Price paid: £ 499
Purchased from: Music Warehouse, Colchester
Sound — 9
This amp is as simple as it can get on the clean channel; one volume knob does all the adjustment you're going to get. It's voiced as a nice dark jazzy sort of clean that begins to break up at around half way on the volume, which is at about gigging volume for me. I get The Feeling that the clean channel brings out the character of your guitar a lot more than other amps I have owned/used, and is dependent on a decent set of pickups to get the tone you are after. I use my Rocker with two guitars, my Jackson DK2M and my Jackson J6 Custom Build, which use Bareknuckle Pickups, the Miracle Man and Nailbomb set respectively. My DK2M is wired for coil split, and with this engaged I can draw some convincing John Mayer tones from the amp, and although not a perfect tonal match by any stretch of the imagination, it is a GOOD tone to use with Mayer-type stuff. I can also get some convincing twangy country cleans and even some Jazzy cleans due to the dark voicing of this amplifier. Crank the clean volume and you get a surprising amount of gain, enough to play the heavy-ish blues rock styles such as Mooney Suzuki and Bonamassa's lighter stuff. All pure power valve overdrive as well I should note that it is largely due to reamping that I can crank the clean channel, it is deafeningly loud otherwise. The Drive channel is more adjustable, featuring a 3 band EQ, Gain and volume controls. This is the real workhouse of the amplifier, being able to go from twangy funk (the Drive channel does overlap with the clean channel; It is almost possible to get a slightly brighter clean tone out of the Drive channel) to thrash metal through the whole turn of the gain dial. When you get to the heavier styles such as thrash you should not be deceived; I'm not talking about the Master of Puppets heavy scooped style but the sound of Kill 'Em All, of Slayer and Early Megadeth. This baby is 80's thrash all the way through when the gain is up there. I have found that (reamped again) the volume sweet spot is around half way up, although the amp opens out nicely when it gets past about 8 o'clock. After 1 o'clock and I find that the added gain from the power valves makes it a bit boomy and hard to handle. I should also note that normally set up, half way up on the volume of the Drive channel would deafen you during prolonged use. No volume issues here. The EQ is a strange beast on the Rocker; I find it hard to get a tone I don't like out of it. I literally tried one day because I was bored. I tried completely scooped (B:10, M:0, T:10) and It still sounded pretty good, I tried maxed out treble (B:0, M:0, T:10) and the essence of the tone was still there. You have probably heard Orange compared with Marshall tonally, and I will say that while in essence that is true you need to think about whether you prefer the bark of a Marshall or the growl of an Orange when choosing between them. Orange are considerably darker. Another thing I have found is that while the R30 has a very middy voicing, they still love the mids to be cranked on the EQ. It is very hard to make one of these sound boxy or too nasaly sounding. Limitations >It can get a bit noisy with the gain cranked and a boost engaged, but that's to be expected. >It CANNOT do heavy metal, death metal, nu-metal.
Overall Impression — 8
Like I said, I play many different styles and the Orange stands up to 90% of them. I've played through a lot of different amps, and I own a Peavey Valveking, Marshall VS8080 and a Roland Cube in addition to this. This amp is actually louder than the VK! I love my other amps, but it beats them all in almost every category (the heavier styles category is dominated by the Marshall and I don't see that changing haha). I wish it had an FX Loop like it's bigger brother, but my favourite feature is it's simplicity and ease of use. Antithesis huh? If it were stolen I think I would probably save for it's bigger brother ('Verb 50), but I could never be sure. I love the tone out of this product.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Even players who say that Orange aren't there cup of tea tonally would agree that they are built to last. As I said earlier I have had this amp for 18 months and literally nothing has gone wrong with it, and I even turned it on without a load attached a couple of times by accident (blush). It's solidly built and I would (and have!) used it on a gig without a backup time and time again. I haven't even changed out the valves yet, but I will soon.
Features — 7
Rocker 30 Head >Output: 30w (RMS) Class A >Channels: 2 Channel (Dirty/Clean) >Valves: Preamp - 3 x ECC83, Output 2 x EL34 >Speaker: 1 x 16ohms, 2 x 8ohms >Dimensions: (W x H x D) 55 x 25.5 x 24cm >Weight: 15kg Musician Background I play several different styles, most notably Funk, Rock and Metal. With my band I play a crossover Funk Metal genre and some rock, while on my own I dabble in Blues, Jazz and some Progressive/Post. I gig relatively regularly, and use the Rocker as my primary amp on the stage and in the studio. I've been playing approximately 5 years, and have owned the Rocker for about 18 months. I'm out of the honeymoon period. Amp Versatility As I've said, I play quite a plethora of different styles, and I have to say that for such a simple amp, the Rocker holds up extremely well against my ever changing sound requirements. The lack of an FX Loop is what Hurt me when I bought this amp. After searching for a way around it, I was recommended a technique called reamping by a couple of UG'ers. It's quite technical but a quick overview: Reamping is where you use an attentuator or load box to add a dummy load to connect the head to. You then send the signal out of the load box or attenuator line out into a second power amp, which then amplifies the signal up again to power the speakers. The advantage to this is that you can crank the amp up as loud as you want and get all the good tone, while limiting it with the second power amp and playing physically as quietly as you like. Another advantages is that you have an FX Loop of sorts because you can connect FX in between the load box and second power amp where the signal is line level (not speaker power). So my signal chain goes like this: Guitar->FX->R30->Hotplate->G Sharp MultiFX->Crate Powerblock->PPC212 To be honest, this is quite a complex setup just to get an effects loop, but the added bonus of being able to crank at low volumes makes it worth it. The features on this amp aren't all that impressive compared to others out there; I just prefer the no-nonsense attitude of Orange, sans the lack of an FX Loop.