Price paid: € 722
Purchased from: Musicstore.de
Sound — 9
The guitar I use with this amp for gigs is a 2006 Les Paul so it's your typical humbucker guitar. The amp is not noisy by itself but it can become noise from a long pedal chain going into the amp's frontend. There's a good sweep of gain to be found on the amp from cleaner than the clean channel to a wet fuzzy type of gain. Alot of people say stonery/doom in describing the more extreme end of this amp's gain spectrum and I agree but you can roll off your guitars volume and have yourself a nice chunky rhythym sound and then roll it back up if you wanna do some leads. Clean goes from clean and plinky to growly to AC/DC rhythm with feedback on sustained chords. Turned up and in a live situation like a club with alot of bare surfaces, the amp has a sharp sound. Some people don't like the Vintage 30 in the amp, they say it sounds too aggressive and I don't like that aspect of it but it also has a tight bass response and that is something I like alot. I never recommend winding up the gain on any amp in a band situation, though because the sound of your guitar can become lost. One of the great pleasures of this amp and all other valve amps of quality is getting that power section going. So what I do is wind the master volume up on the gain channel and then use the gain knob to achieve the volume I want and if it's too clean, I roll the master back and put up the gain until find the sweet spot where it's crunchy enough for thick rhythm and then use another pedal if I want to boost it for leads. Between the clean/dirty channels plus a tubescreamer type pedal you can cover quite alot of ground. You could, with the right array of guitars go from county to grindcore but that would be an odd gig. It's a workhorse amp and that's what I wanted.
Overall Impression — 9
It's a versitile amp and will give you enough oomph to be heard in most bands unmiked. What I like about the amp is the simplicity of it. Somebody once said that all an amp needs is a volume and tone and this amp is nearer to that philosophy than my previous amps. I would rather have an amp that is simple and has a high build quality than a mass produced modeller with two dozen knobs and switches but then only has about two settings that you find work for you. If it were stolen of lost, I would like another one but they would be harder to find because they are no longer in production so it would be on EBay I suppose. Wish it had a reverb and/or an FX loop but then again I'm not a big FX guy so it's all good. Recommended.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The amp is built like a tank and it's a great thing. It also weighs about 55 pounds so lugging it up stairs can be a bit of a pain. With *any* amp you can never be sure if it will go kaput so bring a second amp/floor pod/DI box just in case. A neat feature of this amp is that the power valves do not need to be re-biased everytime you put a new set in so you don't have to lug it down to the guitar shop and pay a technician to do so. In the handfull of gigs I have played with this amp so far, it's given me no trouble (touch wood). It's gotten a bit hot but that's normal.
Features — 8
Made in England in 2009. This is a 30 watt valve amplifier and was one of the more popular members of the Orange valve line until it was put out of production this year in order to make way for their new Thunder 30 which will be a 30 watt addition to the Thunderverb section of the Orange valve range. The amp is completely no frills. It's got two channels, a clean (called "natural") and dirty. Both channels have a seperate volume and the dirty channel has a gain control. The clean channel has no EQ so the preamp section is pretty much bypassed and it's straight into the dual EL34 power section. The dirty channel has your standard three band EQ and you can Switch between it and the clean using a clean/dirty toggle Switch on the top panel or with a footswitch but that is not supplied. There is also an off/standby/on to be found on the top panel of the amp as well. All in all from what I can gather it's a very simple amp circuit although it lacks an FX loop. It is however a PCB circuit that is made in China, the amp is only assembled in England from what I gather. As far as power, well whenever I've had the amp aimed correctly (tilted back), I've not needed it much beyond two on the dirty channel (gain at 6) and about 7 on the natural channel. Also this amp has one of the sturdiest looking cabinets I've seen in a combo and is housing a nice Vintage 30 speaker. However, because of the lack of FX loop and no supplied footswitch, I'll give this an eight.