It was while we were designing the Retro 50 that we started taking transformers apart to see what made the good ones so effective. We wanted something that sounded like the original Pics Only Woden transformer..

Ade Emsley – Technical Director

Transformers for testing, research and development

The original Pics Only Woden transformer was stick-wound – it didn’t have a bobbin, and every layer of winding was done on waxed paper. The Woden was a very robust design. We eventually managed to source the only company in the UK that had a stick-winder which could help with our development.

After exhaustive prototyping and testing, we eventually decided on transformers where the windings were split into five sections, or even eight. Usually transformers in this application only have three, although the Wodens had four. We designed and made five-section and eight-section output transformers – these were very expensive, almost twice the price. We then fitted them to the Retro 50 and the AD 50.

The difference this has made to our amplifiers’ sound is quite incredible, and gives us the edge over our competitors.

We kept on testing and trying out different kinds of transformers to see what worked and what didn’t. Using different permeability laminations made of different kinds of metal made an enormous difference to the sound.

It took two years to finally come up with a combination of copper wire, metal, laminations and eight sections with optimum insulation materials – which now are incorporated as standard into our transformers. The difference this has made to our amplifiers’ sound is quite incredible, and gives us the edge over all of our competitors. The cost is high, but after hearing them and having followed their development, Cliff had no hesitation in approving the additional cost.

Our intensive testing and research produced the ‘Dual Snake Eight’ transformer design. All Orange amplifiers rated at 50 watts and above incorporate this. The Tiny Terror, AD30 and Rocker 30 have five-section transformers. All these new designs are exclusive to Orange Amplification.

Transformer in situ

Custom wound

Rocker 30 Combo- Twin Channel Valve Combo.

Ade Emsley – Technical Director

I always wanted to do a channel with just one knob on it. Just one control that I call the ‘natural channel’, which is a one stage clean channel combined with a three stage lead channel. So that began as the Rocker 30 1×12 combo, and we brought out a head version about six months later. It had stripped-down design cathode bias, no effects, and was very straightforward.

Rocker 30 Combo

Rocker 30 Head

The Rocker 30 is an all valve 30 watt, Class A operation channel switching combo. The unit incorporates the Rocker 30 head in a high-quality constructed cabinet, and is loaded with a heavy duty 12” Celestion ‘Vintage 30’ speaker.

The Rockerverb came about because with the AD30 we continually received emails asking if we could incorporate an effects loop…

Damon Waller – Former MD

.. The short answer was ‘no’, because it would need a complete redesign and the character of the amplifier would change out of all recognition. So we designed the Rockerverb. The Rockerverb was the choice for Jim Root of Slipknot and for Madonna’s guitarist, Monte Pittman.

Rockerverb 50 Head MKI

Ade Emsley – Technical Director

When designing the Rockerverb, it was important that the effects loop worked properly. The old effects loops were fine with old pedals but they don’t really suit today’s modern effects in any way – there is way too much gain in them. We wanted a tube effects loop that was actually tube buffered, and the Rockerverb was the first amp to have that. It has a four stage ‘Dirty Channel’ and a two stage ‘Clean Channel’. The Clean Channel is slightly different and has a finer treble, but the Dirty Channel is very like a Pics Only in terms of the mid-range crunch that kicks in when it is cranked. We produced the Rockerverb as a 50 and a 100 watt head and 2×12 combo with the same preamps – all with tube-driven reverb.

Rockerverb 50 Combo MKI


The Rockerverb 50 combo is a twin channel all valve switching combo, with valve effects loop, and a valve driven reverb, loaded with 2×12 Celestion ‘Vintage 30’ speakers.