Recently I had a chance to play through an Orange TH100 head, and I was instantly wow’d by this baby! I have played quite a few heads in the past. Marshall JCMs, Bugeras, Peaveys, Blackstars, Soldanos, and this thing has easily surpassed the others. This will be my first “formal” review of a product I have played, so lets start at the beginning.
When it arrived, I was like a kid at Christmas. I couldn’t get the box open fast enough. Once I removed it, I took a step back to take in “all the Orange”. I first noticed its slightly smaller than most heads, however, it seems to weigh a bit more in comparison. I had to wait a week to get it to band practice to hook it up to my speaker cabinet. What a long week. I looked it over closely, noting that for a made in China amp, it was really well made. I think the QC is on par with England’s side.
Finally, Saturday came! I hooked it up through my Marshall 1960A 4X12 cabinet, powered it up (high power setting) on the clean channel. I played a few licks, chords and such, and I noticed that the clean channel was EXTREMELY clean. Switched it over to the dirty channel and set the gain to about 2 o’clock and I was blown away! This head is a metal machine. Dialled back the gain for some bluesy rock, and bam, it was incredibly warm.
As most of you know, I play metal and this thing can do it! My band also covers some less metal-type and the TH100 can get it. This head is really versatile. And incredibly LOUD! Probably the loudest 100 watts I have ever played. I had no troubled dialling in my metal tone the way I like it. I played a PRS Torero with EMG 81/85s, straight to the head (at full power), to my Marshall cab. I noticed there was quite a bit of bass, but a few tweaks of the shape knob and I was in business.
This is by far the best sounding, loudest head, in it’s class. It can run at 100, 70, 50 or 35 watts. It has an effects loop, footswitch input, and accepts 8 and 16 ohm outputs The preamp has 4 ECC83/12AX7 tubes, poweramp has 4 EL34 tubes, and the effects loops has 1 ECC81 tube. Its heavy, but small. Fits great on the Marshall cabinet.
I tested it with a PRS Torero (tuned to B F# B E G# C#), Jackson Soloist (Dimarzio pups, standard tuning), and an Ibanez ART400 EMG 81/85 (tuned to drop D) and all played with no tweaking of the EQ in between. I ran a GSP 1101 in the effects loops (global EQ set to 0 across the board), and the Marshall 1960a 4×12 cabinet (which has the Celestion G-75s). Below are the specs from the Orange Amps site:
CLEAN CHANNEL: Volume, Bass, Treble
DIRTY CHANNEL: Volume, Shape, Gain
Half-power switch on front
2 or 4 power tube switch on rear
Output HALF, 2 Output Tubes = 35w, Class AB-1
Output HALF, 4 Output Tubes = 70w, Class AB-1
Output FULL, 2 Output Tubes = 50w, Class AB-2
Output FULL, 4 Output Tubes = 100w, Class AB-2
(The power amp will overdrive earlier when switched to the HALF, Class AB-1 position)
Preamp: 4 x ECC83/12AX7
Output: 4 x EL34
Effects Loop: 1 x ECC81/12AT7
(1) 16 Ohm, (2) 8 Ohm
(W X H X D) 55x24x24cm, 21.6×9.5×9.5in