Bass overdrive: A one way ticket to Asgard (Land of the Gods)

Lately overdriven bass has had a bit of a comeback, waking like the giants of Jotunheim from their icy slumber. Modern players, warmed to the tone of 1970’s dirt amps are seeking out flexibility from their instruments and the answer to their prayers is overdrive.

It’s a tone that is both classic and contemporary, a part of an arsenal of weaponry that can conquer lands we thought were out of reach.

Why the fascination with bass overdrive?

Bassists have sat back watching as their six-stringed friends rip it up while they happily provide the backbone to songs for a long time. Consider some of the greats: John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Jack Bruce (Cream) and Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, they all provide the most solid foundation you can ask for. But a new breed of player is on the march, notably Prophets of Rage’s Tim Commerford and Mike Kerr of Royal Blood, who fires off a searing attack of tonality, the lows and highs, removing the need for our 6 string relatives. No longer is this about keeping peace in our own world, it’s about taking Valhalla, claiming the seat from Odin and making all nine worlds our own.

Bi-amping your way to bass overdrive of the gods

Mike Kerr gets that awesome tone by splitting his signal two ways. One side is channelled and modulated to drive a guitar amp and the other goes into a bass rig. That means he gets that top end aggression from his bass overdrive pedal and pulsating bottom end too. It’s like he’s ripping down the gates to Valhalla and then wiping his brow with the draft excluder.

But it’s not quite as simple as storming the rainbow bridge and claiming the hall of the slain. Achieving that kind of monstrous tone has been all about using a mighty rig with two separate amplifiers and speaker arrangements. So unless you’ve got a strong back and deep pockets, bi-amping can feel out of reach to those waiting in the sidelines for their time to come. Unless that is you’ve got a trickster god on your side.

Loki and the overdriven bass pedal tone

Getaway Driver is the perfect tool to swipe away Odin’s throne, giving bassist two tones in one. This one small, inexpensive unit produces vintage vibe gain that has a real smooth compression overdrive sound that feels responsive like you’d gain from a Class A amp. For bass guitarists, this is the ideal tool to push forward driven bass riffs to cut through the drums. It’s like having a cranked modded ‘70s amp under your foot. If you want more raw power, using the 12 Volt input gives you a bigger, punchy sound of the EL34 tube. By contrast, use a 9 Volt battery and you’ll get a less bassy tone similar to the EL84 tube that is upper-mid focused.
But the linchpin to this bass overdrive pedal is the cab sim feature that gives you two outputs. The first output is transparent when bypassed, but once you engage the pedal you’ll get powering bass overdrive only the god of thunder could deliver. The second output offers a glacial clean amp sim channel that glimmers with harmonic overtones. Hook the second channel up to a DI box and you’ve got yourself a bi-amp.

Overdriven bass with added dirt

Just like the sound of any good armour as your charge into battle against the gods of Asgard, there’s a good chance that you’ll want more clank with your bass overdrive pedal. Orange’s Two Stroke EQ pedal gives you just that. By plugging the first channel output of the Getaway Driver into the bass EQ pedal you can carve your own unique tone, digging your ice sword into Yggdrasil, the tree of life like a Swiss army knife. As you watch its bark fall to the earthy meadow, regale in your victory as you revoice the tone of your instrument. Add more aggression across a band between 120Hz to 1.2KHz parametric or cut some of the wooliness between 850Hz to 8.5KHz, the 12dB boost gives you total control.


Bass overdrive pedal flexibility that’s tough to beat

In combination, the Getaway Driver overdrive pedal and Two Stroke EQ pedal seem like chalk and cheese. Loki and Thor. One unit is pure sorcery, capable of creating two distinct sounds from one unit. The other can shape mountains using the power of modulation, sculpting bass tone from searing attack all the way to subtle depths. Bypass both pedals and enjoy the transparency of high-class circuitry that adds or takes away nothing, just pure tone. Then go into overdrive to the max, riding Odin’s eight-legged horse out of the battlefield waving your flag victorious.

So, there is only one question left to settle.

Now that you’ve conquered the gods, who next?

The Crush Mini has seen multiple redesigns since its release in 2006 but none of these revamps have been as big as 2018’s. As well as appearing in the latest commercial for the Crush Mini, Mikey Deemus from Skindred had this to say:

“Make no mistake, this lil’ box of pure doom is mighty enough to shake, rattle and roll.. From headphones to the stage, the Crush Mini has got what takes!”

This article is an overview of these changes and why you should take the time to check this small but mighty amp!

Full tonal control

The control panel has been redesigned with a simple control panel, much like the Micro Dark. Three controls: volume, shape and gain, give you a wide range of tones.  The shape control gives your sound either a cut or a boost in the mids. Dialing back on the gain and pushing the volume up will give smooth cleans, before clipping into natural crunch the higher the volume goes.

Speaker Output

A new feature added in 2018 is the 8 Ohm speaker output, giving you the option to use with a speaker cabinet to open up your Crush Mini’s sound. Any 8 Ohm speaker will work and the onboard speaker disengages when the speaker output is in use.Trying the Crush Mini with an Orange PPC412 is a must and you will be surprised at how much volume this little amp can manage.

Battery Power

The Crush Mini can be powered by a 9V battery or a power supply (not included) meaning the Crush Mini can be played anywhere. The amplifier switches on when a lead is inserted into the jack socket or AUX-IN, so you don’t have to worry about running out of battery.

Perfect for on the road

The amplifier is a perfect companion for the traveling musician, whether backstage or at home practice, the Crush Mini is ready for whatever is thrown its way. The In-Built tuner is simple, easy to use and means you are always in tune. Want to play along to your favourite songs? Simple, the Aux-In is there to give you this option and if you need silent practice the headphone out disengages the speaker, so you can jam in silence.

Moose Blood use the Crush Mini’s in the studio and the road.

Original “Pics Only” Design

The Crush Mini design is back to the classic 70’s “Pics Only” design which made the brand so famous. The wooden construction keeps the ethos of quality and reliability that runs through the Orange product range.

To find out more about the Crush Mini, click here.




This years Winter NAMM saw Orange release two special amplifiers. Our second signature amplifier – the Orange Brent Hinds Terror and the Rocker 15 Terror – something that’s been requested since we released the Rocker 15 Combo last year.

So other than the look, what’s the difference between them?

The Rocker 15 Terror has the classic Orange sound with fat mids and it’s got a gain control that allows you to clean that channel up if you want to. The Brent Hinds Terror, is more about Ade Emsley’s (our Technical Director) take on the hot rodded 70’s and 80’s amps that we all know and love, which is exactly what Brent Hinds wanted. It gives you a more aggressive upper mid-range and a gain control that brings a distortion right in from the get-go.

Both amps have a single knob natural channel which harks back to our Rocker 30 amplifiers of the early 2000s which a lot of people are still using today. Feedback on this channel was that people wanted it to be brightened up a little which is exactly what’s been done on the Rocker 15. However, the Brent Hinds is closer to the original Rocker 30.

We’ve made our own video going through some of the differences between both amplifier heads (see above). We also have have audio samples on the amps product pages which help you hear the difference between them. If you’re still wanting more, there’s a few comparison video’s appearing on on YouTube from various channels. Here’s a selection below:


As we’re all well aware Orange is known around the world for making kick-ass amps. But that’s not where their abilities end and in recent years they’ve also produced some mean pedals…and they’re all right here for your pleasure.




Orange’s version of a ‘clean boost’ pedal combines an active dual-parametric EQ and up to 12dB of output boost. The Two Stroke is ideal for fine-tuning your sound or pushing your amp’s front end; subtle tweaks can add an extra dimension to solos, whilst more aggressive use of the pedal’s EQ can sculpt entirely new sounds. The Two Stroke can add an extra channel to your amplifier or re-voice your guitar’s pickups completely. Crank the high mids to jump through the mix, cut the low end to remove the woolliness that normally occurs with traditional boost pedals, or leave the EQ flat to hear more of what you already like.

The Two Stroke is also great for bass and acoustic guitars as a practical tool to remove unwanted ‘honk’ or feedback, making this pedal a valuable addition to any musician’s setup.




Loosely based on the vintage Foxx Tone Machine, the Fur Coat Fuzz takes its inspiration from the great fuzz pedals of the 70’s.
The Fur Coat gives you a fully controllable octave fuzz pedal. Separate switches mean you can choose between Fuzz or Octave Fuzz. The controllable Octave up fuzz means you can bring in the fuzz to whatever level you need and the EQ allows you to boost your Treble or Bass.
The Fur Coat is Orange’s only True Bypass pedal. This is because a fuzz is better at the beginning of the chain where it interacts directly with your guitar. Placing the pedal further into your signal chain will give the fuzz a more distorted tone.



The Kongpressor is an analogue Class A compression pedal which adds an organic three dimensional quality to any rig. The pedal takes its inspiration from some of the world’s most iconic vintage optical studio units, employing a re-issue of the famous Vactrol VTL5C3 optocoupler that was responsible for the sound heard on countless hit records.

At lower compression levels the Kongpressor’s transparent but somehow fattening. It adds mojo and a glossy sheen to your core tone that you’ll truly miss when it’s bypassed. Even at extreme settings, the tone always remains musical with great feel under the fingers.
With controls for attack and release time, the Kongpressor can be tweaked to fine tune the transients and the bloom. Orange worked hard to make these parameters as forgiving as possible whilst still allowing players full control over the compression response. The pedal also features an active treble control for adding in extra chime and jangle, making the compression even more transparent.

Of course it’s outstanding for crystal clean country pickin’, but the Kongpressor also maintains the bottom end that seems to get lost in many compression pedals. This means it behaves impeccably with overdrive pedals or the lead channel of your amplifier, adding fullness and sustain.


  • ’70S AMP IN A BOX

While the pedal adds vintage vibe to all amplifiers, the Getaway Driver really excels when used with an amp’s clean channel…even ones with a bright cap. It also makes a great clean boost, with low Gain and high Volume pushing amps over the edge into classic overdrive. The gain structure is produced using single-ended JFET circuitry running in Class A, just like a valve amp. The input buffer, output buffer and Cab Sim are handled using op-amps.

The Getaway Driver features a second output which is a buffered Cab Sim / headphone amp that also works into a PA (via a DI box) or directly into a recording interface. The first output is transparent when bypassed, however, when using the second output, the Cab Sim remains engaged. This means that the Getaway Driver can be used as just a Cab Sim on its own if needed. The voicing and gain structure of this pedal is based on a cranked modded ’70s valve amp. Running at 9 Volts, the pedal will have the character of EL84 valves, whereas 12 Volts will give an EL34 flavour. Use a regulated 9-12V DC centre-negative power supply.




As a traditional stompbox the Bax Bangeetar is in a class of its own, boasting a unique and hugely versatile gain structure with extensive EQ controls. Dial in an enormous range of overdriven and distorted tones, delivered with a feel and responsiveness rarely found in pedals. Beyond that, though, this preamp pedal is an invaluable tool, allowing you to tailor your tone to any setup with absolute precision via its parametric mid controls. Find and eliminate problem frequencies in certain guitars and amps, shape broad mid ‘scoops’ or boost anywhere on the mid spectrum to suit any style. Plug straight into the front of an amp as a standalone drive pedal, or plug into the effects return to make the donor amp ‘disappear’! For even more flexibility, the second output takes your sound and passes it through our Cab Sim circuit, recreating the frequency response of a mic’d Orange 4×12” cab, ideal for direct recording or even connecting to a PA.




Featuring two buffered outputs, one with a custom designed isolating transformer, as far as Orange are aware the Amp Detonator is the smallest active, fully functional, buffered ABY pedal on the market. What’s more, it’s the only active ABY switcher that can be powered by a 9V battery. The transformer output has been meticulously engineered to be as transparent as possible, whilst both outputs are buffered with a low noise, linear circuit. Drive any length of cable to your amps with no loss of clarity and switch silently between them. The Amp Detonator also has a push-button polarity switch to correct common phase issues between amplifiers, keeping the tone fat and full. Finally, the tri-colour LED is a handy feature, especially on dark stages, indicating your current switching setting at a glance.

All Orange pedals feature an internal charge pump which doubles the operating voltage of the pedals to 18V. They can be powered by 9V battery or standard DC adapter, or for even more output can also run on 12V DC. Running at a higher voltage has the effect of drastically increasing the headroom for super clean compression by the Kongpressor, incredibly low harmonic distortion from the The Amp Detonator and gives the Bax Bangeetar a wider dynamic range and more output, with even greater definition.



Added by Orange… the OMEC Teleport (click the photo to find out more)

Audio Interface meets guitar pedal

Orange is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2018 and to celebrate we shall be taking a look over the next twelve months at some of our most famous and innovative amplifiers. This week we take a look at the OMEC Digital range.

What is OMEC?

By 1975 Orange had established itself as valve amp company, the company was looking to diversify into a new area of the market. Orange Founder, Cliff Cooper decided to look into the relatively the new computer market and wanted to explore a combination between his amplifiers and computers, Cliff explains the reason for the OMEC name;

OMEC stands for Orange Music Electronic Company. We chose the word ‘electronic’ to suggest digital and transistorised amplifiers, as opposed to the valve amps that had established Orange brand in the early 1970s.

The first amp

They enlisted the help of Peter Hamilton to design the OMEC digital, the brief was to design a ‘computerised amplifier’. The project had challenges due to new nature of the components – often never used in amplifiers before. Microprocessors were just beginning to appear which were expensive and needed to be made in huge quantities to be affordable.

Peter explains the components used:

The only sane way to do this job was with SSI and MSI (small and medium scale integration) logic chips. The choice was between TTL (transistor-transistor logic) which was power-hungry but easy to get hold of and well proven, or a new technology from RCA called COS-MOS, which used hardly any power but also had a habit of self-destructing due to static damage.

COS-MOS was too risky at the time, but that technology led to today’s CMOS microcontrollers, with built-in static protection, low power consumption and millions of transistors on a chip – one of those could handle the whole job for a few dollars.

The result was the OMEC Digital – the world’s first digitally programmable amplifier. It  had parameters for volume, bass, mid, treble, reverb, compression, and distortion. These were stored in memory for each of four channels, the numbers could be recalled by selecting a channel either from the front panel or the footswitch.

The OMEC Range

After the original OMEC Digital, a series was designed for both instruments and public address systems but with a more conventional front panel design. 5-band graphic equalisation section was added, which was especially helpful on the PA amplifier.

Cabinets were designed to compliment the amplifiers, for the guitar amplifier there was a sloped front design 2X12 cabinet, for the PA amps, straight 2X12’s and for the bass amp a 1X15 ported cabinet. The cabinets were sealed enclosures with front loaded speakers and open-weave black nyon sourced from Germany.

OMEC Cabinets

The Legacy

The OMEC Digital was a product ahead of its time, the high costs and limitations of the early parts meant the amplifiers struggled to catch on, as Cliff explains:

We spent a lot of time and money developing this revolutionary digital amp, and it still really upsets me to recall how we never really got a chance to market it properly.

Designer Peter adds:

Here was an idea before its time, I’m afraid. It was innovative, but there wasn’t a knob that went up to 11. I doubt that it was financially viable without investing a large amount of money. Months later the Z80 and 6502 microprocessors appeared and spawned the personal computer industry. The rest they say is history.


Orange is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2018 and to celebrate we shall be taking a look over the next twelve months at some of our most famous and beloved amplifiers. To start we take a look at the Terror series.

Tiny Terror

The one that started a movement and became an instant classic, the Tiny Terror was a benchmark in amp design. As Orange’s Lead Designer Ade Emsley recounts it all came from a dinner at NAMM:

“The original Tiny Terror idea was conceived in a restaurant at NAMM with one of our sales guys. I just kind of said ‘I’m going to make an amp that fits in to an A4 piece of paper.’ He said ‘no you are not, don’t be silly!’ I said ‘yes I am!’ That was where the idea came up. So I built a prototype. That sales guy turned up a week later and I was like ‘I have done it!’ He was like ‘what?’ I was like ‘that amp that fits into an A4 piece of paper.’ He called me a mad bastard but then I cranked it up and he didn’t think I was so mad after that!”

The idea went from prototype to production, but the core idea of having a portable, giggable amp never faltered. Ade explains:

“The concept of the Tiny Terror was an amp you can carry anywhere. You turn up to play a gig and there are three bands playing. You turn up with your Tiny Terror in its gig bag and your guitar. Before the gig you’ve sorted out the use of a mate’s 4×12 in one of the other bands. Plug in with the volume on ten and the gain on about six and suddenly you’re into 1980’s AC/DC territory.”

The Tiny Terror became an instant classic and is still one of Orange’s most successful amplifiers and started the still prevalent trend of lunchbox amplifiers. In the first year of production 10,000 Tiny Terrors were sold.

Dual Terror

After the success of the Tiny Terror, thoughts turned to a new amplifier to add to the Terror range:

“I thought it would be nice to have two Tiny Terrors in one box, so you could switch between channels. You could have one cranked more than the other like the level for leads, so we did the Dual Terror.”

The Dual Terror is a 30 Watt, two channel, 4 X EL84 Terror head. It has a “Tiny Terror” channel and a “Fat Channel,” which is voiced warmer with more bottom end, gain and crunch.

“People had been asking for something similar to the Tiny Terror but with more power.”

The Dual Terror was also the first Orange amplifier to have the 4-to-2 tube switch to change the output valves of the amplifier.

Dark Terror

“Some people started to ask me for a Terror with an effects loop, which we called the Dark Terror. I had to change the preamp to make it four stages of gain. This was because at lower levels of gain it will drive the power amp when you are not using the effects loop, as any distortion you do after the effects loop will kind of make the effects loop useless. It only works with time-based pedals if the overdrive is made before the effects loop send.”

The amp was the first step into a high gain Terror and came with a shape control.

Jim Root Terror

Orange had never made an artist signature amplifier until we did a Terror for Jim Root of Slipknot. Ade explains the decision behind choosing a Terror

“I had heard he was wanting a signature model that was affordable to his fans; he didn’t want anything super high end. So I thought why don’t we do a Terror and put his Rockerverb channel on it. Instead of going cheap, we can go smaller and get the cost down that way. Then you have something that is affordable, that is all tube, that is built properly, and that sounds really good.”

The Jim Root Terror’s sound was taken from Jim’s Rockerverb MKI he used on tour and in the studio, and it gave fans the tone of Jim Root in a portable and affordable amplifier.

10th Anniversary Terror

The “Shiny Terror” was a limited edition Terror to commemorate 10 years of the original Tiny Terror and mark its discontinuation:

“We wanted to give it a Viking funeral! So we did a small run of stainless steel Tiny Terrors, handwired and built in the U.K. factory.”

It was sold with a matching PPC212 cabinet in British racing green, with Celestion Gold Alnico 10″ speakers. The Terror head and cabinet was only made in a run of 110 amplifiers.

The Future…

With the Tiny Terror being discontinued in 2016, and the rest of the Terror range still going strong, what does the future hold for this amplifier series:

“Moving forward, we will probably do something new at some point. I’m not quite sure what that is going to be…I’ve got a few ideas…maybe something with two channels… we shall see how we go…there might be a few options…”






The Orange 4 Stroke is a versatile, all analogue bass amplifier and it can be used to play a lot of different styles of music. So here is a quick guide to some of the sounds you can get from this powerful and versatile amp!

What is parametric EQ and how can it help?

Parametric EQ can boost or cut certain frequencies to change how your bass sounds. The 4 Stroke has four EQ bands, Treble, High-mid, Low-mid and Bass. At 12 o’clock, nothing is boosted or cut, the amp’s tone is unaffected.

Below this is the frequency control, these affect the bands above right of them.

As an example, if you want more treble you can find the right frequency and boost or reduce it.

Below are a few examples of how to achieve certain sounds with your 4 stroke:

Smooth Motown Sounds

Getting a smooth bass sound is simple with the 4 stroke, as seen below boosting the treble and cutting the lower and upper-mids will achieve this.

Harmonic Fusion Sounds

Cutting the high and low-mid frequencies , while boosting the bass and high-mids will give the tone a smooth sound and highlight the harmonics.

Slap Bass Funk Sounds

Using the built-in compression and boosting the bass and treble while cutting the mids, will give your slap bass a real punchy sound.

Rock Grit Sounds

To give you that real old school punk/rock bass tone, boosting the frequencies is the way to go. Cutting the low-mid frequency around 220Hz also helps the other frequencies to jump out. 3000Hz frequency being boosted to near full, will give a crunchy tone.

Look, man, I can’t come see your show. Not tonight, not at that festival in a month, and not in Japan (although thanks for the invite…but seriously how did you expect me to afford that?)

It’s not that I dislike you. It’s that I’m not in the mood to listen to your band play music. Because I don’t like the music your band plays all that much. In fact, I don’t even like the genre of music you play. And I consider myself a genuine connoisseur of music. That’s probably one of the main reasons I work in music actually.

But your band? No. It’s not my style. It was maybe my style 10 years ago. My tastes have changed.

The fact is, I go to lots of shows already. I’m out a couple of nights a week (though I’ve slowed down recently). I have a family. My wife doesn’t exactly love it when I stay out until 1 AM. But it’s reached the point where she’s subscribed to the Orange YouTube so she can be sure I’m actually doing interviews with artists and not just using my job as an excuse to get out of the house.

In other words: we’re going to have to figure out a different way to make the most of this endorsement. Because I’m not finding a reward in moshing with 19 year olds and there’s nothing in it for me to stand side stage without a reference monitor. Your live show is not enough to make me like or support you.

There’s a bit of a misnomer when it comes to artist relations reps. Everyone seems to think we like all the bands we work with. Well, we don’t. I mean personally, sure, I think they’re cool people and I admire all of the hard work they’ve put into becoming full-time musicians. But that doesn’t mean I want to listen to their music. In fact, I’d rather get electrocuted by the power transformer from a Thunderverb 200 than listen to some of the bands I support.

I just spilled the beans and admitted my disdain for the music of bands that not only do I support, but that also support me. Their loyalty to Orange is the backbone of our brand. How will they take the news I may not choose their music for my long Sunday drives?

Well, if they’re professionals, they’ll tell me to get bent and then we’ll get a beer together. And they do this all the time actually. They do it because we’re friends.

My opinion is pointless. It’s so loaded with the cynicism of a failed musician who just hates for the sake of hating that I wouldn’t want my bands to ever be affected by it. No matter what I think of their new album, or how far they’ve strayed from their “core sound,” or how the snare is mixed on “that one track,” or how the singer’s hair has changed for the worse, I am not qualified to judge ANYTHING about these bands other than their guitar playing and their love of Orange amps. I’d be shitty at my job if I did.

What I’m laying out for you is a path to getting the most out of your endorsement. You need to be friends with your artist relations rep. You need to ignore my tastes and my subjective opinions. You need to learn how to work with me as much I need to learn to work with you. We don’t all like every band we endorse. Coming to your show isn’t necessarily the most enjoyable thing for us. Coming to see YOU is where we often derive the most reward.

Some quick tips when it comes to having an artist out to your show:

  • Remember where we live and remind us about your concert a couple of weeks in advance.
  • Invite us to your soundcheck. This is a great time for us to get some one on one time on stage in front of your rig. We can snag pictures and video clips of you talking about your gear in a more relaxed environment.
  • Please give us All Access passes. Aftershow passes are usually pointless (and many of us can’t stay to hang out anyways). We want to be able to get great content for social media and marketing purposes. All Access ensures we can move around freely and capture awesome B-Roll footage. If you’re worried about your Artist Rep having All Access because you don’t trust them, then you need to reevaluate your relationship.
  • Feel free to put us off on your tech or TM if you’re busy. Artist Reps love the crew. They are usually the ones we work with most often for logistics and support anyways. Plus, the crew is a great resource for us when it comes to meeting other bands, since many of them work with more than one band.
  • Let us drink your free beer. Maybe we’ll buy you hard liquor with our company credit card.

Take some time with your Artist Rep to understand their company. You play their brand on stage, but do you really know how the company operates? If you don’t, then you are probably either A) the type of artist who complains about not being supported enough, or B) lazy. I know this because if you had taken the time to learn the inner-workings of the company you’re dealing with, you’d be cross-promoting your relationship with them right now instead of reading this article.

Music instrument companies come in all shapes and sizes. It just happens that about 98% of them come in Size Extra Small. We’ve all got minimal operational budgets, 10-30 employees, and one Facebook page. What I’m trying to say is that the bulk of the work is often up to you. You truly have to make your endorsement what you want it to be.

Put me on your email list, send me the link to like your social media pages, and send me pics or videos of you playing live when they feature the product you endorse. Let me know when you’ve got a tour, music video shoot, or PR scheduled. Going into the studio? Let me know. Coming into my hometown and want to invite me to a show? Yes, absolutely. Even if I can’t go, it’s always worth asking. Because when you keep me in the loop I’m able to line up YOUR plans with MY marketing promotions and product releases.

There’s only one of me working with 1000 of you. Every AR guy feels this way. Try to be their friend and keep them up to date. They don’t have to love your music. They just need to love you!



We are a partner in this year’s Firestone Battle of the Bands, a competition that gives unsigned acts the chance to showcase their musical talents and be in with a chance of winning a great set of prizes.

Entries are now closed but 6 spotlighted artists have been chosen by us and campaign partner PMT and a public vote to choose the 3 finalists opens on Monday 13th November.

Keep an eye on our social media and Firestone’s Facebook, vote, share and #BeHeard

By Jason DeLorenzo

Many guitar players obsess over size and sometimes it comes down to, do you want to look cool on stage with your 4×12? Small combos or 1×12 cabinets don’thave the impact of a giant cabinet on stage.

The audience might not be as phased by this as the entertainer might be but still a very serious manner when discussing overall tone. The build of the cabinet matters but so does the size of your cabinet.

Volume and air push are important. Most 4x12s will project a beam of sound wherever they are pointed vs. an open back 2×12 that allows the sound to escape from the back of the cabinet as well. A more in-depth look at the guitar cabinet market brings an abundance of choice.  As mentioned, with your speakers generally number 1 to 4 in single cabinet regardless of the speaker-overall dimensions, quality of build, open back and closed back options available it can begin to seem overwhelming. To further complicate manners manufactures will change the size or bracing of their standard cabinets for specific amplifiers to create pairs that seemingly only stand on their own. This could be done in response to how the amplifier was made and if it lacks certain frequencies for example. It could also be sold such as the Jim Root Terror or 212PPC cabinet, more of a signature look to the overall presentation, black tolex and signature vs orange tolex. The Jim Root cab is also the same size as the 212OB but made as a closed back with custom speakers. Similar to the standard Orange cabs be clearly a unique creature that stands alone.

Similar to using lower wattage amps in the studio, smaller cabinets find a time to shine in this setting. A single speaker housing allows the listener to truly hear what is going on and not be completely blown out of the room. Another nice 1×12 feature is its easy speaker swapping ability to hear the interaction with a particular amp if you are after a detailed sound. If I had my way I would have an army of 1x12s each with a different speaker; a little crazy but hey, aren’t we all? We areguitar players after all; those creative juices emanate from somewhere.

A step up to the 2×12 creates more air movement and sound output generation. In this case, housing two different speakers in the same cabinet could yield wonderful results. Different speaker pairs can be used or combining the same speaker with multiple microphones during sessions can vary results. Different microphones dedicated to each speaker could allow for phase issues to be handled well if you have trouble mic’ing them up. Hands down, for me, the Orange 212s are hard to beat. The 212OB is a bit smaller but packs a punch. Great sound up front and with the open back, it fills the room—guitar everywhere! In a live setting it may or may not work as well but the 212PPC pushes all the air out the front.

With a larger build and solid construction, it feels like a 4×12 crumbling the ground beneath your feet. Naturally wattage needs to be a factor in all cases but is particularly important when using 1-2 speakers. Plugging a 100-watt flamethrower into a single Greenback might blow the speaker on the first chord, so size and wattage matters. Always verify that the total speaker wattage can handle the output of the amp. Always make sure the correct connections are made as far as the ohm in/outs as well. The last thing wanted is a blown tube amp or speaker!

Studying the jungle, the mighty and well-known 4×12 is the king of cabs. Looks great and sounds massive. More guitar? You got it! Yes, please, and thank you.

Certainly it is not as practical as the aforementioned 2×12 unless wattage and volume is vital. Generally known for blowing you right out of your sneakers these cabinets are big, provide the look of a pro and make sure the guitars are loud whatever the venue. Mixing and matching of speakers is a great way to make use of the 4 slots available to provide a more refined tone if required. These cabinets also have their place in the studio but can pose a space challenge depending on your studio. If you are like me, your experience playing live has taught you that a
lot of sound guys roll their eyes when they see you and a bandmate dragging a 4×12 through the back door.

Many times I have been told to “turn the cabinet around to face the wall,” they will mic it up and “be sure your volume is turned down.” What good does that do if there are no monitors, I can’t hear a thing! So much for being big and bad. How is a tube amp to shine, truly shine, at low

What is right for you? I don’t believe you can go wrong with any of these cabinets, especially under the Orange roof. I personally only use these cabs as I have found them to be the best of the best. The ‘PPC’ stands for “Power Projection Cab” and I believe that has been accomplished, these cabs can project. The 112CB and 212s spit out enough fire depending on the head you plug into. And a couple of 112s certainly looks nice and tidy like a mini stack while being easy to carry around yourself. On the other hand, have you ever tried moving a 4×12 up and down a flight of stairs solo? Never an enjoyable process but hey, they do sound great and you’ll look cool once you catch your breath (or maybe you’ll be blessed and snag a couple roadies!). What is paramount truly comes down to application and what you are doing at that given moment. Having a modest rig at home and one to take to rehearsal or a show is a great solution if your wallet can swing it. Keeping your 1×12 at home and taking the monster 4×12 to gig with might be the best way to get it on.

Technology is getting better daily as the digital market expands into all avenues of convenience. So is it possible that guitar tube amplifiers will take a final bow like the tube radio? Can solid state emulation replace all the nuances created by tube amplifiers? Let’s discuss!

On an expedition through the gear smorgasbord the tube amp might be the last piece of the equation to be replaced. Recent years have brought a leap forward with solid state amps, amp software, pedals and cabinet simulators flooding the
market. I am a believer in a few of these items in my own studio. Cabinet simulators play a larger role in my recordings than the others. I have been impressed by the offerings of current manufactures in the pedals, solid state amps and software emulation available as well. Admittedly a lot of guitar parts I record now days utilize Two Notes technology within their Wall of Sound plug in.

I do not necessarily need a huge mic locker or guitar cabinet warehouse with different size cabinets, speaker choices and ohm capacities. This advance made by Two Notes has minimized the amount of setup and has exponentially increased time to experiment more efficiently while also not blowing up my ears in the process. Of course I still own multiple cabinets, with multiple speakers and with different ohms—it’s just a different feel to the music. The more tools the better in my opinion—after all, every song is different and requires its own stamp on the musical landscape.

Sophisticated pedal such as the Orange Bax, (which features on-board EQ, Gain and a cabinet sim—yes, all this from just a pedal!) can offer originality to your playing. Insert that in your chain and turn your silverface into an Orange! If pedals can push the limits, what can be done in a larger format head or combo amps? The differences between a tube amp and a solid state are still noticeable overall and it might just come down to the irregularities of tube performance that create those beautiful noises with all that power running through them.

As far as tube amps go, my tube locker contains all sorts of letters and numbers each with their own sound palette. For this reason I believe there is more fun to be had with a tube amp. Some tubes can really open up the sound or dull it beyond belief. The ability to change from an EL34 British type power section to a more American style 6L6 is a good time in experimentation. At other points, a little something different is needed and altering the power section is a great feature on many amps that provides a ‘new’ amp in your arsenal.

Then there is the ‘fun’ factor of the preamp section—overall preamp, each channel, phase inverters and reverb! Any where from 2-8 tubes can be swapped for different shade in the sound. For additional options change the speaker or the cabinet that is part of the rig and boom, new sounds. There is a lot of interaction that takes place between you, guitar, cab and the tube amp. Playful feedback is tossed into the mix and can be summoned when provoked.

Unfortunately all of that excitement begins to dim when a tube starts glowing a different color or suddenly fades out like a dying star. As we all know, there are legit worries with owning tube amps. Maintenance for one ranks higher than others. In some cases, opening them up should be left to the professionals. The internal guts of these wonderful boxes are delicate from the wiring, capacitors, transformers and, of course, the tubes. This can lead to an expensive effort to find what works in an amp or in the instance when a tube has lit for the last time. When a tube wears
out I generally start to question if I like the amp anymore and that is a good way to identify if a change is required. If you own a tube amp I would highly recommend Orange’s VT1000 for your tube testing needs. Alas, problems do not stop there. Weather impacts performance, moving them around without harming the tubes is a worry, what if a fuse fails, is a backup needed to gig with?–you get the idea.

On the other side of the musical rainbow is the solid state amp. Worries are gone with solid state, right? Sure, there could be harm bestowed moving the amp from practice space to gig but no tubes to fail, no fuses to worry about. At 8 o’clock it sounds the same at 3 o’clock on the master volume. No breakup changes to worry about when cranking to get more volume over your drummer. Life is good.

Another improvement in our toolbox is modelling software. Imagine having every amp you have ever dreamed about within your computer or a small box that takes up less space than one amp head available to you at all times. I’m interested! The advantages are definitely tempting. All the back breaking amps, cabs and combos can stay at home. Simply show up with your computer or modelling amp and go direct into the soundboard. Which almost seems like blasphemy to a stage setup though your back will thank you, perhaps a cheaper alternative in the long run and certainly less dangerous in upkeep. The con list extends more to the tone side as there is less chances to experiment with tone changes due to lack of tubes and reliance on pedals almost becomes mandatory. Pedal dependency is a personal choice driven by what style you are playing. I
adore the edge of breakup tone, pushing the power section to break is glorious. With a solid state amp, that line in the sand no longer exists unless it is built to simulate that classic tone.

The edges can become blurred once the guitars have been recorded. Which track is solid state? Which track is an emulator? Which track is tube? I have mixed solid state and tube amps on a few occasions and I still hear the difference between them, even if they do sound good together, they are still not entirely equal. The difference becomes clearer when you start mixing all those sounds together. Certain sections stand out a little more than others and you might not be able to tell which is which but the alteration is heard.

I have been impressed by many different solid state heads and I had the pleasure of playing the Crush series as well as some of its competitors lately. Certain software packs sound pretty good but not enough that I say—that’s it, I am buying it! Sorry UAD!
I am not putting down the solid state crowd, I just don’t believe we are there…yet. Is the tube amp safe? I believe it is but in another 10 years the tube purist in me might be shaking in my boots. For me there is just too much interaction between that tube amp and guitar that could be missed with solid state.

Obviously I am not solid on the idea of bidding goodbye to my tube amp arsenal but I have been swayed on other advances as stated. The time is coming and it is close, when the tube amp might be a tool of the past; or at least one where we self-proclaimed purists are the only believers requesting to be buried ensconced with our tubes.