Orange Amp Settings and Controls: A Complete Guide


Orange amplifiers are hugely popular and are used by both professionals and beginner guitarists. In this article, I’ll be going through all the controls on popular Orange amps, what each setting does, some example settings for different styles of music and a step-by-step guide to dialling in the perfect tone no matter what guitar you own.

At a Glance

Orange amplifiers usually have two channels called clean and dirty, allowing you to select the correct voicing. They also will feature either individual treble, bass and mids controls or a shape control allowing you to adjust the tone. The gain control allows you to adjust the level of distortion.

The Main Controls

Before we dive into the some specific Orange amps, and example settings for different styles of music, let’s take a look at the most common controls and what they do.

  • Channel selector: this will allow you to achieve a different voice and activate different controls on the amp. Many Orange amps have a “clean” or “dirty” channel, allowing you to adjust between distorted and clean tones.
  • Gain: this adjusts how distorted the tone is. For heavy metal and thick distortion, this should be turned up higher.
  • Bass: this adjust the low-end frequencies. More bass produces a “boomy” sound.
  • Middle: this adjust the mid-range frequencies. For a fuller, deeper tone, the mids can be increased.
  • Treble: this adjusts the high-range frequencies. For a sharper, crisper tone, turn the treble up. To make it more mellow, turn the treble down.
  • Reverb: this produces the kind of sound effect you’d get if you played in a very large room, by simulating an echo. It adds some life and depth to the tone.
  • Shape: this is commonly found on the “Terror” amps. Adjusting the shape control down, will focus the tone on the mid-range. Increasing it will cause the tone to become “scooped” meaning the mids are decrease, and the treble and bass are increased. Scooped tones are popular amongst some metal guitarists.

Popular Orange Amplifiers

Here is a quick rundown of the most popular Orange amps and their settings.

Orange Crush

Orange Crush amps are available at entry-level for beginner guitarists. They are solid-state amps and have the following basic controls: dirty gain, dirty volume, overdrive, bass, middle, treble and clean volume. You can also select to use either the clean or dirty channel.

There can be a few extra controls depending on which Crush model is in question.

  • Crush Pro – additional reverb control
  • Crush RT – additional reverb control and integrated chromatic tuner

If you select the clean channel, the dirty gain and volume channels will not affect the tone. Instead, you can use the clean volume control to adjust how loud the amp is, and the mids, bass and treble controls to adjust how mellow/ crisp the tone is. The overdrive setting can be used to add some grit to the tone so it is not completely clean.

The dirty channel is for hard rock and metal. This allows you to adjust the dirty gain and dirty volume controls to alter the level of distortion. You can also use the mids, bass and treble to adjust how mellow/ crisp the tone is. The overdrive setting can be used to add some grit to the tone.

Orange Rocker

Orange Rocker amps are valve amplifiers which have two channels: clean and dirty. They have the following controls: natural (clean) channel volume, dirty channel volume, gain, bass, mids and treble. The Rocker amp also has a switch to adjust the power output, allowing you to play at lower volumes.

If you select the clean channel, you can increase the volume gradually to of course make the amp louder, but also to distort the tone more. The dirty channel gives you the option to increase the distortion using the gain control. The bass, mids and treble controls allow you shape the tone.

Orange Tremlord

The Orange Tremlord is a valve amplifier with built-in tremolo and reverb controls. It has volume, bass and treble controls as well as speed and depth controls to adjust the tremolo and a reverb control. The amp is designed as British take on a 1950’s amplifier.

Orange Dark Terror and Micro Terror

The Orange Dark Terror is a valve head amp with a single channel designed for heavy distortion. It features three basic controls: volume, gain and shape. Gain allows you to adjust how distorted the tone is. The shape control combines the treble, bass and middle controls into one tone knob. Turning the control to 0 will emphasise midrange, whilst turning it to maximum will increase bass and treble and decrease the midrange.

Orange Dual Terror

The Orange Dual Terror is similar to the Dark Terror, but has two valve channels instead of one. Each channel has independent volume, tone and gain controls. The “fat channel” provides a warm tone and extra gain, whilst the “tiny terror” channel is used for crunch and clean tones.

Example Orange Amp Settings

I wanted to include some example settings in this article, as I think they can be really useful for beginners. However, the danger is that the settings will sound different, depending on your exact model of guitar and amp. Use these as a starting point, and take them with a pinch of salt. Further down in the article, I’ll go through step-by-step instructions to get a good tone on your amp, regardless of the guitar you’re using (my preferred method).

Amp Settings for Metal (Heavy Distortion)

  • Channel: Dirty or Fat
  • Gain: 8
  • Bass: 7
  • Mids: 4
  • Treble: 7
  • Reverb: 2
  • Shape: 7

Amp Settings for Classic Rock

  • Channel: Dirty or Fat
  • Gain: 6
  • Bass: 5
  • Mids: 6
  • Treble: 5
  • Reverb: 2
  • Shape: 2

Amp Settings for Overdriven Tone

  • Channel: Dirty or Tiny Terror
  • Gain: 5
  • Bass: 7
  • Mids: 6
  • Treble: 4
  • Reverb: 2
  • Shape: 3

Amp Settings for Clean Tone (Bright)

  • Channel: Clean or Tiny Terror
  • Gain: 1
  • Bass: 7
  • Mids: 5
  • Treble: 3
  • Reverb: 2
  • Shape: 3

Amp Settings for Clean Tone (Warm)

  • Channel: Clean or Tiny Terror
  • Gain: 1
  • Bass: 4
  • Mids: 5
  • Treble: 7
  • Reverb: 2
  • Shape: 2

Using an Orange Amp for Metal and Distortion

Orange amplifiers are very popular amongst metal heads because they provide great quality gain. However, they don’t sound great if they’re not set up properly. I recommend starting with the following settings:

  • Use the dirty or “fat” channel
  • Have the mids on around 4
  • Have the bass and treble on 7
  • If your amp has a shape setting, have this on 2
  • Add some light reverb (around 2)

If you’re looking for a more scooped tone, decrease the mids and increase the treble and bass, or increase the shape setting if you’re using a Terror amp.

The key is to get plenty of saturation and sustain, but without sounding muffled and muddy. Here are some common problems and how to fix them:

  • Empty/ thin tone: increase the mids and decrease the treble and bass. Or decrease the shape.
  • Muddy tone: decrease the gain and increase the mids.
  • High feedback: decrease the gain and volume. Position the amp in front of the guitar and as far away from it as possible.
  • Harsh and sharp tone: decrease the treble, increase the mids, decrease the shape, use the middle or neck pickup on your guitar.

Getting a Good Clean Tone

Orange amplifiers are not best known for their clean tones, but it is still possible to achieve a very nice clean tone by setting up the amp properly. Here’s where to start:

  • Use the “clean” or “tiny terror” channel.
  • Turn the master volume up to a comfortable level and set the gain/ overdrive as low as possible.
  • Adjust the bass, mids and treble to midway (or the shape).
  • Add some light reverb (around 2).
  • To increase the sharpness, increase the treble.
  • To provide more depth, increase the bass or mids.

Remember, when you make any adjustments, listen out for the tone changing, and only make one change at a time. This will allow you to dial in a better tone and get more specific.

Step-By-Step Amp Setup

Earlier in the article, I mentioned that example settings will only get you so far, and it’s important to really understand the controls on your amp to get the best tone possible. Here’s my step-by-step method to achieving the best tone every time, no matter what guitar or amp I’m using.

  • Set your guitar’s volume and controls to maximum.
  • Start with a comfortable amp volume.
  • Select the clean or dirty channel depending on what tone you’re looking for.
  • Start with the gain on 1.
  • Set the bass, mids and treble to midway.
  • Remove any effects e.g. reverb.
  • If you don’t want a complete clean tone, turn the gain up gradually until you achieve a good level of distortion, but before it sounds muddy and muffled.
  • Increase the mids if the tone sounds thin.
  • Adjust the treble to make the tone warmer or sharper.
  • Adjust the bass control upwards or downwards to the desired level. Try both ways to see what works best.
  • Add some light reverb.
  • Add any extra effects.

The key to making your amp sound as good as possible is make each change individually and listen for the differences. It might sound like a slower technique, but it actually allows you to make adjustments more precisely to save you time overall trying to pinpoint the issue. Plus, you’ll get much faster at this the more practice you have!

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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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