Orange OR15 review

crippe

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Finally got a chance to try it out. A great amp, I like it a lot more than the Tiny Terror I used to own. The EQ has a lot to do with it, I felt really limited with the tone knob on the Terror. This amp nails the overdriven sound I tried to coax out of the Terror but never could. Well done Orange :thumb:
 

Gridlock

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PSM,

Thanks for the review, I want to test out an OR15H as soon as I see one at Guitar Center. It sounds like a great amp for my needs and I would like to add and Orange amp to my collection.

Gridlock
 

glpease

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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.
I've been living with an OR15 for a few months, now. It takes some time to get to know it, but once you do, it's a truly remarkable amp. It's actually got beautiful clean tones, all the way through some pretty searing very high-gain sounds. Mostly, yes, it's got that gorgeous Orange classic crunchiness with the gain knob dialed in from 4 to about 6. Beyond that, it gets into high-gain territory. I generally find my tone with the gain at 12-o'clock to just beyond that. I've played it with HBs, P90s, and a Tele, and love it with all of them.

I'm running it through a pair of 112 cabs, loaded with a couple 12s that I had lying about, both Eminence drivers. One's a Lady Luck, which came with the Epiphone Valve JR cab, the other a Crate thing that was pulled from a Vintage Club 212. The combination is really nice. Plenty of low end support, and a nice clear top end. I've also run it through a single Vintage 30, also a good match. Haven't pushed it through a 412 box, onaccounta I don't have one anymore. (For some reason, stuff I can actually move without suffering appeals to me more than it did when I was 20.)

I had a Tweaker for a couple weeks, and didn't really dig it. The tone was fine, but it seemed a bit sterile, lacking life. And, all those switches are pretty silly. I found myself spending too much time flipping switches, turning knobs, looking for that magic sweet spot that I never quite found. The other thing I did not like about the tweaker was the build. There's just too much squeezed into too little real-estate. Since I do my own amp work, maintainability, and fixability when things break is important. The OR15 isn't a LOT better, but it is a bit less cluttered. When necessary, I won't have a problem working on it.

The OR15, on the other hand, is quite versatile, and simple to dial in. I wouldn't call it a one-trick pony. The tonal variation available through the gain and EQ settings is remarkable. What really sold me on the Orange is how alive, how responsive it is. It's a very engaging amp, bouncy (as Doug Doppler put it) and dynamic. Notes jump out and react with your guitar and your fingers. It's not just reproducing what you play, but is truly involved in the process.

The half-power setting, to my ears, isn't so useful for decreasing SPL - you only get a 3dB drop - but in changing the way the amp feels and responds. The 7.5W setting decreases the B+ voltage to about 2/3 of the full-power value, introducing a somewhat different dynamic character to the tone. It's a little more spongy, a bit less punchy.

It's not really what I'd call a "bedroom amp." At low volumes, with the master dialed well back, the thing sounds okay, and it's certainly workable, but it loses its dynamics and gets a bit more fizzy than toneful. Get the output bottles working a little, though, the speakers moving some air, and it starts to sparkle and shine. Even at 15W, you can get into that territory without shattering windows, but it's definitely going to wake the kids and frighten the cat.

I have two very minor criticisms of the OR15: First is that at really high gain settings, it gets noisy, something impossible to avoid with a 4-gain stage amp, but unlike similar amps, the dual pot gain control tames the noise when you roll it back. The circuit topology is what makes it so versatile. Since I'm not looking for very high-gain sounds, the last 30% of the gain rotation is pretty much no-man's land, so the noise never becomes an issue. In my ideal world, 100% gain would be where 60% is now, but I can cope with it. And, that extra gain is there for those who want it. ;) Second is that the cabinet is a bit cramped, so changing valves is best done by removing the chassis from the box. Not a huge deal - four screws to remove the back plate, and four on the bottom to detach the chassis. But, it would be nice to have a little more hand-room inside when you want to do a little valve-rolling.

It's plenty loud. It won't make you ears bleed, but it'll rattle the walls. With more sensitive speakers (the two 12s I'm using are supposedly about 94-95dB/1W - it's easy enough to get 100dB or more out of other drivers), its 15W would be more than enough to compete with most drummers in any club, and with the amp mic'd, I can't imagine "needing" more, other than for more clean headroom. If clean tones are your main action, this is probably not the right choice for you. If you want jangly brilliance, an AC15 might better suit. And, jazz guys should probably look elsewhere, too. The OR15 can do it, but don't lean on it too hard, or you're likely to be seduced by the crunch, and trade your archtop for a Les Paul.

Turn it up, find your tone, play with the volume control on the guitar, and let the OR15 sing. I've got a few amps to play with, and find them mostly gathering dust since I got this little beast. As a final testimonial, it's one of very few amps I've ever owned that I haven't almost immediately started modding. It's been "right" for me out of the box, and I can't think of anything I'd do to make it better.
 

Heppe

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Nice info! I am consodering a Tiny or Dark terror. I want a great 80's metal tone and a great SRV blues tone as well. Is that something one of theese can deliver? Would the 2x12 be a hughe improvment over the 1x12 cabinet??

Currently using an old Marshall Valvestate 8240 that is pushing on retirement...
 

user xyz

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Great Reviews Everyone!!

I just Pulled the Trigger on a OR15--Can't wait!!

Thanks! :applause:
 

nauc

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theyre badass! you cant go wrong

check it
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gz60KS64pU]Orange OR15H - 15 Watt Guitar Amplifer Head - YouTube[/ame]
 

thenappyone

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I just bought one of these bad boys today. This amp is freakin awesome. I like how articulate and well defined this amp is even with the gain cranked up. You won't get away with being sloppy. Now I need to find a buyer for my distortion pedals. If you want good rock tone I think this thing nails sabbath tones buy this amp.
 

JMV

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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.
I used to own that exact amp - I had done the Holy Terror mods to it, then sent it off to Mr. Potter after a while. The Mercury Magnetic mods made it great, but Jule's touch made it all the better. What a great little amp and night and day difference between it and a stock Tiny Terror.

I kept it until I got into Phaez and Cygnus. :cool: I'd love to give an OR15 a whirl. I've loved the few Orange amps I've owned, but they were sort of one-trick ponies.
 

Mauro Pavanelli

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Hi, I bought an 0R15 minutes ago to pair with my Gibson LP traditional pro and a Marshall 4x12 cabinet. I hope I could get enough headroom to play some rock songs with my band with at least a clean/crunch tone. I'm lucky becouse my drummer isn't an animal.
 

frankv

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Great write up..
 

caljoe

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Great reviews, I can add nothing but this :yesway::dude:
 

glpease

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Hi, I bought an 0R15 minutes ago to pair with my Gibson LP traditional pro and a Marshall 4x12 cabinet. I hope I could get enough headroom to play some rock songs with my band with at least a clean/crunch tone. I'm lucky becouse my drummer isn't an animal.
With the gain knob between about 10 and 1 o'clock, you'll go from Rice Crispies to Captain Crunch, and still have a lot of touch sensitivity and flexibility with the guitar's volume knob. By about 2 o'clock, it really gets into the high gain territory, and does it really well, but it's not what I'm "into." Since I wrote my review, I've added a PPC112 cabinet, and am considering another. The V30s are golden with the OR15. The stack of open back 12s I was running before sound great, but there's something about the focus of a closed-back cab that works especially well with this head.

After all this time with it, my only criticism remains the lack of clean headroom. I can live with that...
 

monkfish

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After all this time with it, my only criticism remains the lack of clean headroom. I can live with that...
You could try a 5751 tube in the V1 slot.

I tried one in my OR15 and it cleaned up by about two notches on the gain control. I swapped back to the stock tube in the end though.
 

jaycoyoyo

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I had the pleasure of borrowing an OR15H with the matching 1x12 sealed cabinet for a church gig a couple months ago. It had a Mercury Magnetics transformer upgrade. On the 15-watt setting, I dimed the master volume and turned up the gain for sufficient volume over the medium-hitting drummer. It was plenty loud and clean. No mic needed. I was playing my LP Custom with no pedals.
 

glpease

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You could try a 5751 tube in the V1 slot.

I tried one in my OR15 and it cleaned up by about two notches on the gain control. I swapped back to the stock tube in the end though.
The thing has four gain stages in the preamp, controlled by a dual pot, one between stages one and two, the other between two and three. It's an absolutely brilliant design for its intended purpose, which is overdrive. The tones there are glorious. Trying to clean it up is like trying to run a Bugatti Veyron as a parade float. You CAN do it, but it'll never be particularly satisfying.

I've got other amps for clean tones.

Honestly, I like the sound of the OR15 so much, I'm VERY tempted by the OR100, which would give the best of both worlds. Now, to figure out where the extra cash will come from...
 

Exluthier

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Just wanted to add my $.02. I really love this amp. Live I play it just shy of cranked, gain around 11 o'clock, 1x12 cab with a vintage 30. My drummer beats the hell out of his kit and the Orange has no problem keeping up. Couldn't be happier with this amp.
 

Mr. Satchmo

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The first time I played an OR15 was with an orange 2x12 closed back, that small thing was so huge and I loved it! The only reason I didn't get it was I wanted a second channel: so came the Rockerverb 50 -MKIII.

Orange has such a sweet tone, and I prefer it over marshal now, I've just spent too much time with orange amps. Now if they came or with the OR30, two OR15 channels l, I would buy it right away!
 

Mr. Satchmo

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I had the pleasure of borrowing an OR15H with the matching 1x12 sealed cabinet for a church gig a couple months ago. It had a Mercury Magnetics transformer upgrade. On the 15-watt setting, I dimed the master volume and turned up the gain for sufficient volume over the medium-hitting drummer. It was plenty loud and clean. No mic needed. I was playing my LP Custom with no pedals.
I bet the old ladies in the front started throwing their clothes at you with that sweet orange tone
 

GibsonMarshallGuy

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I've gigged the amp several times with a 2x12 (greenbacks). There isn't much headroom there, especially with humbuckers. A mic'd venue with a good PA system will help a lot though. If you use cleans in your band this is probably not a good amp for you..
 


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