Orange Super Crush 100 1x12 combo: What is it?
Is the solid-state guitar amp going to make a comeback? Has it every been away? It certainly seems like it. The market for guitar amps is a little like the gear industry itself in that it is being pulled in two different directions.
On one side, you have the modernisers, the digital amp mavens that apply the magic of digital signal processing to develop amplifiers with onboard guitar effects and amp modellers. On the other, there are the traditionalists, those for whom the vacuum tube has yet to be bettered in amp design.
So, consider the solid-state amplifier. The transistorised amp that eschews a lot of that digital voodoo and yet offers a more user-friendly alternative to the tube amp. It might well be the happy medium. The solid-state amp does not enjoy the same profile that it once did but amplifiers such as this 1x12 combo from British amp titans Orange might change the conversation. At 100-watts, the giggable Orange Crush 100 might also drown it out.
Available in orange or black tolex, and indeed as a 100-watt amp head should that format suit you better, the Orange Crush 100 is unmistakably orange. It has the wheat-coloured grille cloth, the black dials on a white control panel, explained solely by Orange’s initially opaque hieroglyphics, and it traffics in tones that have been marinating in the storied amp brand’s history.
Looking at the control panel, the Orange Crush 100 is not too dissimilar to its Rockerverb 100 tube amp sibling but without the valves and the price tag. It has two channels, with volume, bass and treble knobs controlling the Clean Channel, gain, bass, middle, treble and volume controlling the Dirty Channel, plus master volume and reverb. Helpfully, the channels and the digital reverb is footswitchable, with the two-button Orange FS-2 footswitch sold separately for around 30 bucks or so.
Under the hood, things get interesting, with the Orange Crush 100's two channels serviced by a JFET preamp and then going through the Class A/B power amp of Orange’s Pedal Baby 100. It’s a potent combination, delivering what Orange describes as four stages of gain, an analogue sound to rival its tube amp rivals, while also making a stable tonal platform for your pedalboard via a transparent buffered effects loop.
There are a few modern digital improvements brought to bear on the design, too, such as the XLR out with cab sim tech, allowing you to run it digitally virtually as a 2x12, plus there’s a switchable Cab Back setting, allowing you to simulate open and closed-back cabinets. Finally, inside that birch-ply cabinet, you will find a 12” Celestion ‘Red Back’ G12H-150 driver, a 150-watt rated speaker with an oversized 2” voice coil and Celestion’sheaviest G12 magnet.
Orange Super Crush 100 1x12 combo: Performance and verdict
There’s a lot of power here. Hence the ‘Red Back’ making a sound choice of speaker. But Orange is conscious of maintaining control over the sound. The headroom is exceptional, and this is an amplifier designed to give you glassy cleans if you want them, before turning you onto the sort of big-beast classic Brit rock tones on which the brand made its name.
• Blackstar Silverline Deluxe
Available in head form or in a variety of combos – including a 100-watter like the Orange Super Crush – the Silverline is an exceptional digital amplifier with a state-of-the-art performance that lets you select your power tube emulation.
• Boss Katana Artist
With sounds that challenge many good valve amps and stay consistently good night after night, not to mention effects that are as good as those on many pedalboards, the Katana Artist is a tempting proposition for creative pro players as well as the function band guys who need a range of authentic presets.
All of the amp tech is analogue here, and the vibe is very much like that of a valve amp in terms of response. The reverb is digital, a veritable Apple Watch on a caveman’s wrist, but it’s a nice spring reverb that gets good and splashy at extreme settings.
The XLR out makes the Orange Crush a practical recording tool. It is quiet, too. Its output makes it a powerful performance tool. And no one is going to complain about its no-fuss design, at least not after becoming acquainted with the symbols underneath the controls (they’re not that esoteric, promise!).
That clean channel has a lot of musicality to it and will pair well with the pedalboard. The Dirty Channel has no shortage of dirt, but crucially it has a comprehensive spectrum of gain, from sparkling break-up through to mean harmonically rich distortion.
All this tone and power at this price makes a good deal. You will no doubt want to budget for that footswitch, however. The channel switching is otherwise performed by a toggle switch that’s immediately next to the on/off switch, and our clumsiness could well switch the thing off by accident – particularly in the heat of battle.
MusicRadar verdict: With an abundance of power and a voice that ranges from classy crystal clean through Brit sparkle, grunt and drive, and is indeed tube-like, the Orange Super Crush 100 makes a convincing argument in favour of solid-state amp design.
Orange Super Crush 100 1x12 combo: The web says
“There is so much more to the Super Crush 100 than ‘70s-style overdrive. Far from being a one trick pony, it does the full gamut of essential electric guitar tones very well from sparkling cleans to crushing distortion. Quiet in operation, tons of headroom, and with more than enough volume to serve most player’s needs the Super Crush 100 is a highly versatile amp for both stage and studio.”
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Orange Super Crush 100 1x12 combo: Hands-on demos
Orange Super Crush 100 1x12 combo: Specifications
- TYPE: Solid-state 100-watt combo amp
- OUTPUT: 2-channel JFET preamp, 100-watt class A/B power amp
- CONTROLS: Clean Channel: Volume, Bass, Treble; Dirty Channel: Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Volume; Master: Reverb, Volume; Dirty/Clean Channel switch; Open/Closed Cab. Back switch (analogue D.I.)
- SOCKETS: Single input; balanced (XLR) D.I.; FX Loop Send/Return; Clean/Dirty Channel & Reverb on/off footswitches; speaker output (8 ohms)
- WEIGHT: 18.1kg
- DIMENSIONS: [HxWxD] 450 x 550 x 290mm
- FINISH: Orange or Black vinyl; basketweave grill cloth front
- ALSO AVAILABLE: Super Crush 100 Head
- CONTACT: Orange Amps (opens in new tab)