British amplifier makers Orange have a long history going back all the way to 1968.
Even if many of their current products are manufactured in China these days – to keep the prices down – the company still make their top-of-the-line products in England. Apart from their guitar amplifier range Orange also caters for bass players – this time we will review their AD200 Bass MK3 all-valve head (current price in Finland: 1.510 €) together with the OBC410-cabinet (current price in Finland: 799 €).
The combination of the Orange AD200 Bass -head and OBC410-cabinet carries all the famous hallmarks of the company. There’s the pictogrammes explaining the functions of the control knobs on the huge, white front panel, as well as the huge black knobs for gain and master volume. Both the head and cabinet are covered in the famous orange vinyl and have black metal corner protectors.
This stack has been built to take the beatings of a life on tour, with both head and cabinet crafted from 13-ply birch plywood. The OBC410 also features stiffening internal partitions, which also greatly reduce unwanted resonances.
The speaker cabinet is a rear-ported design with tough metal skids underneath.
This uncompromising build and sturdiness are sure to satisfy the professional bassist (as well as his techie), but they naturally add a hefty bit of weight to this stack – the AD200 Bass -head weighs in at 25 kilos with the OBC410 weighing a whopping 43 kilos. Greetings to the road crew…
The OBC-cabinet is rated at 600 Watts (RMS), meaning it can stoically take whatever the AD200 dishes out. Its four ten-inch speakers are complemented by a treble horn, which has its own three-way switch on the back panel.
The Orange AD 200 Bass’ design is as classic as it is straightforward: The controls comprise gain, master and a three-band EQ section – that’s all.
The back panel sports three speaker outputs, as well as separate fuses for each of the two power amp tube pairs. The slave output makes it possible to chain several AD200s together, which comes in handy for stadium-type large scale gigs, or if you want to rattle the drummer with some choice notes on your low-B string.
Behind the metal grille on the back you have direct access to the head’s valves: Orange’s large bass head can be run on either four KT88s or the same number of 6550-valves, which is what out test sample came supplied with. The AD200’s front end is catered for by two ECC83/12AX7s and one ECC81/12AT7, which have been placed behind the power amp tubes.
Let’s make one thing clear for starters – this stack isn’t the right choice for your living room.
The pairing of Orange’s AD200 and OBC410 results in an extermely muscular stack that moves some serious amounts of air. Yes, you can turn down the head’s smoothly functioning controls and bring this rig down to small rehearsal levels, but this amp stack truly thrives best in large settings, where its bags of volume can really shine.
This stack’s sound is surprisingly versatile, with the gain control taking you from earthy cleans all the way to warm valve distortion. The EQ section is very powerful and musical. The Orange AD200 isn’t really the best amp fors delicate Hi-Fi meanderings, but it really offers more versatility than what its Rock-image may suggest.
The following examples have been recordid using a Jazz Bass, as well as a sel-assembled P-type bass with a passive MM-pickup:
Orange AD200 Bass Mk3 + OBC410
Finnish distributor: Musamaailma
Orange AD200 Bass Mk3
Current price in Finland: 1.510 €
+ very sturdy build
Current price in Finland: 799 €
+ power handling
+ switchable treble horn
+ very sturdy build