New Gear: Orange Rockerverb 100 MKI

I have a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II, and I absolutely love it. I recorded all of the guitars for “Everything Under” with it plugged directly into my DAW and was able to capture some fantastic tones that sound dynamically real.

When I originally purchased the Axe-Fx, I had intended to use it for both my home studio needs as well as live performances. It was a great investment not only for the audio quality of the device, but also for its versatility and practical applications. However, when I began playing out with the Axe-Fx, I ran into a few issues I hadn’t planned on:

When using the Axe-Fx live, I had intended to use the Direct Out feature to plug directly into the PA of whatever venue I was playing at. But it turns out that many of the venues I played at either did not have a great PA system and would not do justice to the tone of the Axe-Fx, or, due to the acoustic space of the venue, it was better to leave the PA to handle just the vocals alone and nothing else.

This left me with the clear choice of bringing a guitar cab to each show instead of relying on the Direct Out feature. This meant purchasing a power amp to power my cab, as well as a power conditioner to handle the needs of my two devices, while also protecting them both from any electrical issues.

With these three boxes, carrying them individually was a hassle, which lead me to purchase a carrying case with wheels and a handle to make transportation easy. Yet, at the end of all this, I was left with an amplifier system that was incredibly heavy (top heavy at that) and bulky. With the inconvenience of dismantling and then later reassembling a large portion of my studio and traveling with an inconvenient rig, I began looking into head amps, leaving the Axe-Fx for studio-use only.

After a lot of searching, I finally found an amp that met all my needs for live performance: 11892134_10152971959901951_1824890222767947116_n

I absolutely love this amp. The Orange Rockerverb 100 has been Orange’s “flagship” unit for a good long time now, and for good reason. The sound of this thing is absolutely unreal. It cuts through a live mix unlike anything else and is much easier (lighter, even!) to carry than my old rig. I purchased this beauty second-hand from a musician who had had it for four years, yet there were no issues with it at all. The Reverb Tank and Tubes had been replaced shortly before I got it, and the thing sounds brand new. I couldn’t be happier with it!

One question that I get a lot about the Rockerverb has to do with the different versions: MKI, MKII and the recently released MKIII. Namely, people want to know which one would be the best investment, since these amplifiers are a bit pricey! The only difference between the MKII and the MKI (besides about $700 retail price new!) is the MKII has three EQ options on the clean channel: Bass, Middle and Treble. Otherwise, the amps are exactly the same.

The MKIII steps it up with a full-standby switch and an option to turn the overall volume of the amp down while still preserving the sound of an overdriven, distorted amp — a really great feature for practicing! Interestingly, the MKIII has gone back to having only two EQ controls for the clean channel: Bass and Treble. I haven’t had as much experience with the sound of the MKIII, so I cannot comment on how similar it sounds to the MKI or MKII, but the MKI and MKII sound nearly identical.

My first experience hearing the Rockerverb 100 by itself was at my last job in music retail. A tall, tattooed and bearded man came in looking for an amp he could A/B with a Bogner head for a Doom Metal project. I already had some amps in mind, but before I could suggest anything, he asked if we had the Rockerverb 100.

We went into the practice room with the amp, I ran him through the specs and, afterwards, he looked at me and said, “Mind if I test it for volume?” I had tested tons of amplifiers in that room with many different musicians, but nothing up till that point had made the walls shake. The warmth coupled with shocking grit and clarity on the high end was unlike anything else I had heard and, after playing it for nearly five minutes, he walked out with one. Ever since that day, I have wanted one myself so I could hear that tone again, and today I’m happy to say my expectations have been exceeded.

If you have any questions about the Rockerverb 100, feel free to shoot us a message on our homepage at the bottom! Until next time!

-JA

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