As most of you who know me know, I'm a huge vintage Orange and Matamp fan. If you know me, you know I'm not a huge fan of modern Orange amps. As a repairer I see many amps come through my shop and you quickly get to know what's "made like it used to be" and what's not and let me tell you, not much in the modern world is.
I prefer the early 70's amps that were either made by or based on circuits designed by Matamp so I thought I'd start this series of some of my vintage Orange amps with one of my personal favorites. This 1972 OR80 is "mostly" original but because I hire all my personal amps they must be kept in good working and sounding order so caps and valves are regularly checked and replaced where necessary. I'm not interested in vintage originality at the expense of tone.
Like all these older (and modern) Orange and Matamp amps, they were assembled on quality PCB and used good quality components throughout. The powder coated chassis are built like a tank.
This one has seen lots of work but is still in great condition. It's what we call a "Graphic" version which means it only has pictures for the what the knobs do. You'll see in some of my future posts that I also have transition models with graphics/writing that were done before they went to just writing as people couldn't really work out what some of the pictures meant.
This one is quite special in that it has a factory fitted master volume a year before this became available on production versions and a factory fitted tone switch. I haven't seen this on any other vintage pre master volume Orange that has come through my shop.
It runs 2 EL34 power valves giving approx 80 Watts of that awesome Orange power. The secret (well, not really a secret) of the huge harmonic tone of these old Orange and Matamp amps is the non symetrical driver stage which while being harder on your power vales and transformers, gives a big tone like no other amp, especially with the FAC on full frequency.
It has it's original, and in my opinion best sounding Parmeko transformers and choke. These were the transformers I chose to reverse engineer when I started building my Lemon amps in homage to vintage Orange.
For those of you haven't experienced the vintage Orange/Matamp tone, do yourself a favor and borrow or hire one. I've owned/worked on/repaired/tried lots of amps in my time and for my money these amps are still the pick of the bunch,and in some cases go for less than a modern version.