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Incredible sound yet so simple
What strikes me most about this head is the way that its sheer simplicity still allows for versatility and tonal perfection, with few sacrifices that may be accounted for by other multi channel amps.
Don't be put off by the '30 watt' rating of this amplifier- it can be incredibly loud but manages a gorgeous breakup at low volumes and is suited to any use, from recording and light practice to filling a large venue with ease.
Orange is known for its to-die-for tones when you hit that sweet spot on the master volume and this amp is no exception, with a swift turn of the master to 3 o'clock creating tonal ecstasy while allowing versatility through the gain control to give you anything from shimmering cleans to a hard and edgy Texas-rock breakup.
The dual channels each contain gain, master and three band eq controls, with channel A voiced slightly differently to offer more mid and earlier breakup. The cathode based quad of el84's provides the brilliant Vox-like tone for this amp and the high build quality as well as simple circuitry allows for easy repairs, although with this amp they will be few and far between.
The head is light weight, especially compared to its 140 watt sibling, and the two 8ohm and single 16ohm outputs allow a number of combinations of cabs giving you the option of switching this head from a 1x12 on a stool in a backstreet club to one or more of Orange's equally fantastic 4x12's at the stadiums that we all dream of playing!
This amp delivers all you could wish for, and is a perfect example of how a simple dual channel head such as this easily competes with the multi channel beasts that we dream of owning. It really accentuates and makes you appreciate the natural overdrives and shimmering cleans that built the classic rock and blues genres that the guys at Orange model this on, and with a few simple pedals can be the core of the most simplistic yet versatile rig of your dreams.
Classic rock? This is it!
Over the years, I’ve tried many amps. I am an Orange head (not that I am literally an amp head, but eventually I’m pretty sure I will be morph into one), with some Fender Blackface spice. I own/owned several Orange head amps and, in my opinion, this is the real trade if you’re looking for the classic British crunch and overdrive widely popularized during de 70’s. Just plug a Les Paul and you’ll be in Zoso’s territory. I also own an Orange Rockerverb 100 MKIII. These amps might look similar from the outside, but they’re quite different. Even though you can get very similar tones with the Rockerverb, the AD30’s crunch is second to none. The AD30 is a class A amp, whilst the Rockerverb is A/B. Thus, if you’re looking for a high gain amp, pick up the Rockerverb. If you’re more into classic rock crunch (Jimmy Page tones, whom used a couple of these heads -the single channel version- for the 2007 Celebration Day concert in London). In my opinion, the AD30 is also a great sounding amp head for blues (very well suited for electric blues: try the amp with a Stratocaster and you’ll be very close to Stevie Ray V territory). The amp has two “twin channels”. However, I’d say the channels are more like non-identical twins, since channel 2 is a little bit “gainier” with a tighter bass response. Do not get fooled by the “high gain” fame that Orange is associated with. The AD30 doesn’t get where other Orange amps gets in terms of gain, but again, it’s impossible not to love the incredibly musical overdrive and crunch.
This is a fantastic amp. I was initially drawn to it because of the number of knobs (I really enjoy trying to dial into different tones). When i bought this, i hadn't gotten a chance to test it so i took a big risk, but was not disappointed. First, owning this amp is like having two separate amps in one convenient housing. The channels are similar but, have some unique characteristics. Channel one is a great sounding clean channel, and has a similar voicing to a vintage british amp when you turn the gain up. Channel one also seems to have a little more bass and reacts well with higher gauge strings (I play with 11's). Channel Two has a little more gain than Channel One, it get dirty really nicely. With the gain it is really thick through almost any pick up. Its gain is not like the rockerverbs though. This stays on the conservative side and would not work for heavy metal/metalcore shredders. I find it works best for punk, alternative and indie rock. This amp also handles pedals very well despite not having an FX Loop. I use a number of overdrives, choruses, delays, and tremolos in my playing and the tone of this amp really handles them well without the natural voice dying or becoming flat. So if you are into trip rock or psychedelic rock, this amp would still be a good match for you. The only thing that I felt like i gave up was reverb. This amp does not have a built in reverb unit which was a sacrifice because i love reverb, of course this was easily remedied by buying a reverb pedal. This amp is perfect for anyone who is trying to get a truly thick rock sound, or someone who loves adding pedals to their amps.