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From an Artist Relations perspective, the AD200B bass amp is one of the best weapons in my arsenal. It’s an amp with extremely pure bass tone, lots of clarity no matter how you’ve set the knobs, and it’s overdrive is a perfect blend of classic and modern. I’ve had hundreds of artists make the switch from “the other standard bass amp company that which will remain unnamed” onto the AD200B.

Artists love it because it’s produced to the same standard as most vintage tube bass amps. They also tend to make the switch when their classic bass amps are ready to come off the road to become studio-only pieces.

Here’s the backstory on a handful of Orange Ambassadors that use the AD200B (which we commonly refer to as just the “AD200”):


Geddy Lee – Rush

This might be hard to believe, but Slipknot is actually responsible for Geddy Lee playing the AD200.

Rush and Slipknot were recording next to each other in a Nashville studio. On a whim, Geddy heard the bass tone coming out of Slipknot’s studio and peeked his head in to find out what was making that glorious sound. Martin, Jim Root’s tech at the time, told him it was the AD200.

It took us about NEGATIVE FIVE MINUTES to decide Geddy could make or break Orange bass amps. Once we got that now-iconic photo of him chilling on top of his AD200’s we started buying up a ton of full page ads in guitar magazines. It was basically an entire year of promoting Geddy. The result? A nearly 100% increase in bass sales (and they’ve been growing every year since then).

Geddy used the AD200 for ¼ of his onstage bass tone. He turned the gain and the treble all the way up and everything else down as far as it could go. So basically the AD200 was his overdrive tone. However, the bass tone on Rush’s 2012 album Clockwork Angels is FULL of AD200 (check it out).


Glenn Hughes – Deep Purple, Black Country Communion

I was at Winter NAMM in 2011 when suddenly I got pulled into our demo room by an extremely excited Cliff Cooper (Orange’s Founder and CEO). He told me Glenn Hughes had stopped by and asked to try the AD200. We stuffed ourselves into that demo room like sardines. Glenn plugged in, played for 10 seconds, and then stopped and looked at all of us. His face had an expression of disbelief.

“This is the tone I’ve been trying to find for decades…this is my sound.”

Since then Glenn has been using the AD200 at 99% of his shows without fail. When I can’t find backline for him in some random city in, say, Africa, he makes sure I know how sad it makes him. He recently switched from playing through a combination of OBC115 and OBC410 speakers, to a pyramid-looking set up featuring (3) OBC810 cabs turned sideways.


Tom Petersson – Cheap Trick

Everyone knows that Tom is constantly switching up his rig, but for the past 7 years Orange has become a staple of Tom’s tone. Tom plays 12 string bass guitars (which he’s famous for doing) and his rig is a mash-up of bass and guitar amps.

The first Orange amp he added to the mix was the AD200. Then he started throwing in Orange guitar amps, specifically the now-discontinued AD50 hand-wired, the AD30, and more recently the Custom Shop 50 hand-wired. For about a year his rig was entirely Orange, but in true Tom fashion he’s started to put some Fender back into it. Honestly, as long as Tom Petersson of motherfreaking Cheap Trick has Orange on his stage I’ll be OK with whatever it is!


Jason Narducy – Bob Mould, Superchunk, Split Single

I’m putting Jason Narducy, one of my favorite people in the world, right below Tom Petersson because Tom is the reason Jason picked up a bass. I’ll just let Jason tell you what he thinks about the AD200:

“The first time I played an AD200 was in a rehearsal space in LA in 2006. It was the first practice with Bob Pollard’s new band and we had to learn 357 songs or something like that. We also taught our livers what 357 beers felt like. Despite the beer and avalanche of songs, I knew right away that the Orange AD200 was special.

I noticed the amp was orange just like the manufacturer’s name. They nailed that. But more importantly, it had the best tone for my P-bass. There were no hollowed out frequencies that you get with the common rented bass rig. The AD200 has presence and muscle. It is my favorite thing besides beer. And my family, I guess.”

 


Ben Lemelin – Your Favorite Enemies

If you’ve been following Orange closely over the past decade you know that there’s a super insane French-Canadian dude named SEF from the band Your Favorite Enemies who has done product reviews for us. SEF is like the human version of candy-flipping. However, we also have been working with the band’s bassist, Ben Lemelin, for the same period of time, and he’s just as good at doing killer demos.

Ben loves the AD200 for its super pure bass tone and for its ability to get wildly overdriven when necessary.

 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE ORANGE AD200B PAGE

The Dual Dark, as Lead Designer Ade Emsley describes it, is an Orange amp “for guitarists who don’t usually play Orange amps.” The Dual Dark is a completely different beast, both in terms of gain and voicing, from every other amp Orange has ever produced. It’s tighter on the bottom-end and has an almost percussive nature to its attack. And while all Orange amps tend to have massive amounts of distortion, it’s the searing brutality of the dirty channel (Channel B) on the Dual Dark really sets it apart from amps like the Rockerverb MKIII.

There are a lot of similarities between the Dual Dark and our now discontinued Thunderverb series. The Thunderverb 50 and 100 were the first Orange amps to feature attenuators and shape knobs. The attenuator is great for the studio and bedroom practice, since it allows the volume to be decreased without affecting the tone. The shape knob is actually a mid-scoop that takes the player from classic rock all the way through to mind-melting metal. These features, when introduced originally, were received well by Orange enthusiasts so it only made sense to keep them on future models (the Rockerverb MKIII also has an attenuator).

The similarities end when it comes to the voicing of the amps. If the Thunderverb was a true modern Orange amp, and the Rockerverb MKIII a melding of classic and modern tones, then the Dual Dark is the amp that bridges them all together. Channel A on the Dual Dark is extremely versatility, boasting a wide range of tones from Brit-rock to R&B. On this channel it can even be made to sound similar to our flagship AD30 head. But switch over to Channel B, the assumed “dirty channel” for most players, and let the shape knob rocket you into Thunderverb 200 high-gain metal territory (this, for example, is the channel Matt Pike from Sleep prefers).

It’s the Dual Dark’s voicing is what allows for such versatility. By backing off on the “fuzziness” that is inherent in most Orange amps (a desirable trait to most of our fans), Lead Designer Ade Emsley has made the Dual Dark capable of mimicking a wider variety of amp voicings. If other amp companies make “fizzy” sounding amps, and Orange is normally known for “fuzz,” then the Dual Dark occupies that in-between “fizz-fuzz” that makes it so unique.

There’s something for everybody in the Dual Dark series. Here are some examples of Orange Ambassadors from a wide variety of genres that have made the Dual Dark their go-to amps.

Matt Pike – Sleep, High on Fire

The Dual Dark 100 is always the first amp Matt requests on his backline riders. He prefers it above all other current production Orange amps. For him, it’s the gain and the gain alone that he desires. If we could supply him with 50 Dual Dark 100’s per show he’d take it.

Al Cisneros – Sleep

After Matt Pike started using the Dual Dark 100 regularly, Al got in touch and said he was interested in giving it a shot. Al uses a huge stack of bass amps, yes, but he also runs his signal through a guitar half stack to achieve a more grindy, trebly top-end to his tone. The Dual Dark 50 has become his go-to guitar amp since 2017.

Graham WhitfordTyler Bryant and the Shakedown

“It’s one of those amps you can plug straight into without a single pedal and get everything you need. I love it.”

Dave Catching – Eagles of Death Metal

We’ve had EODM’s lead guitarist, the absolutely most awesome dude on earth, Dave Catching, playing the Dual Darks on stage for several years. Coming from a Marshall/Fender background, he like a lot of our Dual Dark Ambassadors was turned on by the fact it doesn’t sound “classically Orange.” Dave also found that the Dual Dark can works wonders in his studio, Rancho De La Luna, with bands ranging from CKY to Kurt Vile.

Pop Evil

Both guitarists Davey Grahs and Nick Fuelling of Pop Evil are playing identical set-ups consisting of Dual Dark and Rockerverb 100 MKIII 100 watt heads. For their stage volume needs it’s the perfect combo. It’s a loud, LOUD rig and between both the Dual Dark and Rockerverb MKIII they’re able to recreate the full spectrum of Orange tones.

“If sounds were a person, the sound Orange produces would be the Dos Equis guy.” – Davey Grahs

Look, man, I can’t come see your show. Not tonight, not at that festival in a month, and not in Japan (although thanks for the invite…but seriously how did you expect me to afford that?)

It’s not that I dislike you. It’s that I’m not in the mood to listen to your band play music. Because I don’t like the music your band plays all that much. In fact, I don’t even like the genre of music you play. And I consider myself a genuine connoisseur of music. That’s probably one of the main reasons I work in music actually.

But your band? No. It’s not my style. It was maybe my style 10 years ago. My tastes have changed.

The fact is, I go to lots of shows already. I’m out a couple of nights a week (though I’ve slowed down recently). I have a family. My wife doesn’t exactly love it when I stay out until 1 AM. But it’s reached the point where she’s subscribed to the Orange YouTube so she can be sure I’m actually doing interviews with artists and not just using my job as an excuse to get out of the house.

In other words: we’re going to have to figure out a different way to make the most of this endorsement. Because I’m not finding a reward in moshing with 19 year olds and there’s nothing in it for me to stand side stage without a reference monitor. Your live show is not enough to make me like or support you.

There’s a bit of a misnomer when it comes to artist relations reps. Everyone seems to think we like all the bands we work with. Well, we don’t. I mean personally, sure, I think they’re cool people and I admire all of the hard work they’ve put into becoming full-time musicians. But that doesn’t mean I want to listen to their music. In fact, I’d rather get electrocuted by the power transformer from a Thunderverb 200 than listen to some of the bands I support.

I just spilled the beans and admitted my disdain for the music of bands that not only do I support, but that also support me. Their loyalty to Orange is the backbone of our brand. How will they take the news I may not choose their music for my long Sunday drives?

Well, if they’re professionals, they’ll tell me to get bent and then we’ll get a beer together. And they do this all the time actually. They do it because we’re friends.

My opinion is pointless. It’s so loaded with the cynicism of a failed musician who just hates for the sake of hating that I wouldn’t want my bands to ever be affected by it. No matter what I think of their new album, or how far they’ve strayed from their “core sound,” or how the snare is mixed on “that one track,” or how the singer’s hair has changed for the worse, I am not qualified to judge ANYTHING about these bands other than their guitar playing and their love of Orange amps. I’d be shitty at my job if I did.

What I’m laying out for you is a path to getting the most out of your endorsement. You need to be friends with your artist relations rep. You need to ignore my tastes and my subjective opinions. You need to learn how to work with me as much I need to learn to work with you. We don’t all like every band we endorse. Coming to your show isn’t necessarily the most enjoyable thing for us. Coming to see YOU is where we often derive the most reward.

Some quick tips when it comes to having an artist out to your show:

  • Remember where we live and remind us about your concert a couple of weeks in advance.
  • Invite us to your soundcheck. This is a great time for us to get some one on one time on stage in front of your rig. We can snag pictures and video clips of you talking about your gear in a more relaxed environment.
  • Please give us All Access passes. Aftershow passes are usually pointless (and many of us can’t stay to hang out anyways). We want to be able to get great content for social media and marketing purposes. All Access ensures we can move around freely and capture awesome B-Roll footage. If you’re worried about your Artist Rep having All Access because you don’t trust them, then you need to reevaluate your relationship.
  • Feel free to put us off on your tech or TM if you’re busy. Artist Reps love the crew. They are usually the ones we work with most often for logistics and support anyways. Plus, the crew is a great resource for us when it comes to meeting other bands, since many of them work with more than one band.
  • Let us drink your free beer. Maybe we’ll buy you hard liquor with our company credit card.

Take some time with your Artist Rep to understand their company. You play their brand on stage, but do you really know how the company operates? If you don’t, then you are probably either A) the type of artist who complains about not being supported enough, or B) lazy. I know this because if you had taken the time to learn the inner-workings of the company you’re dealing with, you’d be cross-promoting your relationship with them right now instead of reading this article.

Music instrument companies come in all shapes and sizes. It just happens that about 98% of them come in Size Extra Small. We’ve all got minimal operational budgets, 10-30 employees, and one Facebook page. What I’m trying to say is that the bulk of the work is often up to you. You truly have to make your endorsement what you want it to be.

Put me on your email list, send me the link to like your social media pages, and send me pics or videos of you playing live when they feature the product you endorse. Let me know when you’ve got a tour, music video shoot, or PR scheduled. Going into the studio? Let me know. Coming into my hometown and want to invite me to a show? Yes, absolutely. Even if I can’t go, it’s always worth asking. Because when you keep me in the loop I’m able to line up YOUR plans with MY marketing promotions and product releases.

There’s only one of me working with 1000 of you. Every AR guy feels this way. Try to be their friend and keep them up to date. They don’t have to love your music. They just need to love you!

 

 

We are a partner in this year’s Firestone Battle of the Bands, a competition that gives unsigned acts the chance to showcase their musical talents and be in with a chance of winning a great set of prizes.

Entries are now closed but 6 spotlighted artists have been chosen by us and campaign partner PMT and a public vote to choose the 3 finalists opens on Monday 13th November.

Keep an eye on our social media and Firestone’s Facebook, vote, share and #BeHeard