While many companies offer a variety of bass combo amplifiers these days, most of the products out there fall into two distinct categories—low-powered amps with basic features designed mostly for practice or high-powered amps with versatile features designed for the biggest performance stages.
However, what most bass players need these days is a medium-powered combo amp ideal for smaller venues yet with features that are still versatile enough to deliver the various sounds and applications that professionals need. Orange’s new Crush Bass 100 certainly fits that bill, providing 100 watts of output, a powerful EQ section, and other pro features that make it a great choice for the studio or stage.
The Orange Crush Bass 100 features a 100-watt solid-state, all-analog power amp and a heavy-duty 15-inch speaker in an all-in-one combo configuration. What makes the Orange Crush Bass 100 stand out from most other combo amps of its class is its active EQ circuit, which is inspired by the EQ in Orange’s top shelf 4 Stroke Series bass amps.
The bass and middle EQ controls provide up to 15dB of boost or cut, while the treble EQ offers 20dB of boost/cut. The midrange EQ also features parametric frequency sweep from 300Hz to 2.7kHz, providing precise control of an impressively wide variety of useful bass tones and textures. A Gain control adds distorted grit, and the Blend control allows players to dial in “bi-amped” tones that simultaneously combine two distinct layers of clean and distorted tones.
Other professional-quality features include a buffered effects loop, balanced XLR post EQ output, built-in chromatic tuner, -6dB input pad switch, control of the Blend and Gain controls with an optional footswitch, and a reflex port that enhances the cabinet’s low end response. However, the Orange Crush Bass 100 also includes a few features often found on practice amps, including a 1/8-inch auxiliary input for connecting external audio sources and a 1/4-inch headphone output jack that features Orange’s Cabism circuitry to provide authentic speaker cabinet tone when listening to the amp through headphones. All of these features come in a relatively compact and portable package that weighs about 50 pounds and easily fits in a car’s back seat or trunk.
Plugging into the Orange Crush Bass 100 for the first time, two things immediately become apparent—this amp is LOUD and it can dial in pretty much any tone a bass player could ever want. If you prefer a warm, deep bass tone that blends into the mix, turn down the treble and sweep the midrange EQ frequency towards the lower end of its spectrum. If you prefer more percussive attack and clarity, crank up the treble and select a midrange frequency in the 1kHz to 2.7kHz range. If you want full on distorted grit, turn the blend control fully clockwise and crank up the gain. Prefer crystal clear clean? Turn the blend fully counter clockwise.
The Crush Bass 100’s cabinet is perfectly tuned to provide powerful but articulate bass tones. The low end thump is particularly impressive and huge, but the midrange also maintains rich body while treble frequencies can be attractively bright and sparkling. While the combo is powerful enough to use on stage at venues that hold up to 500 people, it’s also loud enough to hear on stage in bigger venues when the XLR output is connected to a PA. The wide variety of tones also makes this a killer amp for the recording studio, especially when blending the sound of the miked amp with direct output from the balanced XLR jack.
LIST PRICE: $699
MANUFACTURER: Orange Amplification, orangeamps.com
• The active three-band EQ includes a midrange frequency control that sweeps a range from 300Hz to 2.7kHz to dial in an impressive variety of tones.
• The Blend and Gain control allow players to create “bi-amped” tones that combine a clean tone and a distorted tone simultaneously.
THE BOTTOM LINE: With its affordable price, portable all-in-one design, and impressive variety of tones, the Orange Crush Bass 100 is a highly recommended choice for bass players seeking a combo amp for small venues and the studio.