Price paid: $ 2000
Purchased from: alpha music
Features: This is an Orange OR50H amplifier head. This amp is a limited run made for the 2008 40th anniversary of Orange amplification (not to be confused with the much sought after 'girl name' heads of the same year). The features section is actually quite ironic as one of the reasons for me choosing this cab was for it's lack of features. 3 band eq: low, mids, high. 1 volume knob, 1 master volume knob. HFA knob, can't remember exactly what it does, but it gets darker to the left and brighter to the right. No effects loop, no onboard effects, no multi channel. The OR50H does have the option of a footswitch, it just controls a bypass of the master volume knob, so a tweaked out version of this could be manipulated into a 'lead boost' function.
Simple setup, 3 x ecc83, 2 x el34. This provides an input tube, Drive tube and phase inverter in the preamp section. And a push pull el34 power amp section gives you 50 watts. This simplicity is actually what attracted me to the amp, nothing gets in the way of the tone. So it gets a 3, but I wouldn't have gotten it if it was a 7 or something. // 3
Sound: Sound? That's simple: classic rock. Breaks up nice like a good british amp should. 2 things that were a bit of a surprise though
1) Headroom: I was not expecting as much clean headroom as I got, this headroom doesn't approach the sweetness of a good Fender tone, but it is quite useful if somewhat sterile.
2) Distortion: of course it over drives, it's a british tube amp, what else is it supposed to do? Well this distortion sounds pretty classic around the 6 or 7 mark, but around 7 it starts morphing into this thick and grisly [almost] fuzz type of distortion. Definitely a nice little surprise.
If anyone cares, I mainly use a 2008 american standard strat(HSS, Ash) with after market suhr handwound pickups(to make it more classic sounding). The tone is solid, well rounded, and quite musical throughout it range of tones. One more thing definitely worth mentioning is the highly musical and controlled feedback this amp produces with my Ash strat, a feedback afficionado will love this amp. // 8
Reliability & Durability: It's solid so far, but I don't abuse it at all. I have owned other oranges and they are solid, only time I've needed servicing on my Orange is when my roomate left it on for 2 days and burnt the tubes out.
but I feel good about Orange, I think they are in the upper echelon or large amplifier manufacturers. // 8
Overall Impression: I play diverse music, my amps need to get around the block and back again. I went after this amp because of it's apparently simple circuit and 'middle of the road' tone, those usually result in some quite versatile and good sounding amps. This amp does have some drawbacks, like it's more-sterile-than-i-would-prefer clean tone, but generally I match 2 amps together to compliment each other. This amp compliments very well with a brighter one with sweet cleans, so I either do one of my Music Man amps with it or my THD bivalve with it.
I have been playing for... 13 years? And I own tons of gear. I definitely place this as the best british style amp I own and find the quality of construction to be fairly high. I also bought this amp very much knowledgeable about it's specs and features, this was the amp I wanted and it actually sounded about how I thought it would sound.
If it were lost or stolen, I would be mad of course because this is a limited run amp, but I am sure I would console myself with a new matamp, which is what I really wanted anyway.
How does it compare to other products? This was the Orange I was after because I wanted about 50 watts, I wanted an A/B circuit, and I wanted it as simple as possible. Less components processing your sound just sounds more 'Vintage' and 'organic' to me, so if you compare those specs to other amps Orange releases, then this is the one that best meets my criteria.
Anything I wish it had? A switch from class A operation to class A/B operation, it would also be nice to be able to substitute other types of tubes for EL34's. But I want options like this from every amp I buy. // 9