While touring their long awaited 2022 album “Chimes at Midnight”, Sivert Høyem, Frode Jacobsen and Cato Salsa of Madrugada sat down with us to talk about the legacy of the band, the experience of recording at LA’s iconic Sunset Sound studio, and their history with Orange.
The Orange Box and Box-L will be available June 1st 12PM (UK time) direct from orangeamps.com
“One of the biggest things that you learn from 50-odd years of experience,” begins Cliff Cooper, founder and CEO of Orange Amps, “is the ability to listen to something and just say no to a sound—and to keep saying no until you can truthfully say yes.” Although that seems, on the face of it, like a fairly simple requirement, Cooper, who started Orange Amps in 1968 with modest means and an exacting personality, is only too aware of the pratfalls of such pickiness: “But the problem with saying no to a sound or a product is that it costs time and money”, he explains. “Each time, you’ve got to work out why you’re saying no, and go back to the drawing board to fix it—and that’s the difficult part.”
That iterative loop—of listening and tweaking, pouring over schematics and components, then listening again, each time getting slightly closer to that resounding “yes”—has been a pattern played out throughout Orange’s history, and is perhaps the cornerstone of its success, with musicians returning again and again for the past five decades, knowing they’re going to get a piece of equipment that sounds perfect and is built to last.
Today, however, for the first time in the company’s history, Cooper is explaining that development process not in the context of a new guitar amp or effects pedal, but of a product built for both musicians and non-musicians alike: a premium Bluetooth wireless speaker called the Orange Box, which is also an Orange first—specifically, the first consumer-facing product designed entirely in house by Orange’s engineering wizards, from the ground up.
Since the initial blueprints were drawn up back in 2017, Cooper and the team have said “no” to a lot of Orange Box sounds. Now, however, they’ve given it a yes, and the Orange Box is available from tomorrow, starting a new chapter in the history of Orange Amps. Accordingly, this is a story of how over half a century of guitar-amp expertise can be adapted to something more universal; a story of trial, error, patience and success; and a story of what Cooper describes as one of the most important products Orange has ever made.
“When we had the first prototype back for testing,” recalls Cooper of the early days of Orange Box development, “it just wasn’t better than anything else. It was fine—good, even—but it just didn’t stand out, and one of the things Orange has always been proud of is that anything we do has to be better than what’s already out there.
“So that’s why it took so long,” he continues, with a wry smile, knowing not only how six years stretches out in the world of research and development, but also knowing now that the Orange Box really does stand out. And it was clearly time well spent: listening to that initial prototype—then nicknamed the Juicebox—at Orange’s development laboratory is simultaneously a revelatory and lacklustre experience, with test songs of various genres selected for this article to put the unit through its paces sounding tepid and distant. Only Madonna’s ‘Hung Up’ has the faintest flicker of life (Bowie’s ‘Modern Love’ and Led Zep’s ‘Black Dog’ are pale imitations of their true selves), but the reality is that this particular Juicebox contained a far-too-diluted, watery recipe.
The second and third versions fared slightly better. For these, the R&D team experimented with weight-saving neodymium speakers and a more lozenge-shaped form-factor, and as a result, all three songs started to resemble their imperious selves. There was still something off, though—a sort of drab fizziness, like day-old soda water, with strangely scooped mids and muffled bass.
Thankfully, the fix was at hand: “After several prototypes,” explains Cooper, “we decided that the only way to improve the sound was to use active electronic crossovers, which our previous prototypes didn’t have.”
The active crossover in a unit like the Orange Box splits the incoming audio signal in two based on frequency range, with the different signals being sent to different amplifiers specific to those ranges, and then on to appropriate speakers custom-tuned to those frequencies. An active crossover has the advantage of perfectly matching the respective specialist amplifiers and speakers, making sure all parts of the path work together holistically, and each part of the sound is dealt with by the most appropriate equipment. An active crossover also prevents loss of information in the splitting process, meaning that all the audio in your favourite records is retained, all the way to the speakers’ cones.
Getting that split-point right, however, is always the key, and this is where the expertise that Orange technical director Adrian Emsley, amp-design genius and brains behind virtually every Orange product for the past 25 years, shone through: “Frank and I changed the crossover so that just the amp dealing with the bottom end was Class D,” explains Emsley of his work on the Orange Box, alongside colleague and Cambridge academic Frank Cooke. “Then, the two amps dealing with the midrange and treble, on the left and right, were Class AB, which ends up much more musical in the area it needs to be.”
And musicality is exactly the watchword here. Listening again to those same songs on the first Orange Box prototype to implement such a crossover is a lightbulb moment, like a jump from black and white to colour: suddenly, Bowie’s vocals carry genuine anguish and Jimmy Page’s guitar a tangible bite. The arpeggiating synths on ‘Hung Up’, too, sound almost three-dimensional.
“Unlike a different guitar amp company’s wireless speaker, which is only stereo above around 3 or 4 kHz,” continues Emsley, referring to a frequency range in the very highest octave of a concert piano, “our version is stereo above 300 Hz [the middle of the piano], which works especially well with AC/DC-style guitar music, where Angus is on the left and Malcolm is on the right.
“Those other wireless speakers all sound pretty bad with AC/DC,” adds Emsley, ever the rock purist, “which I think is a very poor result.”
“The other thing, of course,” continues Cooper, “is that we use a wooden box. We could have used a plastic cabinet, to make it a bit more cost-effective, but it would have sounded dreadful. Putting the speakers inside a wooden cabinet would sound much better, and we spent a lot of time making sure that the actual wood resonates correctly given the internal volume. If the cabinet resonates at the wrong frequencies, it just doesn’t sound right, you know.”
This level of perfectionism is evident upon examining the works-in-progress: each rejected test model had a different shape and heft, some including holes covered with rubber plugs, others with curved sides. Myriad porting options were clearly investigated, auditioned and tweaked. Every possibility was covered, it appears, before landing on the finished design. Then, finally, Emsley hit on the idea of making the crossover itself interact with its surroundings: “I put a hole in the active crossover at the frequency of the enclosure,” he reveals. “This ‘de-boxed’ the box, if you like, and gave the whole thing a more balanced frequency response.”
In short, it made you want to play these songs again and again, and this repeat playability—that potential for long-term listening—has become an obsession of Cooper’s over the years: “One thing we kept an ear out for when testing was controlling for ‘listening fatigue’, which is when you listen through a product for a long time, and after a while it just doesn’t sound nice,” he explains. Any music lover will recognise the condition, and although exact causes of listener fatigue are still being explored, the latest research suggests that imperceptible sonic artefacts arising from non-musical aspects of a song’s reproduction, such as compression or artificial spatialisation, can cause listeners to lose interest.
“It’s difficult to design an amplifier or a speaker to control for listening fatigue specifically, because there are so many factors to take into account,” confesses Cooper, “but with the Orange Box you really can play it for ages—I have done!—and it doesn’t grate on your ears to the point where you think, I need to turn that thing off.”
A level of product testing this meticulous and drawn out, coupled with a love of making something that’s built to last, feels familiar to Orange’s approach to amplifier and cabinet design. But Cooper wouldn’t have it any other way: “It’s important that any amplifier we bring out is fully researched by us and at the top of its range, and I think everybody in the company accepts that—Adrian in particular is fussy about everything!” he laughs of his colleague for nearly half of Orange’s entire existence. “It not only has to be really good, but it has to be bulletproof, and everything has to be built to last in terms of the components.”
Indeed, product longevity is another characteristic that Cooper and the team have carried from guitar-amp manufacturing over to the Orange Box: in a Bluetooth speaker marketplace saturated with disposable gadgets destined for landfill before the end of the summer festival season, Cooper was insistent that the Orange Box had to have premium staying power. That means the rechargeable battery had to be replaceable years from now when it naturally degrades (like all lithium-ion batteries), and all components be made available for replacement well into the next decade, therefore also ensuring that the box was as green as it was Orange.
On top of that, the Orange Box comes with an audio-safety feature from designed to lengthen the lifespan of the product: a tiny circuit between the crossover and the amps continuously monitors the volume of the signal going in, prompting a small LED to light up whenever the speakers are being driven too hard and potentially harming them. “It’s there to tell you when you should back off the volume so you don’t damage it, sure,” acknowledges Cooper, “but it’s also there to improve sound quality, to help you listen without any distortion, which in turn lessens listener fatigue.”
This audio-limiter light is a simple innovation from yesteryear that will keep the Orange Box in its prime for years, but it’s also a dead giveaway of a product designed not with the bottom line in mind, but with a genuine and enduring love for music, and for building tools for spreading that love. After all, no one would ask for such an attentive add-on, but plenty will be grateful once it’s there.
It’s a feeling that sums up Cooper’s attitude, too: “Within the company,” he explains, “there’s an old-fashioned need to do things properly that’s run for 50 years, and if we can put it over to consumers that when they buy something with the Orange brand on it, it’s going to sound good, then that’s an achievement, and I think the Orange Box can do exactly that.
“After all, we don’t have any shareholders or venture capitalists to answer to,” he continues, proudly. “I’m the only shareholder! so any money that we earn goes straight back into developing new products—and I love doing that.”
It’s an approach that’s stood Cooper, and Orange Amps, in excellent stead since the 1960s, with countless iconic guitar amps—and world-famous fans—to show for it. As the company branches out into the middle of the 21st century, and to music connoisseurs, players and non-players alike, it’s also an approach, you sense, that will future-proof it too.
We caught up with Graveyard bassist Truls Mörck outside a church in Norway (because why not?) at last year’s Høstsabbat festival, and here is the result. We’re currently getting ready for this year’s Desertfest London where they’ll be headlining Electric Ballroom on the Friday. Will we see you there? Tickets here.
We caught up with Orange ambassador Ross Dolan of Electric Citizen to find out more about the band, his early influences as a guitarist and his love for Orange.
Long-time Orange ambassadors Wishbone Ash are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their iconic 1972 album Argus, and are embarking on a five-week UK tour tomorrow to support it, followed by an EU jaunt and US dates early next year. A full list of shows can be found here. In celebration of the anniversary, we spoke to frontman and guitarist Andy Powell about the album that changed the band’s career forever.
What can you tell us about the recording of Argus, and the impact that the album had on the band’s career?
Recording Argus was exciting because we upgraded from 8-track to 16-track. This allowed us to double-track the arranged guitar lines and vocals, which is why they stand out so well. Back in those days there were no effects pedals — reverb effects were achieved by using a plate echo and we tuned and intonated our guitars by ear using a tuning fork! I remember the release well, as the fans and the critics embraced it. Rolling Stone described Argus as an “essentially excellent” album and Sounds crowned it “Album of the Year”. Keep in mind our competition were albums like Deep Purple’s Machine Head and Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick. We were all so proud of the recognition at the time…and still to this day. It completely changed the band’s career! It took us into the big league as we started to headline our own tours in the UK. Prior to that, we’d been the opening act for bands like Rory Gallagher’s Taste or Mott the Hoople. Then we went over to the States, and landed the opening slot for the Who on tour. The first show was in front of 35,000 people at the Mississippi River Festival. It blew my mind — the sound system, the sheer number of people, the outdoor stage even had its own air conditioning for the performers. We learned so much from touring at close quarters with that band. That’s also when we first started to ship our Orange backline over to the States. The Orange gear would always impress sound guys due to its power and clarity on the big stages, and much of the guitar sound came from our Orange backline. At one point I was using two 200-watt Orange heads at shows!
How you feel about the album five decades later?
It’s the gift that keeps on giving — the jewel in the crown of our back catalogue. We’ve made some great records but this one was the perfect album at the perfect time in rock history, and that’s the difference. Albums are kind of like that. They can capture the times that a band is living through, and for us, Argus was exactly this kind of album. The riffs, intros and outros on the album have become timeless. Songs like The King Will Come, Warrior and Blowin’ Free are still received so warmly, 50 years on. I still today enjoy playing my song Leaf and Stream, as well as the anti-war song Throw Down the Sword, one of my finest moments as a soloist on the album. Sometime World is another song with a solo of mine that I’m really proud of. We had no idea that the arranged twin lead guitar harmony sound that we developed would go on to become the inspiration for so many other bands in the rock and metal fields, including Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden and Opeth. Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham shared with me that when Thin Lizzy moved to London and witnessed Wishbone Ash at the Lyceum, bassist Phil Lynott said afterwards that Wishbone had the sound they needed. Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris even remarked to Guitar World in 2011, “I think if anyone wants to understand Maiden’s early thing, in particular the harmony guitars, all they have to do is listen to Wishbone Ash’s Argus album.”
I agree, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving and it’s really stood the test of time. How does it feel being able to share it with newer generations, and seeing such a wide variety of ages at your shows?
I love it when I look into the crowd and see mothers and fathers with their kids at shows. That wouldn’t have been the case back in the day of course when a good 80% of our audience would have been young lads, but now it shows that our music can stand the test of time and be universally appealing, and of course so many girls love playing rock too these days. I love that. Seeing and hearing these crowds join in on the rousing chorus of Warrior confirms to me that our music can fire up the imaginations of new generations of fans. Recently, young wounded vets have come up to me after shows and told me how Warrior kept them focused during their fight. That’s very humbling, and reaffirms the power of the music and lyrics. “A slave I couldn’t be”, especially, rings true with the struggle in the Ukraine and I can bet, without a shadow of a doubt, having played there a few times, that there are still actual young warriors who turn to this piece of music for their strength.
Juan Francisco Ayala, also known as Paco Ayala, is a Mexican musician known for being the bassist and vocalist of the Mexican rock band Molotov.
In this interview with Danny Gómez and Ed Navarro from Legato Sales, our distributor in Latin America, Paco tells us about his career, the pandemic years, and his plans for the band. He also tells us how he found his sound with Orange Amps and details his rig.
Stay tuned for a rig rundown video very soon with Paco!
Hey John! What can you tell us about your band Holy Death Trio?
Holy Death Trio is a high-energy heavy rock creative force formed in Austin Texas in 2019. We are a fusion of everything that rocks and feels good to the soul. We pride ourselves in doing research and development on the current music industry and knowing our music history, from Liszt and Mozart to Motown and The Beatles, to the 60s,70s, 80s and why hair metal was destined to fail and Seattle would spark a no-shits-given revolution. We love to talk music history, so, if you’re reading this, debate with us!
You released your debut album Introducing during the pandemic, can you tell us a bit about it?
They say you have your entire life to record your first album and only a year to record your second, and this album felt like it had an entire lifetime of music on it, with songs I wrote back in 2013. That, mixed with things in life we were going through, like battling the ego and dealing with naysayers. This album was a labour of love and madness. We were determined to be different yet true to ourselves—we didn’t want to be another Sleep cover band.
That being said, we met a truly awesome and authentic dude named Charles Godfrey (Scary American) who worked at the legendary Sonic Ranch Studios for 10 years and recorded some amazing albums, plus he had a number-one Billboard-charting album that he engineered and produced himself! How many bands can say that they recorded with someone who’s made a number one album?
We had the recipe for success: a talented band, a talented producer, and the drive to make a great album. We were determined to release it ourselves by funding our own press campaigns, and by doing that, we attracted Blasko (Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, Danzig etc.) to the party. He helped get us a record deal with Ripple Music. and that’s how Introducing came to be.
How did you end up signing with Ripple music, and how has it been working with them?
We were discovered by a good friend of ours named Bucky Brown. He saw a video of us playing a live version of our heavy blues hit The Killer and sent it over to Todd Severin from Ripple Music, but we were reluctant to sign with a label. No one will own our music! That’s what I’ve always said, but luckily Ripple is not in the business of screwing musicians over.
We played phone tag for a month or longer, and we knew that Ripple would be a great fit, so eventually the universe allowed the perfect phone call with Todd and the band on new year’s eve 2020, right after we finished recording the entire album. He insisted that we at least talk to Blasko, and if we still didn’t feel comfortable signing, then he said no worries and he would always be there to support us.
But Blasko gave us an incredible deal and assured us that we would own 100% of our music and that he’d go above and beyond to make sure the presentation of the album (artwork, cover design, formats) was all taken care of.
Now that the world is opening up again, how does it feel like to finally be back out on the road?
It’s a curse and a blessing. Being a band in the underground stoner rock world doesn’t always have its big paydays. We try to play anywhere we can but with gas prices through the roof, it’s not a viable business decision to be on the road. Even the $1000 gigs can eat up more than $500 in gas.
We pick and choose our battles, of course, and have decided to go all in on Austin, Texas—there’s no need to go anywhere else unless it’s for festival dates. Let’s face it, people are just not going out to local shows anymore, so you might as well meet them in the middle, at a place where they are already at, like… Desertfest NYC.
We still have some more big ones to announce, and if you want us to play yours, hit us up at [email protected]
You’re playing Desertfest NYC in May. What are your thoughts and expectations for that? Were you familiar with the UK edition of the festival?
I’ve been a big fan of Desertfest for a while. My goal has always been to tour Europe, and get on Desertfest but playing the Desertfest here in America is an honour. It will have the same amount of hype as the first Psycho Las Vegas except it’s held in the former rock’n’roll capital of the world, New York-Effin’-City! It’s going to be one for the record books!
What can the festival attendees expect from a HDT show?
You will get the Heavy Rock Experience. High-energy, full-throttle amplifier worship! Straight-up in-your-face rock’n’roll. You can expect to see three bad-ass dudes on stage giving it their all, playing like the world will end the next day! Blood, sweat, tears and fire!
If you’ve ever wondered what a Holy Death Trio show looks like, just watch our White Betty video:
What’s your current Orange set ups?
I currently use the Rockerverb 100 MKIII and a Dual Dark 50 with two PPC 4×12 all in Black. Go big or go home.
How would your dream Orange rig look like?
I have my dream orange rig with the Rockerverb 100. It’s everything I need in an amp, but if I could have a full stack wrapped in Purple on both sides of the stage, I might just cry a little bit.
The colourful history of Orange Amplification is celebrated in three new videos featuring legendary front of house sound engineer Colin Norfield, renowned sound engineer John ‘JJ’ James and respected cabinet designer Mick Dines.
In the 70’s Orange Amplification created Orange Hire to provide the PA and backline for the big outdoor festivals such as Reading and the Isle of White. Bass player Colin Norfield was the perfect man to manage this enterprise. From this he went on to become one of the iconic pro-audio specialists of our time. The list of prestigious tours he has worked on include Diana Ross, Toto, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd, Zucchero and his relationship with David Gilmour has lasted more than five decades.
A mainly self-taught tinkerer and rule breaker, John ‘JJ’ James was responsible for designing most of the company’s products through to 1979 including the innovative ‘Pics Only’ amp synonymous with the brand. When the Bexley Heath factory closed in 1979, James began working with Brain Hatt, chief engineer at Orange Studios before going on to spend more than forty years ‘stage left’ for world class gigs including Eric Clapton, Queen + Adam Lambert, Joe Satriani, Robbie Williams and many more.
Mick Dines, worked with Orange Amplification from 1968 to the present day and was the General Manager of Orange Amplification during the 70’s. He used his experience as a touring bass player to make the company’s cabinets solid and robust. He also introduced the characteristic ‘Basketweave’ front, the material which helped define the distinctive ‘Orange ‘ tone. Dines’ knowledge of the bass guitar was instrumental in the company’s move into the bass amp market with the introduction of the fabled 2×15” Reflector Cabinet using the most up to date parabola design featuring two massive 15” back to back speakers to maximise volume.
The entertaining and informative videos explore a time when these experts in their field were ‘just doing stuff’ that ‘nobody had thought of’ and ‘we made it kinda work’ .To view the Colin Norfield video please go to https://youtu.be/Srvoi9hfp8g, the John ‘JJ’ James video https://youtu.be/Fmp6ctbBy9o and the Mick Dines video https://youtu.be/ahlJ9Teedbw. To find out more about Orange Amplification history please go to https://orangeamps.com/history/
In honour of their latest album ‘The Eldorardo Spell’, we spoke to Kryptograf guitarist Vegard Bachmann Strand about recording and working with Iver Sandøy (Enslaved) & Gaahl (Gaahls Wyrd, formerly of Gorgoroth), his early influences as a guitarist as well as, of course, his choice of Orange.
Kryptograf, can we get some background on the band?
We have been playing together in different bands since 2016. We all met when we went to the same school in Trondheim. I guess it all started when Odd and I became roommates in 2015 and started making music together. We decided to start Kryptograf in 2019 because we wanted a fresh start after playing for years in a different band with the same lineup plus a singer. We wanted a band with a clear direction where we could really dig into the proto-doom stuff.
Kryptograf just released their second album, “The Eldorado Spell”, what can you tell us about it?
When we started writing our new album we didn’t want to make the same album twice. While our first album was quite focused on the more primitive era of hard and psychedelic rock of the late 60’s, «The Eldorado Spell» kicks things up a notch. This album has more of a mid 70’s heavy metal feel to it as well as it contains more progressive elements and melodic twists. There’s also some inspiration from 60’s folk rock groups like Pentangle and Fairport Convention. The album was recorded live, mixed and mastered in Solslottet studio by our producer Iver Sandøy in 2021. He did our first album as well and we really like working with him. There is also some guest appearances on this album. Some vocals done by Kristian Eivind Espedal (Gaahl) and some trumpet by Ørjan Hammer Volvik.
How did you get Gaahl involved on the record, and how was it working with him? Obviously he’s quite a prominent musician not just in the Norwegian music scene, but in the black metal community on a global scale.
Gaahl’s participation on the record was actually a spontaneous idea we got when we were in the studio recording vocals. We needed a scary dark voice for some spoken words on the title track. Our producer Iver Sandøy has worked a lot with Gaahl and knows him well. Suddenly Iver sent us the finished master of The Eldorado Spell and there he was! I remember I got chills down my spine when I first heard it! Unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to be there when it happened, but I am very grateful that he wanted to join!
You’ve released both album’s on Bergen based Apollon Records, how did you end up with them?
We started working with Apollon when we released our first album. They just seemed like very honest and cool people. They did a great job with our first album and we wanted to continue working together on this one.
Opening track “Asphodel” is quite a progressive surprise compared to your previous work, was that an intentional shift in direction or just a result of your jamming and writing?
I think this is just a result of us jamming together in our rehearsal room. We don’t like to think things through so much when we are writing our songs, things just happen. We really liked the folky vibe of the last part and decided to work a bit on that by adding some acoustic guitars and stuff.
Your self-titled debut album was released just at the start of the pandemic, and you haven’t really had much of a chance to play those songs live. For this one, you’ve been playing full capacity, no-restriction shows. How has it been to be able to return to that?
It has been awesome! We just finished a Norwegian tour which included two sold out shows in Oslo and Kristiansand and we will also be playing at the Sonic Whip festival in Netherlands in May which will be very cool!
Which artists would you say played major roles as inspiration when you were young? Were there any musicians or guitarists in particular that inspired you to pick up the guitar, or perhaps a certain song?
I think I must say Black Sabbath was the biggest inspiration for me! I remember my mum took me to see them live in Bergen as a kid in 2005. I was completely mindblown! I loved all kinds of 70s rock music growing up, but my favourite guitar players must have been Tony Iommi, Angus Young and Ritchie Blackmore.
You’re an Orange guy, do you remember your first ever encounter with our amps, whether it was seeing them played live on stage or in a video, or playing them yourself?
I think the first time I discovered Orange amps was when I saw Black Sabbath using them in a TV show from 1970. I guess that’s a bit ironic since Tony was normally a Laney player, but those orange amps looked and sounded so cool! I also remember seeing Matt Pike using his gigantic walls of orange amps and I really liked the sound of them.
What’s your current rig, and how did you end up with that?
My current rig is a Orange OR50 and a PPC212 cabinet. Absolutely love that rig!
If you could add any Orange amps to your rig, which ones would they be, and why?
I would love to own some vintage Orange amps. For example, one of those old pictures only amps or a OR80. I also love the sound of a Rockerverb. Really versatile and great amps.
Check out Kryptograf’s 2021 Orange Jams session below:
日向秀和（ひなっち）モデルのアンプヘッドが遂に2021年7月1日から一般発売！！ひなっちがステージで使用している事で目を引いた方も多いはず！本人が使用しているオレンジカラーに極ロゴが入ったあのモデルが新登場！！Orange 4 Stroke 500 LTD was finally released on July 1. Yes, many of you might have seen Hinatch playing it on stage. This new signature amp head is in orange color with his logo “Extreme!”
を教えて下さい。What was the initial impact on you when you came across Orange Amps, either amp head or cabinet? 日向：まず、凄いナチュラルだなと思いましたね。ナチュラルだし、凄く芯のあるローが出るっていうのが最初の印象でした。オレンジに出会う前は結構アンプに迷ってて、試行錯誤した結果、ロー感とか一度自分の中で完成したなって思ってたんですよ。でも、オレンジに出会ってその完成したと思っていたものを覆されたと言うか。よりベースの音を届けやすくなった感覚っていうのが凄くありまして。余計なローが全く無いって言うか。そこらへんがすごくびっくりしました。My impression was that it was an extremely natural and thick low sound. I was going through many amps in those days and trying to find my low frequency sound. Just when I thought I found it, I came to play an Orange Amp. Then there was no going back. I immediately felt that the low frequency could easily travel across. I call it pure bass sound. I was just astonished.
トレードマークになっている「極」の由来を教えてください。How did your motto “Extreme” come about?日向：英語で言うと「極める」ってどういうことを言うんでしょうね。物事を「マw スター」とかそういう感じなのかな。その道をマスターするっていう意味合いを一文字で表すことが出来る漢字かなと思って。「極める」っていうのはベーシストとしてもそうだし、すべてそうです。ずっと追いかけていくって大事なことだし、そういうのを志してるっていうところでの漢字一文字ですかね。I don’t know the exact English word for it. This Japanese character “extreme” also means reaching the top or mastering completely. It applies to everything including bass guitar. It is important to pursue it with ambition. This character says it all.
4 Stroke 500 LTD HINATCH“極”はいつもどのようなセッティングで使用しているのしょうか？Could you tell us your setting of 4 Stroke 500 LTD?
日向：アンプのセッティングなんですけど、大体いつも12時にするんですよ。12時にして、オールフラットの状態でまず鳴らしてみて、そこから耳につくところの音域を減らしていきます。例えばちょっとローが出過ぎてるんで、これを減らしていく。こうすると自然なボトム感と言うか、出てきますよね。で、ちょっとミドルも痛いんで、コンコンいっちゃう。このコンコン言うところをはしょる。そうするとナチュラルになってますよね。基本的にもう、減らしていくだけですね。（EQがフラットの状態でも）ハイもしっかり出てるんで。まずは12時にして、オールフラットにしてから、いらない音域をどんどん削っていくみたいなセッティングをしています。I usually start off setting everything at 12 o’clock, all flat, and hear it. Then I tweak to reduce whatever remains in my ears. For instance I turn down whenever I hear too much bass or knocking mids. It becomes a natural bass sound. My approach is always to reduce unnecessary ranges from 12 o’clock. You can still obtain solid high frequency.
コンプはどのように使用しているのでしょうか？How do you use a built-in compressor on 4 Stroke 500 LTD?
日向：コンプが付いてるんですけど、薄ーく掛けてるんですよね。結構ガッツリ掛けるとサンプリングされてるベースの音みたいな（笑）、音まで出せるんで面白いんですけど、これだと掛かり過ぎてダイナミクスがあんまり出ないんで、薄くかけといてから、エフェクターを踏んだときのコンプの掛かり方がすごいこれ気持ちいいんですよ。歪ませたりとか。だから、エフェクターを割とハイゲインのボンって踏んだときにモチっと着いてきてくれるようなコンプの感じが良いんで薄く掛けてます。すごい効くと思いますこのコンプ。素晴らしいです。This amplifier is equipped with a compressor. And I put it on just slightly. If I turn up, it can produce a very thick sound that is almost like sampling bass tone. But it would reduce the dynamics. I like to put on just enough compression so that other effect pedals such as distortion are switched on, it will nicely compliment the sound. I think it is a superb compressor.
このモデルの魅力や遊び方について教えて下さい。What do you think is the most attractive feature of 4 Stroke 500 LTD? And how would you like to play it?
日向：極端な話、EQもすごい効くんで。こんな音まで（笑）出ちゃうっていう。ハイとかも、例えばめっちゃ絞ったりするとちょっとヴィンテージっぽい音から、ハイだけでも全然違う。これだけEQが効くって言う。シンプルだけにすごく効くって言うか。そういうのすごく大事だなと思います。いっぱい目盛りが付いてて何していいか分かんないってアンプも中にはあったりして。それよりもすごいシンプルで効くって言うのはサウンドメイクしやすい。だからいろんな音域を出して試してみるっていうのもすごく面白いと思います。後はさっきやったみたいにコンプをめっちゃガッツリ、鬼のようにコンプ出してサンプリングしたみたいなベースの音を出すのもすごく楽しいんじゃないかな。このままレコーディングしても、レコーディングとかだったらすごく面白いんじゃないですかね。スラップがすごく楽しいかも。サンプリングしたみたいな音も出るし、EQもすごく効くので、自分の好きな音を探ってみるのもいいんじゃないかなと思います。For me it has to be the effectiveness of the equalizer. You can create all kinds of sound by setting the different equalizer level. I found that you can obtain vintage bass sound by cutting the high frequency. Unlike some amps out there with many knobs and notches, this model is very simple to operate. And you can always make the sound you want after you tweak different frequencies. Again do not forget how clean and powerful the compressor is on this model. You can maximize the effect for your recording sessions. So the sampling sound comes in handy when you are playing slapping bass. It works great!