Orange Amplification have a long and illustrious tradition in the building of guitar and bass amplifiers, a fact that shows in many of the company’s current products.
But that doesn’t mean that Orange are a backward-facing company – far from it. The brand-new Terror Bass combo, for example, is very much a contemporary product – a compact, yet powerful valve-hybrid amp.
The Orange TB500C is a valve-hybrid amplifier, which in this case means that its preamp section is powered by two 12AX7 valves. The tubes imbue the combo with a warm basic tonality, nicely seasoned with mild and organic compression. I’d also wager that a bit of overdrive will be on the menu at some point.
The power amp, on the other hand, uses modern technology to its best advantage: A Class D amplifier manages to produce lots of volume in a very energy efficient way. Because this technology cuts down drastically on heat dissipation as a byproduct of amplification, manufacturers are now able to build smaller and lighter amps.
Orange’s Smart Power bass cabinets are built according to the isobaric principle.
An isobaric speaker cabinet basically uses two identical speakers – in the TB500C’s case two 12-inch neodymium speakers – mounted one behind the other in a straight line, resulting in fatter tones and more sound pressure than you’d expect from a relatively compact design.
Take a look at Orange’s own video to get more of an insight into their Smart Power cabinets:
But we bassists needn’t trouble ourselves with too much theory, we only have to use the combo.
The front panel is typical of Orange-amps: There are the famous pictograms above the clearly labelled controls for gain and master volume, as well as the three-band EQ section, which make it even easier to know your way around the amp.
The amplifier section is connected to the combo’s speaker using the provided Speakon-lead.
Because the amplifier allows you to daisy-chain two cabinets…
…you will find the necessary impedance switch on the back panel underneath the Speakon-jack.
The other connectors on the back panel are for the effects chain and the balanced DI-output.
Whoa, watch out – this combo is a real shouter!
I’ve got to admit right away that I tend to dislike the use of single 12-inch speakers in bass amps. More often than not I find these designs to lack real bottom end and transparency in their tonal delivery.
But this isn’t a thing that you could accuse the Orange Terror Bass of, by any stretch of the imagination! The isobaric Smart Power cabinet is quite a different beast, sounding large and muscular, with more than enough clarity and punch for most applications.
In terms of its basic sound the Orange TB500C is clearly a dyed-in-the-wool, card-carrying member of the Orange-family: If you’re looking for extreme clarity and hi-fi-style response, this isn’t really the right amp for you. We’re talking about earthy and muscular bass tones here. Dialling in more gain gradually adds delicious grit and graininess to proceedings. Above 3 o’clock on the gain control any bass will drive the Orange well into classic, glorious overdrive.
Even though the Terror Bass combo is part of Orange’s cost-conscious Terror-range, I am rather sure this powerful and compact bass amp will find its way into many professional backlines.
I recorded the audio clips using my trusty Japanese 1985 Squier Jazz Bass and my own P-Man bitser equipped with a MM-humbucker and passive controls:
Orange Terror Bass TB500C-212
current RRP in Finland: 994 €
Finnish distributor: Musamaailma
+ valve preamp