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Every month we reward one lucky winner with a prize. This month’s winner receives a white Bax Bangeetar Pre-EQ pedal. All you have to do is post your Orange rig to any qualifying social media using the hashtag #OrangeRigOfTheMonth. Please note we are not accepting entries via email.

What’s your name, age, occupation?
Mike Schmalenberg, age 32, Musician and Elementary School Teacher.

How’d you first hear about Orange?
I first heard about Orange by seeing other bands use them on stage. I always loved the sound, whenever I heard an Orange rig.

What do you use your rig for?
I have played in various bands over the years, Mother Night and Sing The Body Electric, seeing the most action; however it is now primarily used for my solo band project.

How much did this rig set you back?
I bought the amps new, but the cabs second hand, so this rig set me back about $3500 CDN.

How often do you update the rig?
I love trying Orange amps out, so while I try to maintain some consistency with the AD30, and Getaway Driver pedal, I’m always bringing in new heads and amps to play around with!

What gear is in this rig?
My current home set up consists of a PPC212, AD30 and a Getaway Driver pedal; with the option to add a PPC412, or a Dark terror for a little higher gain fun!

What guitar do you use? Why?
I primarily play Gibson, with a Les paul Traditional currently claiming the number one spot. They have always just felt right for me, I especially like the way the brustbucker pickups interact with the AD30!

When was the first time you saw an Orange amp?
I’m sure I saw them while watching an old Oasis video or the Black Sabbath Beat Club performance when I was an early teenager, but Orange really came into the forefront of my world when we played a gig with a band (about 10 years ago) that were using Rockerverbs, and I fell in love with the tone.

If you could own any piece of gear, old or new, what would it be and why?
I would love to get my hands on an OR50, or OR120 either vintage or reissue! I love the vintage fuzzy tones of those amps, they just speak to me whenever I heard a demo; I can only image how good it would sound in real life!

Who is your guitar hero?
The two guitar players that have had the largest impact on me would be Zakk Wylde and fellow Canadian, Devin Townsend. More recently, Jared James Nichols has been a great inspiration to watch as well!

Can you share any links where people can go to hear how this sounds?
https://www.instagram.com/mikeschmalenberg/

1969 was a big year for Orange Amplifiers. It was when we found our mojo, what we call the Voice of the World.

50 years on we take a look at the world of Orange and how together we’ve shaped the Voice of the World.

Fleetwood Mac Sweden November 1968 with the very first Orange backline & PA.

Having started by making super clean lead amplifiers Orange soon began to look for ways to increase the ‘perceived’ volume at the request of our customers. Our equipment gave out a true 120 watts RMS but lower-powered models from other manufacturers sounded louder.

The solution came to Orange Amplifiers CEO Cliff Cooper after a meeting with a leading ear specialist in London’s Harley Street.

The brain can register distortion as pain in order to protect the mechanism of the ears. The jagged harmonics produced by the distortion work the ear’s conducting bones harder, and this is perceived by the audio nerves as an increase in sound level. The original Orange amps were especially clean sounding with very little distortion. In order to correct the situation, we gave the amp a lot more gain and modified our circuitry. These changes gave birth to the ‘Orange sound’ – best described as ‘fat’ and ‘warm’ – more musical and richer in harmonics, with a unique saturation in the mids.

Cliff Cooper

Success soon followed with a boom throughout the 1970s, but changes in circumstances meant that by the end of the decade production had almost stopped. Yet Orange Amplifiers remained at large and were gathering an unseen legion of fans.

The Voice of the World was resuscitated in 1997 when Britpop pioneer Noel Galligher visited Cliff Cooper and now Technical Director Adrian Emsley in Denmark Street where Cliff ran a shop. Noel wanted to add more crunch to his vintage OR120, eventually leading to the development of a new amplifier, the OTR. This heralded the second coming of Orange. This was closely followed by the AD series in 1998.

Noel Gallagher’s Orange Custom Shop 140

In a world far, far away from Britpop, stoner rockers were also adopting vintage Orange within their wall of sound. The embers of Orange Amplifiers, smouldering in the limelight of yesteryear, went from a flicker to a roaring flame when an Orange OR120 was featured on the album insert of Sleep’s 1998 release ‘Dopesmoker’.

“I’ve been using Orange for kinda a long time actually. I was watching Black Sabbath on MTV when I was a kid and I was like Orange, Orange, Orange. After that, we started buying Oranges up when we first, kind of, started the band. That’s kind of I was going for – you know, in the beginner like a classic, rock, overdrive. Now I’m just using massive mountains of Orange” – Matt Pike of Sleep

Since the 90s, Orange Amplifiers and the Voice of the World has become synonymous with music from every genre: Country to Metal, World to Jazz. Even from our humble beginnings, Orange has always been a David and Goliath-like story, we’re not just a business full of execs in suits, with Orange it’s personal. We’ve done all the jobs possible: roadie, performer, rigger, producer, repair engineer; in other words, we understand your voice, it sounds a lot like ours.

Shaping the Voice of the World

1.     Built to last, our speaker cabinet design went beyond the designs at the time. 18mm birch-faced marine ply, a central baffle post and tough Orange vinyl was the standard we set. It still remains to this day.

2.     Wooden skids replaced plastic casters. No more broken wheels and the skids act as a coupler, enhancing the bass response.

3.     Orange Amplifiers own our factories, unlike other OEMs who use contractors we’re able to manage every step of the production process in house, irrespective of the country of manufacture.

4.     By over-specifying on the transformers, we reduce the amount of heat building up inside your amplifier, meaning longer operational life. 

5.     Those very transformers prevent the amplifier from throttling the output signal, which means passing the whole frequency spectrum without losses to the top and bottom of the range. 

6.     Almost all our amplifiers (bar the Terror Bass) feature a tube buffered FX loop ensuring the signal chain isn’t compromised at any stage. 

7.     Analogue is the standard, that means no digital modelling. Only the highest quality components and that all-analogue design is what brings Orange Amplifiers tone to life

8.     We created the first-ever digital amplifier with the OMEC Digital back in 1974.

9.     While we launched don’t mess with what’s inside the amp we’ve brought the same commonsense Orange thinking to the digital era with the OMEC Teleport, a latency-free AD/DA converter, marrying up old and new technology and super simple to use.

10.  We justify our all analogue circuitry through what makes Orange ‘Orange’. Just switch the amp on and you’ll get what we mean, no tone hunting required. Simply plug and play.

11.  Built for international touring artists as well as home use, wattage switching options are designed into many of our amplifiers. Also this feature is ideal for pushing your amp to the edge.

12.  Experimentation is our bag, take for instance the Rocker 32 which features a two 10” Voice of the World speakers which can run in mono, stereo or even patched one side wet and the other side dry.

13.  Speaking of those Voice of the World speakers. What makes them unique is a very fast and tight bottom end that speeds up with more overdrive, alongside a vintage sounding top end.

14.  Our flagship Rockerverb MkIII is built on three generations of development based on user feedback, featuring a four-stage ‘dirty’ channel that gives mid-range crunch the more you crank it.

15.  We’ve also led the revolution of lunchbox proportions with our now discontinued Tiny Terror heralded as “the most important guitar product in the last 30 years” – Guitarist Magazine. Although you can’t buy the original anymore, we now do a 30-watt version, doubling the power!

16.  Innovation is something we’re proud of, and we’re keen to support innovators too such as Kelby Ray of The Cadillac Three. His lap steel rig brings out both the highs and the lows taking the grit of the AD200-MK3, and the crunch and full-bodied mid-range of the AD30HTC and OR15H.

17.  It’s not just Kelby who’s at it with innovation. Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick’s monster rig features both Orange bass and guitar amps pushed to their limit, Petersson’s sound comes from when the amp is “about ready to blow up”, but they don’t blow up…

18.  See number 5.

19.  Orange Amplifiers, valve or solid-state, are made to bring out the expression in your playing, offering a dynamic low-end with a focused mid-range and harmonics that are present across the full frequency spectrum.

20.  Most amps are black. We can do black, we prefer Orange though.

21.  Our solid-state amplifiers are based on achieving that classic British Orange valve tone, only much lighter.

22.  We might over-engineer our equipment, but that’s why we’re on the rig list for most major equipment hire companies.

23.  One example of why is that we lay extra-thick PCB traces (Rock and Roll, I know!) to prevent impedance from building up unwanted heat.

24.  Alongside the lunchbox design, we also recognised that people are using pedals more and more. So we created the Pedal Baby 100 which gives you all that Orange clean tone in a portable unit, leaving you to add whatever you need on top. 

25.  It’s as much the genius that creates our technology as it is people we learn from that makes Orange Amplifiers the Voice of the World.

The first time I saw an Orange amp was a picture of Jimmy Page. And the first time I played on was in Nashville when I tried a Rockerverb. I’ve been playing one ever since.

The thing that attracted me to playing an Orange amp was that I’m always looking for a great clean tone. I rely on a certain pedal for my drive. When I plugged it into a Rockerverb MKIII I realized I could sustain it forever. I also love the attenuator.

I drive the volume pretty hard and I use the attenuator to control my actual level. I have an Overdrive called the TB Drive made by a friend in Germany and that’s my drive tone, always. It’s two channels of Overdrive so I’m always on the clean channel of the Rockerverb and controlling the filth with the volume knob on my guitar. I like to use the volume control on my guitar instead of switching channels on amps.

The thing that I like about an Orange amp for a clean sound is that it has some body in the sound. A lot of times, if you’re just trying to get a clean sound out of an amp, you’re turning it down so the tubes aren’t breaking up. But with the clean on the Rockerverb you can still get the tubes doing what they need to do but you still have a full-bodied sound without a thin tone. That’s crucial to me.

Click here to check out more Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown

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