Orange's reign of terror continues unabated - this time with an assault from the Micro Terror. Rick Graham volunteered to go into the studio with one... alone.
With the current amplifier market surely approaching saturation point with diminutive designs you'd be right in thinking that the current trend is towards the ever-more tiny. If that is case, then the subject of this review must surely be the trendiest amp on the market! It's the latest design by the British amplifier manufacturer Orange and is an addition to the company's immensely successful Tiny Terror family.
With genuinely tiny dimensions of 16.5cm width x 13.5cm height x 9.2cm depth you'd be forgiven for not taking the Micro Terror seriously at first glance. But don't be fooled by its size! Housed in the same high-tensile steel as the other members of the Tiny Terror family and built with the same attention to detail Orange is so respected for, this is every bit a classic Orange product - and that goes for the sound, too, as we quickly discovered.
Thanks to a solid state class D power amp, the Micro Terror is capable of producing 20 Watts and with a 4 Ohm minimum output at the rear allowing connection to a variety of different sized cabinets, it enables the user to keep his or her options well and truly open. For its part, Orange has unveiled a matching cabinet (the PPC108) which comes with an eight inch speaker, allowing users to complete their micro package in a very tidy looking mini stack format, which would most certainly appeal to those using it at home as a practice amp set-up. The two look really great together.
An ECC83/12AX7 valve allows for two gain stages which are apparently based on the front end of the amp that started the 'micro head' revolution, the original Tiny Terror. In addition to the volume, tone and gain controls, the front panel consists of a headphones output (1/4 inch) and an Auxiliary input (1/8 inch) which are great additions for those players wanting to use the amp in a home studio.
While a home studio might seem like the only real use for a tiny amp like this, once you fire it up you soon realise that it is perfectly capable of holding its own in a live environment, too. You'd of course have to hook the little fella up to an appropriate cabinet, such as a 4x12 (an arrangement that does look highly amusing by the way!) but, again, looks can be deceptive.
Starting with some clean tones and the Micro Terror sounded good but, let's face it, Rock is what this amp really was made for so, me being me, I went straight to the front panel to make some changes. Pushing the volume and gain upwards forced this little beast to really start working hard, resulting in surprisingly loud volume levels with some pretty darn awesome tone to boot. From 'just breaking-up' sounds right through to no nonsense crunch, this cheeky little chap certainly delivered. In fact, after five or so minutes of playing, I found myself having to look back at it to remind myself what I was actually playing through! Check out the video and hear for yourself.
Even though the little PPC108 cabinet sounds great for a practice/studio set-up, I personally think that it would be a crime not to give the amp full reign of terror by hooking it up to a more substantial cabinet if you can. The size of the Micro Terror makes it easily transportable. You can literally pop this in a rucksack or small bag and you're away! The only thing to be mindful of though, is to make sure that if you are using it for band practice or live use, that you secure it in place. One slightly firm tug of the cable and your Tiny Terror could be sent hurtling towards the floor.
There's no question that Orange have hit the mark, again. I've tried hard but I can't find anything to dislike about the Micro Terror. It may initially appear to be a ridiculously cheap little practice amp but delve a little deeper and you'll find all of the characteristics that Orange are gaining worldwide praise for. The Micro Terror is quite simply an exceptional product at an exceptional price.