Price paid: £ 549.88
Purchased from: soundslive.co.uk
Sound — 8
Switched on to the clean channel (its pretty much the law to start with the cleans), ub3r dark warm sounding cleans, even with my Fender jag. Much Warmer than my Laney vc30 was. That could be a problem in itself, the only way to get anything like a bright icepicky clean tone from it is to turn the bass down and crank the treble, which yeah, I don't reccomend. There isnt much chime to it. But personally, I'm really digging the cleans. Very deep, rich and round, sounds great with pedals, though probably not for everyone. Diming both the treble and bass knobs scoops the mids out a bit and delivers a really nice almost fendery spanky sound, reminds me a little of a bassman. I heard it start to break up about 12 oclock at full power. About 11 at with 2 valves. About 10.5 with 2 valves and half power. (Really the power switching doesn't make much difference to volume, just breakup, though its a nice feature.) A nice grit, pretty indie-ish. Played a bit of dashboard and switched to the dirty channel. Dirty Picked up my tele, dialed the gain in half way, same with the shape control. Got a some nice crunch. Very dynamic, cleaned up great with soft picking. Pretty satsifying, slayed my vc30, you can hear the Orange crunch still, but really, in that department, the R30 had a much fatter crunch. A few AC/DC tunes later pushed the gain again, rolled the shape back a bit and switched to the neck pup, some pretty smooth lead tones. Cranked the gain further, and wow, it really gets ridiculous, Orange claim it has more gain than any other one of their amps. I can deffinately see this, though personally, I disagree with Orange marketing this towards metal. Some old school metallica riffage is cool and all, but it isnt tight enough for modern metal really. Which is expected. It has a bit of a orangey fuzz around the sound, which is really just the nature of the amp. Sounds great, crunchy, tonnes of low end, some nicer valves would tidy it up a bit. I wouldn't want to be playing any Dream Theater with this thing though. I grabbed my strat, thats tuned to C standard with a high output humbucker, played dragonaut. It sings for stoner/sludge stuff. Sounds huge, loads of low end, some sweet grit and a decent amount of chug, really put a smile on my face.
Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing for around 7 years, played a fair amount of gear and I know my stuff really. Play lots of genres, everything from some soft jazz to melo-death. Granted it wont cover the heavier end of the spectrum, but the cleans are great, the crunch is big and raw, mid gain is smooth and high gain can chug or flub how you like. Everything else I have my pedalboard for, but it will cover the majority of what I want to play. It's a versatile amp, I'm really happy with it, if it were lost or stolen I'd go on a manhunt and rampage to find it. I can't think of a better amp to suit me in the price range. Though the Rocker 30 has a nicer crunch, its no where near as versatile, and the cleans are garbage in comparison to this.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Out of the box it was well packed (double boxed with polystyrene), switches are good quality with a satisfying click, the pots are smooth, handle feels strong and durable, overall everythings sturdy, no underpaid chinese workers in the back either. Not had it too long, so I can't judge it yet but seems to live up to the Orange name and be built like a tank.
Features — 6
Bit of background info on the amp: The Thunder 30 is the successor from the Rocker 30. The clean channel is from the Rockerverb MK1, re-voiced to suit the amp's EL84s. Treble and bass controls are interactve with each other, and the more bass you dial in the less mids you get, and vice versa. The dirty channel is the Rockerverb 4 gain stage lead channel with the shape control from channel B of the Thunderverb. The shape control adjusts between all midrange (o) and all treble and bass (10), and all points inbetween. It has the same power switching capabilities and output transformer as the Dual Terror. (Two tube/four tube Switch and pentode/triode switch, switchable from 30 to 15 to 7.5 watts.) It has a 12at7 buffered series FX loop (smileyface), 2 8 0hm/1 16 ohm cabinet input, footswitch jack to Switch between channels. 4 EL84s, 4 12ax7s It's made in china (With love), and is the first sleeved Orange head to be completely manufactured in china. Rather than the circuit board being put together in china, then sent to the UK for the rest of the assembly, like the rest of the higher end Orange line. :/ --- What I like Its orange, colour is important for tonez Cleans, im really glad this delivers a good clean sound, and the EQ on the clean channel had a really nice feel, made a pretty big difference to the sound. FX LOOPP!!!! Low gain crunch was nice Mid gain is decent High gain brings teh doom. What I don't like Its kinda noisy, especially with that 4th gain stage kicking in, I also find the FX loop adds its share of hiss, though the grail sounds nicer through it. The gain can get a bit fizzy, especially with the shape turned to the right And I'm pretty sure the above issues would be (at least partly) solved by improving the shit chinese valves. Sadddfaceee. I even tried my old crackly TADs out of the Laney in it, that even seemed to imrpove the sound and noise issues. Unfortunately I'm too poor to upgrade them atm... I'm not gunna lie here, I'm not digging the shape control too much, sure its nicer than a run of the mill tone control, but it sounds its best with the shape between 10 and 2 oclock. Anything after that is harsh and typical ick scooped sounds, and before that is a bit too middy and nasaly. I'm deffinately considering an EQ to stick in the loop.