We regularly receive photos, videos and enquiries regarding old Orange amps, the latest one being an Orange 120 watt 6 channel PA mixer amp with reverb (Cheers to @seppevermeeren & @johnnygreenstudio on Instagram for sending us the photo!). We are lucky to have a few experts onboard who’s been with Orange since the early days and are able to answer pretty much any question, such as Mick Dines who had the following to say about the amp above:
This is an Orange 120 watt 6 channel PA mixer amp with reverb. They were manufactured between 1974 – 1977. This is the powered version using a 120 watt Orange slave power amplifier (model OR111) and the transistor preamp. It was also available as a ’mixer only’ with a sloped fronted cabinet.The cabinet may be original, but it has been recovered in a leatherette type of material with metal corners. Curiously, the back of the cabinet is covered in the original ICI basket weave, the same emboss that is used today, but painted black. In 1976 we updated our covering material to an exclusive product manufactured by a UK company called Brymors, so this amplifier would have been earlier than 1976. As with all Orange chassis’ during this period, the model number was added using ‘Letraset’ (a typeface letter/number transfer) and then varnished over. As there were so many models using the same chassis, amps were built as either an 80 watt or a 120 watt and the final model was built based upon our order book.
The model number OR111 was updated mid 70’s to SL120. The chassis printing is the older style and the mixer preamp fixed with bolts through the front panel which was not the production method of fixing. Serial numbers were not entirely consistent with the year of manufacture but I would suggest that this was one of the first batches of the mixer amp ever made so I would suggest this is a 1974 model. Due to the various manufacturing irregularities I would further suggest this may even have been the prototype.
I have a couple of pictures of a later model that were sent to me and you will be able to see the difference between the two chassis:
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Orange-120-watt-6-channel-PA-mixer-amp-with-reverb-I.jpg7271280Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2020-07-21 12:56:232020-07-23 23:55:42Orange from the Archives: Orange 120W 6 channel PA Mixer Amp w. Reverb
1969 was a big year for Orange Amplifiers. It was when we found our mojo, what we call the Voice of the World.
50 years on we take a look at the world of Orange and how together we’ve shaped the Voice of the World.
Having started by making super clean lead amplifiers Orange soon began to look for ways to increase the ‘perceived’ volume at the request of our customers. Our equipment gave out a true 120 watts RMS but lower-powered models from other manufacturers sounded louder.
The solution came to Orange Amplifiers CEO Cliff Cooper after a meeting with a leading ear specialist in London’s Harley Street.
The brain can register distortion as pain in order to protect the mechanism of the ears. The jagged harmonics produced by the distortion work the ear’s conducting bones harder, and this is perceived by the audio nerves as an increase in sound level. The original Orange amps were especially clean sounding with very little distortion. In order to correct the situation, we gave the amp a lot more gain and modified our circuitry. These changes gave birth to the ‘Orange sound’ – best described as ‘fat’ and ‘warm’ – more musical and richer in harmonics, with a unique saturation in the mids.
Success soon followed with a boom throughout the 1970s, but changes in circumstances meant that by the end of the decade production had almost stopped. Yet Orange Amplifiers remained at large and were gathering an unseen legion of fans.
The Voice of the World was resuscitated in 1997 when Britpop pioneer Noel Galligher visited Cliff Cooper and now Technical Director Adrian Emsley in Denmark Street where Cliff ran a shop. Noel wanted to add more crunch to his vintage OR120, eventually leading to the development of a new amplifier, the OTR. This heralded the second coming of Orange. This was closely followed by the AD series in 1998.
In a world far, far away from Britpop, stoner rockers were also adopting vintage Orange within their wall of sound. The embers of Orange Amplifiers, smouldering in the limelight of yesteryear, went from a flicker to a roaring flame when an Orange OR120 was featured on the album insert of Sleep’s 1998 release ‘Dopesmoker’.
Since the 90s, Orange Amplifiers and the Voice of the World has become synonymous with music from every genre: Country to Metal, World to Jazz. Even from our humble beginnings, Orange has always been a David and Goliath-like story, we’re not just a business full of execs in suits, with Orange it’s personal. We’ve done all the jobs possible: roadie, performer, rigger, producer, repair engineer; in other words, we understand your voice, it sounds a lot like ours.
Shaping the Voice of the World
1. Built to last, our speaker cabinet design went beyond the designs at the time. 18mm birch-faced marine ply, a central baffle post and tough Orange vinyl was the standard we set. It still remains to this day.
3. Orange Amplifiers own our factories, unlike other OEMs who use contractors we’re able to manage every step of the production process in house, irrespective of the country of manufacture.
4. By over-specifying on the transformers, we reduce the amount of heat building up inside your amplifier, meaning longer operational life.
5. Those very transformers prevent the amplifier from throttling the output signal, which means passing the whole frequency spectrum without losses to the top and bottom of the range.
6. Almost all our amplifiers (bar the Terror Bass) feature a tube buffered FX loop ensuring the signal chain isn’t compromised at any stage.
7. Analogue is the standard, that means no digital modelling. Only the highest quality components and that all-analogue design is what brings Orange Amplifiers tone to life
8. We created the first-ever digital amplifier with the OMEC Digital back in 1974.
9. While we launched don’t mess with what’s inside the amp we’ve brought the same commonsense Orange thinking to the digital era with the OMEC Teleport, a latency-free AD/DA converter, marrying up old and new technology and super simple to use.
10. We justify our all analogue circuitry through what makes Orange ‘Orange’. Just switch the amp on and you’ll get what we mean, no tone hunting required. Simply plug and play.
11. Built for international touring artists as well as home use, wattage switching options are designed into many of our amplifiers. Also this feature is ideal for pushing your amp to the edge.
12. Experimentation is our bag, take for instance the Rocker 32 which features a two 10” Voice of the World speakers which can run in mono, stereo or even patched one side wet and the other side dry.
13. Speaking of those Voice of the World speakers. What makes them unique is a very fast and tight bottom end that speeds up with more overdrive, alongside a vintage sounding top end.
14. Our flagship Rockerverb MkIII is built on three generations of development based on user feedback, featuring a four-stage ‘dirty’ channel that gives mid-range crunch the more you crank it.
15. We’ve also led the revolution of lunchbox proportions with our now discontinued Tiny Terror heralded as “the most important guitar product in the last 30 years” – Guitarist Magazine. Although you can’t buy the original anymore, we now do a 30-watt version, doubling the power!
16. Innovation is something we’re proud of, and we’re keen to support innovators too such as Kelby Ray of The Cadillac Three. His lap steel rig brings out both the highs and the lows taking the grit of the AD200-MK3, and the crunch and full-bodied mid-range of the AD30HTC and OR15H.
17. It’s not just Kelby who’s at it with innovation. Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick’s monster rig features both Orange bass and guitar amps pushed to their limit, Petersson’s sound comes from when the amp is “about ready to blow up”, but they don’t blow up…
18. See number 5.
19. Orange Amplifiers, valve or solid-state, are made to bring out the expression in your playing, offering a dynamic low-end with a focused mid-range and harmonics that are present across the full frequency spectrum.
20. Most amps are black. We can do black, we prefer Orange though.
21. Our solid-state amplifiers are based on achieving that classic British Orange valve tone, only much lighter.
22. We might over-engineer our equipment, but that’s why we’re on the rig list for most major equipment hire companies.
23. One example of why is that we lay extra-thick PCB traces (Rock and Roll, I know!) to prevent impedance from building up unwanted heat.
24. Alongside the lunchbox design, we also recognised that people are using pedals more and more. So we created the Pedal Baby 100 which gives you all that Orange clean tone in a portable unit, leaving you to add whatever you need on top.
25. It’s as much the genius that creates our technology as it is people we learn from that makes Orange Amplifiers the Voice of the World.
The Orange Forum is finally closing its doors. It had a great run, more than 15 years actually. We’re locking the forum and will leave it online indefinitely as a knowledge source/brain dump. Here’s a message from forum moderator, Billy Claire:
“This is the last topic on the Orange forum.
For the last few months there has been a real drop-off of interest in the forum. With the rise of Orange-specific Facebook groups, most of the questions that are being asked there would have been asked here previously. Times change. Add to that a rise in the number of spammers who join incessantly, and it has become difficult to separate fake members from real.
I started coming to the forum in 2002 when I was a fledgling Orange fanatic looking for information anywhere I could find it. I had all the amp books that had a fleeting reference to Orange, like Aspen Pittman’s “The Tube Amp Book” and Ritchie Fliegler’s book, “Amps!: The Other Half of Rock ‘N’ Roll.” Ritchie’s book had a black and white photo from Nite Bob’s archives of the back page of the 1973 catalog with the enticing spread of Orange gear across a field. I hoped to find information on the forum, but I found myself answering a lot of people’s questions instead. After a few months, I emailed Jason Green and asked why Orange wasn’t answering the questions on the forum, and his reply was “By the time we’ve read them, you’ve already answered them – would you want to moderate the forum?” So I did, starting in 2004, and it’s been a fun fifteen years of doing so.
Over the years I’ve come to know so many new people around the world that I regularly keep in touch with. In my travels I’ve met up with a few in London, Wales, here in the USA, and typically raise a pint or two with them! Some people that I’ve met have left the Orange camp, but I still keep in touch with them to this day. It was fun lending my amps to Orange for the 50th celebration display at NAMM a couple of years ago, and I really enjoyed meeting Cliff Cooper both at Orange HQ UK when I went over to visit and in Anaheim at NAMM. Everyone at Orange has been extremely helpful and friendly over the years and I would be remiss not to mention Alex Auxier, Mick Dines, Charlie Cooper, Neil Mitchell, Will Loftin, Ade Emsley, and many others who I have met or spoken to over the years. Add to that that I’m mentioned in the Orange coffee table book and I can die a happy man!
We will lock the forum but leave it in place as a resource for people looking for information.
So remember: • check your fuse • use a known working cable/guitar/speaker cable • it’s probably tubes/valves • don’t touch anything inside • plug one 16 ohm cab into the 16 ohm out; two 16 ohm cabs go into the two 8 ohm outs • don’t mix ohms • don’t try to run two heads into a stereo cab • call Orange
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/unnamed.png1334750alexhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngalex2019-11-18 15:20:102020-04-06 10:58:24The Orange Amps Forum (is coming to an end)
Those of you who read last week’s ‘Voice of Heritage‘ article (A little bit of shameless self promotion’s never killed anyone, has it…?) might recall Wishbone Ash and Andy Powell’s significance to Orange as they were one of the first major British bands to take Orange to the States (alongside Fleetwood Mac), with Wishbone Ash’s relationship to Orange dating all the way back to our humble days in Soho. So, needless to say, I was over the moon with excitement and filled to the brim with joy when I was asked to interview guitarist Andy Powell, an inspiration to so many musicians to follow, with the likes of Thin Lizzy and iron Maiden both citing Andy and the band’s twin guitar sound as a major influence to their own music.
They say you should never meet your heroes, but if your hero’s Andy I beg to differ, as he’s humble, kind, extremely charismatic and of course, incredibly talented. The interview turned into an hour long or so chat (for which I must apologise for to my fellow viking Marthe who had the tough job of editing it all together), and I reckon I could sit and listen to Andy’s stories for another three days without getting sick of them. However, I’m sure Andy’s got better things to do than self-indulging for my listening pleasure for days on end. In our hour or so of chatting, Andy shared some amazing stories from his life on the road, and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.
Last year we celebrated our 50 year anniversary, that’s half a century of Orange Amps! What’s even more impressive, is the fact that the company is still family run, with the CEO and top-cat being none other than founder Cliff Cooper himself, running the show decades down the line. Working closely with him, is son and Marketing Director Charlie Cooper – gotta love a family business, eyh?
When founded in 1968 as ‘Orange Music’, Orange was originally a retail store selling secondhand music equipment, doubling as a recording studio in the basement. However, it didn’t take long before Orange took on the task of making their own amps. Cliff had studied electronics at college and was ready for another challenge, and amplification named after his favourite colour seemed like the logical next step. Once Orange Amps became a reality, Cliff started searching for a company to help manufacture the amps, and eventually went with Mat Mathias of Radio Craft. At this point, Mat was working on his own 30w Matamp Series 2000 at the back of his tobacconist shop in Huddersfield.
When developing the Orange sound, Cliff worked closely with guitarists to find out what they wanted, and with artists such as Eric Clapton, Marc Bolan and Paul Kossoff all being frequent faces at the Orange shop he had pretty must the best customer feedback any man could hope for in those days. The original Orange amps had a very clean sound, so clean that despite blasting them at full blow they didn’t have the same effect as some distorted lower watt amps. The reason for this, is because the harmonics created by distortion works the ear’s conducting bones harder than a cleaner, less distorted sound, which is then perceived by our audio nerves as an increased sound level, and it wasn’t until the circuits were modified and a whole lotta gain was added that the Orange tone we all love and adore was born.
In October 1968, Fleetwood Mac’s former tour manager Dinky Dawson and guitarist Peter Green stopped by the Orange store and placed an order for the first ever Orange PA, which a mere four weeks later was a reality when the band got six 100w amps and sixteen cabs which they took for a spin around the UK, before flying them over to the states for a three month tour.
Creating these amps, Cliff and Mat Mathias worked together with Cliff supervising the 2000 Series being upgraded from 30w to 100w on Fleetwood Mac’s request, while the picture-frame amp sleeves and speaker enclosures were built on site in the Orange shop. Being on such a tight schedule, the brand new and iconic psychedelic Orange logo was sent up to Huddersfield to get engraved using a company Mat had used in the past – out of courtesy, Cliff also agreed to add the Matamp logo beneath it, which is when the whole ‘Orange Matamp’ confusion started. To set things straight, ‘Orange Matamp’ was never actually a company, however, it was a product, a very successful one, I might add, with some artists even using theirs this day to day (Wishbone Ash’s Andy Powell being one of them.) It didn’t take long before Orange was the talk of the town, and the company pretty much jet launching into oblivion with even the likes of BB King giving Orange a thumbs up!
Business was booming, and Cliff was keen to move production to larger premises to get on top of back-orders, as well as having this idea of ‘Cooper Mathias’ becoming a sub-contractor for other amplification manufacturers. Unfortunately, Mat Mathias had a different vision, and the two went their separate ways, while remaining friends until the passing of Mathias in 1989. As for Orange, the rest is, as they say, history. Filling you in on 50 years worth of history is quite the challenge, but if you wan’t to dig a little deeper we’ve got a whole series of ‘Building the Brand‘ on our blog – who said history couldn’t be fun?
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Paul-Kossoff-Free.jpg23722711Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2019-11-04 06:00:142019-11-04 15:00:08Orange: A walk down Memory Lane
Orange have since the start in 1968 played an important part in British music history, from the likes of Cream’s Eric Clapton stopping by the original Orange store to pick up a left handed Fender Stratocaster for Jimi Hendrix (more on that here), to providing Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac with a full Orange backline during one of their early US tours. Here we take a look at a few artists who have played a vital role in Orange’s success over the years.
Terror Bass 4 Stroke Bass OB1-300 AD200 MK3 Fleetwood Mac’s story with Orange began in October 1968, when their road manager Dinky Dawson brought guitarist Peter Green to the Orange Shop where they placed an order for the first ever Orange PA, and just a few weeks later, the band got six 100-watt amps and sixteen cabs. The band took the backline for a spin around the UK, before taking them on a three month tour to the states.
Over the past five decades the band has had several line up changes as well as musical changes, going from classic British blues to melodic pop rock and soft rock. The only constant thing in the band since the early days if the solid rhythm section consisting of bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. With this sort of history with the band, Orange was proud to welcome John McVie as an official endorsed artist in 2015.
Stevie Wonder, one of the biggest names in funk and soul and another one of the earliest artists to use Orange. Stevie Wonders history with the company dates all the way back to 1969 when he used the then existing Orange Studios. He first used Orange Amps while recording Superstition for his 1972 album “Talking Book”, and can be seen using them in a seven minute version of the song on Sesame Street in 1973.
The single hit number one on the Billboards and the album was certified Gold in Canada and the United states. Decades after the 70’s funk and soul heyday, Stevie Wonder is still going strong and is an avid Orange user and ambassador to this day. He’s also stopped by the Orange stall at the NAMM convention a couple of times to reminisce about the good old days with founder and CEO Cliff Cooper.
Another band that brought Orange to the states and opened American’s eyes to it were Wishbone Ash, and who’s history started with Orange in 1970 when guitarist Andy Powell stopped by the old Orange shop in Soho. He was then served by founder and CEO Cliff Cooper who sold him a Gibson Flying V which later became his trademark guitar, and one of the original Orange Matamp heads, which incredibly enough is still going strong this day today. Wishbone Ash are known for their two lead guitars and guitar harmonies which got Andy Powell and former bandmate Ted Turner voted two of the “Ten Most Important Guitarists in Rock History”, and in 1972 described by Melody Maker as “the most interesting two guitar team since the days when Beck and Page graced The Yardbirds”.
They have also been hugely influential on other guitarists, and inspired later bands such as Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy.
Custom Shop 50 AD30HTC This one is pretty self explanatory, don’t you think? We feel pretty confident when we say that Led Zeppelin was, and probably forever will be, the biggest rock band the world has ever seen. From “Whole Lotta Love” to “Black Dog”, “Kashmir”, and “Immigrant Song” to, well, “Rock ’n’ Roll”, Led Zeppelin produced jaw dropping, foot stomping mind blowing powerhouse rock ’n’ roll songs with elements of blues, folk, fairytales and – hmm, lemon juice.. Fronted by Greek God-like Robert Plant and mysterious Jimmy Page in his silky dragon suits with the drummer of all drummers John Bonham behind the kit and multi-instrumentalist and bassist extraordinaire John Paul Jones on bass, well, other bands stood no chance. Led Zeppelin was a force to be reckoned with, heavier than their name itself, and we could not be prouder or more excited to have Jimmy Page as one of our artists. He first started using Orange in the 70s along with a few other amps and have been an avid user ever since. Some of you may have noticed he also used Orange for Led Zeppelin’s 2007 Celebration Day? Yeah, pretty cool huh?
The 90s saw a few bands fight for the throne of the Britpop empire, but as far as commercial success goes, none exceeded Oasis, fronted by the Gallagher brothers who were featured as much in the media for their, uhm, ‘disagreements’ and wild lifestyle as for their music. Disputes and partying put aside, their second album, 1995’s “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?” became one of the best selling albums of all time, with 22 million copies sold worldwide. These were pretty quiet times for Orange, but towards the late nineties the company was making it’s way back to the top, and Noel Gallagher’s decision to use Orange on their 1997 record ‘Be Here Now’ as well as on their accompanying world tour certainly fuelled the fire.
It’s #VoiceOfMetal month and we’re focusing attention on our hard rocking, dope-smoking dooming, metal shredding artist Ambassadors. Here are a few of the metal albums we know for a fact were dripping in Orange tone, some with quotes from the artists themselves about how they used their amps.
For lead guitar we recorded the whole thing with the Black Country Customs Tony Iommi Boost (and sometimes a few other boosts/overdrives) through the Micro Dark and the PPC112. The tone is really angry in the low-mids and I love it.”- Thomas Jager
Jim Root had been using a Rockerverb 100 MKI for live touring before Slipknot recorded 2008’s All Hope Is Gone. However, that record would be the first time Root used an Orange for the majority of his guitar parts in the studio. He used the Rockerverb 100 MKI, along with a Diezel Herbert, for rhythm and lead. For the more subtle clean parts he used a Rockerverb 50 MKI 2×12” Combo.
Many people think the resurgence of Orange in the 90’s was
due to Noel Gallagher using the amp in Oasis. That might have some truth to it,
but before that came the liner notes of SLEEP’s Holy Mountain and the Orange OR120
guitar amp featured therein. Matt Pike famously used both the OR120 and a
Matamp on Holy Mountain. For a whole new generation of stoner rockers vintage
Orange amps became a must-have.
“The Micro Dark has honestly been an amazing tool for me in the studio. It is crazy how much air I can get moving between the speaker and the microphone with this head. It takes pedals great and can be as transparent or violent as you want. The reason I used it was for that pushed crunchy sound in the power section. The sheer amount of volume needed in something like a 50 or 100 watt head for that sound without an attenuator is unrealistic for a basement studio like mine. I’d be tearing the walls down. The Micro Dark has all that beef, low end, and air that I needed without being so loud it’s offensive to the entire neighborhood.
screamer, eq pedal, micro dark through a 4×12… If you want the Beartooth
guitar sound, that’s all you need.”- Caleb Shomo
“We used a pair of Rockerverb 100 MKIII heads—one into an Orange 4×12, one into an Atlas 2×12 + 1×15—for all of the guitars on Desolation. On our previous records, Phil and I both ran dirt pedals into vintage clean amps for a big, raw wall of guitars. We began using the RK100 as we incorporated more complex chord shapes and single note lines in our new material, as they allowed those nuances to shine through without compromising our ability to be heavy. Not only did the Rockerverbs yield gnarly rhythm and lead sounds, the clean tones we dialed in were glassy and articulate.” – Ben Hutcherson
“I think an overall goal for the production of ‘Here Before’ was to have it real and organic sounding, avoiding the use of digital enhancements as much as possible. There was a strong focus on capturing the organic input as opposed to editing the output with after effects, which you can hear in the guitar tone. I only used two of Orange’s finest guitar heads, Orange Rockerverb MKIII and OR15, and no other guitar pedals and very minimal after effects. We also made a conscious effort to only have a very moderate amount of gain and treble (opposed to all of the previous Chron Goblin albums in which they were cranked) to ensure the individual notes are very clearly defined, while still maintaining a vicious bite in the tone. For all clean guitar sections we used the Jimi Hendrix approach of rather than use a clean channel, we just turned down the volume and tone knobs of the guitar, which creates that warm, toned-down clean sound while keeping the gain channel settings intact. I think the result is a very organic and honest guitar tone throughout the album that we are super pumped about!” – Darty
“I went into recording the new album knowing the tone I wanted to hear. I tried out a couple basses, and decided to go with my stock 1972 Gibson Grabber (complete with a sliding pickup). After talking with our engineer and general studio jack-of-all-trades, I went with the AD200B with a relatively standard EQ – extra mid and treble, gain around 10 o’clock and master at noon). We re-amped it through the head and OBC810 … and VOILA!” – Richard
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Khemmis.jpeg30244032alexhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngalex2019-10-18 15:33:342019-10-24 15:09:27Orange Amps and How They Were Used on Specific Metal Albums
Hi everyone, and welcome to the OMEC Teleport files,
My name is Danny Gomez and I designed and developed the OMEC Teleport with the Orange Amplification team. Let me tell you a little about myself and the circumstances that “teleported” me to here and now…
As a touring musician, I needed something simple that allowed me to bring my studio software & apps with me on tour. Teleport_ing the studio to the road and the road to the studio with the first interface ready for your pedalboard. Record, play, practise or discover new virtual instruments. No boundaries, no limits, anywhere, anytime.
This compact and extremely powerful Teleport is a high-quality audio interface, a universal connection device (Mac, PC, iOS, Android) without any specific drivers or software requirements, with high-quality ADC/DAC converters, a USB B connector and housed in a small effect pedal enclosure. The plug and play stompbox design of the OMEC Teleport makes it easier than ever to combine digital software/app models with pedals and amps in your performance rig, as well as to record digital audio with no fuss.
With this versatility the Teleport can be used for a wide range of applications: musicians that want to play, record, mix or process their sound, with the autonomy provided by mobile devices…
I have been asked to write a article about an album that has been a part of Orange’s history and ever since then I have been wracking my brains about the band to choose. Then I had an idea! Why don’t I write about one of the bands that propelled Orange into the 21st century with a bang! The band that came straight to mind was Oasis.
Oasis were formed in Manchester in 1991,consisting of two brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher. The band broke into the mainstream in the mid 90’s, with at the time the fastest-selling debut album ‘Definitely Maybe.’
The band followed this success by choosing Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales to record their second album in March of 1995. Critics struggled with the bands change to more ballads and huge chorus based songs, this quote from Melody Maker shows some of the issues reviewers had:
“Laboured and lazy. On this evidence, Oasis are a limited band. They sound knackered.”
Time would show these reviews to be unfair, with first week sales of 347,000 copies and the album selling over 22 million copies at most recent count. The album cemented the band as one of the biggest British bands ever.
Recording the album
To say the recording of the album was a bed of roses would be a lie, but sessions did start off at breakneck pace, with the band averaging recording a song a day. Infighting between Noel and Liam eventually ground the recording to a standstill, but more about that later.
The band enlisted Owen Morris to produce and engineer the album, Noel Gallagher the bands songwriter was also on production duties. Morris had previously recorded and produced The Stranglers and Johnny Marr before working with Oasis on their debut. He was largely credited with giving the first two albums the “huge” sound that shaped the bands early records.
‘Some Might Say’ was the first song recorded for the album, it was tracked in March 1995, the reason Rockfield was chosen, was the size of the studios and its accommodation suited the band better.
The studios were split into two, with the Quadrangle and the Coach house which was a smaller room. When Oasis recorded the album they were using a Neve VR console with flying faders. The live room was on the left of the control room, with drum area directly in front and the main studio on the other side. Two vocal and guitar booths were located at the far end.
The guitar amps were all mic’d the same way with an SM57 and a Neumann U87, Bonehead was using a Marshall amplifier while Noel had a Vox AC30, Marshall Combo, a WEM combo and his trusty Orange Vintage Overdrive OR120 Head (see below).
Noel was using Les Pauls and his Epiphone Casinos, while Bonehead just used an Epiphone Casino. The bass amp was recorded using a mixture of an RE20 and DI to the desk.
Into the recording
After the “Some Might Say” recording session came ‘Roll With It,’ this track was recorded live together as the band were familiar with the song. The band played half a dozen takes of the track but in the end the first take was used for the record.
After this the band reverted to using a vocal and acoustic guitar guide to click before the band then overdubbed their parts, this was a method used by Marc Bolan and T-Rex and helped the band to record the songs they were unfamiliar with.
A Visit to the Pub…
Things were going smoothly with the recording session until a visit to the pub stopped recording in its tracks. The band were starting to track ‘Champagne Supernova’ and Liam was bored as he had recorded his guide vocal. So he decided to go down the pub. After a few hours he came back with about 20 locals from the pub and brought them back to the accomodation at the studio. This lead to an argument between Noel and Liam, which led to Liam battering down Noels door to his bedroom. The response from Noel was to hit Liam with a nearby cricket bat. After 10 days of cool down, the band met back up to finish the record and the whole incident was water under the bridge.
The Final Push
All that was left to do was to record the overdubs for ‘Champagne Supernova’, Noel spent most of the time systematically recording his parts without listening back to them in the control room. This lead to them being recorded very quickly. Then the band enlisted Paul Weller to come in and play the lead part on the song. Paul turned up to the Orinoco Studios in South London with his White Gibson SG and an old Vox AC30 amp and laid down the guitar.
He recorded 4 versions of the guitar and then Noel picked his favourite, the Vox was mic’s up with a 57 and there were no pedals used.
The album became a classic for the band and British music and still is widely regarded as one of the best albums recorded. The band went on to play two huge gigs at Knebworth to a crowd of 250,000 people in total, 2.5 million people applied for tickets.
Noel and Orange
Noel used Orange amps throughout the late 90’s and until the early 2000’s. As well as the OR120 Head and PPC412 cabinet, Noel suggested changes to the Overdrive. He was using the amp with everything up to 10, Orange’s Technical Director Ade Emsley spoke to him about ways to approve his sound. Oasis were on tour in 1997 with U2 and Noel had been using an Orange combo and he wanted more crunch from them. Ade made some changes to the overdrive circuit, which includded modifications to the phase inverter and preamp. These changes gave the amp more sparkle and also formed the basis for the new OTR amplifier.
Noel continued to use Orange amps until the early 2000’s, Orange even built him a Custom Shop Combo 140 amplifier, with 3 12” Celestion speakers. This amp was sold recently on auction site Reverb and fetched £6,800.
I’ve always considered eye-catching cars to be a very good and engaging way to promote and advertise your brand. The Orange Beach Buggy soon became a well known sight around London.
Beach buggies were very much the ‘in thing” in London around 1970. The idea originated in America, where they’re known as ‘Dune Buggies’. They were invented in the 1960s by a Californian boat builder named Bruce Meyers, who had pioneered the use of fibreglass for vessels. Meyers then had the idea of using the material to build a lightweight off-road car based on a Volkswagen chasis, and the Dune Buggy was born. I read about this at the time, and I was intrigued. It was a nice coincidence that the colour of the first dune buggy Bruce designed and began marketing in the mid-1960s – the ‘Meyers Manx’ – was a deep orange colour.
I found a company in East London that produced buggies in kit form and powered by a Volkswagen Beetle engine. I bought four and sold three. All three buyers kept the Orange logo on the bonnet. The one I had was loaned out to people such as rock stars and the English eccentric, Screaming Lord Sutch.
Screaming Lord Sutch
Peter Green and Danny Kirwan
I was a good friend of Screaming Lord Sutch and was more than happy to let him drive my buggy about town when he was campaigning to become a Member of Parliament. I also loaned the buggy to music papers such as NME and Record Mirror, who used them on their sales promotions. The Orange beach buggy did a lot to boost our brand awareness.