29 October 2012

Amps: Orange Rockerverb 50 head + PPC212 cab


This entry was already published in my previous blog in Spanish, during March 2009. I am revisiting here the entry and adding information derived of the use of this head.
Information about this head corresponds to the first version of the Rockerverb (MKI, if you like it) and, not to the next MKII one.


This head is a Limited Edition that has white tolex and that was specially made for NAAM '96. The cab is standard Orange, with the typical orange tolex.

The look of the head is impressive. It smells to quality everywhere and looks to be built like a tank. The white tolex makes it really sexy, more than with the typical orange tolex. The logo of the 2009 Limited Edition and the Great Britain flag hanging of the handle complete the picture.
The head isn't so long as a Marshall head but, maybe a bit wider.

The PPC212 cab is HUGE, really huge and weighty, with a closed back and a pair of Celestion V30 loaded inside. As the cab, smells to quality and his weight says about the amount of wood used to build it. It comes without casters so, it's a pain to move it from here to there.

The complete pack costed me LESS than a Mesa Boogie 5/25 combo and, that's a good point for such a rig.

The head has two foot switchable channels, one clean and a second one overdrived. The first one is delivering sweet clean tones while the second one can cover crunch levels, as the JTM45 ones, to modern hi-gain, with some JTM800 sounds in between (gain around 6-7).

Clean channel has three available controls: Volume, Treble and Bass so, the Mids are obtained be tweaking trebles and basses in different ways, a bit tricky but, its made in a way that it's really difficult to set it up in a wrong sounding way.
Dirty channel additionally has a Gain and a Mids control, so it can be tweaked more accurately.
Both channels share the Reverberation but, rest of controls are independent.

On the back panel, several speaker outputs that allow any kind of cabs configuration, the jacks for the two foot switches (channel and reverb) and a "Damping Switch" that changes the negative loop feedback behaviour, changing the foundational voice of the head, from classic and dynamic to modern and compressed.

The Sound

The Damping Switch on the back panel controls the way the Feedback Loop works in the amp. In its HIGH position, the sound becomes thicker and compresser, with less dynamics and better for modern stuff. In its LOW position, the sound becomes more classic, with great dynamics and better for classic rock stuff.

The amp loads 4 6V6GT tubes so, it delivers more American cleans than other Orange models. Cleans are realy beautiful, even that they can sound a bit sterile at low levels, when the dial is about number 6 or 7 the sound is really good. Not a Fender clean, not a Vox clean, it has its own clean but, a very nice one.
The reverb is ENORMOUS-MOUS-MOUS-MOUS and, can easily go from discrete and subtle to the hyper-space. With the right amount of Reverb and a Stratocaster, you can dial really nice tones there.

The Dirty chanel covers a lot of ground and goes from slight overdrived crunch (a la JTM45) to creamy and thick high gain, with JMC800 tones in between. Since the tubes are more American flavored than British, the distortion character is more creamy than crunchy but, it delivers nice rock tones but, slightly modernly sounding.

The independent group of controls allows you to easily balance the loudness levels of both channels, in a way that switching from one to other, you retain same level.

Be sure to test the amp in both modes, because it behaves very differently in dynamics and overall feel, being my preferred setting the LOW one, because it's more dynamic and classic sounding but, for more high gain stuff, probably the HIGH mode is the one you would like more.

About headroom: more than enough.The amp can easily eat with potatoes the hardest of the drummers and, it's incredible loud. In fact, to really enjoy the sound of that amp you have to really crank it (at least, at 6 or 7) and, at that loudness, the amp can be painful louder, if the room isn't big enough.
The Dirty channel allows you to play to lower levels, even that when you achieve the real mojo is also when cranked enough. Even that the gain doesn't reach the level of the red channels of Mesa Boogies or Diezel or similar, they can go really thick in the HIGH mode and, very close. It has a good amount of basses and, works fine with detuned tunings.

This is clearly NOT an amp for home practicing and, even too loud for studio work. It's a real gigging amp or, to be played in a band. If you plan to use it at home or studio, maybe you will want to use some kind of attenuator or an smaller cab with less efficient speakers, since the V30 are one of loudests.

The FX Loop is fantastic and, not a surprise, since Orange was the company that introduced first the FX Loop concept in amps. All pedals I've tested in front and in the loop worked flawless and, the amp seems to take with ease everything.


Even that I have some videos with the Rockerverb, I wasn't satisfied with them so, I would prefer to link videos of some other user that I find more interesting than mine to demostrate some of the amp's character.

Also, for more high gain tones, Monkeylord can give some light here:

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