Best Orange Amps (Our Top Picks)
Orange OR15H and TH30H Tube Heads
With a stripped down spec sheet that keeps the price low, the OR15 and TH30 amp heads give you the tube circuit tone and all the basics at a high value price point. In the Orange lineup, they're two of the best balances of cost and quality we can recommend.
Orange Amps have always been sort of like that other amp company. They have a great line of amplifiers, but not the same kind of notoriety as we see with companies like Marshall and Fender amps. They also don't have a "thing" like other amp brands. Mesa has their modern tube distortion, Fender has their warm tone and reverb, and Marshall has their bright wailing lead tone. What do Orange Amps have?
Read more: Best guitar amps overall
Not to downplay the substance of Orange Amps, but one of their most recognizable traits is their appearance and aesthetics. Even from a distance, the orange casing of their amplifiers is hard to miss.
But aside from appearance, Orange Amps also have a lot to offer when it comes to tone, flexibility, combo options, and head options. In this article, we're looking at five of our favorite Orange Amps that we're most comfortable recommending. It includes the following:
- Combo amps
- Amp heads
- Tube amps
- Solid state amps
Below the product recommendation section, we'll spend a fair amount of time highlighting more specific recommendations for these and other categories with the Orange Amps brand. If you have questions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below.
5 Best Orange Amps (our top picks)
Orange Crush 12 Combo
Orange Micro Dark Head
Orange Crush Pro 120 Watt Head
Orange OR15H & TH30H Amp Heads
Orange Rockerverb 50 MKII
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1. Orange Crush 12 Combo (practice amp)
Keep in mind, the Crush 12 is significantly different than the Crush 120 C. The 120 is a fairly large 120 watt combo, while the 12 is a much smaller and simpler practice amp. We're recommending the Crush 12 in that form because we're going with other recommendations for more expensive Orange amps. However, both models are good.
The control scheme for the Crush 12 is simple, but it covers all the basics.
- Three-band EQ
- Headphone jack
Here's a look at the control panel for the preamp, which sits directly on top of the combo:
With a single channel, a solid state circuit, and a basic control scheme, the Orange Crush 12 is a high-value practice amp and great beginners option. For those wanting something with more power, we'd advise going with more channels and/or higher wattage. We'll cover some of those options as we go.
Pricing from Multiple Vendors
BEST FOR: Practice amps, bedroom jamming, and beginners
- Price point is great
- Sounds decent for its size (12 watts can get you some volume in a solid state power amp)
- Three-band EQ and separate control for overdrive
- Limited functionality and only one channel
- Not much use outside of practice amp or beginner contexts
2. Orange Micro Dark Amp Head
The Micro Dark is an amp head with only three knobs: Volume, Shape (single-band EQ), and Gain. What most people love about it is portability, at only three points and a few inches wide. You can take it basically anywhere. You can see just how tiny it is in this clip from Ola Englund:
Aside from portability, this amp is - surprisingly - all about heavy distortion. With a tube-powered preamp and a solid state power amp, you get a fairly heavy tone that sounds modern and almost metal, like you would expect from a boutique distortion pedal. Here's the YouTube clip of Ola's demo so you can listen for yourself:
If you listen to the demo you'll hear a ton of sustain and a heavy, smooth distortion profile that sounds like a much bigger amplifier. For those wanting a distortion-focused preamp that's easy to cart around, the Micro Dark is a real treat in the sub-200 dollar price range.
The Micro Dark has a surprising amount of versatility. I've heard of people who use it for recording, gigging, bedroom jamming, and everything in between. If I were to summarize, I'd say it would be better suited for those who already have a speaker cab and/or plan to use the headphone jack most of the time. At the established price point it's probably still more of a practice and beginner amp than anything else.
Pricing from Multiple Vendors
Price History for Lowest Price of the Micro Dark
Price History for Orange Micro Dark Terror 20W Mini Guitar Head
|Current Price||$169.95||December 2, 2023|
|Highest Price||$199.00||June 16, 2022|
|Lowest Price||$169.95||December 2, 2023|
Last price changes
|$199.00||December 8, 2023|
|$169.95||December 2, 2023|
|$179.95||November 24, 2023|
|$199.00||September 8, 2023|
|$178.95||September 1, 2023|
BEST FOR: Practice, those who already have a speaker cab, headphone jamming, recording, and fans of heavy distortion.
- Distortion sounds great (heavy, smooth, modern)
- Headphone jack and speaker output
- Effects loop included
- Tubes in the preamp (power amp is solid state)
- Surprisingly versatile for being so small
- Portability is great
- Speaker cab is a must if you aren't using headphones
- Single-band EQs have their limitations
3. Orange Crush Pro 120 Watt Head
The Orange Crush Pro 120 is no longer widely available, but we've left this section up for reference.
As we move into the Pro level 100 series, we're getting into amplifiers that leave the practice/beginner category and are designed more for professional gigging and/or recording. The Crush Pro 120 is a 120 watt amp head with a long list of desirable features, most notably the following:
- Two channels
- Onboard reverb
- Effects loop
- High wattage
All of these features help put the 120 firmly in the intermediate to advanced category, despite being entirely reliant on solid state circuits.
If you aren't concerned with making the leap to a tube amp, the Pro 120 is a great landing spot for recording and gigging. It can also be a bridge amp between the smaller combos you might have played as a beginner and the nicer tube amps we'll get into next. In the mid-level $400-$600 price range, this is one of our favorite recommendations.
BEST FOR: Mid-level guitar amp needs, solid state fans, recording, and gigging
- High wattage
- Two channels (both footswitchable)
- Dirty channel sounds great
- Onboard reverb (also footswitchable)
- Price point is decent
- Footswitch is not included
- No tubes to be found
4. Orange OR15H Amp Head
Orange helps keep the price of the OR15 down by using only one channel and leaving out onboard reverb. Controls are simple with the bare minimum of a three-band EQ, volume, and gain. However, they do run tubes at both the preamp and power amp level, giving you one of the most affordable Orange tube options on the market. It's a great amplifier for someone that already runs a thorough pedalboard, perhaps with a distortion pedal and reverb that they already like.
Here's the breakdown of tubes in the OR15:
- 12AX7 (three in the preamp)
- 12AT7 (one in the preamp)
- EL84 (two in the preamp)
The tone of the amp is not overly heavy or "metal," but it is smooth and warm, giving you plenty of saturation on the higher gain levels. This demo covers most of the OR15's settings:
Pricing from Multiple Vendors
Quick Review Card
BEST FOR: Simple rigs, clean tones, and those still using a lot of pedals.
- All-tube circuitry
- High-end amp for a decent price point
- Onboard gain (distortion) sounds great at varying levels
- Only one channel
- No reverb
5. Orange Rockerverb 50 MKII
While the OR15 is a simplified "bare bones" amplifier, the Rockerverb series is far more advanced and a more complete amp that includes more features and perks. Unlike the OR15, the Rockerverb 50 includes onboard reverb and two footswitchable channels. These two features alone give you far more flexibility, allowing you to dial in both a clean and distorted sound on each channel and then switch between the two. A tube-driven effects loop is also included.
The Rockerverb 50 is an advanced players tube amp, certainly capable of handling most gigging and recording requirements. Given the extended control and the features that go above and beyond what the OR15 offers, it's a great fit for those wanting a tube amp that provides high quality tone and a higher level of functionality.
If you don't care about attenuation, we'd recommend going used and getting one of the cheaper iterations of the Rockerverb. Note there are also different wattage totals that have been released.
Pricing from Additional Vendors
Quick Review Card
BEST FOR: Professional gigging, recording, and increased flexibility
- Two channels
- Onboard/footswitchable channels, reverb, and attenuation
- Distorted and clean tones sound great
- Three-band EQ for each channel
What are Orange Amps known for most?
This is the weird thing about Orange Amps that I mentioned in the opening paragraph. They don't really have a "thing."
They're good all-around, but it's fair to say that they're most known for their unique and prominent aesthetics. The orange coloring and symbolic amp labels are easy to recall and have done an extremely effective job of helping the company establish a brand and niche within the guitar and music community.
Guitarists that Use Orange Amps
Orange Amps are all over the map when it comes to their artist list. Everything from heavy metal to blues, jazz, and bass players have used or are currently using Orange amps and/or pedals in their rigs. Notable names include Bob Weird, Orianthi, Korn, Slipknot, Jimmy Page, and ZZ Top, just to name a few.
Best Orange Amps by Different Styles
In this section we'll make some basic recommendations of Orange Amps for particular styles. Keep in mind, Orange products are particularly versatile, meaning many of them can be used and applied in a wide variety of contexts.
Which one for blues?
For blues, jazz, and lighter musical styles, we'd recommend the OR15H, with a single channel, bluesy tube response, and a simplified control system. It's also a good amp for those who rely more on a pedalboard.
Best one for metal?
For metal or more modern tones, we'd recommend going up to the Rockerverb series, perhaps the MKII. It's far more expensive, but worth it if you're going for a modern heavy tone that still gives you the tube circuit. If you can go without tubes, a much cheaper alternative would be something from the Crush Pro series.
Read more: Best amps for metal and hard rock
Best one for classic rock?
With the versatility of Orange amps, most of them can handle a more vintage, classic rock tone. Though we'd again recommend going back to the OR15H. If you want the two channels, the TH30H might be a better option for going back and forth between clean and dirty sounds.
In conclusion, the OR15 and the TH30 seem to strike the most ideal balance between quality and price. However, that doesn't mean that other Orange amplifiers are inferior or not worth looking at. It depends on your situation and how you value different features. Primarily, you need to decide between tube and solid state - which is a big difference in pricing - and then between single and dual channels, representing another major price increase. If you have questions about anything we've covered here, feel free to drop them in the comments section below and I'll do my best to help out.
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