REVIEW > ORANGE
beautifully when I rolled the Tele’s volume
knob off a tad.
With the master volume kicked in,
the OR50H is a very different machine.
The voicing takes on a more compressed
nature, and the lows become a little
punchier. The combination of the drive
knob set at noon and the HF drive at
around 3 o’clock yields glorious blues leads
with impressive, heaving low-end sustain.
The signal won’t clean up as readily at
these settings and you can lose a little
harmonic depth, though the amp’s EQ
controls are rangy enough to compensate
in most cases.
With a Les Paul out front and the
preamp gain up to around 2 o’clock, the
OR50H becomes a great tool for heavy,
old-school British riffage. The tone is
classic Orange at these settings—
blistering and boisterous mids, snarling highs,
and a cavernous low end—with a slightly
modern edge to the gain voicing. With
humbuckers in the mix, turning up the
HF drive beyond 3 o’clock sludges up the
tone a bit and you lose a little definition.
Pros: Superb cleans with tons of headroom. Classic
Orange gain. HF drive control is super-useful.
Orange OR50H Reissue, $1,699 street, orangeamps.com
Ease of Use
Cons: No effects loop. Difficult to clean up when
the master volume is engaged.
Dialing it back between 2 and 3 o’clock
keeps the tone balanced and prevents the
signature Orange fuzzy top end from overpowering the rest of the spectrum.
There are, of course, great tones to be
found at more extreme gain levels. With
the gain control at 4 o’clock and the master volume cranked, the amp is perfect
for modern stoner rock, and it will tickle
anyone with a passion for Electric Wizard,
Orange Goblin, and older Melvins. I even
found a really cool, fuzzed-out tone with
the gain maxed and the bridge pickup’s
tone knob lowered all the way. Imagine
Marc Bolan’s juicy rhythm on the T. Rex
classic “Baby Boomerang” with a little
more saturation and thickness.
The OR50H walks the line between old-school heritage and modern amp tone beautifully, perhaps because the original incarnation
of this amp helped draw that line in the
first place. The single-channel layout keeps
things simple and straightforward, and the
switchable master volume gives the amp clean
headroom that will probably surprise guitarists who associate the Orange name with
thick overdrive—though there’s plenty of that
when the master volume is introduced to the
circuit. The OR50H is a great amp that can
wear a lot of different hats. But for die-hard
fans of classic and modern Orange tone who
weren’t lucky enough to score an original
anniversary head, this one is a must-try.
172 PREMIER GUITAR JUNE 2012