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While I had a blast with the Dirty channel tones, I unearthed the TH30’s real tone gems in the Clean channel. I was floored by how close it was in performance and tone to some of the best nonmaster-volume amps I’ve come across. The punch and clarity reminded me of a healthy, early-’70s Marshall Super Lead, but melded with Orange’s bright top end and elastic low end. And, just like some of the best vintage nonmaster-volume amps, the response and touch sensitivity improved the more I turned up the volume.
Plugging in a Bill Nash S-63 Strat-style guitar helped me access the Clean channel’s sweetest spots. Every playing nuance, right down to slight pick scrapes against the low-E-string wraps, was highlighted in full harmonic color. The PPC 4x10 cab excited the S-63’s naturally bouncy tone. And when I plugged in both cabs and stood in front of the stack, the TH30/S-63 combination provided the perfect mixture of tonal heft and balance. Sonically, it totally lived up to how intimidating it looked.
Though the varied personalities of the TH30’s two channels opened up a world of switching possibilities, balancing the volume between the two and accessing their respective sweet spots took some work. If I had the Clean channel’s Volume at 10 o’clock, the Dirty channel’s Volume had to be at around 2 o’clock for it to have any perceivable punch over the clean tone. At that point, I had to drop the preamp gain considerably to retain the definition of the overdrive tone, and then I had to use the Shape control to dial in the right amount of bite. With time, however, I was able to achieve a good balance for band work, but occasionally at the expense of some of the dirty channel’s better, more aggressive tones.
Orange’s TH30 is a fine addition to their product line. With its simple layout and feature set and its flexible voicing, it packs the potential to deliver that classic fat and bright Orange tone, but it also stays punchy and refined without having to be blisteringly loud. And that simplicity makes this perhaps the perfect place to start for a neophyte looking for the classic, brawny Orange sound. It’s easy to see how the TH30 could win over the hearts and ears of players otherwise sold on classic, clean nonmaster-volume circuits and high-gain aficionados seeking a little more flexibility.
you need modern, British-voiced overdrive and clean tones reminiscent of vintage nonmaster-volume British amps.
you only need British-style high-gain ferocity.
Street $1199 (head), $1349 (1x12 combo) - Orange Amplification - orangeamps.com