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Orange Amplification is one of the world’s most iconic amp builders. Their circuits have powered the work of musicians across genres, from Peter Green and James Brown to Mastodon. And from the very company’s very first amp, Orange has always deftly combined style, tone versatility and innovation. But aside from a few short-lived experiments with digital amplifiers in the mid 1970s, the company has remained resolutely dedicated to the power of the vacuum tube. With the OPC, which is as much a desktop computer as a guitar amp, Orange is venturing beyond their time-tested template for success—creating a tool that gives players the power to practice, record, and create from a portable, combo-sized box that still beams with bold and striking Orange style.
A Geek in Rock ‘n’Roll Threads
There’s little clue that the OPC is anything other than another cool-looking Orange amp at a distance. Like most other Orange products, the presentation is immaculate and features their signature orange vinyl, wicker grille, and iconic crest & logo. The controls on the top of the amp look like typical guitar amp fixtures too—there’s a Volume control, Treble, Middle, Bass, an orange jewel light, two ¼” input jacks and a power button. It’s important to note that the knobs control the signal between the computer output and the internal speakers; they do not control the signal routed into the computer. Also on the top-side control panel is But there is also a slot for a CD/DVD drive and a USB jack on the top control panel. One of the ¼” input jacks is a guitar input, the other has two mini-switches that toggle instrument/mic impedance and +20dB boost. A retractable Wi-Fi antenna stows away from the top panel.
On the back of the unit you’ll see a lot of typical PC connections as well as some additional audio in/outs including optical S/PDIF Out, digital S/PDIF Out, integrated audio outputs for 5.1 and 7.1 setups, and integrated mic & line inputs. There’s two additional ¼” line inputs allowing you to wire in keyboards or rack effects, for instance, and two ¼” line outputs for connecting to studio reference monitors. The right channel line output also doubles as a stereo headphone output.
The OPC is built around an Intel i3 3.10 GHz dual core CPU running 64-bit Windows 7 with 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 500 GB 7200 RPM hard drive. And it comes loaded with PreSonus Studio One recording software, Acoustica Mixcraft 5 multi-track/midi software and IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube emulations software.
There are a multitude of data connections for interfacing with peripheral devices as well, including eSATA, two HDMI outs, VGA out, Ethernet, and seven USB ports, two of which are USB 3.0 capable. Stock graphics are handled by the motherboard however, the OPC allows you to install a graphics upgrade into a PCI Express x16 slot. If this all looks like hieroglyphs, rest assured that the connectivity options will allow you to connect just about any peripheral device, with the exception of Firewire
While a traditional guitar amp uses guitar speakers to color the sound of an amplified signal, the onboard software in the OPC emulates the entire signal chain, from the amp, to the cab, to the mics, all the way down to their placement around the emulated cab. For this reason, the OPC uses two two-way 165mm JBL GTO6528S speakers full range speakers, which are not intended to color the sound but—like studio reference monitors—project a flattened, source-accurate frequency response.