Features: Made in 2009, the Rockerverb 100 is an all tube, 100 watt, 2 channel head with valve FX and Reverb. The control layout, as with all Orange amps is very simple. The clean channel includes volume, bass and treble controls. The dirty channel has volume, treble, middle, bass and gain controls. There is also a reverb control for both channels. On the back there are two 8 ohm outputs and one 16 ohm output as well as foot switch inputs for reverb and channel switching. This amp comes stocked with 4xECC83 preamp tubes, 4xEL34 output tubes as well as 2xECC81 tubes for the FX loop and reverb. There is a switch to allow use of 6L6, 5881 or KT88's if you are so inclined. There are two separate fuses for the output section which means that if you blow a tube, the amp will continue to run at half power.
The only thing I would have liked to have is a foot switchable, channel assignable FX loop but since I rarely use pedals anyway, this is not an issue for me but it would have been nice to have at such a high price point. // 9
Sound: My rig consists of either an ESP Horizon NT-II with JB/59's or an Ibanez UV777bk with DiMarzio Blaze's. Those go into an ISP Decimator then on to the head. In the effects loop I have an EB volume pedal and a HardWire DL-8. The head goes through an Orange PPC-212 (closed back) w/ Vintage 30's.
At home I play just about anything but country. For a 100 watt all tube head it sounds pretty good at low volumes. There are better and much cheaper options if playing in the bedroom is your only goal. In a band setting however, the head really comes alive with the volume around noon. I'm in a 5 piece metal band with a heavy hitting drummer, another guitar player and bass player with an 8x10 so cutting through is a major concern but this head definitely does the trick. In fact, with my seven string I have to be careful not to drown out the bass player.
I would describe the distorted tone as a darker more compressed Marshall tone but I have always found Marshall's to be a bit too bright for my taste. It does not have quite as much gain on tap as say a recto or a XXX but I run the gain around 3 o'clock and it's brutal enough to play any type of metal. If you are going for an overly saturated tone like Blood Bath or Old Entombed you would probably need to get a boost to go along with it but it could definitely be done. If metal is not your thing, this head can do classic rock sounds extremely well. With the gain rolled back to around 11 o'clock I can get a great AC/DC type sound. Over all the gain is usable from 0 to max. Bear in mind that the gain on the Rockerverb 100 is much more suited to Metal than it is on the Rockerverb 50 due to different output tubes. I have owned both, the 50 is great but the 100 is what you want for metal. As far as noise, I have never played a high gain tube head that was not noisy but compared to a XXX/recto/5150 this head is much quieter. I still run a gate in the front but I would not feel overwhelmed if I forgot to bring it with me to practice.
The clean channel is not like any other clean channel I have played. The Orange is not quite as shimmery as the Fender but I have always found the Fender's to be a bit to shimmery. There is tons of headroom, if you need less head room, you would probably be better of with the 50 watt version. I don't spend a ton of time on the clean channel however, compared to most other metal amps that I have tried; this clean channel is very usable in both a metal and a non metal setting. No need to run a separate amp for cleans. It also takes pedals extremely well. If you are into post rock, this amp will do very well. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I have been hauling this head back and forth to band practice once or twice a week for about 6 months now and have not had any issues. Thanks to the half power fuse feature, I would definitely use this head without a back up.
I would mention that I did have an issue with the Rockerverb 50 when I still had it. The reverb was making a high pitched whistling sound. I took it to my local dealer and with in 24 hours of dropping it off, I got a call from one of the guys at the Orange factory. Not bad for customer service from overseas. The head needed to be shipped back to them so my dealer gave me the Rockerverb 100 to use while I waited but after a few days of using the 100 I went in and paid the extra dollars to keep the 100. The 50 was returned in working order in just a week or so and was sold soon after. // 10
Overall Impression: As I said before, my main thing is metal but I play lot's of other things as well. There are amps that are more "brutal" but when comparing the Rockerverb 100 to the Mesas, Peaveys and Marshalls the Orange gives me more usable tones with less things to tweak or worry about. With most other amps I found that they either did Metal well but struggled with other things or did other things well but needed a boost or a pedal of some kind to do metal but the Rockerverb shines and does everything I want it to and it does it well with almost no effort. I have owned several Peaveys, a Marshall and a Rivera in the past but this is the first amp I have owned that did not leave me wanting more. // 10