The Orange Crush 20 is a solid state 20W guitar practice amp, featuring an all-analogue signal path, footswitchable clean and dirty channels, three-band EQ, aux in for playing along to music and a headphone output featuring cab speaker simulation. It’s the perfect solution for players that want the classic Orange amp sound in a small and simple, bedroom-friendly package. The version we tried was the Crush 20, though it’s also available as the Crush 20RT that includes on board reverb, and a guitar tuner.
Right out of the box you’re greeted with an incredibly easy to understand control panel, so if you’ve never gotten on with LCD menu screens as seen on many digital amps, then you’re in for a treat here. Even beginners will instantly have a good idea of which knobs to tweak to get the sound they’re after.
Starting with an SG through the clean channel, we were greeted with a warm and clear sound - the middle and neck positions sounded particularly good. There’s a nice presence to it as well, reminiscent of guitar amps with speakers bigger than 8” as is the case here. We tried a Strat, Tele and a Reverend fitted with P90s through it and were equally pleased. The three-band EQ here is particularly useful - we found ourselves making adjustments to suit the different pickup types, so you’re likely going to be able to find the sweet spot that works for you, regardless of the guitar or pickups you’re using.
With it being solid state, you’d assume that the clean channel stays clean as you turn it up, however Orange wanted to make the Crush 20 as much like a tube amp as possible so you do actually start to get some natural breakup as you crank it. It’s nice and clean until you get to around 4 on the volume, so it’s probably above bedroom volume, but manageable if you’re jamming with friends. It’s actually a really cool replication of tube breakup and it’s great for blues and classic rock.
The dirty channel on the Crush 20 is fantastic. There are four preamp stages and you can actually hear the difference they make as you dial up the gain. It’s capable of smooth overdrive, classic sounding crunch, chunky distortion and even some pretty gnarly high gain tones. This amp is suitable for literally any genre of music, from country to heavy metal. It’s a really nice sounding distortion too - for the money, it’s as close to tube-like as you’ll probably get. It’s dynamic, though you don’t get the same feel or response that you do with a tube amp. When the gain is cranked to the top, it does get a little spongy - which some players might like, but you do also lose a touch of definition.
In terms of volume, it can pump out a fair bit, though you’d struggle to gig with it, unless it’s going to be mic’d up. If you want to play shows and get this mighty Orange sound, it might be worth looking at the Crush 35, or even the Crush Pro series. The 20 however is perfect if you’re playing at home, or jamming with other musicians - you’d probably even get away with matching a very quiet drummer. It’s also worth noting that the Crush 20 sounds really good when it’s both loud and quiet - even with just a fraction dialled in on the volume, all the tone is still there. If you max out the volume, the cabinet does start to rattle a little, but that’s generally to be expected.
The Orange Crush 20 comes fitted with a headphone output so you can play at home without disturbing anyone. It’s even fitted with a cabinet simulation, giving the same sort of sound that you get from a speaker physically moving, as opposed to just direct sound from the amp’s circuitry. There’s also an aux in, which is handy for plugging in your phone or mp3 to play along with tracks - Bluetooth would have been nice, but then that would likely add to the cost.
Orange Crush 20 review: Verdict
The Orange Crush is a fantastic practice amp, especially for the money. You can get a range of quality clean and distorted tones, and having the clean channel break up as you increase the volume is a nice touch. The analogue circuitry helps give it a more tube amp-like sound, plus it’s really easy to use. The perfect choice if you want a reliable, simple and great sounding small amp.
Orange Crush 20 review: Specifications
- Price: $149/£119
- Technology: Analogue Solid State
- Power: 20W
- Channels: 2 (Footswitch sold separately)
- Speaker: 8” Custom Voice Of The World
- Effects: None
- Connectivity: Instrument Input, Auxiliary Input, CabSim Headphone Output
- Contact: Orange