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AC30 or Orange Combo?
Old 19th April 2006
  #1
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AC30 or Orange Combo?

Looking for an amp for the studio and for shows.

Something versatile for chill to heavier rock

Thanks! If you have any other suggestions I'd be happy to hear about them.


Old 19th April 2006
  #2
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
 

The Orange is in another league as far as build quality goes unless you are talking about an older AC30...the new ones are made in China.
Old 19th April 2006
  #3
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Thanks Chris

Any Orange combos you'd recommend?
Old 19th April 2006
  #4
Gear Nut
 

New or used AC30? If looking at new AC30s, I'd forget it and look at Dr Z instead. Oranges are fantastic, but I'd take an older AC30 or a Z Maz 18 over one. Just personal taste, but AC30s and MAZs are two of my favorite amps.
Old 19th April 2006
  #5
C/G
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Orange AD30 are great amps. My guitar player uses it and we do rock - chilled type stuff. It's a bit dark, but that is because of the Celestion Vintage 30's in there. He tours with it in his other band with no roadcase and it is still solid and functions perfectly after being bashed around. New NOS EL84's could probably open up the sound a bit if you swapped em out and got rid of the ones in there. They have lots of volume for rehearsing. I was going to suggest checking out the MySpace link below but I can not remember if he used his Orange or my Hiwatt for that tune, but it's a ****ty demo anyway and is far from finished.
Old 19th April 2006
  #6
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Gaucher
Orange AD30 are great amps. My guitar player uses it and we do rock - chilled type stuff. It's a bit dark, but that is because of the Celestion Vintage 30's in there. He tours with it in his other band with no roadcase and it is still solid and functions perfectly after being bashed around. New NOS EL84's could probably open up the sound a bit if you swapped em out and got rid of the ones in there. They have lots of volume for rehearsing. I was going to suggest checking out the MySpace link below but I can not remember if he used his Orange or my Hiwatt for that tune, but it's a ****ty demo anyway and is far from finished.
Actually, V30's are about the brightest speaker you can get...many complain that they are too harsh. The darkness in tone comes from the Orange cabs which are about twice as thick and heavy as most cabinets. I love Orange/Matamp stuff, but I find their cabinets are sort of dead sounding. I've got V30's in my Bogner 4x12 and it sounds phenomenal.
Old 19th April 2006
  #7
C/G
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Interesting. We put it beside my 4 x 12" Hiwatt cab (thick plywood) and the Fanes were much brighter than the V30's. Even put my friends V30 equipped Hiwatt 4 x 12" cab beside mine and mine with the Fanes is much brighter. Same with my modded Fender Quad Reverb. I have Weber Thames in there and the V30's are still darker. I did try V30's in my Hiwatt and ripped them out and left the Fanes in there. That is the beauty of things, people will hear everything differently.
Old 19th April 2006
  #8
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meteor's Avatar
 

THe orange will be a bit more aggressive and have a bit more in the low end. THE DR. Z EL-84 stuff is also brilliant and, tonally, probably somewhere in between these two. The Z Maz 38 SR. is an amp I record regularly and it sounds ridiculous.

IOW... flip a coin.

cheers,
Old 19th April 2006
  #9
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robmix's Avatar
You can't go wrong with either the Orange AD30 or the Dr Z. I'd pick either over a new AC30 anytime. The Dr Z. cleans up better than the Orange in my opinion. The Orange is built like a tank.
Old 19th April 2006
  #10
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Meriphew's Avatar
 

I was seriously considering getting one of the new Vox AC30 Brian May editions, but then remembered that they're made in China and not the UK anymore. I have a 2002 AC30 TBX (UK) that I love, but I really liked the simplicity of the Brian May model.
Old 19th April 2006
  #11
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mtstudios@charter's Avatar
 

Well, the orange amps record very bright, I don't like them in the digital world. New Ac30's aint that great. Old AC30's Top Boosts record very well, but run quite hot, therefore, I would not take one to shows or risk repair contantly. You can't really save $$$ in this department. You should have one nice Old AC30 for the studio and maybe a Matchless for live, or the Orange.


www.bluethumbproductions.com
Old 19th April 2006
  #12
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John Peacock's Avatar
 

I like both amps. As far as vintage vs. reissue, yeah they sound different for both Oranges and Voxes. There are a lot of variables to consider... But with appropriate speakers and good tubes, I haven't heard or played a reissue of either that wasn't at least darn good. Yes, even the new AC30's.

These are different amps. There are some similarities, but big sonic differences.

I hate to be one of those guys that says try them both out, but guitar amps are a lot easier to try out in a store than say a microphone preamp. You don't even need to hand over a credit card. Just bring your favorite guitar along and plug it in. And even most boutique amps are still available within driving distance for most people in the US. So I can't think of an excuse not to try them both out.

-Jp
Old 19th April 2006
  #13
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marchhare's Avatar
 

I have a 95 re-issue AC-30 and an Orange Rockerverb 50. I love them both, but if
I had to just use one, it'd definitely be the Orange. Great cleans, amazing overdrive.
Go with an Orange.
Old 20th April 2006
  #14
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Rob G's Avatar
 

My suggestion is buy both if you can afford it, & double mic them simultaneously when recording with good isolation in between them. If you can't afford both then get a new Orange amp, & find a friend that has a AC 30 in good condition that you can borrow when you need it.

Rob G..
Old 20th April 2006
  #15
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indie's Avatar
 

I had a Limited Edition Vox (purple color) and it was absolutely killer. It was made around '96 i think. Had and sold Dr.Z maz 38 and maz 18jr...great amps. But when I tried Bad Cat amps, well, that's when I sold a lot of my amps.
Just personal preference -- because they're all great.

A few months ago, I tried out some Orange amps. I REALLY like the AD30 and the Rocker 30 was so so to me.
I ended up buying a 76 marshall combo...which KILLLS.
Micah
Old 7th February 2009
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
guitarbth's Avatar
 

I'm going to bring this thread back to life...

Anyone have any more thoughts on the Orange AD30 vs the Dr. Z Maz 18?

I love the Orange but it could be more versatile and I have never tried the Maz 18. I really like the breakup of the Orange. Can the Maz do this?

My genre and potential clients are basically indie rock, pop rock, alt country, and some classic rock. (Death Cab for Cutie, Coldplay, Ryan Adams, Led Zep). What would be better?
Old 7th February 2009
  #17
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cloiselle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisrulesmore View Post
The Orange is in another league as far as build quality goes unless you are talking about an older AC30...the new ones are made in China.
also note that chineese manufacturing has tighter specs and tolerances than american .

mazda b2000 for an example,

better built and longer lasting engine / transmission and frame than the american ford ranger counterpart.

don't be fooled by american pride, foreign manufacturing processes are no joke, not unlike our biased and un supported judgement of our own countries production.

with that being said,

the vox will give you a brighter, grittier and more lively sound while the orange * almost all of them * will be a little fuller, a little more " growly " and alot more mid based , Not as "classic " in the tone department.

however an ac30 with some true NOS tubes ( expensive ) will go from being a " Cheaply manufacturedfuuck" amp to a tone machine . although i would have to say even the ac30cc1 in stock form will rock you if you know how to set it up and use your guitar and playing techniques to alter your tone . plus the mistaken pure class a transformer is truely an a/b transformer and re-biases for every note you put through it, offers great dynamics, sensitivity and detail . now that is rocking my friend
Old 7th February 2009
  #18
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James Lugo's Avatar
 

I would look somewhere else completely, AC30 suck for hard rock IMO. Both Oranges and Vox's can sound very boxey and honky which to me is not very versitile.

Depending on how much cash you want to spend an Einstien combo can be awesome for what you are looking for. To me that's a whole other league, will kill most all boutique combos dead.
Old 7th February 2009
  #19
Gear Addict
 

The Vox Heritage Series is handwired made in China. Any of them I have played have been real tone machines.

In terms of their hard rock suitability James Williamson played a Les Paul through one on Raw Power by Iggy and the Stooges. I also heard that the Foo Fighters used them on One by One.
Old 7th February 2009
  #20
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rob S's Avatar
the early 90's AC30 re issues sound really good.
they sound different than the vintage ones but it is by no means a bad sound.
i've made almost 15 yrs worth of records with one and the sound did not affect sales in a negative way........
love DR.Z stuff.

also just because something is made in china doesnt mean its automatically bad.
Old 8th February 2009
  #21
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Cameron Johnson's Avatar
 

I couldn't decide either, so I picked up one of each a while ago :o). I love them both, and will NEVER part with them. I bought one of the new AC30CCH's, and though it's Chinese made, it actually kills... though I've had some maintenance issues, I'd gladly deal with them for the sounds I'm getting out of it. My orange is a 10 or 15 watt combo... can't remember the model right now, but it's also fantastic.

If I could only ever own two amps, these two would be the ones :o)

PS - I mainly record/play indie-rock witha touch of pop, so that's my background in using them...
Old 8th February 2009
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
strat+ac30's Avatar
 

Two comments:

(1) I trust people at the Plexi Palace forum more than anywhere else online when it comes to opinions about amps. They dig the "modern" AC30s and have done a buttload of tests with dozens of amps lined up together. IIRC, the consensus was that the new amps, with either the Celestion Blue reissue speakers or Weber's alnico blue speakers, were neck in neck with the top 50% of vintage amps. (These are guys who own 2-3 different vintage AC30s apiece.)

There's also other mods - like a transformer change - that can move the amp from comparing with the top 50% of vintage amps to the top 20%. I haven't done anything like that yet, so can't speak to that. But there are a ton of knowledgeable people at Plexi Palace who derive a substantial portion of income from tuning AC30s, both vintage and modern.

FWIW I have a "modern" AC30 and have had no issues with build quality, sound, etc. I did two mods: changed the speakers to Weber blues, and clipped the "bright cap". (Do a search on bright capacitors if you need more info - essentially they make the amp sound way brigher when volume is less than halfway up...a "feature" not on the originals.)

I dig the way the amp sounds and that's enough for me (though answering the OP's question about style is a different issue...the AC30 doesn't do modern dual rectifier angry white boy music well at all, at least not by itself).

(2) Quality has absolutely nothing to do with WHERE the amp is produced. Seriously, do you think that US/UK factory workers being paid $7.50 an hour will care any more than a Chinese man who is getting paid above-average wages compared to his peers? Just imagine your typical McDonalds employee building amps...yeah, that's a much more likely scenario than an engineer with a trained eye for detail and precision. That engineer is likely working for $80-120k with cutting edge technologies, not 60-year old circuits that still happen to sound wicked when cranked.

There's a whole industry built around quality control (six sigma, etc) and that knowledge isn't exclusive to Western countries. The reason most Chinese mics/guitars/whatever suck is because poor quality components are used and the final product doesn't have stringent quality controls (throwing away lemons - instead of selling them - isn't cheap). Good companies - whether they're General Electric or amp builders - know this and address the problem.

Is quality today the same as when Dick Denney was building AC30s by hand? Well, that depends. Consistency today is CERTAINLY higher than 50 years ago...for better or worse. The difference is that most factories don't have a dude with a guitar - and good ears - playing the amp to make sure it sounds good before it's shipped off to be sold.

Anyways, that's enough $0.02 for one night. Enjoy!
Old 8th February 2009
  #23
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FadersmakmeHappy's Avatar
 

I played a vintage AC30 for sometime and it had a certain magic that the new amps lack IMO. That said I have a handwired AC30 and think that is records extremely well.

Why don't you just play the two amps and see which one your ears prefer? While it is a good idea to get a couple of recommends from people it seems ridiculous to buy an amp on someone else recommentation. Get an amp you like the sound of and record it well.
Old 8th February 2009
  #24
Umm!

I like the AD 30 quite a lot but if you want to get that slightly saggy tube rectifier chime thing in spades you will need to get an original but recapped AC 30 top boost or old old Matamp 2000, I have a Custom Matamp made for Celestion in 1968 its a 4 X EL34 With two 5U4G tube rectifiers so I power soak it via a sequis motherload into one of those old 12" fender (or who actually made it, CTS) square ceramic magnet speakers in an open back cab. It cant handle any real power but its so light and agile and not a hint of boxyness like the old anstropic ferrite magnet fane driver, as used in early Hiwatt closed back cabs. I thought hard about getting one of those celestion blue bottle nose alnico
jobbies but I am a bit too much of an old fender deville combo fan to like it that warm.
But with a very bright amp like an ac 30 top boost its a classic.
I don't want my snarling Matamp excesses tamed though!
Old 8th February 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
 

May I suggest a completely different brand???

See if you can locate a Guytron GT-100 and a small 2x12 cab. I think that the GT-100 came in a 2x12 combo as well.

Ive had maybe 12-15 Marshalls over the years, HiWatt, old Orange OR120 etc etc.

If you are into those you will love a GT100.
Old 8th February 2009
  #26
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huarez's Avatar
 

I wouldn´t consider wether an ac 30 nor an orange as high end......
Old 8th February 2009
  #27
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A LaMere's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
the early 90's AC30 re issues sound really good.
they sound different than the vintage ones but it is by no means a bad sound.

also just because something is made in china doesnt mean its automatically bad.
Agreed that the early 90's ac30's do have 'a sound'. They sound great to my ears as well. It's cool to hear that you got both..

If it were up to me, I'd choose an AC30 over the Orange all day long and honestly...
I'd consider the AC30 waaaaaay more versatile for recording than the Orange.
Although, my guitar player has the Orange... and I am impressed that it's more versatile than I would've originally assumed. It actually has kind of a flat, boxy clean sound that is very cool sounding.
Old 8th February 2009
  #28
Oh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by huarez View Post
I wouldn´t consider wether an ac 30 nor an orange as high end......
OK What guitar amps would you consider high end?. I mean we can all whitter on endlessly about sample rates and ultra high end clean mic's and pre's but if you can't get a good old SM 57 or a cool old ribbon mic to get a great classic guitar sound with plenty of good old fashioned filth in it. Where are you?.
Or am I sposed to bin my large vintage guitar amp collection in favor of something esoteric and Boutique?.
If you want a marshall JCM 800 you want a marshall JCM 800. There just isn't one do it all amp. You need all of them.
Old 8th February 2009
  #29
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A LaMere's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by huarez View Post
I wouldn´t consider wether an ac 30 nor an orange as high end......
heh heh...
I got a kick out of this as well..
Old 8th February 2009
  #30
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by huarez View Post
I wouldn´t consider wether an ac 30 nor an orange as high end......
LOL

there's one in every group......
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