AD30TC Combo review by Orange

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 3
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 9.3 (16 votes)
Orange: AD30TC Combo

Price paid: A$ 2100

Purchased from: Gallins Guitars

Sound — 9
I Play with a Fender American 50th Anniversary Strat' HSS, and a MIJ Fender Tele 62' Reissue. The amp brings out the natural sounds of these guitars with fantastic clarity and response in the cleans, and a sublime crunchy distortion. The amp isn't that dark like some would expect from an Orange. I hear lots of people talk about the Orange distortion, and now I see what the fuss is about, and don't write off the cleans, they are definitely usable. The Tele' is twangy, the Strat' humbucker has great bite and punch, while the single coil neck pickup is great for some Hendrix type stuff. I also use a modded Tubescreamer 808, an EHX Big Muff Pi, and an Ulbrick Phataxe Overdrive pedal. They all sound great through it, finally a sound that I am truly enjoying. I also have read others claim that it doesn't have much headroom, but I have not had any issues. Ive had the master near full (as its incredibly loud) and it stays clean. Just make sure you back off on the gain. I am very happy with the sound of this amp; the more I play it, the more I like it. 60's, 70's classic/hard rock is right up this amp's alley, even modern rock, punk is easily doable with the amount of gain available. But no metal sound here.

Overall Impression — 8
Really great sounding amp, but really poor in terms of reliability so far. If you get one, I hope it doesn't pull the same crap as it has with me. Anyone expects better out of a new top of the range tube amp, even if it does have a PCB board (cheapest way to wire up an amp) and is mass produced. Boutique amps were out of my price range, so I went for this one. The sound I love, I play it for an hour or two, take a break, then I want to play it again for another few hours. Its amazing how some new gear can reignite your interest in an instrument; just as I was really getting bored with my old gear. If it were stolen, I would cry, really that's $2000 stolen from you, and you probably won't get it back. I would probably save up for a handmade boutique amp, maybe even the Head/Cab version of this amp.

Reliability & Durability — 3
Wow, just wow. For a new amp it has been bad for the 4 weeks or so I have had it in regards to reliability. Dodgy stock power tubes and preamp tubes. All were replaced. Had Tung-sol 12AX7's and the tougher 'Military Grade' Sovtek EL84M's put in it by an amp tech. After that I had no issue for about 2 weeks, then rectifier tube fails. So now that is getting fixed. Also, one of the knobs fell off when I got home after the initial purchase, C'mon seriously? At least glue them on properly. According to the amp tech, he gets a lot of these AD series amps come through because Orange pump too much gain into the not so good stock tubes, and thus, they fail. Really I may have to play with a backup, it just hasn't made the best of starts and I don't have much confidence in it at the moment. I may even consider selling it soon if it stuffs up after the rectifier tube replacement. I really don't want to though, but no point having a great sounding amp that craps itself constantly when you can get something just as good that is actually reliable.

Features — 8
About 4+ weeks ago bought myself an Orange AD30TC 2x12 combo. I also managed to get it in the 'Limited Edition 2009' white tolex. Very basic in terms of features: 2 fully independent foot switchable channels, 30 Watts of 'Class A' (really class A/B) british/vintage style tube amp. Powered by 4xEL84's, 4x12AX7's in the preamp, and one GZ34 tube rectifier. No effects loop, or reverb, or foot Switch included, pretty much just you and the amp. For the hefty price, some other features would have been nice. Also has 2x12 Vintage 30's. With that said, both channels go from clean to crunch to distortion, with Channel 2 having more gain on tap. With any latching foot Switch plugged in you have yourself some versatility; you're not just stuck with a clean channel and a distortion channel!

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Have you guys played the VOX AC30's (C,CC2 or CC2X)? I'm going for classic to hard rock. If so would you take the Orange or the VOX?
    Great amp. I'm buying one next week. Will post new review in a month or so, when I've had time to get to know it properly.
    CoreysMonster wrote: scimitar_255 wrote: 1900 for a 30 watt amp? :/ that doesn't seem right why not? it's a very awesome amp, and the wattage has nothing to do with its value
    I'm sorry to bring this up ages later, but yes it does. Everything is a factor. It might not be a great factor but it still is. If this was a 5w amp, it would be cheaper compared to the 30w, so, yes...wattage IS a factor.
    I just bought the head. Cost me $1100 new. Bargain. Gotta buy the cab now- that's where they get you. Just realised they don't come with a footswitch? After all that money spent. That's also where they get you.