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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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).
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.
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:
Orange Amp Settings
Here are the most commonly featured controls on Orange amps:
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.
Guitar Center are always the first place I look at when I’m interested in a new amp because have a huge range of amplifiers for sale and always have some excellent deals on. Here’s a link to take you directly to Guitar Center’s amp range so you can see all the offers available at the moment.
- Solid state combo amps (entry level):
- Valve amps
- Head units
Solids State Combo Amps (Entry Level)
|Fender Frontman 10G||10W||$80||2 channels, gain, treble, bass|
|Orange Crush12||12W||$100||1 channel, 3 band EQ, overdrive, gain|
|Fender Champion 20||20W||$130||2 channels, gain, treble, bass, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato|
|Orange Crush20||20W||$140||2 channels, dirty, 3 band EQ, gain|
|Fender Mustang LT25||25W||$150||30 presets, gain, 3 band EQ|
|Orange Crush 20RT||20W||$190||2 channels (dual-voice), dirty, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb, tuner|
|Fender Champion 40||40W||$220||2 channels, gain, treble, bass, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato|
|Fender Champion 50XL||50W||$230||2 channels, gain, treble, bass, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato|
|Fender Mustang LT50||50W||$250||30 presets, gain, 3 band EQ|
|Orange Crush 35RT||35W||$260||2 channels, dirty, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb, tuner|
|Fender Mustang GTX 50||50W||$380||30 presets, gain, 3 band EQ, reverb|
|Fender Champion 100||100W||$400||2 channels, gain, 3 band EQ, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato|
|Fender Champion 100XL||100W||$450||2 channels, gain, 3 band EQ, voice control, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato|
|Orange Crush Pro CR60C||60W||$500||2 channels, gain, 3 band EQ, reverb|
|Fender Mustang GTX 100||100W||$500||200 presets, gain, 3 band EQ, reverb|
- 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
|Fender Super-Champ X2||15W||$400||2 channels, gain, voice, treb, bass|
|Fender Bassbreaker 007||7W||$450||Gain, 3 band EQ, treb boost|
|Fender Pro Junior IV||15W||$600||Tone|
|Fender Blues Junior IV||15W||$650||3 band EQ, reverb|
|Fender Bassbreaker 15W||15W||$650||Gain, structure, 3 band EQ, reverb|
|Fender ’68 Custom Vibro Champ Reverb||5W||$750||3 band EQ, tremolo, reverb|
|Orange Rocker15||15W||$800||2 channels, gain, 3 band EQ|
|Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue||40W||$800||2 channels, drive, 3 band EQ, reverb, presence|
|Fender George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe||40W||$900||3 band EQ, reverb, presence, various switches|
|Fender Bassbreaker 30R||30W||$900||2 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb|
|Fender Super-Sonic 22||22W||$1050||2 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb|
|Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb||12W||$1100||Treble, bass, reverb, tremolo|
|Fender Tone Master Super Reverb||45W||$1200||2 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb, tremolo|
|Orange TremLord-30||30W||$1300||Bass, treble, tremolo, reverb|
|Fender 68 Custom Pro Reverb||40W||$1300||3 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch|
|Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Deluxe Reverb||22W||$1400||3 band EQ, tremolo, reverb|
|Fender ’68 Custom Twin Reverb||85W||$1500||3 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch|
|Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Twin Reverb||85W||$1700||3 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch|
|Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Super Reverb||45W||$1800||3 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch|
|Orange AD30TC||30W||$2300||2 channels, 3 band EQ, gain|
|Orange Rockerverb 50||50W||$2350||2 channels, 3 band EQ, reverb|
|Fender ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb||20W||$2500||3 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch|
- Fender have a much larger range of combo valve amps
- Fender offers the cheapest combo valve amp
|Orange Terror Stamp||20W||Hybrid||$200||Shape, gain|
|Orange Crush Pro CR120H||120W||Solid State||$450||2 channels, gain 3 band EQ, reverb|
|Fender Bassbreaker 15W||15W||Tube||$600||Gain, 3 band EQ, structure, reverb, bright switch|
|Orange Dark Terror 15||15W||Tube||$650||2 channels, shape, gain|
|Orange Rocker 15 Terror||15W||Tube||$650||2 channels, 3 band EQ, gain|
|Orange OR15H||15W||Tube||$700||2 channels, 3 band EQ, gain|
|Orange Dual Terror||30W||Tube||$900||2 channels, tone|
|Fender Super-Sonic 22||22W||Tube||$1000||2 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb|
|Orange TH30H||30W||Tube||$1200||2 channels, gain, shape|
|Orange Rockerverb 50||50W||Tube||$1200||2 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb|
|Orange Rockerverb 100||100W||Tube||£2150||2 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb|
- 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.
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