Review: Orange OR100H Two-Channel Head
Some storied amp manufacturers are happy to chase the next trend-setting sound or reissue inferior modern versions of their classic offerings.
Orange Amplification, on the other hand, has devoted itself to refining the gear behind its long-loved, uniquely expressive, valve-derived tones.
The company’s latest flagship is the OR100H, an EL34-powered descendant of the 1972 “pics only” amp and the first amp in the OR Series to feature two independent channels. By splitting the OR100H’s sonic breadth into two channels and juicing the circuits with a dialed-in power supply, Orange has allowed it to tap into the tubes’ tonal depths in a way that no previous Orange amp could.
Orange built the OR100H to stand up to serious road rigors, utilizing heavy-gauge steel, massive transformers and stout components. In fact, you might want to give your chiropractor a heads-up before hefting this beast. The uncluttered front panel offers Orange’s iconic pictograph control legend and well-spaced vintage-style dials. Both channels have their own volume, bass and treble controls, while the dirty side has additional knobs for gain and mid-band levels.
Three toggles on the left side of the control panel let you power the amp, set the output at full or half and switch the channels. Additional control over the wattage is available with the rear panel’s two-/four-tube switch, resulting in 100-, 70-, 50- and 30-watt options. The rear panel also has or two eight-ohm and one 16-ohm 1/4-inch speaker outputs, individual footswitch jacks for global boost, gain boost and channel selection, and a tube-driven effect loop.
Orange harnessed the EL34s such that the OR100H offers a wider palette of midrange hues than most of its kin, improving its dynamic range, note separation and gain textures. Clean tones chime like a bell, with snappy lows, sublime musicality and serious headroom. Switching the power down and turning up the volume in this channel results in clean-gain crunch, where the sheer energy of each note makes you feel like you’re tapping into a great deal more overdrive than what’s actually present.
In terms of true overdrive and distortion, channel two’s range of flavors includes everything from Orange’s classic, gutsy grind and aggressive overtones to modern, super-heavy square waves of ball-kicking distortion. But the OR100H’s real magic lies in its connection to the player. It responds appropriately to every touch, always understands your intentions and continually opens up to reveal new and exciting sides of its personality.
List Price $2,199
Manufacturer Orange Music Electronic Company, Ltd., orangeamps.com
Full- and half-power options, along with the ability to run either two or four of the EL34 output valves, provide 100-, 70-, 50- and 30-watt settings.
Two fully independent channels give players more control over Orange’s trademark clean and overdrive sounds.
The Bottom Line
With two independent channels, multiple power options and a broad palette of midrange hues, the OR100H is the most versatile amp in Orange’s outstanding OR Series.