Orange OR15 review

PSM

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Yesterday was a bit of a fantasy for me gear-wise. I had a soundproof room completely to myself for a couple hours and stacks of amps and cabs to choose from and test out. Oranges, Marshalls, Mesas, Egnaters, you name it. Duals recs and Rockerverbs and JCM's and lunchbox amps and 112's, 212's, and 412's. Pure heaven. :thumb:

Of all the different amps I played, one really jumped out at me in terms of great value and usability: the Orange OR15. They go for $699 at the online and big name places and are an all-tube, single channel, variable 7/15 watt head. And I have to say, running it through an Orange 212 cab with Vintage 30's was just fantastic.

Now, keeping in mind that I'm a rocker at heart (and typically in practice), I tend to focus my preferences around a really great mid to high gain tone. Lighter crunch is important and valuable to me, and clean sounds are needed sometimes, but if you're looking to simply achieve that bad ass Orange dirty tone at a bargain price (compared to their more popular heads, such as the $1,000+ TH30 or $2,100 Rockerverb 50), then this will absolutely fit the bill. I'll also note that knowing I was going to be focused on classic to modern hard rock tones for this session, I was playing through a Les Paul Standard with the stock Burstbucker Pros. And man, did it sound killer.

Whether the gain is just starting to push into classic rock territory around 40% or really chunking away at a more hard rock appropriate 60-70% setting, it's all crisp, clean, pristine dirtiness that I love Orange for. Compared to the Tiny Terror I plugged in next to compare through the same cab, the extra gain on tap is HUGE. I've always been a fan of the Tiny Terror and the usability of lunchbox amps in general for the studio and gigging, but that extra gain available combined with the real, high quality enclosure of the OR15 just makes the extra $100 totally worth it.

The other great feature this amp has going for it in my mind is the 7 and 15 watt variable output. If you're purchasing this amp for the reason I personally would be, which is a great single channel gain tone, then you really will never need any more than that 15 watts, as much as 15 watts sounds like an inadequate amount to most people shopping around. At 15 watts through that 212 and the gain around 50-60%, the amp was really singing but at a volume appropriate for just about any gig I've ever played, which is pretty much all sizes from tiny to huge. As I've said a thousand times before and I'll say two thousand more times, if you're playing a gig that's big enough for a 50 or 100 watt head to be unleashed to its full sonic potential (which is unlikely), then you should be running through a quality PA with someone who knows what they're doing at the sound board. You do NOT need 50 or 100 watts. You do not NEED 30 watts. The mic in front of your 15 watt amp at 50-60% and the thousands of watts worth of PA power amps are going to take care of that for you. Just trust me on this one.

On the 7 watt setting, on the other hand, amp volumes are brought down slightly to more bearable "around the house" playing levels, though don't let that fool you. I say "bearable" for a reason. You might think "7 watts vs 15 watts, half the volume and I'll be able to crank it in my bedroom". You would be wrong. Well, actually no, you can certainly crank it in your bedroom, but don't expect your wife a few rooms over or your neighbors upstairs to be thrilled. On the 7 watt setting, it helped get that great tone at lower volumes, but 40-50% on the volume is still wall-shaking loud. I personally wouldn't mind seeing an even lower setting option, but 7 and 15 do seem like a nice middle ground for those looking to practice at home without losing all of their tone and ALSO be able to gig.

Overall, considering the price of its competition within the Orange family, if that gainy Orange tone is what you're looking for to rock out at home, in studio, and at gigs and you don't need multiple channels or frills, then this amp is a very solid option. Considering the price and tone, I'd take it over the Tiny Terror, I'd take it over the TH30, and after A/B'ing it with a Rockerverb 50 MKII yesterday, I'd even call it the better "value" with a dirty tone that's not better or worse, but a bit "different"; I found it to be more open on similar settings through the same Orange 212 cab and more usable all around because of the wattage, BUT only one channel on the OR15 for 1/3 of the price.

If you get a chance to take this amp for a test drive, definitely do so. And try to make it through an Orange 212 cab or similar. The Orange 112 I played this and the other amps through at one point lost a lot for all of them in terms of beefiness and fullness (as expected, all amps came across thinner and more brittle, though noticeably quieter, which may be a benefit for you considering how loud all of these amps are).
 

rapaul76

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Nice review. I'll have to check this amp out!

Thanks.
 

Ginger Beer

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I was looking at this amp. How do you think it would fare in a live band situation - Enough headroom or would it be full on gain (like the tiny terror) to compete with a drummer?
 

rjwilson37

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Sweet! This is great to know.

I was always thinking about getting the Dark Terror, because it sounds much nicer in the gain area than the Tiny Terror, I mean the Dark Terror gain just sounds awesome to my ears. But if the OR15 can do this, getting a nicer crunchier gain than the Tiny Terror and close to the Dark Terror, this would be great because of the extra EQ settings that I would really like to have in an amp head. I have always shy'd away from the Tiny Terror and Dark Terror, pretty much because I really like having Bass/Mid/Treb in my amp, for a wider range of tones.

PSM: Now you also did a review on the Tweaker 15. How do you compare this to the Egnater Tweaker 15 VS Orange OR15?
 

PSM

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I was looking at this amp. How do you think it would fare in a live band situation - Enough headroom or would it be full on gain (like the tiny terror) to compete with a drummer?
I have to be honest and say that I was really very focused on crunchy to mid/high gain tones considering the time I had available to me to get to all of these different amps and cabs, so it would be unfair to make a statement about the very low gain or cleaner tones on this amp. I wish I had done some testing in that department, but I will focus on that if the opportunity presents itself again in the near future (hopefully it will :thumb:). I will point out that there is no "clean" channel on this amp and to get purely clean tones (or close to it), you'd likely have the gain way down and the volume way up, so headroom with a heavy hitting drummer might be questionable if you're trying to keep it sparkly clean.

That said, I personally wouldn't buy this head for a cleaner tone; based on my playing, it's stellar for "dirty channel"-type rock playing and that's what I would buy it for. If I was very concerned with clean to mildly crunchy blues rock, this probably wouldn't be the amp I would go with. To make that call for sure, though, I'd probably need some more time with it to see what I could get out of it headroom-wise on a cleaner setting. Just wanna give honest opinions based on real testing and playing rather than speculation, so sorry I can't help you out there.

Sweet! This is great to know.

I was was always thinking about getting the Dark Terror, because it sounds much nicer in the gain area than the Tiny Terror, I mean the Dark Terror gain just sounds awesome to my ears. But if the OR15 can do this, getting a nicer crunchier gain than the Tiny Terror and close to the Dark Terror, this would be great because of the extra EQ settings that I would really like to have in an amp head. I have always shy'd away from the Tiny Terror and Dark Terror, pretty much because I really like having Bass/Mid/Treb in my amp, for a wider range of tones.

PSM: Now you also did a review on the Tweaker 15. How do you compare this to the Egnater Tweaker 15 VS Orange OR15?
The OR15 definitely has worlds of gain on tap vs the Tiny Terror and a bit more flexibility with the tone because of the EQ. I've not yet played the Dark Terror, so I can't comment on that one. I'd be curious to stick them next to each other, though. They have exactly the same number and types of tubes in them, including the FX Loop tube, and they're both 7/15 watts switchable. The only basic differences on paper are the Shape knob vs 3-band EQ and the enclosure. Personally, I was not a fan of the Shape knob on the Thunderverb I played but it did alright on the Tiny Terror, so who knows without getting hands on. And I prefer the actual head enclosure of the OR15. The Dark Terror is only $50 cheaper so unless there's a major tonal difference that I prefer (which I can't imagine), I'd go with the OR15 for the reasons stated.

As compared to the Tweaker 15, I'd have to say that personally, I find the Tweaker a much more versatile amp but I prefer the gain tone of the OR15 to any of those I can get out of the Tweaker. Not by much, though, I'm just a big fan of the Orange tone and know many people who would probably prefer the Egnater. And that said, the Egnater gaininess isn't far behind in my mind. The crunchy tones are more versatile, plus it has actual clean settings, so again it's more versatile all around tone-wise. The lack of a lower wattage possibly makes it less versatile in terms of situations where it shines, though, so that's something to consider. Taking the price difference into account, though, I'd still say the better overall "value" is with the Tweaker 15 unless you're a dead set Orange tone kind of guy, in which case no amp I've ever played will beat an Orange. That's very much personal preference, though. Plug me into either one on stage with a nice hard rock gain dialed in and I wouldn't even ask you which one I was playing, I'd just happily rock out. They are both killer.
 

Ginger Beer

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I wasn't so concerned with sparkly clean (fenderish) but was more wondering about having to push the amp into Metalish vs classic rock breakup or hard rock breakup gain when trying to compete with live drums.
 

PSM

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I wasn't so concerned with sparkly clean (fenderish) but was more wondering about having to push the amp into Metalish vs classic rock breakup or hard rock breakup gain when trying to compete with live drums.
With the gain at 40% and the guitar volume all the way up, it was really getting pretty classic rock crunchy, so it would really have to be down there to get any sort of cleaner tones going with something like a Les Paul. At 50% and the volume all the way up, you're solidly in classic rock territory. If a really light crunch is the least you want and you'll be focusing on heavier tones than that (classic to hard rock), I don't see any issues. A roll off on the pickup volume (depending on your pots) with the gain 30-35% and the master volume up a bit and I imagine you'd be good unless the drummer is trying to kill his heads in one gig. I bet that's still gonna be a bit crunchy, though, not what I would call clean. Definitely not Fender sparkly clean, as you said. With something like a stock Strat where the volume roll off and overall gain response isn't so rock and roll, the story might be different.

Conversations like this really make me with I had more time to experiment with different guitars once I focused in on the amps and cabs I really liked. Can't be too greedy, though. I used the time to the best of my ability to focus on the tone I use most often. Next time around I'll probably grab a Strat with single coils and focus on the clean to bluesier stuff, though I've been known to rock the shit out of my Strats through plenty of high gain amps...:naughty:
 

Ginger Beer

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Cool. Looks like I may have to head down to the local store to seriously try one out.
 

PSM

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Cool. Looks like I may have to head down to the local store to seriously try one out.
If you're looking for a rock amp in that price range and you don't need multiple channels, it'll be a strong contender through the right cab. If you're looking for a blues amp focused on clean and lighter gain stuff or you need multiple channels, there are better options.

On a side note, I'm gonna play the Tweaker a bit tonight and refresh my memory on its clean headroom.
 

jra007

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Great review... Im a big Orange fan too bought a Jim Root Terror not too long ago. Very curious to know the diff between the OR and the JR Terror (im sure its all in the gain structure). I do like that the OR has a traditional Orange head cab too and not the metal lunch box style Terror cab.
 

yell03

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Nice review, I just ordered the Tweaker 15 Head and cab after A/B'g it versus everything in the store.

I also liked the Orange OR15H, lots of gain on tap, but it is less versatile than the Tweaker.

$300 less for the Tweaker sold me over the Orange, but I wouldn't mind having the OR15H in my stable also.
 

rjwilson37

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Nice review, I just ordered the Tweaker 15 Head and cab after A/B'g it versus everything in the store.

I also liked the Orange OR15H, lots of gain on tap, but it is less versatile than the Tweaker.

$300 less for the Tweaker sold me over the Orange, but I wouldn't mind having the OR15H in my stable also.
I think we all would like an OR15H in our stable, let's give Orange a call and arrange a big MLP group discount purchase. Oranges for Everyone! :applause::dude:
 

DADGAD

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I have been thinking about either an attenuated AD30 single channel, or the OR15. I rock out at home and am really gassing for some orange cruchy tone and am torn between the two. Thanks for the great review. I'm going to check it out and see if it Rocks as well as you say.
 

PSM

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Nice review, I just ordered the Tweaker 15 Head and cab after A/B'g it versus everything in the store.

I also liked the Orange OR15H, lots of gain on tap, but it is less versatile than the Tweaker.

$300 less for the Tweaker sold me over the Orange, but I wouldn't mind having the OR15H in my stable also.
Your thoughts are spot on with mine. Tons of gain available with the OR15 but it's a bit of a one trick pony (ie great rock tone). If that gain tone is the only one you need/want, or you have other amps to satisfy your other needs, then it's a badass amp and the price is right to get that Orange tone.

If, on the other hand, you need a variety of tones and cost is a bigger issue for you, the value definitely lies in the Tweaker 15's versatility. The number of quality tones you can get from the Tweaker has yet to be beat by any amp in that price range or even twice the price from what I've seen. There's a reason they're selling like crazy and more and more people on the forums have them listed in their sigs.
 

Standard 64

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Nice thorough review.I wonder what you would think of my tiny terror that Jule amps modified into a "holy terror" Jule tweaked the circuit,added mercury magnetics power and output transformers and a choke.I also really love the "orange" flavor,theirs something about it thats so sweet.I think the egnater tweakers crunch tone is very different than the orange crunch tone.The orange is more well defined and crisp,while the tweakers drive is more distortion like.
 

blues_man_zep

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Thanks for the aswome review gonna check one out. Ive been GASing for an orange latley.
 

PSM

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Nice thorough review.I wonder what you would think of my tiny terror that Jule amps modified into a "holy terror" Jule tweaked the circuit,added mercury magnetics power and output transformers and a choke.I also really love the "orange" flavor,theirs something about it thats so sweet.I think the egnater tweakers crunch tone is very different than the orange crunch tone.The orange is more well defined and crisp,while the tweakers drive is more distortion like.
My band mate had a Holy Terror directly from Mercury Magnetics. I remember liking it a lot, but I don't remember being as blown away as I was with the OR15. When I A/B'd the Holy Terror with my Rockerverb 50 MKI, the Rockerverb was a clear victor in my mind as far as the gain tone I was looking for (as expected considering the price tag). When I A/B'd the OR15 and Rockerverb 50 MKII the other day (which is a bit darker than the MKI), I remember actually liking the tone of the OR15 more. It was a bit more open, similar to my MKI.

I didn't side by side the Holy Terror and OR15, though, so it's always hard to compare months after the fact in your head. Definitely post up if you get to A/B them at some point. I plan on doing an A/B with my MKI and the OR15 when I get a chance to put them next to each other through the same cabinet. Wattage wise the OR15 is much more appealing to me and I don't use the clean channel on the RV50 much anyways, so if the gain tones are similar or I actually prefer the OR15 (either of which may be the case), I'll probably ending up making a switch in the near future and changing up my entire setup.
 

muddywinter

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Thanks for the review I have been eyeballing the 0R15 for a while now I just can't decide on the OR15 or Ad30 I have been going back and forth between those two in my head now for a couple months maybe by the end of the year I'll make up my mind!
 

rjwilson37

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I played the OR15 today at GC, and I have to say that I still like the Dual Terror better for hard rock, which I think just sounds better for that nice 80's Hard Rock/Metal tone. The EQ gives it some more options than the TT, which kind of get's you some more gain because of upping theM/B/T, but not much more gain than the TT to my ears. The OR15 from a clean perspective, does blow away the Dark Terror and just an overall better tone than the TT thanks to the EQ's, so it is a great amp, but damn I love the Dark Terror's hard rock/metal tone, it just kills it.
 

crippe

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I received my OR15 yesterday but I am working this weekend so I won't have a chance to play it until Monday :hyper: I will be running it through an Orange PPC112 which I bought a couple of years ago. I have no doubt it will sound great :headbanger:
 


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