the ’70s. The original OMEC amp was a digitally programmable 150-watt solid-state amp that could store preset sounds. It was so far ahead of the game that it was produced before the development of the CMOS chip!

These days digital amps has come a long way, making it possible to replicate almost any amplifier by modelling analogue circuitry. Yet still, there is still huge demand for true analogue amps, and that’s not to do with black magic, witchcraft or Don Draper-Esq marketing genius. It goes much deeper than that.

The basics of digital vs analogue amplifier design

Analogue amplifiers come in two main forms, tube and solid-state, although sometime they are configured as a hybrid, with a tube pre-amp and a solid-state power stage.

All-tube amplifiers such as our classic AD series use pre-amp tubes to sculpt the tone, and then power amp tubes to smash pure analogue gooeyness out of your speakers.

Solid-state amplifiers like the Orange 4 Stroke bass head or the Crush Pro Series use all analogue components (transistors, resistors and capacitors) in both the pre-amp and power amp circuit. That means you get the warmth people associate with analogue circuitry but reduce the overall size and weight of the amplifier by switching out the tubes for a solid-state power amp circuit.

In contrast, digital amps use digital algorithms to produce the tone at the pre-amp stage and most commonly, solid-state circuitry for the power stage. Some manufacturers offer a tube power stage, but this goes against the core benefit of a digital amp: flexibility.

Orange AD30 “Flagship” Guitar Amp

Flexibility

These days we’re expected to be everything to everyone. It’s part of the immediacy culture. Rather than learning to understand the nuances of tone, we’re now able to flip a switch and change between two completely different sounding amplifiers. One minute you’re playing country blues and the next moment, black metal. Sounds pretty fun? But nothing is clear-cut.

The cost of flexibility is impact.

We’re talking about pure unadulterated grunt that you get from an analogue amp. It’s not just that you can hear it; you can feel an all-analogue amp pushing through your very soul; whole-bodied and direct, accurately representing the true nature of your instrument across the whole frequency spectrum. When you’re hammering it out on an all-valve or solid-state amp on stage it moves you, undulating like sea waves.

Warmth

Unlike an algorithm that digitally recreates a signal, when you drive valves, they compress and produce warmth that has an almost erogenous aspect to it. Solid-state amps are cleverly designed to meet the needs of the most discerning player, creating complex and harmonically rich tones. When people speak of the warmth of analogue, they’re talking about how the sound unfolds and wraps around the music.

Live or in the studio, that full body of sound of analogue gels together the other instruments into a unified whole, sitting just right in the mix. Yet, solo instruments can still be attenuated without feeling harsh or out of place.

In all circumstances, one of the key aspects to a great sounding analogue amp is just that, you need to do very little to get just what you want from it.

Simplicity

Time is money, in the studio, it’s all about the flow and onstage even more so.

Orange Amplifiers are synonymous with simple setup, be that getting a gnarly guitar tone or Venice Beach muscle man bass.

With an analogue amp there’s no shrillness you’d expect from digital, instead they accent the natural harmonics of the top end, thickening the midrange and levelling the boom of the bottom. The devil is in the detailed response to the natural ebb and flow of your instrument.

On the flipside, modelling amps could be seen the epitome of simplicity. Jogging through banks of classic amplifier setups certainly feels like you can conquer anything you can throw at it. But still, recording studios aren’t discarding their banks of ‘go to’ analogue amplifiers in a hurry, especially when it comes to pummeling the overdrive settings or looking for a sweet clean tone.

Aggression

While valve and solid-state amps have an artful beauty to their clean tone, it’s when you get down and dirty that digital begins to lose its way. That is unless you’re looking for that specific sound you get from modelling amps; incisor sharp, transparent as Perspex.

Digital amps try to get close to modeling pre-amp circuitry but there’s nothing quite like the throaty roar of analogue. It all comes down to the imperfection of the technology that provides depth that is seemingly impossible to replicate honestly.

At a lower gain stage, the waveform becomes asymmetric, rich in even harmonics. But when you push the amp even further the bottom of the wave flattens, producing a symmetric wave with odd harmonics. It’s those odd harmonics that release the beast from within.

4 Stroke Bass Amplifier

Weight

OK, so all-valve amps aren’t all that portable. Designed for functionality above anything else and are unmatched in pure brute strength and killer tone. Their modern digital counterparts sit on the other side of the fence; form is their strength, portability a supreme asset. At a cost, many professional musicians would agree, that is outweighed by their novelty.

Somewhere in-between sits the solid-state amp, the choice for many touring musicians where portability is a big benefit but without compromising too much on the essence of your sound. Ultimately ringing out true to the nature of your composition.

Authenticity

Fundamentally, above anything else, Orange has been at the forefront of producing innovative amplification since the late sixties, creating what is now recognized as the British sound.

First heralded by legends such Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Wonder, and blown into the stratosphere by Led Zeppelin.

Re-emerging, again and again, Orange Amplifiers has always been there to define the sound of artists such as Oasis in the ’90s and again taking the world by storm along with the Arctic Monkeys in the decades to follow. Orange Amplifiers, seemingly the Swiss army knife of the music industry.

When our marketing director asked me to write a blog post comparing analogue vs digital amps, I have to admit that the first thing I did was to turn around to see if he was talking to somebody behind me. Here at Orange there are a number of very skilled musicians, many of whom are seriously into their rigs and can not only play but also understand the technical side of said rigs.  

I do not fall into this category.

Don’t get me wrong – I love playing but the thing is, I’m one of those people who have to work really hard to be mediocre and I’m really not interested in all the bells and whistles, I just want to plug in and play.

First thing I needed to do was find out what the difference is, so I had a chat with our techs. After they realised a primary (elementary) school level explanation was required, we began to make progress and I can summarise thusly:

Analogue guitar amps have a solid state, (transistors, resistors, capacitors etc.) or valve pre-amp that produces the tone and a solid state or valve power amp, which amplifies the signal and drives the speaker.

Digital guitar amps, use digital algorithms (complicated mathematics) to produce the tone and a solid state power amp to amplify the signal and drive the speaker. Digital amps therefore can theoretically reproduce any sound you want. It’s just a case of rearranging the order of the 1s and 0s in the signal. Brilliant!

So why would anyone want an analogue amp? Surely, digital is better. My digital TV is miles better than the old analogue signal I used to get from my RF antenna. (If you don’t remember those, ask your parents.) Before anyone starts, I realise reception and broadcast quality are different things, I’m just making an analogy. No pun intended.

Well, it would appear in this case digital isn’t necessarily better.

If you think about it, the signal going into your amp from your guitar is analogue – it has to be, it’s the sound of a string vibrating. The sound coming OUT of the speaker is analogue, again it has to be. We don’t have digital processors in our ear’oles so we need a soundwave in the air to vibrate our ear drum. So what’s the point of converting an analogue signal to digital and back again? Surely that means that analogue gives you what a digital amp is trying to emulate?

These thought experiments are all well and good but there’s no substitute for giving them a try, so I did. I’m not going to name the amps I tried, that’s not the point of this post – as I said at the beginning, I don’t have any strong feelings either way but I did have fun with both amps.

The digital amp was a bit daunting at first. Lots of knobs and lots of settings but once I sussed out what I was doing, I was able to dial in a load of different sounds and had a jolly old time making some wonderful noises much to the chagrin of the neighbours. The convenience of the digital amp cannot be overstated. I could see how something like that would appeal to gigging musicians hugely. There’s your tone, (or any other you may happen to need) right there in a box. Beats having to cart a load of heavy gear around. Awesome! How can analogue compete?

Pretty well as it turns out. As much as I enjoyed the digital amp listening to the analogue amp made me realise that the digital amp was quite sterile – on reflection, it was almost as if the amp was dictating things.  

I was wracking my brains try to think of a way to explain what I meant by that and the only thing I could come up with was to imagine a beautiful room full of expensive furniture but everything is white. The analogue amp coloured some of the bits in.

I’m no amp reviewer, so I can’t use a load of flowery words but it seemed to me that the analogue amp was as idiosyncratic as my playing. There was a relationship between what I was trying to do and what came out of the amp, that didn’t seem to be the case with digital. Also, I was able to just plug my guitar in and play. No messing around, no working anything out just instant fun.

I’m really not any wiser as to what’s better, all I know is what I prefer and I preferred the analogue amp although I can totally see why people would want to go for digital. The convenience and the ability to have everything right there in one place is very desirable, it just isn’t for me.

As mediocre a player as I am, music is more about how it makes you feel than it is about the technical side of things and for me the analogue amp had feeling.But hey, I’m not trying to convince anyone. What do you think?

Alright, I’m Mike Vennart and I play guitar for my own band Vennart and I play guitar for Biffy Clyro.

I look for articulation more than anything, I think it is fair to say when your playing through an amp or when you are trying any instrument or anything like that. If it brings the best out of you then it is a source of inspiration. What I need personally on a very specific level is a clean sound that is articulate, defined, really crystal clear, really brings the most out of each individual note attack but will then act as a great foundation for pedals.

Check out the full video.

What’s great about the amps I use with Orange is the distortion is a very thick distortion, you get a very warm, full articulate sound. But the clean is of equal importance for me. So there is an awful lot of things that I need but with Orange they are incredibly simple. This one has got six knobs on it and yet for such little control, it does so much, it does everything i need it to do.

This guitar in particular is a weird beast because you have this big hard rock humbucker at the back and this really vintage sounding single coil at the front. With that there is a lot of sounds in there and with a lot of amps, they can’t really cope with this mismatched idea. But the Orange, I play everything from really detuned heavy riffs to really spangly, jangly wiry clean stuff that I love and I need an amp that can cut it and do those different things. To be honest most of the amps I have tried can’t.

I decided that the Retro 50 was the amp for me after I went to see Pavement several times over the period of a year, as I am a big Pavement fan. Everytime I came away saying “What is that guitar sound?” Not only was the clean full and very precise but it was nicely broken up and it took the pedals great, it was just huge. So I did my research and I think that was when I pressed go on contacting Orange and saying I need this amp in my life. And that was nearly ten years ago and like i said I have never entertained the idea of getting anything else, as its just perfect, the best!

When i’m out on tour with Biffy, i’m using the OR100 because it is a split channel amp. It has a really pumping distortion channel and again the clean channel takes pedals really well. I use a lot of fuzz, big muffs, delays and stuff like that, it does it all, it’s a really good amp.

The primary thing about using the vertical 2X12, in an ideal world we would all want a wall of Orange amps behind us. But the places that I play in my band Vennart, they are all quite small anyway and its not needed to have an awful lot of volume on stage. Nevertheless, I tried this thing out, not only does it sound huge and it’s perfectly loud enough, it’s incredibly light so it’s actually quite a pleasure to load in and out of these absolute toilets that I play. I just love it, it sounds great!

I think it is recognisable the way that Orange has been since the late 60’s, early 70’s up until the present day. It hasn’t dabbled in anything other than what it is, it is a tool for guitar players. It’s not trying to be anything that it isn’t, so you don’t have any of these digital components and scrolling menus. When you play through one of these it’s an inspiring thing to actually put your heart into and it brings the best in your playing. I don’t really get that feeling with digital products myself.

I’m absolutely delighted to be an Orange ambassador because I don’t know, there is something inherently attractive about having one of these things onstage behind you. I love the logo, I’ve got an Orange tattoo, by the way! I’ve got this exact symbol on the back of my neck! They are just cool, I hate using that word cool. Somethings are cool,something aren’t cool and there is no tangible explanation for what makes something as cool as it is. This is the shit!