Orange OR15 Full Review

Orange OR15 Full Review

FYI: there were originally 3 posts on the Orange, but I just put them all together in this one post to consolidate. So if you get the impression that I’m a nut-job, I’m not. Not so you would notice much anyway. It’s just how the 3 posts sound being written on different dates then thrown together.

8160793111_361b510741_n-300x19911. Big things happening around here. I just pulled the trigger on a new Orange OR15. I still love my Jet City, but there’s something about Orange that’s like nothing else. So when  a deal presented itself I was all over it. After I’ve played it for about a week I’ll post an article with the lowdown on performance (different speakers, different guitars, pedals etc.) So looks like I’m in for a grueling week of rockin’ out with a new amp. Ah well, it’s a dark and lonely job, but someone has to do it.

2. I got the new Orange all dialed in on tubes. When I first fired her up it sounded ok but seemed a little harsh and sterile to me. So I cracked it open and found it was loaded with JJ’s front to back, and I just don’t like JJ’s. Tried them in my Jet City a few years ago with the same results. So into the tube stash I went and ended up with a Sovtek 5751 in V1, an EHX 12AX7 in V2, a vintage Amperex 12AT7 in the PI spot, a Mesa SPAX7-A for the FX loop, and a matched pair of Mesa 6BQ5/EL84 power tubes. (I also noted while I was in there that it has some beefy transformers which is a plus) Fired her up again and that did it. That’s the sound I was expecting in the first place. Smoothed it out, eliminated the harshness, and brought out that full, rich tone Orange is known for. It sounds a bit like a mini Rockerverb minus the verb. I haven’t got to play but for a couple hours so the full report is still a few days out, but I’ll say this: I’m grinning ear to ear and loving this little rocker. I still have to try some different speaker combinations and, of course, the FX loop. By Saturday I should have a solid opinion to share, so stay tuned. (FYI, at this point there is nothing about this amp that I don’t like, so that should give a pretty good indication of what my opinion is going to be. This thing is freakin’ sweet!)

orangeOR15x3. Ok man, here’s the verdict on the new Orange now that I’ve had it a few weeks: This is one awesome freakin’ amp! It’s an Orange thru-and-thru right down to the “graphics only” front panel (total 70’s retro). I’ve read that they don’t do cleans all that well, and I guess that’s all in your perception because for me it cleans up fine. Maybe not “Fender” clean, but then again I don’t play that way either. What this little beast does is what an Orange is meant to do: get down and dirty with balls to spare, shake the walls and rattle the windows, and piss off the neighbors. I love it.  The FX loop is spot on which makes my Micro-Vibe and Tri-Reverb pedals happy. Dirt pedals aren’t really necessary as this amp gets plenty on it’s own, but it will take em on if you want to use them. I kick one on every now and then just to take it over the top. One of the most impressive things is every knob has a noticeable affect at every setting through the entire sweep so the tonal palette is as wide as I’ve ever seen. It’s actually hard to get my brain around just how versatile it is. My style of playing will never need all that it can do, but Tubes-in-or15that just means that it will give me more than what I need tonally. The tube array I mentioned in #2 above is still the one for my ears which has NEVER happened on the first go round. Ever.  And I run it through 2 1×12 Jet City cabs. Sadly, It doesn’t need any mods either (which I was looking forward to). It’s rich and full with no ice picks up high, no flab down low. On a scale of 1 to 10 I have to give it a 9 because of the ‘no mods’ thing. If I felt the need for 2 channels I would say 8, but I don’t so 9 it is. To wrap this up, in case I was to vague or unclear or you just missed it, I love this thing. Is it for everybody? Nope. But then again what amp is? And my Les Paul has a Gibson 57 Classic + at the bridge and a Jim Wagner DarkBurst at the neck, so that has a lot to do with it as well. It sounds incredible with my SG single P-90 too. I don’t know, maybe I got lucky and hit the winning combo, but that’s as far as I’m going to analyze it. Now it’s time to go and play! (as always, YMMV)

See Ya!

 

Russ

Gibson Les Paul Studio, Hamer Studio, Dean Soltero, Epiphone Les Paul (Korean), Ovation Celebrity, Blackstar HT-1R, Jet City JCA20H, Jet City JCA22H, Orange OR15, and a lot of dirt pedals, some store bought some DIY.

2 Comments so far

MosaicPosted on  12:53 am - May 27, 2014

Nice review. I have an Or-15 and I like your suggestions for tube swaps in place of the JJ’s. Did you have those tubes laying around or did you make any special orders. Keep on!

    RussPosted on  2:20 pm - May 27, 2014

    Yeah, I just have never liked the JJs although a lot of people seem to love them. As far as the tubes I used in the OR, I had most of them laying around except the Amperex which I snagged from a buddy. Way back when I first got my Jet City I went through a lot of tubes and kept most of them just in case. Glad I did now.

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