Orange amps has often been associated with heavy slow riffs, the type that knock the filings from your teeth and would blow the speakers in your car. This has always been something we have been very proud of, we make loud amps and we think they sound great. Our amps are perfect for a genre that spans from classic metal such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath all the way through to the new boys of djent and progressive metal. But which amp works for each sub genre of metal? Well we are here to help!

Classic Metal

It feels a bit wrong to call bands like Sabbath and Zeppelin ‘classic metal’ but this is a way to show their older statesmen role in the genre. Basically if these guys had chosen another calling we all wouldn’t have a job or a record collection. So if you want to play like Jimmy Page, Orange has the amp for you, in fact he uses an Orange… see what we did!

The AD30 was used at the Led Zeppelin reunion show in 2007 (they were the single channel versions.) The current AD30 has two channels, channel one is cleaner, with channel two being the heavier channel, use this one for Page riffs!

Sludge Metal

Heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, sludge metal came about through bands mixing elements of doom metal and hardcore punk. What came from these two joining forces was heavily detuned guitars, lots of distortion and tempos switching from slow grooves to punk styled riffs. If this sounds like your thing then the Crush Pro 120 would be the perfect amp for you, none other than Kirk from Sludge Metal legends Crowbar uses it to create a wall of sound.

Taking inspiration from the Rockerverb 100, the Crush Pro 120 head is a solid state amplifier which delivers warm, rich analogue tone. Kirk started using one on the road and it has taken the place of an amplifier metal great Dimebag Darrell gave him. If this doesn’t make it the perfect amplifier for all those low tuned riffs, then we don’t know what will!

Nu Metal

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s this was the genre in rock, behemoths like Slipknot, Linkin Park, Korn and Limp Bizkit all came to the forefront of the music scene. Mixing rap, rock and metal elements they forged their own path, recently these bands have established themselves as some of the biggest rock acts in the world. Headlining every major festival Slipknot have become giants of the genre and Jim Root uses a Rockerverb to achieve his distinct, signature sound.

The Rockerverb was designed to be an amp for all genres and has been used by so many different players across its over ten year history. With two channels and four stages of gain it has become perfect for this genre. Not only does Jim Root trust the Rockerverb every night on stage but legendary guitarist Head from Korn calls the clean channel ‘buttery’.

Progressive Metal

Finally if you want to sound like a rock behemoth, then progressive metal is where it is all going off. Titans of the genre are Tool, Opeth, Rush and Mastodon and Orange has so many amplifiers that are perfect. The Brent Hinds Terror was built by men in mountains with googles (as told by Mastodon’s Brent Hinds) so it is the perfect fit for this genre.

The Brent Hinds Terror is a two channel, all valve, lunch box amplifier which was designed specifically to play Mastodon riffs loud. The bedroom/headroom switch makes bedroom practice a simple click of a switch, so nothing will get in the way of thundering riffs!

Does your goldfish enjoy Mastodon? Is the answer to controlling a fire, more fire? And how can we be everywhere at once, yet still on the tour bus?

Orange may have the answer.

The OMEC Teleport USB Audio Interface

From within the Deep

Along the murky journey of discovery, music, especially amplified music developed through necessity. Just as humans evolved ears from gills, the universal language of music has continued to change faster than you can say ‘amphibian’.

That evolution began in the Deep South as musicians innovated through necessity, converting wartime radios into rip-roaring filthy beasts of amplifiers that warded away the competition with a harrowing banshee-like wail of the Delta and Chicago Blues.

The Beast from the East

Innovation like that of the blues explosion provided the inspiration for amps like the Orange Rocker 32. All valve monster tone within a 2×10” stereo combo designed for experimentation, offering a 15W per channel stereo power amp with a mono FX send and stereo return (left and right).

John from Orange giving some real life examples of how you could set up your Orange Rockerverb 32

Within one box you have an array of tonal weaponry to rival even the monster rig superpowers. Imagine the footprint of a self-contained amplifier, but with the option to run stereo or mono outboard rigs or even A/B split to create two separate tones, helping to build a complex sound that would envy the genius of professional amp techs.

It’s that kind of flexibility that has put musicians like Kelby Ray of The Cadillac Three on the map of modern music innovators.

Beyond the Southern Limits

The Cadillac Three (signed to Big Machine Records) are quite an incredible band who push the envelope of the Southern Rock genre, occupying a space in country music that goes beyond their stomping ground of Nashville.

Part of their appeal is their straight-talking, no-nonsense songwriting alongside a unique band setup that features Kelby playing a lap steel guitar, bi-amped to produce the full spectrum of tones.

“People watch us play live and they think there are six people in the band when it’s all coming from two guys and a drummer,” said Kelby in a recent interview with Orange. 

On what makes Orange Amplifiers ideal for building a mountain of tone Kelby goes on to say “If you play through any of the Orange amps over their competitor (products) you’ll notice the difference is this cool overdrive sound that gives a little bit of grit on the bass of the AD200-MK3, and the crunch and full-bodied mid-range of the AD30HTC and OR15H”.

It covers all the spectrum and is badass! –
Kelby Ray of The Cadillac Three on his Orange Amplifier Rig

However, Kelby’s mad skill though is mastering the art of bass playing and transferring that skill onto the lap steel while simultaneously covering the treble side of the instrument, something that he partially attributes to the advice of legendary producer Bob Rock. These days Kelby is nailing it all on his own!

And into the Realm of Possibility

Another Big Machine Records artist who’s been pushing the limits of the bass guitar for some time now is Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick.

Petersson dons a mindboggling 12-string bass which is pretty innovative in itself, but he also runs a monstrous rig of all valve gear combining guitar and bass amps with a huge speaker array pushing a hell of a lot of air. He likes to push his amps to their limits, producing natural overtones that you can only get from all analogue gear.

By his own admission, Tom is looking for that sound when the amp is ‘about ready to blow up’. That’s why at Orange Amplifiers we build our amps to be taken one step beyond the expected, gear that can handle anything you throw at it.

“It’s at this point you can dig in and it breaks up; back off and the amp is clean”, said Petersson. “Orange Amplifiers give you the headroom to create your own sound, allowing for techniques like muting where the subtly comes out in your playing”.

You can’t match the sound of tube amps, and with Orange Amps, the sound is unbeatable –
Tom Petersson, Cheap Trick

Petersson’s sound is a combination of the AD200 bass head with an 8×10” cabinet, that’s 200 Watts of pure creamy, dynamic low-end with focused mid-range, engulphing you in a barrage of harmonics across the whole frequency spectrum.

In contrast, Geddy Lee uses the same AD200 bass amp as one-quarter of his mega rig opting to max out the treble and gain to produce the overdrive part of his tone, highlighting how universal that classic all-valve bass amp can be. 

But for Tom Petersson, his Cerberus-like monster rig features two Orange guitar amplifiers for the top end which includes a Custom Shop 50 head, crafted to produce exquisite blues-rock tones. This amp includes a switchable output stage to offer the chimey purity of Class A or a more opened mid-range Class A/B which adds plenty of full-bodied kick. Petersson’s Customer Shop 50 is partnered with two 4×12” cabinets.

Tom also boasts a venomous Rockerverb mkii alongside two 2×12” cabinets, adding the filth and the fury to his already mighty setup.

Innovating with Solid (State) Logic

After recording and touring 12 studio albums Ty Tabor knows a lot about tone and as an Orange representative with experience using solid-state gear in the studio and on the road since the beginning of the technology, he’s an authority on the subject.

Tabor’s amp of choice way back was the Lab Series L5, also a favourite of the late great BB King. It’s one of those fabled amplifiers that many people have been striving to recreate. The fact that Tabor was the first endorsee to use the Orange Crush Pro 120 is a testament to the tone of that solid-state amp.

When Orange took our foray into solid-state amp build of the Crush series, we put all the attention to detail you get from an Orange tube amp, giving that lively feel and responsiveness with a rich tonal characteristic, the hallmark British sound. If you imagine how those early solid-state engineers would have been producing their amplifiers, they were probably taking the same approach as Orange, although those pioneering engineers didn’t have the luxury of using tried and proved on the road, sourced from reliable partners. They were in at the deep end!

What you get with the Orange Crush Pro is two channels built into the ruggedness of a solid-state amp. One channel is a classic vintage-inspired channel with sparkle at the top end and when pushed it embodies the bluesy crunch of Keith Richards. Channel two is more matched to the Rockerverb’s high gain, all-out attack.

Masters of Flexibility

Brent Hinds of Mastodon is a beastmaster; those who venture the deep enough into the bowels of the underworld will discover his truly monstrous creation. Ler LaLonde of Primus knows the deal; he’s also one of the dark souls of willing to adventure into the depths of musical creativity where mere mortals dare to tread.

It’s diversity where the Brent Hinds Terror comes up trumps with two channels and a unique Terror gain structure that works beautifully for funk, world music and metal alike.

The natural channel has more bottom end staying fat and full, oozing with warm valve compression from the EL84 output section. On the dirty channel, there’s three different gain structure, brighter at lower gain levels which fattens up the more you dial the gain in. The new gain structure also means that the gain comes in more quickly.

I tried the potato plugged into an avacado, and that didn’t work at all. So when I tried the Orange, that was a massive improvement in the sound –
Ler LaLonde

Into Another Dimension

Sometimes big rigs come in surprisingly little boxes, take for instance the OMEC Teleport interface. For a start, this piece of kit fits in your pocket or snugly on your pedalboard.

What the OMEC Teleport does best is give you total flexibility transferring from the analogue realm through to digital or vice versa.

Use it as a high-quality AD converter to:

  • Track straight into a DAW or audio editing software from your instrument
  • Connect to a virtual rack straight from your instrument

Use it as a high-quality DA converter to:

  • Switch a digital signal back to analogue into whatever outboard gear you’re using (like a mixing desk, DI box, amplifier)
Since the OMEC Teleport has such low latency, you can plug into the teleport and from there connect into an app like Guitar MIDI 2

The OMEC Teleport is roadworthy, and that is noteworthy. Just like all Orange products, it’s designed to take the brunt of the road, it’s a rock-solid design in a stompbox casing; pretty tough to break. If you’re nodding your head at this point, you’ve experienced the joy of your latest recording gadget falling apart mid-tour.

Second, on the horror shit show of modern technology is latency issues, the OMEC Teleport, doesn’t have this issue, here’s what Rudy Sarzo of Whitesnake/Ozzy Osbourne had to say:

 “As a recording and touring musician with the Teleport I’m now able to bring my favorite audio plugins on my laptop, iPad or iPhone and play them on stage, in my hotel room or recording studio. I now have a consistent tone and quality anywhere I go with minimal amount of gear. In addition, the low latency and high-end AD/DA makes the Teleport my to go audio interface. All of this in a lightweight mini pedal. A total game-changer!!!”

There’s more, you can convert audio to MIDI, meaning you can control synths and MIDI libraries, Nalle Colt of Vintage Trouble adds:

“What an amazing little pedal! Big thanks to Danny Gomez at Orange Amplifiers for setting me up with this little genius box. With the major advancements of digital plugins, this is the gateway to marry new and old together in a super simple way.”

The Ever-Evolving Sphere

At Orange Amplifiers we keep close to players, from bedroom guitarist to the worldwide touring artist. You never know when or where the next great idea will come from, but it will always have: a tough skin, be simple on the outside, but complex enough on the inside keep doing what it needs to, and most of all bear fruit for the future innovators.

Former Silver frontman Ivar Nikolaisen, currently in Kvelertak.

In the light of having recently aged one year (happy birthday me!), I’ve been dipping my toes in the pool of my youth, reminiscing about the music of my teens. As I’ve mentioned in my ‘Ramble On: Introduction’ post I was spoon fed fantastic music from an early age, but was of course distracted by Britney and Christina like any other 90’s girl. Luckily, I hit a crucial point at 14 when my dad gifted me Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish you were here’ for Christmas with a note saying ‘It was about time I started listening to some real music.’ For a while, I was pretty stuck in the music my dad had always played me, and to be fair, in many ways, I still am today.

However, I also started developing my own taste and discovered that current music wasn’t all that bad either; I became obsessed with finding new music and rummaged through Myspace and NRK Urørt (a Norwegian website where unsigned artists can share their music) for hours to find obscure and unknown bands, and I became a frequent face at my hometown Bergen’s underage venue 1880, which is now, unfortunately closed – because why would one put funding into a wholesome, cultural venue that supports young people and provides them with a platform to develop their creativity? WASTE-OF-MONEY.

Anyway – I’m rambling. While reminiscing and listening, I realised that my 15 year old self had a pretty decent ear – that is, of course, if I choose to completely ignore the 800 emo bands I was listening to, which, in order to retain my credibility, I will. Below, I’ve selected five, mostly Norwegian, slightly obscure bands that helped shape my taste in music and nudged me in the direction to where I’ve ended up today

Kaizers Orchestra, Norway

Kaizers Orchestra’s one of those bands you either love and adore, or absolutely hate – there’s normally no in-between. Me, I loved them and their industrial marching band, oil barrel slammin’, oompah rock ’n’ roll. The band sadly disbanded in in 2013, but luckily enough, I was able to see them a handful of time in their heyday. Guitarist Geir Zahl’s band ‘Skambankt’ is also well worth a listen.

Major Parkinson, Norway

Major Parkinson, Bergen’s own boogie-Tom Waits. They stood out like sore thumb on the scene, in a very good way; fantastic song-writing and live performances, with an absolute unique sound which I’m to this day still unable to put a label on.

Silver, Norway

Hardcore band Silver was Kvelertak singer Ivar Nikolaisen’s old band, and my teenage heart skipped about a million beats when they played an underage show in my hometown that I was lucky enough to attend. I probably had one of my first ever bangovers after this show, and awkwardly had my photo taking with the band after. I’ve tried to dig out this photo for the article, but was ‘unfortunately’ unable to find it.

Johnossi, Sweden

Swedish duo Johnossi consists of singer and guitarist John and, you guessed it, drummer Ossi. They had me at their ‘Execution Song’ and their clever use of semi-acoustic guitar and pedals.

Warship, Norway

Warship singer Lars Lønning is most known as the frontman of comedy stoner band Black Debbath (who, I might add, have some fantastic music videos, just check out the video for ‘Den Femte Statsmakt), however, he put all jokes aside in Warship, where he serves up everything from heavy riffs to mellow bluegrass alongside his eerie Ozzy-like vocals.

Everybody makes mistakes. For years that was the Orange motto (not really). We’ve been known for building some of the most innovative products in the whole of the music industry. But like everyone else, we’ve experienced a few missteps along the way. We nailed the Tiny Terror. We totally screwed up Orange Airlines (lots of people died) and the Orange parachute (several more people died).

Here’s a list of what we believe are our most innovative products throughout our 52 year history. A lot of them aren’t real (but people skimming this article won’t realize that!).

Tiny Terror

In 2005 we unleashed the Tiny Terror upon the world. Amp design has never been the same since. It was the world’s first lunchbox amp, and in addition to spawning a whole line of Terror amps from Orange, it also created a rush by other amp manufacturers to “downsize” their products. At 15 watts with a footprint the size of an A4 sheet of paper, the Tiny Terror was a Brit-rock tone machine and a true innovation.

Bull Horn Cab Add-On

Worried about being heard “in the mix” when playing live with your 5 piece doom metal band? Is your band not exactly big enough they can afford a PA? The “Bullhorn Cab Add-On” from Orange is just the thing for you. We were the first in the industry to amplify an amplifier. We called the technology DOUBLE AMPLIFYING ™. However, considering the “technology” consisted of just a simple leather strap, and the fact the strap cost $500, and the fact the bullhorn was not included, the product did not last long.

VT1000 Valve Tester

Most valve testers are as big as a suitcase and weigh more than a 50-watt amp. That’s why guitar techs around the world rejoiced when we introduced the world’s smallest portable valve tester, the VT1000. It’s simple to use and tests a wide range of the most common amp valves. Techs for guitarists such as Brian May and Slipknot’s Jim Root use the VT1000 every day on the road. It has become a “must have” piece of kit!

Chocolate Fountain Mini Stack

Over the years, many bands have requested special Orange merch items they can sell at shows. Our response made sense in theory. We created a special Orange chocolate fountain mini stack so bands could sell chocolate-covered treats. What could go wrong? Turns out the bands were not good at cleaning the fountain after each use. That led to a number of salmonella claims. In addition, when sales were good, bands were forced to order up to 50 pounds of chocolate PER SHOW to satisfy the demand. We quickly discontinued the chocolate fountain mini stack and replaced them with t-shirts.

Taser Guitar

We will admit that the Taser Guitar (AKA “Electric Electric Guitar”) was, quite simply, a bad idea. Security was all the rave in the early 2000’s and we so jumped on the band wagon with the Taser Guitar add-on. By connecting it to your guitar, anyone who tried to steal it would receive a 200-watt shock. Unfortunately, we had a 95% malfunction rate and anyone who even tried to PLAY the guitar, including the owner, would get shocked. The governments of many countries came down hard on us.

Twister Cable

While other companies focus on innovations around digital and wireless technology, you can always trust Orange to innovate in a different direction (not backwards, more like “sideways”). The Twister Cable is a prime example. Some guitarists are analog purists. They will never be caught using wireless systems on stage. The Twister Cable rotates 360 degrees, allowing guitarists to concentrate on their playing instead of how wrapped up they are in their cable. Have no fear of pulling the plug while rocking out!

Cassette Player Amp

It was the 80’s and drug culture was at its peak.

OMEC Teleport

This one is super innovative. The OMEC Teleport interface is a universal connection device (IOS, Android, Mac, PC) without any specific drivers or software requirements. It features high quality ADC/DAC converters – through a USB B connector – housed in a small effect pedal enclosure. The Teleport allows you to convert both analog audio signals (an instrument for example) to digital to be processed with the many applications available. Additionally, the Teleport gives you the ability to convert digital audio signals to analogue (through mixers, D.I. boxes, amplifiers, etc.).

Helicopter Amp

It was the 90’s and drug culture was at its peak.

Transformers

From day one, Orange’s Founder and CEO, Cliff Cooper, has been receiving bribes from the chiropractic industry in exchange for making amps that weigh so much they’re destined to cause back pain. Just kidding! The bulk of the weight in our amps comes from the transformers. Orange doesn’t fool around when it comes to transformers. We overwind and, in general, just overbuild them. They’re a proprietary blend of metal, power, and awesome. No other amp manufacturers engineer to the same spec and that’s what makes our transformers innovative.

The Orange Chimeramp

A chimera is usually a human that has been crossbred with another animal. However, in 1996 our amp designers teamed up with researchers from the Slovakian Institute of Animal Husbandry and created the first-ever “Chimeramp.” It was part amp, part barn owl. Although we had some initial success in hunting circles, by 1998 the Chimeramp was discontinued after an accident occurred while attempting to crossbreed an amp with Velociraptor DNA.

Photo via the ‘Hendrix live at Woodstock’ documentary.

First of all, let me start by saying that I’ve sat down to write this article three times now, the first two times getting too stoned (sorry Mum & Dad, I did it for the art!) to do anything but eat fistfuls of granola and play with my cat while listening to Santana’s Woodstock set on repeat. This time, my mind is clear – fuelled by coffee to the point of explosion, the western way. Now, let’s get to it.

If there’s one historical event in music I would have loved to be a part of it’s Woodstock, three days of peace, love and music – although the reality of it would probably be getting lost in a crowd of half a million people in a time before phones, while tripping balls on acid – which would be either fantastic or incredibly stressful – it’s a double-edged sword, rabbit-hole roulette.

Either way, there’s no denying the mark it made in music history, and even with all political views aside, that spectacular line up is worthy of headlines on it’s own: Hendrix, Creedence, Santana, Ten Years After, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Johnny Winter, Sly and the Family Stone, Ravi Shankar, Canned Heat, Grateful Dead, Mountain, Joe Cocker, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – I mean are you fucking for real…? Last week marked the 50 year anniversary of the festival, which is why it’s been on mine, and oh-so many other people’s minds.

Being born about 40 years too late to attend and experience the festival in it’s messy and beautiful glory, I’ve done my best in the past couple of weeks to live out the Woodstock experience as well as I could fifty years down the line; I spent three days at Sonic Blast Festival in Portugal with a group of friends, dancing in the apocalyptic rain to Earthless at midnight, before partying at Jimi Hendrix’s London flat during the Woodstock weekend anniversary, drinking his favourite rosé which was handed out for free. Needless to say I felt like an absolute piece of shit the next day as we obviously managed to get our hands on more than the allocated bottle per person.

Anyway, I’m rambling, back to the festival.

Woodstock happened at a crucial moment in time; The Vietnam war was raging and brothers and sisters dying, Martin Luther King Jr had been tragically killed a year before and people were fighting for equality, whether it be due to gender, race or sexual orientation. Then all of a sudden, an angel of a farmer under the name of Max Yasgur kindly leased one of his farm fields to the festival promoters, which then attracted nearly half a million people who celebrating peace, love and music. The festival, did not go down well with the locals, fearing what these scruffy looking longhaired youngsters would get up to in their town. Luckily, Max Yasgur came to their defence:

“I hear you are considering changing the zoning law to prevent the festival. I hear you don’t like the look of the kids who are working at the site. I hear you don’t like their lifestyle. I hear you don’t like they are against the war and that they say so very loudly. . . I don’t particularly like the looks of some of those kids either. I don’t particularly like their lifestyle, especially the drugs and free love. And I don’t like what some of them are saying about our government. However, if I know my American history, tens of thousands of Americans in uniform gave their lives in war after war just so those kids would have the freedom to do exactly what they are doing. That’s what this country is all about and I am not going to let you throw them out of our town just because you don’t like their dress or their hair or the way they live or what they believe. This is America and they are going to have their festival.”
Max Yasgur to the Bethel town board.

If you take away the musicians actually performing and only focus on the logistics of it all, Woodstock wasn’t far from being the Fyre Festival of 1969; they had initially pre-sold 100 000 tickets to the festival, but as attendees started to show up, fences weren’t ready and the amount of people were so high that they were unable to stop the massive stream of hippies pouring into the area – hadn’t it been for traffic being so bad, they estimated numbers would have been higher. With nearly half a million attendees, they were also running severely low on everything; food, water, medical supplies, you name it. Still, despite the sporadic rain, lack of, well, everything, protests from the locals and just general chaos of it all, Woodstock was a peaceful celebration uniting hundreds of thousands of people through to their love of music and acceptance. Today, we might just need a Woodstock more than ever, the rainforest is on fire, and the world is ruled by mad men – we all definitely need to take the edge off a little bit.

As the summer rolls on and we get perilously close to the end of festival season, Orange Amps seems to be sending me to a varied and diverse lineup of festivals. This week was the Cambridge Folk Festival, which has been on the same site since 1965! Being from this part of the world, it is amazing in my 31 years of existence I have never set foot onto these fabled grounds. So I thought I would dive right in and see what the Folk Festival had to offer.

Nick Mulvey on the Second Stage

So many activities!

Whether it was the diverse lineup or the mixture of workshops and talks, you would find it very difficult to run out of things to do at the Cambridge Folk Festival. When I arrived on site on Friday the second stage was in the middle of a Yoga session and I had just missed the morning T’ai Chi session in the well-being area, I had forgotten my yoga mat anyway. And when you feel like some music the 4 music stages give you everything from bluegrass through to folk and country.

Site to see

The festival is set in Cherry Hinton Hall Park which is 15 mins away from the famous city centre. It was really strange to walk through the suburbs of Cambridge and then for the rows of tents to appear to announce the entrance to the festival. It felt like finding an undiscovered part of the city, with smaller stages dotted around the campsite, attendees have a wide array of choice. The well-being area is surrounded by a lake and duck pond to add to the positive vibes. The music stages are close enough to be within a short walk from each other but not too close to create noise issues.

Jack Broadbent on the second stage

Relaxed and friendly

Most festivals I end up at through work there are people tearing round the site trying to see every band on the bill and drink their weight in beer (just like to say there is nothing wrong with this, drink safely guys!) But it was nice to see people relaxing while the bands were playing and having a dance and generally having a lovely time. People were in early to set up their camping chairs and then spent the rest of the day enjoying the acts. This doesn’t mean to say no one was moving, far from it, the ceilidh dancing was in full flow throughout the festival, don’t worry I didn’t have a dance.

The Bands

Lucinda Williams on the main stage

Having never been to this festival I was overwhelmed by the talent of the performers and how diverse the acts were. One moment you could see blues slide player Jack Broadbent shredding and then the next, Jose Gonzalez multi-layered nylon string guitar playing. There were so many highlights, Graham Nash’s set on Friday, Lucinda Williams show on Saturday and Imarhan’s desert blues on the Sunday. I could name another 10-20 acts, it really was that good!

For this months ‘Voice of’ campaign we’re mixing it up a bit to focus more on the actual amps instead of the artists using them like we’ve done in previous months like ‘Voice of Country’, ‘Voice of Rock’, ‘Voice of Acoustic’ – you get my drift. Check out our selections for ‘Voice of Quality’ below.

Rockerverb MKIII

The Rockerverb series, consisting of both 50W & 100W heads as well as a 50W combo have been a customer favourite since it first launched back in 2004 and have since proved itself to be a workhorse of an amp suiting a whole variety of genres. A decade and a half after first being released, the Rockerverb has been tweaked and improved using customer feedback as well as lead amp designer and technical director Ade Emsley’s brilliant mind, which has led us to the most recent Rockerverb series, the MKIII. The biggest change in tone from the MKII to the MKIII is the clean channel, as the MKIII allows for a lot more headroom and chime than it’s predecessor. However, fear not, it still has the warmth and vintage feel to it as well. The MKIII has also been given the same foot switchable attenuator as the Dual Dark and Thunderverb, and it works a treat.

A few artists using Rockerverb MKIII:
Andy Powell, Wishbone Ash – Rockerverb 100 MKIII
Stevie Wonder – Rockerverb 50 MKIII Combo
Matt Pike, Sleep, High on Fire – Rockerverb 100 MKIII
Marcus King, The Marcus Kind
Jim Root, Slipknot – Rockerverb 100 MKIII
Andreas Kisser, Sepultura – Rockerverb 100 MKIII

Custom Shop 50

Our Custom Shop 50 is a carefully hand wired head operating at either 50w in class AB, or 30W in class A. Switching between the two allows you to adjust the tone from a sensitive chime in class A to a warmer, fuller sound in AB. The responsive EQ section works well with the Gain control, making it a smooth transition going from round and warm, to bold and snarly. The Custom Shop 50 is a prime example of a British amplifier, and perfect for good ol’ British blues.

A few artists using the Custom Shop 50:
Scott Holiday, Rival Sons
Wolf Jaw
1000mods

AD200

Truls Mörck, Graveyard

Another classic of ours is the AD200 bass head, which, as the Rockerverb, we’ve improved and tweaked our way to the current MKIII. Even when blasting out at max, the AD200 remains clean and punchy all the way. The amp is loaded wit four 6550 valves pushing the 200W of power which generates an enormous sound, which also means it generates enormous weight, but isn’t that the price we pay for solid valve amplifiers? A classic Orange ‘plug and play’ amp.

A few artists using AD200 MKIII:
Glenn Hughes
Geddy Lee, Rush
Truls Mörck, Graveyard
Tom Petersson, Cheap Trick
Steve Micciche, Every Time I Die

PPC212V

The PPC212V, which is our first ever vertical cabinet, is built using birch plywood and installed with  two lightweight Celestial Neo Creamback speakers to make it as light as possible – one of the lightest 2 x 12 speaker cabs around, actually, as it comes up at just under 20 kilos. However, fear not, the lightness of the weight does not compromise the heaviness of the sound, you still get the Orange excellence.

A few artists using PPC212V:
Rob Graham, Drenge
Mary Spender
Todd, Mobile Deathcamp
Bad Day Blues Band
Roascio RCM

After a mere four years of working freelance for Orange I decided it was time for me to make an attempt of getting one step further, to second base, you might say. ‘Can I pretty please have a monthly column where I write about everything music related, and give it a cool Lester Bangs sorta name?’ I was holding my breath waiting impatiently for the reply; ‘Let’s give it a go.’ Shit, so I’m doing this – a monthly column of me sharing my thoughts on whatever, but what do I call it?! Then all of a sudden, there it was, clear as day; ‘Ramble On’ – it’s perfect! I landed on this name as I, well, talk a lot, and the Zeppelin song is an absolute banger.

Growing up I knew Led Zeppelin from my dad’s record collection, to me they were one of those epic bands from way back when, when rock ‘n’ roll was still new, and giants walked the earth – there was no one like them, except maybe Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. All three giants from lost times that helped shape music the way it is today. I never dreamt in a million years that I’d ever get the chance to catch any of them live, well, Zeppelin for obvious reasons, that ship tragically sailed and sunk on the 25th of September 1980 with the passing of John Bonham. 

Ozzy, photo by Fin Costello

However, I’ve managed to see Robert Plant twice, first with Alison Krauss in 2008, then second at the iTunes festival at Roundhouse in 2014. My heart skipped a beat both times as I cried myself through ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ – how could I be hearing these songs played live? I’ve also seen another quarter of Zeppelin in the flesh with John Paul Jones playing with Seasick Steve, where he played a variety of instruments alongside bass, some of which I’d never seen before and to this day am still unaware of what were. Obscure to say the least! 

I’ve somehow also managed to catch Black Sabbath twice before it all ended (although not with Bill Ward, gutted!) – first time in 2014 with Motörhead (which again for me was a major childhood dream come true!) and Soundgarden supporting, not knowing the importance of what I was witnessing and the end of two eras to come as both Lemmy and Chris Cornell, two such massive figures within their own genres, passed away within the next couple of years.

Pink Floyd

Last summer I also got to see Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, my Virgo birthday brother from another mother; I’d been obsessing over Waters since watching his ‘In the Flesh’ DVD at 13, and being gifted Floyd’s ‘Wish you Were Here’ for Christmas that same year. Fast forward a few years to finding ‘Live at Pompeii’ and the damage was done, hell, you don’t get that stuff these days. The stuff they use to have, do, well, we probably don’t get that these days either… Anyway, I’m loosing track as I often do, hence the name ‘Ramble On’ (works well, huh?), which brings me to my next point of the fact that I have yet to see Jimmy Page perform; the ultimate guitarist, and the final boss of rock ’n’ roll legacy. Maybe just break out that Earls Court dragon suit one last time…?!

Despite being fortunate enough to have caught these incredible artists decades after it all begun, I can’t help but speculating and dreaming about how it would have been to see them in the glory of their heyday, when Black Sabbath spent more money on coke than recording, Pink Floyd exploring psychedelics and visuals at the UFO club, and Led Zeppelin melting minds with four day long versions of ‘Dazed and Confused’ while taking on the title as ‘the greatest band in the world’. Until time travel’s invented I’ll just watch ‘The Song Remains the Same’ religiously instead, and ramble on.

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Let’s cut to the chase.

When we’re talking about blues amplification the apple fell a long way from the tree of its origins. Yet there’s something fundamentally organic about the sound of the blues that hasn’t been lost in translation.

That’s because the foundation of blues lies in the roots.

“The Rocker dirty channel has been at the heart of my guitar tone for 12 years. Standing alone it’s warm and hits you like a wall of sound, then stacked it cuts and sustains in the best way possible. It’s hard to imagine a show without that signature Orange overdrive” – Hannah Wicklund

Just like a tree, breaks overtime spawn new saplings, fed from a lineage of ancient roots that continue to feed musicians. Inspiring them to push their limits, evolving in ways that are almost indistinguishable from their forbearers.

But once you get down in the mud you’ll notice that everything that was, still is.

The murky roots of the Mississippi Delta

To some extent, it takes a lot of imagination to tell the story of blues amplification. But what we do know is before amplification; we had the acoustic blues. A melting pot of sound, mixed up from traditional string bands, folk, Creole and Broadway theatre songs.

It’s no surprise that legends like Robert Johnson originally made their crust playing American show tunes at Juke joints. These places were wild and unruly, the name itself ‘Juke’ comes from the Gullah word ‘joog’ or ‘jug’ meaning rowdy or disorderly. So the need for louder instruments was a prerequisite. Resonators became widely used for those who could afford them. Not many of these players could.

Blues: amplified

Consider the first amplifiers these blues legends were using. Makeshift designs built by converting old radios. They were pure grit; filthy dirt that was brutality embodied.

The Orange Rocker 32 is the perfect amp to achieve that level of grime. All valve monster tone within the footprint of a self-contained stereo combo. This is an amp designed for experimentation.

Orange Rocker 32 Amplifier

Just as the pioneers had rewired and retubed army issue radios (often players would swap out the smoother 6v6s for European standard EL34s) to create roaring beasts usually resigned to closing time on a Saturday night, the Orange Rocker 32 gives you so much flexibility.

12AX7s on the front end allows you to dial the distortion all the way up to Mr Nasty while the 12AT7s give more headroom and chimey cleaner tone. Add in 4 x EL84’s at the power amp stage and the whole thing fires up when overdriven.

Now the old school blues players didn’t have luxurious stereo effects returns with separate valve output stages, but you can be sure they would have been melting heads in the process.

Some other cool features include half power mode for tinnitus-free wailing, perfect for those who don’t want to experience the deafening silence of a motor shelling during an intimate gig.

Boomtown USA

Many of the Delta players migrated northwards during the great depression, up to the Mississippi and along Highway 61 towards the big city lights of Chicago, from there, blues exploded.

Where money flows, technology grows, and with that amplifier design took off. Classics amps that today now symbolise the American sound became a common workhorse for blues musicians.

Those amps though from back in the day were dirty beasts. The players; innovators. So when it comes to getting close to those classic sounds you got to think about what was going on over there.

Amplifiers were being modded and tweaked, each one was unique, often driven by a need to keep the thing going long enough to play out the next gig. It’s said that when Keith Richards and Eric Clapton paid homage to their heroes by meeting them on American soil they were expected them to be wielding Gibsons, but in fact, they were playing Kays. A perception that comes from an ability to play the hell out of anything and make it sound badass.

Orange TremLord 30

The TremLord 30 is an Orange take on the classic amps that were around in the 50s. It’s quite likely that this beefed up vintage design is an accurate reflection of what was in use, opting for EL84 (nee EL34s) that break up more than the 6v6 type American tube.

What those guys wouldn’t have were contemporary FX chains that give you far more flexibility without suffering tonal loss.

Probably the single most beautiful thing to happen in modern-day amplifier design is to drop the volume but still retain the springiness of a valve amp. That means you don’t need a plethora of amps to keep you away from an anti-social behaviour order.

The Spirit of Revival

Orange, as you may know, played a role in sculpting the sound of the blues from the late 60s when Fleetwood Mac took the first Orange rig out across America. This was a big step away from those early blues players who sacrificed blood and bone to amplify their sound.

This was a wall of sound, thick with mid-ranged compression, tar-like, knurled and jagged edges reminiscent of sun-beaten highways where its origins were performed in road worker campsites. A sound that rang on endlessly as the birds picked at the carrion that laid in their wake, and which has evolved beyond comprehension, yet still is as relevant now as it was 50 years ago.

The amplifier which embodies the spirit of the British sound is the Orange AD30, our flagship all-valve amplifier.

So we’ll let the music do the talking: