With two usable and distinct dirty and clean channels, the TH30 is a solid contender for anyone looking for a good blues or rock amp that can be used in a variety of venues.
While Orange Amplification originally built a name for itself with its high powered amplifier stacks in the 60s and 70s used by everyone from Led Zeppelin to Black Sabbath, the company owes its recent resurgence to a broad palette of high gain but relatively low-powered amplifiers such as the Tiny Terror (though amps like the Rockerverb show the company still knows a thing or two about high powered amplification). The Orange TH30 builds on this well-established foundation and has quickly become one of the company’s most beloved and respected amplifiers. Let’s see why.
The Orange TH30 head is a two channel amplifier with discrete channels for dirty and clean sounds. The dirty channel sports controls for volume, shape, and gain whereas the clean channel has controls for treble, bass, and volume. An effects loop is included, powered by a single ECC81. The preamp is powered by 4 ECC83 tubes whereas the output section features 4 EL84 tubes. The amp is switchable from 30, 15, and 7 watts and weighs 33 lbs. A number of matching Orange cabinets are available. I tested the amp with an Orange closed-back 2×12 cabinet featuring Celestion V30 speakers.
I tested the TH30 with a reissue Gibson 1957 Les Paul and a Fender Deluxe American Stratocaster. Given Orange’s reputation for high gain sounds, I opted to put the dirty channel through its paces first. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a lot of versatility since it only has three controls, but I was pleasantly surprised. The amp could pull off both classic Orange overdrive sounds (think late Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath) and more modern crunch. The distinctive Orange sound (a bright high end with a tight low-end and cutting midrange) is all here.
I tested the dirty channel in full power first and found the volume just right, and think it would work in a variety of club settings and could be easily miked for larger venues. Cutting the power switch allowed some even sweeter overdrive tones. All in all, the dirty channel is one of the best I’ve heard in a while.
My expectations weren’t as high for the clean channel, which is why I was surprised and shocked to hear the rich variety of sounds in this channel. With lower volume settings, the clean tones were clearly defined and punchy. With the volume approaching 12 o’clock, though, I was reminded of early non-master volume Marshall amps, offering a very classic overdrive with just the right amount of bite for blues and classic rock. It also responds really well to a variety of overdrive pedals that push it into more heavy distortion and overdrive. The clean channel also brought out the distinctive characteristics of the humbuckers and single coils.
There’s not much to complain about with the Orange TH30. With two usable and distinct dirty and clean channels, the TH30 is a solid contender for anyone looking for a good blues or rock amp that can be used in a variety of venues.
Name of Gear: Orange TH30
List Price: $1,199.00
Manufacturer Info: Orange Music Electronic Company, Ltd., orangeamps.com
Pros: Amazing classic overdriven tones; versatile clean channel