There was a time when all the things were a little bit easier. The design was colorful, the threes were green and nobody could even think of global warming.
But I’ve been already thinking: “What could have happened, if there was no Orange AMPs?”. It was that excacly moment, when my first Orange was purchased.
Have you ever heard about the Orange Amps? This brand has been conquering the hearts and minds of sound junkies for five decades, give or take. Yep, the very first amp came around in 1968. The color – always orange – and the sound – always top-notch – are the two selling points of these beauties. Let’s get right to our Orange CR120 review, ladies, and gentlemen. In this article, we’ll tell you about the pros and cons of this bad-boy and compare it to the best Orange amps on the market. Over the years, this company has developed all kinds of new amps, but it’s safe to say that the CR120, along with the CR60, is here to stay. A quick note: the “H” after “120” means that it’s a Head, while the “C” means it’s a Combo.
It’s safe to say that these amplifiers are suited for every single musical genre, including reggae and hip-hop. At the same time, the fans of stoner rock and similar stuff will find that their music was born to go through these babies. Those doomsday riffs will sound epic on the Orange CR 120, that’s for sure. All you have to do is plug in your favorite electric guitar and play like it’s the end of the days. The Orange Crush 120 is a very low-priced amp, but it still delivers. If you’re looking for the ultimate distorted tones, this beast is for you. And, it handles those warm, clean, humbling tones just as great. Follow my lead and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about it!
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Learning More About The Record-Breaking Orange Series
The Crush Pro series is something of a revelation by Orange. With it, they’re aiming at a different target audience. If you’re looking for an affordable, reliable, and gig-ready amplifier, than this is exactly what you need. And the CR120H certainly is a solid pick, no doubt there. Orange has always been a company with a gift for noticing the newest trends, but for a long time, they didn’t have anything to offer to the average musicians looking for “workhorses” to use in tours. As it turned out, they were busy working out the nuances and trying to “nail” the sound/tone, because that’s the most important thing in an amplifier.
The one thing that makes this bunch stand out is the fact that the Crush Pro series is all-analog, except for the reverb (it’s digital). The majority of brands in this niche usually go digital, but Orange decided to be old-school. Yes, you could say that Orange amplification is unique, and, according to the technical director, they’ve always wanted to introduce solid-state stuff like op-amps. At the same time, the goal was to give both the CR60 and the 120 all the features of the previous series – Rockerverb – that was tube-based. If you’re looking to add some new cabinets, that’s not a problem: the amplifiers will hold without overloading the entire thing.
Getting Technical With Our Orange Amplifier Review
By the way, in case you were wondering, both the reverb and the effects loop are in the same spot in the circuit as in the fan-favored Rockerverb. Let’s get one thing straight: even though every single Orange amp out there sounds great, solid-state amps simply cannot sound exactly like the tube amps – that’s just how it is. But in this case, the engineers did a fantastic job of making the Crush Pro series appealing to the average musician. Even the switches and knobs on these monsters feel like they’ve been in the Rock’N’Roll Hall Of Fame, if you know what I mean. And what do we have in the back? Two 16-ohm speaker outputs, of course.
With this setup, you have 3 options:
- To plug 1 16-ohm cabinet to either one of the outputs;
- To plug 2 of those to both outputs (or use the daisy-chaining technique and free one of the outputs);
- To plug 1 8-ohm cabinet to one of the outputs.
What Else Does The CR120H Has To Offer?
For the reverb, you have only one knob, and it’s more than enough to keep the average user satisfied. Hall, spring, and plate – choose the one that fits best and fire away! A big fan of remote control? Then you’ll be happy to learn that the footswitch sockets in the back allow you to switch between the channels and to control the reverb. Finally, you’ll find 2 jack sockets in the rear panel: use them for effects send and return. Now you realize that the Crush Pro series was specifically designed for the touring heads? Alright, let’s proceed with our Orange CR120H review. The biggest concern for any musician is, obviously, the sound of the amp.
And in this case, you can rejoice, because the trademark Orange sounds are right where you’d expect them. The clean channel still sounds great when pushed too hard. How did they manage to implement the vacuum-tube characteristics into this solid-state amp? I don’t have the answer for you, but it is what it is. The Orange amp offers more grit and punch in the mid-range than any other amplifier in this price range. In the studio, the Crush Pro amps sound impressive; same goes for the gigs in clubs and pubs. Note: in the studio, you’ll probably notice that the clean channel isn’t as fantastic as you thought it was. Yet, it sounds better than most offers on the market.
Playing Around With The Settings In Search Of That Ideal Sound
Don’t you worry: there’s enough dirt in any of these Orange head and combo amps than you could ever wish for. Push the gain to the limit on the dirty channel and bump up the middle a bit to get that hard-rock sound. For the classic rock vibes with that crunchy attitude and tons of presence, I’d recommend cutting on the bass, turning middle and treble up and setting the gain in the middle. Turn the master volume up, and both the Orange CR120C and the head model will impress you with that old-school chest thumping the OGs are used to. A good friend of mine claims that the Orange amplifiers make magic happen when you plug an ES-335 (or, better yet, a classic Les Paul) to them.
The reverb is also solid. The fans of modern-day rock styles will appreciate the hall reverb, while the rest of us love what the spring ‘verb has to offer. Be careful when pushing reverb up with the dirty channel, because then you’ll run the risk or turning everything into a mushy mess. When you’re a touring musician, you want practicality and usability. And while the Crush Pro series is not as “exquisite” as the Rockerverb, you won’t notice that on a stage, and that’s a promise. In the studio, maybe, but not during a performance. Tubes are great and all, but solid-state amplifiers are more than competitive these days – you’ll read the same in any other Orange amp reviews.
Alright, what about the decades-long dispute: is a combo still on top of the food chain, or not? Well, it’s obvious that it’s much easier to carry a Head around with a tiny speaker cabinet than a huge (and heavy) Combo. But don’t let that fool you, because when you decide to buy a separate speaker cabinet, you’ll see that the CR120H becomes quite a pricey choice. Orange’s own PPC412 or PPC212OB aren’t that cheap (~500 and 850 dollars respectively). To give you a perspective on things, I have to mention that a brand-new CR120H will cost you 449 bucks. The CR120C, in turn, can be yours for 740 US dollars.
Comparing The 120H To The Rockerverb
You might wonder: is the Rockerverb better than the CR120H? Well, it all depends on what you’re looking for and how much money you can spend on your amplifier. Currently, the Rockerverb 50MK II will cost you 1900 US dollars, while the bigger brother – 100 MK III (this is the 100-Watt version) – can be yours for “just” 2,150 US dollars. Do I need to say more? I mean, come on, you can buy FOUR 120H amps for the price of one Rockerverb. Obviously, the more expensive amplifier will sound better, but to me, the difference is not nearly as dramatic as the gap in the price. For 449 dollars, you get a super sweet deal, while I’m not really sure about the 1900/2150 bucks deals.
Besides, for that kind of money, you’ll be able to find better equipment. Vacuum tubes are amazing, no doubt about that. However, thanks to the clever heads at Orange, the solid-state Crush Pro amps are almost as enchanting. The bottom line is – if you’re a struggling young musician that wants to get the best value for his money, every single one of those 449 dollars will be money well spent. And that’s a guarantee. When you grow as a musician and earn some big bucks, then the Rockerverb series might be an option for you. For now, plug your favorite guitar into the 120H and let there be music!
Checking Out The Orange Crush Pro 60
Now, along with the award-winning CR120, Orange is also famous for another beautiful amplifier – the CR60C. The difference between the two is that this one works on 60 watts, while the hero of today’s article operates on 120 watts. You gotta understand that all three models, including the CR120H, CR120C, and CR60C come with the same controls. We discussed the difference between the two 120 models just now.
The combo is bigger and heavier; however, it might be a better bang for your buck. The head is the smaller amp in this series; the CR60C is #2, while the 120C is a truly massive amplifier. Thankfully, even though it comes with a 60-watt 12″ speaker, it doesn’t weight that much (only 45 pounds, which is approximately 20 kilograms).
The dimensions are also quite alright for live performances: 21.65 X 17.72 X 11.42″. The price on a brand-new CR60C is 540 dollars. And in case you want to plug in an external cabinet, the speaker jack will let you do that. Yes, this is a pretty versatile combo and will, without a doubt, be a great addition to your collection. Do you remember the Crush PiX series? They had pretty much everything a guitar player could think of, including flangers, tremolos, and a bunch of other stuff. The Crush Pro series is all about keeping it neat and serious, just as we like it.
What Else Does The CR60C Has To Offer?
Without a doubt, the removal of these add-ons made the amp a lot more versatile and practical, especially for the guitar players that do gigs on a regular basis. Besides, the street price also went down, turning it into one of the most attractive amplifiers on the market. The modern-day guitarists usually like to use their own pedalboards, and that is why all those flangers/tremolos/whatever on the PiX series didn’t get the praise Orange was probably expecting. True, both the CR60 and the CR120 are two-channel amplifiers, but when it comes to effects, they only have one reverb (well, three, actually, as we established earlier).
Just like the CR120, this amp is capable of not only dirty, gritty tones, but also clean, bright, crispy tones that we all love and cherish. The greatest thing about the Crush Pro series is that these amps bring out the best in every guitar you plug into them, including Les Paul, “Strat” and “Tele”. Obviously, some tweaking is always needed, but hey, isn’t that what we love to do?
A quick tip: single-coil pickups sound very bright, which means you might want to turn the treble knob on the clean channel down a bit. And don’t forget to also adjust the reverb: plate works wonders with post-rock, while the more jazzy solos and rhythms will benefit from the spring reverb.
The Dirty Channel: Just As Gritty?
The Orange CR60C can handle whatever you through its way. All that’s left for you to do is set the various knobs right. The dirty channel is also quite impressive. The sounds it makes resemble the Rockerverb. You can go from just a tiny bit of grit to an all-out rock show with “crying” guitars. With modest gain levels, a very pleasing sizzle comes to the surface. It goes great with single-coil pickups but might ruin everything with a different setup. When the gain knob is pushed to the limit, the tone becomes a bit jangly. If that’s the case with your guitar, cut on treble a bit or boost the low-end frequencies with the bass knob.
If you have a solid overdrive pedal in the room, don’t be shy to plug it in. It might be just what the doctor ordered. As always, the process of finding the perfect tone can take up all of your time. So, don’t rush anything and let the Orange Crush CR60C open itself up to you. Experiment with your pedals and guitar collection until you come across the best combination. The CR60C comes with a very wide, open tone. The CR120C might have a bit more character, but if you play around with the settings on the 60-Watt amplifier, I’m sure you’ll come up with a really great tone. And that’s it for my Orange Crush 60C review. Check out the videos on YouTube to hear this amp at work.
Alright, now it’s time to sum everything up.
- The Crush Pro series came out in 2013 and instantly proved to the whole world that Orange has what it takes to compete with the best of the best. These stage-friendly, solid-state amps are both affordable and reliable – those are the most important aspects of any musical equipment. These guys perfected the analog technology and created a true masterpiece.
- Add a great level of versatility, a rich, warm tone, and the classic Orange standards of quality, and you’ll get one the finest amplifiers in history.
- The Clean channel begins to “sing” as you turn up the volume knob, resulting in a soulful vibe.
- The Dirty channel, in turn, comes with not 1, but 4 stages of gain, offering the users unlimited options.
- Craving for that gritty tone to wake up your lazy neighbors? Now you know how to do that! The CR120C was built on the foundation of the CR60C. While the circuitry is the same in both amps, the bigger brother boasts a 120-Watt output section.
What does the additional power give in real life, you might ask? Well, how about more clean, precise headroom at peak levels? In every regard, this elder bro is a more professional piece of equipment, one that will serve you for long years and never disappoint.
The mighty 2×12” speakers will fill out even the largest halls, turning the CR120C into a must-have for serious gigs. The CR60C comes with only one speaker, which is fine for smaller venues but might not be powerful enough to rock a bigger room. The only downside of the 120-Watt amp is that it’s 50% heavier and weighs 63.93 lbs. That’s 29 kilograms, which is still reasonable. As for the 120H, it weighs only 14.4 kilograms (31. 75 lbs.). At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how heavy the amps are. I’m really hoping that after this review you’ll get your priorities straight and will pick the Crush Pro that meets your needs the most.