Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: Local studio
Sound — 8
Holy flying banana does this amp sound good. I first tested it using a Fender American Stratocaster so I could get a taste for the cleaner sounds of this amp before I drooled over the high gain. To my surprise this amp really delivered hear. With the gain about a quarter way up I was able to get breakup-free clean tones until the volume was at 3 o'clock. These obviously weren't Fender crystal-cleans but what you'd expect from almost any British tube amp. With the mids and treble up high in low gain I was able to get very Vox-ish sounds. The first thing I noticed when kicking up the gain was that the distortion does get quite noisey even with noiseless strat pickups. So I switched to a Schecter C-1 Blackjack. The noise went down accordingly but was still there. This was a con but did not put the amp down for me since I have a ISP Decimator. With the Decimator in front of the amp in the chain it immediately cut out the noise but I wanted to finish playing through all the sounds without it. Before the gain knob even gets half-way up you're already in the territory of gain for just about all standard rock music. This was just what I wanted and found this setting to sound great with the EQ set in any way. Honestly I could not find an unusable sound with the gain here. With the gain at noon, you're in thrash territory and by 2 o'clock you have more gain than you should never need for most metal. Anything above that level on this amp just sort of compresses the sound more. Many players might like this as it can get very fuzzy and sludgey sounding especially with the bass turned up. It seems like this amp wants to be used for sludge metal very badly. It just has that tasty umphh to it that you really can't explain with words. Hardcore players will also be able to acquire some nice feedback at this level. Also this amp takes pedals very well. Basically the sound of this amp is as good as a single channel high-gain amp can get. The EQ is very usable so it's easy to get any sound from death metal to B.B. King blues. However, this amp is not for everyone. At lower gain settings the crunch is also VERY clear and it lacks a bit and that tasty vibe that you hear from Vintage plexi amps. This is not a bad thing necessarily, but based on preference, but I suggest if you prefer classic tones to go with this amps brother, the Orange OR15H which has the same pre-amp circuit but different power-amp voicing. Another thing to note is that this amp is very unforgiving to sloppy players. If you are sloppy but still love the tone of this amp I would suggest putting the gain a little about half way and then boosting it with some kind of overdrive. You'll sacrifice some meaty low-end but it will tighten up the sound over all and make tremolo notes really stand out.
Overall Impression — 8
This amp is solid. I play mostly hard rock/math rock and this amp is perfect for that. As I said, it has usable cleans and any distortion sound you could ever want. I also play in a djent band (relax, I'm a teenager), and it feels good to be complimented for getting such a great sound for that style without using some digital shit or a $2000 Engl. I've been playing for 8 years and while this is not the best amp I've ever heard, when all things are considered, it's one of the best amp purchases I think I'll ever make. Everything about it is just convenient and it's nice to know I'm not giving up my sound quality for that. If it were stolen I probably would not get another one because I wouldn't be able to afford it unless I sold my Mesa Mark III which I also love to death. The only real gripe I have about this amp is the various Slipknot/Stone Sour decals scattered across it. However, despite this I think the amp does look very cool. The satin black is much sexier than the Dark Terror's finish. The only thing I would add to the amp would be a reverb, but at least it has the loop. Best suited for: Sludge, any rock or blues, any metal except some metalcore (metalcore bands have sh-tty sound anyway), SLUDGE, Entombed. Anything that doesn't need crystal clear cleans. Video from YouTube:
Reliability & Durability — 8
There isn't much to say here. I've only played the amp for 2 weeks so far. It's made of metal all around except for the knobs and just feels really good. No cheap parts here. I'm glad to see Orange really doesn't sacrifice any quality on their cheaper equipment. I've never heard of anyone having any reliability issues with Tiny Terrors or Dark Terrors so I'm assuming I will never have any problems with this one. The gig bag included with the amp is a very nice quality addition to what you get with this amp. It's well-padded and I feel like it will protect my amp well in the van to gigs etc.
Features — 6
If you're in the market for a high gain mini tube amp head there is not many others I would suggest other than maybe the EVH 5150 Mini. This amp has the goods. First of all, it's only a single channel. The front panel has controls for only volume, gain, treble, middle, and bass (in Orange's signature picture-only controls) but these controls reveal a great deal of versatility when you really play with them. One who might be on the fence about getting this or a Dark Terror, the EQ is worth the extra bread alone. Anyway other features include the standard on/off switch, standby/7w/15w switch, a tube-driven FX loop (not seen in the Tiny Terror or Dual Terror), and standard speaker outs etc. Basically this amp is very simple. Fans of old school Orange and Marshall amps will appreciate this while modern players may want a little more. IMO, the Jim Root Terror has enough features to meet the needs of most rock guitarists. Also, it is loud enough to be heard over drums as long as you have a 212 cab or larger. I played it through a Mesa Rectifier 212 cabinet.