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Orange,HiWatt, Marshall, what are the main differences?

Dr. Ellwood

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Marshalls crunch & snarl(higher gain). Hiwatts pound & swat(more clean headroom). Oranges thump & boom(strong low mid response). That's about all I ever noticed, really. Love 'em all. I think a three amp set up with one of each would made a killer noise.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.




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I don't have any experience with Orange, and we all know what Marshall's sound like. I have a Hiwatt DR103. Like Picker said, loads of clean headroom (especially the 4 hole models). It's got some great low end, thick and clear. The overdrive is really creamy. Some notable players of Hiwatts are Pete Townshend and David Gilmour.

Oh, and it's freakin' LOUD. Like, louder than anything you've ever heard.

There's a great forum dedicated to these vintage amps at Plexi Palace www.vintageamps.com


I'm trying to figure out a way to A/B/AB the Hiwatt and the Rivera Knucklehead :thu:

It's not simple to be simple.

-H. Matisse


Ross Precision Guitars

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I never owned an Orange, so I've no firsthand opinion. HiWatts sound wonderful, but (and I haven't had one since the 70s) had to be set to "stun" levels to get the sound that I wanted (hence, no doubt, the name...)


I like the sound of the 1970s era pre-master volume control four hole 50 watt Marshalls, but I had to have an Altair in line to reduce the SPLs.



"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."


Steve Martin


Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.



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I do have first-hand experience with all of these amps.


Marshalls are ROCK... of all kinds. You'll see them in almost every form of rock music. They've got a classically definable sound when overdriven--throaty, gritty, punchy. They are classics for a good reason.


Hi-Watts... always seem to remind me of singer/songwriters gone electric because they really don't overdrive too much unless they're played at ungodly levels. Rather, they seem suited for strummers who like a "chime" tone and lots of clarity. They're great amps.


Orange... they kind of remind me of a cheese that shares the color of this amp line. They're like a sharp cheddar. These amps can blast your eyes and ears out. They're not subtle amps at all, and while they're not known for their clarity and "chime" like Hi-watts or punch and grit of Marshalls, Orange amps have a singular appeal. They don't immediately suggest a use... What I mean is, Mesa-Boogie Triple Rectifiers kinda beg to be maxed out and "crunched," Hi-Watts kinda beg you to play "Pictures of Lily" and Marshalls will have you pounding out "Back In Black," but Ornage amps? Hmmm... they're a little more obscure. To be honest, I have seen a lot of stoner rock bands using Orange rigs to great effect, and I know Paige Hamilton of Helmet was a big fan... So.. I guess they're what I would call more of an "electic" amp that is very noticeable both sonically and visually.



"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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From reviews I've read, older Orange amps are built to almost military specs, meaning very well made. I have heard them, and agree one would be nice to have in one's collection, along with both Marshall and Hi Watt, and every other cool amp out there - Boogies, Fenders, Carvins, Kranks, Randalls, Hughes and Kettners, Riveras, Soldanos, Z's, Bogners, Badcats, Koch's....the list is endless.


I surely can't afford for the same sickness that compels me to amass guitars also to instill lust for amps. Just like guitars, there are far too many excellent choices. Everyone should have a great amp or two. Some are more compatible with 'buckers than singles, so some research is in order. Some shine on clean, some on crunch, grunge, punch, drive, whatever term you like. If your gonna spend four figures on an amp, you'll want to evaluate your choices as astutely as you would a guitar in the same price range.

Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Nice reviews CMDN! I agree about the stoner rock using Oranges with great results. Seems like Oranges have a looser, more grundgy low end. I don't know what amps they used, but for some reason Kyuss makes me think Orange...???? I can say that Orange may make the best 4x12 cab I've ever heard. I'd gladly take any of the 3 heads though!
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