Orange TH100 Amp Review
The dual-channel TH100 is a lesson in brutal simplicity that hearkens back to Orange’s golden era of no-nonsense designs with immense power. Four EL34s generate 100 watts, but the front-panel half-power switch and a rear-panel switch that pares the tube array down to just two let you reduce it to 70, 50, or 35 watts.
The preamp has four 12AX7 tubes, and the clean channel has bass, treble, and volume knobs, while the dirty channel is governed by gain, volume, and shape (EQ) knobs. A series effects loop and channel footswitching round out the amp’s features.
The TH100’s huge-sounding clean channel won’t disappoint those who relish the bottom-heavy cleans and velvety highs of the classic OR120 amp from the early ’70s. With the amp set at full power and with all four power tubes in play, the enormous headroom makes it challenging to generate any real distortion—even with high-output humbuckers. And it’s ideal if you like loud clean passages or use pedals to lend color. Setting the amp to use just two output tubes softens the low end significantly, and setting it to half power and cranking the volume up halfway yields a smooth, rich overdrive with a humbucker-loaded Les Paul out front.
The amp’s overdrive channel dispenses mammoth-sized distortion that can be tailored to a wide range of rock and metal tones. The slight tinge of upper-mid fuzziness that’s a hallmark of Orange amps is there, but even in extreme gain settings, it never gets too overbearing. Small adjustments of the shape control can have a big effect on the presence, mids, and highs, and the knob is particularly useful for dialing back the intensity of all three for refined modern metal tones.
Setting the shape above 2 o’clock when using brighter-toned humbuckers can make the highs piercing, so it’s best to start at about noon and use it conservatively from there. That said, the TH100’s spartan control layout makes it really hard to get a bad sound out of the amp, and its copious headroom and blistering gain channel make it a no-brainer for players who crave house-leveling Orange grit and power, yet like a classic clean tone in the mix too.
Watch Ola Englund demo the amp:
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