Distinctive in both looks and sounds, Orange amplifiers were originally made in England in the 1960s, part of a long history of British music exports. These amps are absolutely unique in terms of design and the iconic Orange color and Tolex-style covering over the cone of the amp, an Orange amp truly stands out on stage or in a recording studio. The brand has become popular for metal, rock music and other genres. They sound great both clean and with the crunchy distortion that many people associate with Orange amplifiers. In this article, we explore the best orange amp for a number of different needs and applications, whether you are gigging, practicing or recording.
Looks aren’t the main criteria here, and they shouldn’t be for any piece of audio equipment, but it does help to have something that looks great and makes an impression. The ‘Retro’ look is definitely the name of the game for Orange amplifiers, and their range looks like it wouldn’t be out of place in a 1940s radio studio.
The Best Orange Combo Amplifiers Reviewed
There are many different amps in this range, and not all of them have been included in this article as we look for the elite products. The brand originally started out making tube amps, but now produce all sorts of types. Orange manufacture combo amps, amp heads, and even mini amps.
Orange Crush Pix CR12L 1×6″ 12-Watt Combo
Naturally, one of the ranges of amplifiers is called ‘Orange Crush’. Puns aside, they are some brilliant amps, and the Pix CR12L makes the list on the merits of its exceptional sound and surprising power in spite of only being a 12W Combo amp. I should say from the outset that this is probably going to work best as a practice amp and not be used for performances, but you may also get some decent recordings from this well-built and versatile amplifier.
It has controls for gain and overdrive for getting the crunchy sound many people associate with Orange. It is great for practicing rock and metal music genres as it can give you that real distortion and gritty sound without a big chain of effects. On top of this, the Crush offers a three band EQ which is easily controlled. A headphone output and master volume complete the control panel.
The Crush Pix CR12L is available at a very good price and though it isn’t powerful enough for what a lot of us need, everyone has to start somewhere. This probably claims the title of being the best Orange practice amplifier. An immense amount of five-star reviews from beginner guitarists and hobbyists back up the opinion that though not a powerful stack, this is great for jamming at home.
Orange Crush CR60C Combo Amplifier
Another ‘Orange Crush’ combo amp, but this one is not designed merely for practicing. The CRC60C is a solid-state amp with a huge amount of potential for gigging and recording and is truly one of the top amps available at the price range. It is based on the brand’s Rockverb range, an iconic amp from yesteryear.
One of the key selling points of the Orange Crush is the fact that it has two channels, a clean channel and a ‘dirty’ channel for the crunchy, distorted sounds so many of us are looking for. This dirty channel uses circuitry utilizing four stages of gain to allow for a huge amount of distortion and overdrive, and also boasts a versatile three-band EQ.
The crunch and distortion of this amp have even more potential when combined with the inbuilt reverb capacity. The reverb can give either spring, hall or plate style reverbs for even more possibilities for interesting clean sounds and warm distorted sounds.
The solid-state circuits of this amp give it a very clear and clean sound. The audio and build quality of this amplifier are hard to argue with. You can hook it up to your favorite pedals and get some amazing sounds with that signature Orange tinge.
As you’d expect, there is a big hike in price from the little 9W or 12W practice and portable amps that they manufacture. This is a full-blown combo amp which can handle almost anything you throw at it.
Orange Crush CR120C
I’m not going to go through the details again, but suffice to say the CRC60C has a bigger sibling. It’s basically the 60C but, well…double!
This has all of the brilliant features of the 60C and has just as good a sound, but the fact that it has two speaker cones means double the power. For big gigs and studios where you need a lot of power, it may be worth paying the extra for that added boost.
Orange Rocker 32 – 2×10″ 30-watt Stereo Tube Combo
We’re getting into the upper echelons of the Orange brand now in terms of pricing. If you’re not looking to spend into the thousands of dollars on your amplifier, you should probably look away now. If you are looking for the very best, the Orange Rocker tube amp is a wonderful option for rock, metal and all in-between.
The Orange Rocker is described by the manufacturer as the perfect pedal companion. An amplifier with a huge amount of personality, which is a great example of how the amp can add to your effects chain. It isn’t just about a beefy sound, but the intricacies of how the circuitry can add something to your sounds.
The nuances of the Orange Rocker are instantly clear to see. Just like the combo amps, it has two channels. The natural channel gives a great, clear sound, but the only control is volume. On the other ‘dirty’ channel, designed to give a real dirt and ‘British Crunch’ to your sound, there is a three-band EQ, gain control and volume. This is where you can start to overdrive your pedal for some signature ‘Orange’ sounds. Being able to patch your pedals onto one of the channels can give some amazing sounds.
Being able to use your amp in stereo mode gives a world of possibilities for panning delays and soundscapes with a real stereo field. This is something you can’t get with many amplifiers.
All the time the Orange brand keep their signature distortion and sound, but adding so many great effects and features just keep adding to the possibilities. This is such a well-reviewed guitar amp, and is perfectly capable of handling professional gigging and recording. If you are on a budget, this may not be the one for you, but for those of us looking at high-end guitar amps, the Rocker 32 is a superb tube amp. Well worth considering.
The Best Orange Amp Head
As with most top amp brands, they offer not only combo amps, but amp heads and cabinets too. Orange has created some great examples of both, especially heads. We have seen some cabinets which we are happy to point out as being great workhorse options, such as the PPC 212.
Orange TH30 30W All Analogue Twin Channel Amplifier Head
We’re really in the land of luxury guitar gear here. The TH30 Amp head is an amazing sounding product with some impressive features.
- A choice between 7, 15, and 30W modes with a designated switch.
- Clean and dirty channels which you can switch between with a footswitch.
- Controls for the volume of each channel.
- High gain preamps for a clear sound with minimal noise, and a huge amount of audio capabilities.
- Six different controls containing a huge amount of possibilities.
- Four EL84 Valves.
- Incredible high-gain distortion sound, great for metal and rock sounds.
- Clean, jangly high-end sounds great for solos.
The amazing ‘Shape’ control on the dirty channel is something to write home about. It gives such a depth and character to your tone and lets you create a real signature sound within that Orange brand. Combined with the PPC212 or another of Orange’s superb cabs can create a hugely powerful and customizable stack.
When a brand survives in the world of audio for so long (over 50 years), you know they are doing something right. Some of the classic models of Orange Amps made in the 60s and 70s are popular for their ‘retro’ value. Products such as the ‘Rockerverb’ amp heads change hands for a lot of money and are seen by some as one of the defining sounds of the 70s. However, the products we’ve mentioned above are all still being produced and are available with manufacturer warranty, and in truth, for reliability and build quality there is no disadvantage to looking at a brand new Orange amplifier.
As a brand, Orange offer a little bit of everything. You can get products at different price ranges, from practice amps under $100 to high-end audio gear which will run into the thousands of dollars. If you’re an absolute beginner or an absolute professional you can find something to enhance your sound within the Orange product range, which continues to grow. Orange is a name synonymous with consistent quality, there are very few products within the range which we don’t feel comfortable recommending.