Fender vs Orange Amps: Which are the Best?


Fender and Orange make great solid state and valve amps, but which make the best? In this article, I’ll be comparing Fender and Orange amplifiers in terms of their tone (distorted and clean), the settings and controls and the specifications and features of popular models.

The Quick Answer

Fender amps are best known for their “sparkly” clean tones whereas Orange amps are usually better at distorted tones. Orange amps boost the mid-range more than Fender amps which have cut mids. Fender is usually best at country, blues and rock, whilst Orange amps excel at metal and heavy rock.

Comparing the Tones

I wanted to summarise the difference in tones between the two amplifiers to start with. Of course, it will vary between models, but each brand has a “classic” tone that can be used to separate them. I’ll do my best to explain the differences, but of course it’s always best to actually hear them, so I’ve added some videos as well.

Here are some key differences I’ve noticed from listening to a variety of amps from both brands.

Key Differences:

  • Orange amps focus more on the midrange than Fender amps which have more “scooped mids”.
  • Fender amps sound brighter than Orange amps
  • Fender amps have a broader dynamic range (lower bass and higher treble) than Orange amps

Check out this video to see Orange and Fender valve amps compared using a variety of different tones.

Clean Tone

  • Fender clean tones sound brighter and more “sparkly” than Orange cleans
  • Fender valve amps can be turned up higher than Orange amps before breaking up

Distorted Tone

  • Orange amps have a “beefy” distorted tone with lots of low-mids to provide depth
  • Fender amps sound thinner, lighter and more muffled

Here is a video comparing the clean, crunch and distorted tone of the entry-level amps from each brand (Fender Champion and Orange Crush).

Music Styles

It is possible to use both Orange and Fender amps for a variety of music styles, but the differences in tone make them more geared towards particular genres.

Orange amps are best suited to heavier styles of music such as hard rock and metal than Fender amps. Fender amps can be used for rock, but are commonly associated with cleaner tones commonly found in country, blues and jazz rather than heavy distortion.

The Controls

As well as looking at the “classic” tones from each brand, it’s good to look at the settings that are available. This gives you more flexibility to shape the tone exactly how you want it. Some like tonnes of options, whereas others prefer to keep things simple with fewer controls, it’s all personal preference!

Fender Amp Settings

Here are the most featured settings on Fender amps:

  • Gain
  • Bass
  • Middle
  • Treble
  • Reverb
  • “Fat-switch”

Orange Amp Settings

Here are the most commonly featured controls on Orange amps:

  • Gain
  • Bass
  • Middle
  • Treble
  • Reverb
  • Shape

Both amp brands feature similar controls and usually have a 3-band EQ (bass, mids and treble). Some Orange amps instead have a “shape” control to combine the EQ settings into a single control. Fender amps also sometimes have a “fat-switch” which adds compression and volume which is a useful feature found on the Blues Junior for example.

Here are some more in-depth articles on the settings you can find with each brand:

Comparing Popular Amp Models

Now let’s take a look at the models available at each price point. I’ve collated pretty much every model of amp currently available from both Orange and Fender into some tables to compare the specifications of each to see what you can get based on your budget. The prices are all based on the Guitar Center prices at the time of writing. There are three tables split into the following categories, and the amps in each table start with the cheapest and work upwards.

Contents:

  • Solid state combo amps (entry level):
  • Valve amps
  • Head units

Solids State Combo Amps (Entry Level)

AmplifierWattagePriceSettings
Fender Frontman 10G10W$802 channels, gain, treble, bass
Orange Crush1212W$1001 channel, 3 band EQ, overdrive, gain
Fender Champion 2020W$1302 channels, gain, treble, bass, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato
Orange Crush2020W$1402 channels, dirty, 3 band EQ, gain
Fender Mustang LT2525W$15030 presets, gain, 3 band EQ
Orange Crush 20RT20W$1902 channels (dual-voice), dirty, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb, tuner
Fender Champion 4040W$2202 channels, gain, treble, bass, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato
Fender Champion 50XL50W$2302 channels, gain, treble, bass, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato
Fender Mustang LT5050W$25030 presets, gain, 3 band EQ
Orange Crush 35RT35W$2602 channels, dirty, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb, tuner
Fender Mustang GTX 5050W$38030 presets, gain, 3 band EQ, reverb
Fender Champion 100100W$4002 channels, gain, 3 band EQ, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato
Fender Champion 100XL100W$4502 channels, gain, 3 band EQ, voice control, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato
Orange Crush Pro CR60C60W$5002 channels, gain, 3 band EQ, reverb
Fender Mustang GTX 100100W$500200 presets, gain, 3 band EQ, reverb
Fender vs Orange solid state combo amps compared.

Key Points:

  • Fender amps in this category usually offer more built-in effects
  • Fender product the highest wattage amps for the lowest prices

Valve (Tube) Combo Amps

AmplifierWattagePriceSettings
Fender Super-Champ X215W$4002 channels, gain, voice, treb, bass
Fender Bassbreaker 0077W$450Gain, 3 band EQ, treb boost
Fender Pro Junior IV15W$600Tone
Fender Blues Junior IV15W$6503 band EQ, reverb
Fender Bassbreaker 15W15W$650Gain, structure, 3 band EQ, reverb  
Fender ’68 Custom Vibro Champ Reverb5W$7503 band EQ, tremolo, reverb
Orange Rocker1515W$8002 channels, gain, 3 band EQ
Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue40W$8002 channels, drive, 3 band EQ, reverb, presence
Fender George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe40W$9003 band EQ, reverb, presence, various switches
Fender Bassbreaker 30R30W$9002 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb
Fender Super-Sonic 2222W$10502 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb
Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb12W$1100Treble, bass, reverb, tremolo
Fender Tone Master Super Reverb45W$12002 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb, tremolo
Orange TremLord-3030W$1300Bass, treble, tremolo, reverb
Fender 68 Custom Pro Reverb40W$13003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch
Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Deluxe Reverb22W$14003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb
Fender ’68 Custom Twin Reverb85W$15003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch
Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Twin Reverb85W$17003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch
Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Super Reverb45W$18003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch
Orange AD30TC30W$23002 channels, 3 band EQ, gain
Orange Rockerverb 5050W$23502 channels, 3 band EQ, reverb
Fender ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb20W$25003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch
Fender vs Orange valve combo amps compared.

Key Points:

  • Fender have a much larger range of combo valve amps
  • Fender offers the cheapest combo valve amp

Head Units

AmplifierWattageTypePriceSettings
Orange Terror Stamp20WHybrid$200Shape, gain
Orange Crush Pro CR120H120WSolid State$4502 channels, gain  3 band EQ, reverb
Fender Bassbreaker 15W15WTube$600Gain, 3 band EQ, structure, reverb, bright switch
Orange Dark Terror 1515WTube$6502 channels, shape, gain
Orange Rocker 15 Terror15WTube$6502 channels, 3 band EQ, gain
Orange OR15H15WTube$7002 channels, 3 band EQ, gain
Orange Dual Terror30WTube$9002 channels, tone
Fender Super-Sonic 2222WTube$10002 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb
Orange TH30H30WTube$12002 channels, gain, shape
Orange Rockerverb 5050WTube$12002 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb
Orange Rockerverb 100100WTube£21502 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb
Fender vs Orange head units compared.

Key Points:

  • Orange offer a much wider range of head units than Fender
  • Orange produce the cheapest overall head unit
  • Fender make the cheapest valve head unit
  • Fender only really offer tube head units

In the market for a new amplifier? Check out my complete amplifier buyer’s guide to help narrow down your selection and find the perfect amp for you.

Here are some more articles you might find useful:

Heather

Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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