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Amazing Work by Orange
I picked up an Orange Micro Dark at my local Sam Ash yesterday after being blown away by it's tone. One of the salesman, who I am buddies with, informed me that other salesmen had not been impressed by this tiny beast. Having owned a Micro Terror for a while now, knew exactly why they had not been happy with its tone. They had been playing through the stock 1x6 cabinet that amp comes with. Obviously Orange was not trying to create a great sounding cabinet using a 1x6 cabinet, but rather something that is portable, like the amp itself.
So I set up the Micro Dark on an Orange ppc 2x12 open back cabinet, putting an EHX Cathedral reverb through the FX loop (yes thats right this amp about the size of my iPhone 5 has an FX loop) and let it rip. I couldn't help but laugh because the tones I was getting out of the Micro Dark stopped everyone in the store in their tracks and they came running to see what it was.
This amp sounds nasty. It has awesome bite with a start and snarls like a Rottweiler with a Les Paul. Whats extremely nice is Orange designed this amp with 4 different gain stages. So you can put the gain knob wherever you want and still expect to get great tones out of it. This is a nice feature since the Micro Terror has a few dead spots that don't sound too organic.
This amp is tube hybrid, but is extremely convincing when it comes to tube tone. It has one 12AX7 in the preamp section and the power amp is solid state. The entire head is 20 watts but is way louder than you expect. Another nice feature is it can power normal size cabs, like a 2x12 and 4x12. I will definitely use this amp for practice so I don't have to risk moving my Rocker 30 and dinging its tolex. The Micro Dark also has a line out for headphone or whatever else you'd like to line out, and it supposedly emulates a 4x12 cab, but I have yet to try it. For $189+tax this little thing was well worth my money.
I would give six stars if it would let me!
Absolutely amazing little device; and I use the term "little" very loosely. The power, sound, and overall tone character coming from this thing is anything but little. This is definitely one of those instances where great things come in small packages. From squeaky clean and bright to serious crunch, and everything in between, this thing ain't just a one-trick pony. The tone shape knob is probably one of the most clever controls ever. Some of the cleanest clean tones I've ever heard, and the gain...ohhh...the gain...face melting gain, but still provides amazing articulation even at the highest gain settings. The FX loop is a great feature as well. Works with 8 ohm-16 ohm speakers, and definitely has enough power to rock a 4X12. This thing should be called the Micro Beast! Don't take my word for it, pick one up and check it out!
Size doesn't matter (at least in this case)
Way smaller than I expected and way louder than I hoped for. Don’t be fooled by its size. The Micro Dark is powerful enough to kick a 4x12-cabinet to rehearsal volume level. Soundwise it has in general scooped mids and a very heavy low-end. The highs are a bit fuzzy but acceptable.
The control options are kept very simple but the effects loop in the back makes up for it. To be honest I bought this for the fun of it. In combination with some pedals you can rival bigger (and more expensive) amps for sure.
I love it!
This amp is the best amp you can buy for the money in my book - IF you have a speaker cabinet hanging around. There enough range for cleans, crunch and high gain stuff, and it can even cut a rehersal. I wouldnt try to gig with it, especially if you need loud clean sounds. But for a bedroom, garage situation - the orange micro dark has you covered.
Small but powerful
When this amp arrived, I was so shocked at how small it is. Don't let it's appearance fool you, it is loud and sounds great. Only downsides are that its kind of a one trick pony but it does it well. High gain can sound a bit loose but putting an overdrive or distortion pedal in front of it tightens it up nicely. Also most of the volume you can get is in the first half of volume knob making it hard to get a quiet sound for home practice, between the 0 and 1 mark on the volume makes the same amount of change as between 1 and 5. However there are lots of great features such as the cabsim on the headphone output and the effects loop.
"From 'clean' to 'Kerry King' with just the turn of one knob" is how I described this diminutive head to a friend. OK, so maybe that isn't completely accurate, but for the price, you absolutely cannot beat what this little powerhouse can do. I am currently running this head through the matching 1x8 Orange cabinet, but I hope to soon purchase the Orange 2x12 cabinet and run it through its paces. It's a steal for under $200, and with the additions of the cabinet simulator in the headphone jack, as well as a fully functioning effects loop, there really is no better, no more portable, and no more powerful practice/gigging unit. Thoroughly impressed.
The best sounding, smallest, lightest, tube pre-amp amplifier you could ever want.
This amp has an effects loop, is much louder than it looks, and most importantly for me, as a practice amp, it lives with my pedals in a suitcase, weighing less than a kilogram, and allows travelling to the rehearsal space to be an easy affair. It sounds great!