THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO UK MADE ORANGE AMPS

Founded by Cliff Cooper in the heart of London during the swinging 60’s, Orange Amplification is as British as it gets.  Since the late 60’s the company has been one of the big hitters in the electric guitar amplifier world and the UK has remained the heart of everything that Orange does.  Some production has moved across the water (the TH series for instance is made in China) but the vast majority of Orange’s amplifiers and cabinets are still made here in the UK.  So if it’s a true bonafide brit made amp that you’re interested in but you can’t be bothered to trawl through the inter-web to find out just what the difference is between them all (despite the obvious i.e. the name, appearance and the number of knobs on the faceplate) then read on because we’ve done the hard work for you…

 

 

THUNDERVERB SERIES – THUNDERVERB 50 & THUNDERVERB 200
The ‘Swiss army knife’ of Orange’s range, the Thunderverb series features amps that can handle anything you throw at them with lush reverb-laden cleans to classic rock to full on metal available on either channel.  Both channels feature independent master volume controls and three stages of gain, so all you need to decide is whether you need a clean and a dirty channel, two clean channels or two dirty channels.

If unbelievably huge headroom and articulation is your thing then the Thunderverb 200 is the amp for you. Powered by a quartet of 6550 valves and featuring the same enormous transformers that you’ll find in Orange’s AD200B, the Thunderverb 200 puts out 200 Watts and is capable of handling serious ‘down tuning’ for baritone and 7-string guitars. Pair it with Orange’s PPC412 cabinet for the mother of all half stacks…or even try it with a bass cabinet for an ‘edgy’ bass rig.  If the power of the 200 seems a little daunting the amp cab be switched to a more manageable 100 Watts.
The Thunderverb 50 shares the same front panel layout as its more powerful sibling but owing to its lower output and pair of EL34’s has a slightly sweeter character.

Channel A features a ‘traditional’ three band EQ whilst Channel B features Orange’s hugely capable Shape control. With the control fully clockwise you get an aggressive ‘smiley face’ EQ with scooped mids, and boosted lows and highs. Fully counter-clockwise, you’ll find oh so smooth and rounded treble with striking, prominent mids.  So with the twist of just one knob you can dial in tones for ultra-modern Metal to vintage Rock…and everywhere in-between.

The Thunderverb amps were the first Orange amp to feature a foot-switchable attenuator allowing you to crank the master volume to achieve output stage saturation level at more ‘responsible’ volume levels. Positioning the attenuator after the master volume but before the output transformer, ensures the amp retains a springy response at any volume…and also gives you the option of defeating it for a ‘clean boost’ for extra oomph.  The series also features a valve driven spring reverb and a valve buffered effects loop.

 

At a glance…

Thunderverb 50

No. Of ChannelsFX LoopReverbAttenuatorPowerValves
2YesYesYes50 WattsPower Amp: 2 x EL34
Preamp: 4 x Ecc83/12ax7
FX Loop: 1 x Ecc81/12at7
Reverb: 1 x Ecc81/12at7
Thunderverb 200
No. Of ChannelsFX LoopReverbAttenuatorPowerValves
2YesYesYes200 WattsPower Amp: 4 x 6550
Preamp: 4 x Ecc83/12ax7
FX Loop: 1 x Ecc81/12at7
Reverb: 1 x Ecc81/12at7

 

 

 

AD SERIES – AD30
The AD30 is Orange’s tribute to vintage Class A British amplification and recaptures the warm, time-honoured EL84 sound that defined an era.  It’s a ‘purist’s dream’, with the series proving so popular that its specs haven’t changed since the day it first rolled of the production line.

In simple terms the AD is two vintage British-style amps in one.  The two channels have completely separate signal paths, each with two stages of gain and master volume controls.  Both can be set for clean or coaxed into varying degrees of crunch. Channel One is slightly mellower in character, and has a thick, creamy, classic voice.  Whilst Channel Two has more gain and a more prominent mid-range with a tighter bass response and faster attack.
Regardless of what you dial in, the AD30 remains wonderfully receptive to various guitars and playing styles and because of this has a great reputation with those looking for country, bluesy, Pop, Funk and Indie tones due to its classy, bell-like cleans, breaky crunch and controlled natural compression, whilst the GZ34 valve rectifier imparts its own distinct vibe for players seeking a more vintage feel and responsiveness.

At a glance…

AD30HTC
No. Of ChannelsFX LoopReverbAttenuatorPowerValves
2NoNoNo30 WattsPower Amp: 4 x EL34
Preamp: 4 x Ecc83/12ax7
Rectifier: 1 xGZ34

 

 

ROCKERVERB SERIES MkIII – ROCKERVERB 50 & ROCKERVERB 100

Celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2014, the Rockerverb series is now in its third incarnation and is an abject lesson in how a workhorse amp can be a master of all trades. The original Rockerverb was Orange’s first ever ‘high gain’ amplifier that quickly gained a following with those with ‘heavier’ tastes.  But given its supreme versatility and dependability the series has found favour with touring artists and session aces, both on the road and in the studio.

 

The MkIII features a revoiced clean channel with a more ‘chimey’ response and even greater headroom than previous models, whilst still retaining the warmth and vintage character of a non-master volume design.  The valve driven spring reverb now has a more extensive range with a brighter trail.

In a first for the Rockerverb Series, the MKIIIs include selectable output power options to manipulate headroom and volume. The 50 Watts version switches down to 25 Watts in half power mode, whilst the 100 Watt version switches down to 70, 50 or 30 Watts.  The mains transformers have also been upgraded for better low end response and articulation. The MKIII also features the same foot-switchable attenuator that can be found in the Thunderverb and Dual Dark Series amps.
At a glance…

Rockerverb 50 MkIII
No. Of ChannelsFX LoopReverbAttenuatorPowerValves
2YesYesYes50 Watts

(switchable to 25 Watts)

Power Amp: 2 x EL34
Preamp: 4 x Ecc83/12ax7
FX Loop: 1 x Ecc81/12at7
Reverb: 1 x Ecc81/12at7
Rockerverb 100 MkIII
No. Of ChannelsFX LoopReverbAttenuatorPowerValves
2YesYesYes100 Watt

(switchable to 70, 50 and 30 Watts)

Power Amp: 4 x EL34
Preamp: 4 x Ecc83/12ax7
FX Loop: 1 x Ecc81/12at7
Reverb: 1 x Ecc81/12at7

OR SERIES – OR50 & OR100

 OR50

In 2008 as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations Orange launched a limited run of OR50 Anniversary Edition amps as a respectful nod to its ‘Pics Only’ Graphic model of 1972.  Although it wasn’t specifically a ‘reissue’ as such, the OR50 proved so popular it was reissued in 2012.

With a single channel layout, an intricate midrange and three stages of gain, the OR50 goes from dark and gritty, to rich and smooth.  The OR50 is the only Orange amp to feature the HF Drive control; as this increases, so does the presence of the power amp and beyond 3 0’clock an extra dimension of power amp gain is introduced for serious scream.  For extra punch on leads the OR50 also features a foot-switchable master volume defeat.
The OR50 is distinctly Orange and fans of Stoner Rock and early Metal will enjoy the higher gain settings, whilst those looking for Classic Rock and Blues tones need only push the power stage harder to find their heaven.

OR100
Everything about the OR100 is classic and it’s traditional ‘Pics Only’ faceplate is no exception. Just like the OR50 it pays tribute to the Graphic models of the early 1970’s but even though it has vintage ‘old-school’ British tones to die for on tap, the OR100 is also about great functionality.

The amp is the first in the series to have two channels. With headroom a plenty, the Clean channel is a non-master type with a character that is without a doubt Orange and with three stages of gain, the Dirty channel handles everything from classic rock to vintage thrash with ease.

The OR100 features a valve buffered effects loop plus a switchable output section with options for 70, 50 and 30 Watts. For even greater flexibility, the Dirty channel sports a foot-switchable gain boost.  There’s also a foot-switchable global boost which adds 3dB to either channel if it’s needed.

At a glance…

OR15
No. Of ChannelsFX LoopReverbAttenuatorPowerValves
1YesNoNo15 Watts

(switchable to 7 Watts)

Power Amp: 2 x EL84
Preamp: 3 x Ecc83/12AX7
FX LOOP: 1 X ECC81/12at7
OR50
No. Of ChannelsFX LoopReverbAttenuatorPowerValves
1NoNoNo50 WattsPower Amp: 2 x EL34
Preamp: 3 x Ecc83/12ax7
OR100
No. Of ChannelsFX LoopReverbAttenuatorPowerValves
2YesNoNo100 Watts

(switchable to 70, 50 and 30 Watts)

Power Amp: 4 x EL34 Preamp: 4 x Ecc83/12ax7
FX Loop 1 x 12AT7

 

 

DUAL DARK SERIES – DUAL DARK 50 & DUAL DARK 100
The amps in the Dual Dark series are Orange’s highest gain amplifiers yet with each channel having four…yes four stages of gain.  Both channels feature individual gain and master volume controls which give easy access to everything from clean to overdrive to insane distortion at the twist of a knob.  Despite its obvious leanings towards the ‘dark side’ of tones, the Dual Dark series has been designed to be very flexible.

With a fat and powerful EQ which features strong open mids and a tight response, the voicing of Channel A is a completely new design.  Channel B on the other hand nods it head in the direction of the lunchbox Dark Terror and has unbelievably fast attack which is perfectly suited to dirty down-tuned riffage. The ‘Shape’ control allows for a range of tones to be dialled in using just one control, from a full-on scoop, to a rich lead sound with strident mids and rounded highs.

The Dual Dark 50 offers superb string-to-string clarity and a bass response that remains tight and focussed, even when volume levels increase.  Despite its 50 Watt output rating this head never sounds compromised, even when pushed to the limit. And for even earlier output valve distortion switch the amp down to 25 Watts.

 

The bigger output section of the Dual Dark 100 allows for even greater control over the huge level of preamp gain on offer, with a bottom end punch and midrange clout that is truly staggering.  And if you like your distortion happening at the front end…well, this just may be the amp you’ve been looking for!  The output power can be reduced to 70, 50 or 30 Watts.

Both amps in the series feature Orange’s foot-switchable attenuator and are equipped with an uber transparent valve buffered effects loop so those time-based effects don’t get too muffled by the masses of gain that is available.

 

At a glance…

Dual Dark 50
No. Of ChannelsFX LoopReverbAttenuatorPowerValves
2YesNoYes50  Watts

(switchable to 25 Watts)

Power Amp: 2 x EL34
Preamp: 5 x Ecc83/12ax7
FX Loop: 1 x Ecc81/12at7
Dual Dark 100
No. Of ChannelsFX LoopReverbAttenuatorPowerValves
2YesNoYes100 Watts

(switchable to 70, 50 and 30 Watts)

Power Amp: 4 x EL34
Preamp: 5 x Ecc83/12ax7
FX Loop: 1 x Ecc81/12at7