THE OR100 PICS ONLY
Not only was the 1972 OR100 ‘Graphic Valve Amplifier’ the amplifier that defined the mid-range crunch that remains the core Orange sound to the present day, it was also revolutionary in terms of cosmetic styling. The Orange psychedelic logo, picture-frame amp sleeves and loudspeaker cabinets had already established the company as a visually distinctive and unique guitar amps’ brand in the late 1960s. The hieroglyphic symbols on the front plate took this a big step further.*
Initially the ‘Graphics’ were also known as ‘Plexis’ because they had plastic reverse-printed Perspex front panels secured by four fixing bolts to an orange steel backplate, and then to the chassis. The panels on later Pics Only amps were not plastic, but silk-screen printed metal plates with no visible bolts.
The ‘Pics Only’ series featured 100 and 80 watt heads, and 100 and 80 watt 2×12″ combos (shown above) which were huge sellers worldwide.
“The circuit of the Pics Only is markedly different from that of the first Orange amplifiers. Those early Orange amps like the OR200 had the volume in front of the EQ circuitry, whereas the Pics Only had the Baxandall EQ first, then the Gain, and then the phase inverter. What’s more, the DC coupled ‘concertina’ phase inverter used in the first Orange amps was changed to a capacitorcoupled version in the Pics Only. This capacitor-coupled type of phase inverter drives the output valves harder and this creates a more overdriven and crunchy sound. In this way, the Pics Only was the start of the new sound that everybody associates with Orange.”
– Adrian Emsley, Orange Amplification Technical Director
* In the The Book of Orange on p. 22-23 creator, Cliff Cooper, explains how he got the idea for the hieroglyphs and on p. 72-73 there is glossary showing all the main hieroglyphs and assigns them to appropriate amp models.