Tired of all the digital amps that have become increasingly popular in recent times? Then read on. In this Orange Crush 12 review we take a look at the features of this distinctive practice amp. We’ll discuss tone, practicality and finally summarize this brightly colored noise box. Let’s get started.
Background of Orange
Founded in 1968 by Cliff Cooper in London, Orange has long been synonymous with stylish valve amps. Cliff’s story starts in the 1960’s, a practical man with a keen interest in music, Cliff found success with his band The Millionaires. Next Cliff opened a small demo studio in London. After receiving a number of noise complaints from his neighbors Cliff built the CTI Pixy portable guitar amp. The Pixy featured an earpiece instead of a speaker making portable practice a reality.
Cliff made 100 of these units and sold them himself, a process he thoroughly enjoyed. In 1968 Cliff rented a shop in the west end of London. The shop became his home as well as his place of work. Situated close to Denmark Street, Cliff was in prime position. An area still popular with musicians today, Denmark Street was a hive of activity in the 1960’s. I’ve sampled many guitars in the music shops and drank many a beer in the backstreet bars of Denmark Street.
In the late 1960’s the psychedelic era had begun and Cliff tapped into this utilizing the orange color as his brand. Unable to get his hands on amps from the mainstream producers, Cliff began making and selling his own amps.
The Orange amps proved to be extremely popular allowing Cliff to diversify opening up Orange Records, Orange Publishing and the Orange Artist Booking Agency. By the time the Orange shop closed in 1978, the Orange brand was solidly established.
Today Orange produces micro amps right up to 100 watt heads, all with the distinctive vintage styling. Orange’s preference for solid state amps has lead to them becoming renowned as a specialist in big vintage sounds.
Overview of The Orange Crush 12
The Crush 12 is a single channel amp. Unlike other amps there’s no button to toggle between clean and over-driven channels. Instead there’s an overdrive control knob allowing you to alter the tone of the single channel. There’s also a gain control knob and a 3 band EQ consisting of bass, middle and treble. The 3 band EQ allows you to more delicately sculpt you tone.
The Crush 12 is available in the classic striking orange or in a toned down yet still striking black. The amp is finished in basket weave vinyl complete with a woven speaker grill. The classic Orange hieroglyphs are present on the control panel giving the amp a very vintage style.
The amp is tiny, weighing just 4.7kg (around 10 lbs). It doesn’t take up much room either, perfect for portability and for the bedroom guitarist who’s short on space.
The amp’s control panel is simple enough. Connect your guitar with a 1/4 inch jack, power on and start playing. There’s a headphone jack, which enables silent practice. There’s a built in cabinet simulator when headphones are connected leading to outstanding output. The headphone jack can also be used to connect to a mixer or recording console.
The Crush 12 is a solid state amp with analogue circuitry, preserving the vintage style and tone. A 6 inch speaker outputs 12 watts of power. The amp won’t connect to an external speaker other than via a mixing deck, so you’re reasonably restrained to the available 12 watts of output. However, 12 watts is plenty for a practice amp. More than enough to annoy your neighbors.
There’s a wide range of tonal possibilities with the Crush 12. The clean tones are particularly lovely. You can achieve crystal clear for funk, warm and mellow for blues or dirty and crunchy for classic rock. It’ll also produce a heavier rock tone, but I don’t think it’s suited for higher gain styles such as metal. This little amp certainly packs a punch in terms of output and is more than enough for the bedroom guitarist.
If you’re a purist and don’t want technology interfering with your sound, then this is definitely an amp that’ll interest you. Sure it takes some crafting to find your tone, and there’s no memory to save your beautifully crafted sound. But if you love the experimentation of twiddling the control knobs to find your tones then you won’t be put off by it’s lack of modern features. Think of writing down the settings on a piece of paper as enhancing the retro experience.
Orange Crush 12 Pros
The Crush 12 is a purists amp. The pros of this amp will suit those with a nostalgia for the vintage amps more than other guitarists. Here are some of the best bits:
- Wide range to tonal possibilities
- Great power output for a practice amp
- Full 3 band EQ
Orange Crush 12 Cons
The Crush 12 doesn’t have the features you’d expect on a digital amp, but that’s part of the design and not a drawback. However there are a few things that could be better:
- Can be a bit fiddly to find the tone you want
- More expensive than competitors such as the VOX Pathfinder 10
- Lacks some of the handy features of more modern amps
If you want a vintage looking and vintage sounding practice amp then the Crush 12 should interest you greatly. There are a wide range of tonal possibilities thanks to the 3 band EQ, overdrive and gain control knobs. Having one channel means noting your favorite tones so you can quickly make the changes when required. I was particularly impressed with the clean tones produced by this little amp, but the tonal range caters for a wide variety of styles.
It’s certainly not an amp that you’d want to take on stage, but it’s plenty powerful for bedroom practice. It’s also extremely portable due to it’s compact nature, so taking it on the road isn’t a problem. The Crush 12 is a purists amp, free from the clutter of digital features. If you like everything vintage, the Crush 12 is a little box of vintage style and tone for around $120.
If you want something with more features at a similar power output, take a look at my post about the Boss Katana Mini, which features 3 amp styles, a 3 band EQ and in-built delay effects.
I hope you’ve found this post useful. Feel free to leave any comments or questions below. Alternatively you can get in touch using my contact page. Please share this post with anyone who you feel might find it useful. As always, happy strumming!
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