What is it?
Orange is hardly synonymous with acoustic guitar amplification but with the Crush Acoustic 30 the British amp titan applies much of its classic aesthetic to a portable 30-watt combo that can be run via a DC power supply or batteries.
It's a bold move. There are no shortage of portable acoustic combos that offer an all-in-one solution for solo performers looking to totally crush open-mic night or nail The Sound Of Silence outside Boots The Chemist at half-three on a Saturday afternoon. But Orange has always been rewarded for being bold.
The Acoustic 30 is in so many respects, quintessentially Orange. There is the well-constructed tilted cabinet, replete in orange-vinyl with the wheat-coloured front cloth.
The control panel, mounted atop the unit, is pretty straightforward, once you decode Orange's trademark glyphs.
Splitting the controls for the two channels, Channel 1 offers Pad and Colour Switches, Gain and a 3-band EQ. Channel 2 is voiced for your mic, and comes equipped with switches for phantom and Mic/Line switch, plus Gain, Treble and Bass.
Global controls include a master volume, notch control, effects, level and a blend control so you can mix how much of your guitar or vocals you want in the mix. There is a 1/8" mini-jack aux input for playing along with external audio. At this price, we're a little surprised this isn't
On the rear of the amp there is an XLR out with ground life, a buffered effects loop, and 1/4" line out. The battery compartment takes 10 AA-batteries and requires a screwdriver to open. Battery life is pegged at around five hours at 50 per cent volume and eight at low volume. Run it at full power and you'd get around three hours.
Performance and verdict
The tilted cabinet is a big plus when it comes to projecting a little more sound around the room or the great outdoors. Weighing just over 6kg, the Acoustic 30 is certainly portable enough.
Buskers shouldn't have any trouble carrying it around, but would be well-advised to stock up on some rechargeables lest they be singing their hearts out in the hope of a Duracell endorsement.
Once you've addressed your power requirements, acoustic players have got pretty much everything they need for casual settings. The EQ is very impressive. The big thing about acoustic amps is you don't want them saucing your tone, and here the control Orange offers you means it's no umbrage dialling in a sound that presents your acoustic as it should be heard.
You can assign the reverb or chorus to either channel or both via the blend control. The effects are selected via a single rotary dial so, sadly, you can't combine reverb and chorus. The reverb is quite exceptional, adding life and depth to the deadest of spaces.
If the mood takes you, you can dial in some quite extreme wobble from the chorus, which makes for some fun experimenting. Otherwise it is perfectly music, again, adding a bit of depth and movement to your tone.
Whether amplifying our piezo-equipped acoustic or one with a magnetic soundhole pickup, the Acoustic 30 is loud – certainly for indoor settings. Whether it'd struggle on the high street depends on the street.
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While it might take a little bit of time to find the sweet spot when switching between guitars, we're quite confident that the tone stack here is more than capable of digging out a solid tone for your instrument.
With our magnetic-pickup acoustic, taking out some of the midrange helped. Orange has also equipped the Acoustic 30 with some quick fixes for your tone. The Colour switch might just be the thing you should you have to boost your presence and cut mids at a single stroke.
The Pad switch comes in handy if your instrument's pickups are running a little hot and you need to knock some output off them before they reach the circuit. It'll take 10dB off your instrument's signal.
All in all, the performance is impressive for sure. The options are pretty fierce at this price, though, with Fishman and Blackstar both offering acoustic combos that are a little higher powered, with Bluetooth connectivity too.
But if you are looking for portability, and you only need to be heard over shoppers, the Acoustic 30, with its battery power and mic input remains mightily attractive.
MusicRadar verdict: With its battery-powered, take-me-anywhere functionality, mic input and responsive EQ, the Orange Crush Acoustic 30 is a very respectable option for the solo performer.
The web says...
"We found the Crush Acoustic 30 to be loud for such a compact combo. Testing with both a an electro with a Fishman piezo system and another with an active magnetic soundhole pickup, the EQ is highly responsive."
"I could see this amp handling a quiet coffeehouse or living room gig, but it strikes me as underpowered for busking on a noisy street corner, although the battery operation makes it a great candidate for doing exactly that. The Crush Acoustic 30 could be a great personal monitor on a large gig, utilizing the XLR DI out to feed the house PA. It’s a smart-looking little sound system with effects."
"The petite Crush Acoustic 30 throws a surprising amount of full-range sound, and its angled tilt-back design noticeably assists in projection. The amp operates quietly and provides a crisp-yet-warm, punchy tone with plenty of room to sculpt through its EQ and mid frequency sweep."
- TYPE: Acoustic combo amp with optional battery power
- OUTPUT: 30 watts
- CONTROLS: Channel 1: Pad switch, Colour Switch, Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass Channel 2: Phantom power switch, Mic/Line switch, Gain, Treble, Bass
- MASTER: Notch Frequency, Volume
- EFFECTS: Effect select, Blend, Level
- SOCKETS: Balanced XLR out, Ground Lift switch, ¼ inch Line Out, FX Loop, DC 19V power input
- DIMENSIONS: [HxWxD] 260mm x 320mm x 220mm
- WEIGHT: 6.12kg
- CONTACT: Orange Amplification