Review: Orange Rockverb 100 MKIII Guitar Amp — Video


The original Orange guitar amps of yesteryear were known for their outrageous clean headroom, eardrum-shattering overdrive, and earth-shaking volume—just the perfect thing for blues-based boogie rock during the early Seventies, but not the most modern sound in today’s high-gain world.

When Orange introduced its Rockerverb series amps just over a decade ago, they forever changed perceptions of Orange amps by offering a product that could hang with the high-gain crowd and even stand out with its own aggressive personality.

Over the years, Orange has made a few changes and refinements to the Rockerverb’s design to satisfy the needs of guitarists who have come to rely on the amp as a stage and studio staple. The latest and greatest of those changes are reflected in the new Orange Rockerverb 100 MKIII 100-watt head, which provides impressive tonal refinements and new features certain to satisfy the most demanding players.

FEATURES The Orange Rockerverb 100 MKIII is a two-channel head driven by four EL34 tubes in the power section, four 12AX7 tubes in the preamp section, and two 12AT7 tubes for reverb and the effects loop. The clean channel features a non-master volume circuit and provides volume, treble, and bass controls. The dirty channel has volume, gain, and bass, middle, and treble EQ controls. Both channels share the tube-driven spring reverb section featuring a reverb level control and a footswitchable attenuator that maintains the character and response of power tube distortion while allowing users to play at reduced volume levels. The amp also includes a half-power switch on the front panel and a 4/2 tube selector switch on the rear panel that let users select 100-, 70-, 50-, or 30-watts of output.

Other rear panel features include a pair of 8-ohm 1/4-inch speaker outputs, a single 16-ohm 1/4-inch speaker output, individual footswitch jacks for the attenuator, reverb, and channel switching, and send and return jacks for the serial effects loop. The amp is housed in Orange’s characteristic orange-colored cabinet, but Orange also the amp with black basket-weave vinyl covering for players who want a more traditional, stealthy look. The control panel is decorated with Orange’s classic “pictogram” graphics instead of boring names.

PERFORMANCE Orange refined the voicing of both the Rockerverb 100 MKIII’s clean and dirty channels, making it a much more versatile amp than previous iterations of the Rockerverb. The clean channel has increased clean headroom and tone that is more sparkling and “chimey” than before, combining the zing of an AC30, the percussive attack of a Hiwatt, and the powerful punch of a classic late-Sixties Orange. The clean channel is very lively and sexy, particularly when the amp’s luscious spring reverb with its long, velvety-smooth decay is dialed in. The clean channel also provides tantalizing overdrive crunch when the volume knob is cranked up past the three-o’clock mark.

The dirty channel remains the main reason why Rockerverb amps have found homes on stage and in the studio with a new breed of hard rock and metal guitarists, producing everything from classic British crunch to mind-melting modern high-gain distortion textures that are thick and harmonically complex.

The attenuator and selectable output make it easy for guitarists to achieve the exact clean or distortion character and responsiveness they want from the amp at any volume level from an apartment dweller’s whisper to a stage-filler’s scream. The control panel is quite simple and streamlined, but it makes it easy to dial in a surprisingly wide variety of tones ideal for almost any style of music from the most chilled out country to the heaviest metal.

LIST PRICE $2,149; Rockerverb 50 MKIII, $1,999
MANUFACTURER Orange Amplification,

The revoiced clean channel provides expanded clean headroom and enhanced treble chime. A footswitchable attenuator maintains the power, character, and responsiveness of a fully driven amp at lower output levels.

THE BOTTOM LINE The Orange Rockerverb 100 MKIII is designed to provide Orange’s heaviest tones to date, but the refined clean channel is so sweet that players of any musical style should check it out.

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Chris Gill, Video by Paul Riario

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.