Orange Dual Terror Head
Orange Music Electronic Company, Ltd., orangeamps.com
Originally published in Guitar World, September 2009
If you loved the Tiny Terror but want more power and the ability to switch between rhythm and lead settings, the Orange Dual Terror will be
your new best friend.
I could list hundreds of amplifiers that are popular but only a few that can legitimately be called sensations. The Fender Deluxe Reverb, Marshall “Plexi” and Mesa Dual Rectifier come to mind, as well as the more recently released Orange all-tube Tiny Terror. Ever since that amp’s 2007 debut, Orange has worked feverishly to keep up with the demand for this lunchbox-sized British bulldog.
In spite of this, the company has found time to expand the family to include a Tiny Terror combo, a hardwired head version and now the anxiously awaited Dual Terror head. This latest incarnation is basically two foot-switchable Tiny Terror preamps, with a little extra girth and gain in the Fat, or lead, channel. In addition to seven- and 15-watt settings, the Dual Terror can put out 30 watts of Class A power from its EL84-driven power section. There are no extra frills or other changes to the proven format, and the Tiny Terror’s glorious tones are preserved.
Orange did an excellent job of making the Dual Terror a more versatile version of the Tiny Terror without affecting the features that made the original so adored. The aesthetics are the same, including the rigid chrome handle, classic orange, black and white color scheme, and vented, cabinet-free chassis. The Dual is a bit larger than the Tiny but not so much that it affects the amp’s back-saving portability or status as an ultra-compact head. As with all Orange amps, the mechanical components, such as jacks and switches, are of the highest quality and durable enough to withstand many years of rugged use. Each channel has identical three-knob configurations for gain, volume and tone, with Orange’s unique music notations and schematic symbols in place of control names.
Whereas the Tiny Terror has two EL84 tubes, the Dual Terror uses a quartet of EL84s to create its Class A–configured power. This contributes to minor changes in the harmonic focus without altering the essential nuances that make the Tiny Terror so pleasing in every gain range. What you get from the extra power and valves is a lot more headroom and enough volume to make a 4x12 pound the floor. There’s a single input, a two-way on/off switch, a two-way switch to select channels (this can also be accomplished with the footswitch) and a three-way switch for full/standby/half power. Backside features include three speaker outputs, but as with the Tiny Terror, there’s no effect loop.
The Dual Terror's EL84s give it a character that diverges slightly from the Tiny Terror’s. Quite frankly, in this Class A configuration, the difference is so negligible that most people won’t even notice it. Some top notes are a little rounder, and there’s an extra kick in the low end. The Dual is also faintly less spongy and harmonically dense than the Tiny at identical settings. Of course, this becomes somewhat more apparent at the Dual Terror’s 30-watt setting due to the increased sound pressure and speaker movement.
The balanced and warm tube response of practically every tone in the Dual Terror will put many boutique amps to shame. There’s something about the design of this amp that captures more of the tube sound and injects less electronic flavor, which is why the Tiny Terror Series has astonished the guitar community. Clean tones can have the edgy bite that defines British amps, or they can be dialed to scoop the mids for more of an American feel, all without forfeiting the singing presence that brings tones to the front of the mix. Crunch tones are sublime and denser than most of the amp’s Brit counterparts, and the high-gain settings are rich, defined and replete with harmonic bloom. The lead and rhythm channels are similar, with just a hair more fat and gain in the lead.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you loved the Tiny Terror but want more power and the ability to switch between rhythm and lead settings, the Orange Dual Terror will be your new best friend. Its EL84s provide an extra notch of punch, and the impressive headroom in 30-watt mode makes the Dual Terror a capable partner with large speaker cabinets and in moderately loud live settings.
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