Price paid: $ 259
Features — 8
The Crush 35RT is a brand new combo amp in the line from Orange. Basically, it strips away the electronic rubbish on the other Crush combos in favor of a pure two channel design. The first channel is clean, while the second is dirty. Both are shaped by your standard tone knobs (low, mid, high), and the distortion on the dirty channel is controlled by a gain knob. Each channel has its own volume. There's also an emulated splash reverb controlled by a simple knob, and a digital tuner. The back has an effects loop for delay, modulation, and reverb.
One of the coolest features is the lineout, which emulates the sound of the amp mic'd up to a 4x10 cab. This is an awesome feature for headphone playing, and also DI recording.
Sound — 9
This little amp is an amazing powerhouse. It carries the signature Orange tone, and despite being a solid state sounds unbelievably like a tube amp. Plus, it's absurdly loud for a 10 inch speaker; I have to stay well below 12 o'clock for my drummer to keep up. But if that's not enough for you, the line out is phenomenal through a PA.
The clean channel is spot on, especially with a bit of the splash reverb: really crisp mids without overwhelming highs. When you crank the volume on the clean, it starts to break up into a natural overdrive (I found this around 1 o'clock). With a delay pedal in the effects loop I got some really cool sounds.
The dirty channel is a whole other world. It goes from a light distortion that can be great for surf like riffs to a full out brutal onslaught with a turn of the gain knob. To my understanding its a 4 stage gain, so you have to experiment a bit to find the level you want. The channel takes pedals (before the input) really well. Note: if the gain is set all the way down you won't get any sound.
I tend to play music ranging from alternative and indie rock to some punk and grunge. My band mostly plays and writes music inspired by Nirvana, Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood, and early Muse. It's really perfect for that sound, especially when coupled with my boutique fuzz pedal and MXR distortion! I tend to play through the dirty channel, with the gain around 1 o'clock and reverb about 12. I keep the highs cranked up, then the mids and lows falling in after.
On my own I play a lot of softer music ranging from John Mayer to Radiohead. This is where the clean channel really shines for my use, as a distortion pedal can give you enough dirt for choruses and solos. I also play a lot of music in the vein of Parquet Courts; it doesn't quite get the signature sparkly highs, but it does the job. I play a Fender Standard Strat.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's built really solid. Only the weave of the speaker seems fragile, which is to be expected. All the knobs are secure, inputs and outputs are solid. The power cord is thick and industrial, so you don't have to worry about it getting damaged much. You can definitely gig with it without a backup. I really don't expect that the signature orange is going to wear or fade, I think it's a sort of rubber coating. Looks really sweet, too!
Haven't had it that long so can't add much here. If there are any problems in the future I'll definitely post an update.
Overall Impression — 10
This amp is an absolute godsend. At the moment, it seems that there isn't anything else in its price range that can match it. For less than $300, you really can't go wrong on this. It's incredibly versatile in terms of tone, and works for practicing, recording, and even gigging. I wasn't expecting this amp to be as much of a workhorse as it is, but now I'm not sure I'll ever need another of its class. It easily outran every Fender and Marshall combo I've owned.
A must buy amp for sure! Doesn't matter your skill level, anyone can use this in their collection.