In this post we’ll be doing an in depth Orange Micro Dark review. The Orange Micro Dark is a type of head amplifier produced by a UK based company called Orange. We’ve reviewed some other Orange products such as the Crush 20. A head amplifier is a device that augments the sound of a speaker after being connected to the speaker. It is often called a speaker less speaker.
It also has an outlet where a guitar can be plugged. The sound you hear when you play a guitar connected to an amp depends on the components of the amp. Some amps contain circuit boards (solid state) and turn your guitar signal to what you hear. Other amps contain tubes and other electrical components; these ones produce a sound that you like. The amp head transfers guitar signals to the speaker.
Nine years ago, when the world’s first “lunch box” amp called the tiny terror head was introduced by Orange, they became a force to reckon with the mini guitar amp category. What made orange popular was its “tiny terror” “lunch box” amp with over 30,000 units sold upon its release and so much more after subsequent designs.
In the days and months that led to the release of the Micro Dark, Orange was able to build anticipation and excitement in the minds of its customers by lunching campaign on social networks that asked the public to take a wild guess as to what game-changing product they were going to lunch. With all sorts of wild guesses flying all over the place, its release revealed a seeming hybrid of two of their already existing products; the Micro Terror (micro for small) and the Dark Terror.
This product proved that despite the Orange Micro Dark’s small size, it could produce awesome rehearsal and gigging tunes, clearly surpassing all the other amplifiers in its class.
Since the release of the Micro Dark, terror amps of like size have been introduced in the market including the micro terror head which is a lot smaller. It was first released some three years ago. The Micro Dark has the same extremely small dimension as the micro terror but they differ in the voicing of their EQ circuit.
The Orange Micro Dark is most likely the only amp with such a small size that allows it fit in a guitar bag. Despite its extremely small size, it is filled with properties that range from shape control, volume, and gain, to a very minimal headphone output, high speaker output (with at least 8-ohm load), and, quite shockingly, an effect loop.
Just like the micro terror, the preamp of the orange micro amp is run by a single 12AX7 tube which is a high gain tube. and a convertor of 20 watts that sends out very high volume. The amp is not heavy, but it is also quite sturdy, enclosed in a sturdy metal box. The handle on the top of it is almost useless since the box is very micro and can be easily grabbed.
The Micro Dark is powered by an external source, which provides 15 volts. The fact that it depends on an external power supply is the reason for its small size.
The Micro Dark comes with a backup amp which comes with its own carrying case, how many other amps have this? Since it is so small, it does not add any extra weight and can fit anywhere very easily. If something happens to your amp mid play, you can easily switch to this back up, connect your speaker, and you are good to go. It may not even be noticeable by your audience.
The most noticeable thing about the Micro Dark once it comes on is its volume. It probably is the only 20 watts head with such an impressive volume, with a dynamic range.
Together, gain control and shape control work to provide a vast assortment of drive and tone properties; there’s enough space for some mildly driven classic-rock sounds, very similar to the Class A sparkle of AD30R. By turning up the gain to the last quarter of its range, you release the Micro Terror’s overdrive with more than enough gain effects for modern rock and metal music. Bass and treble can be enhanced as needed.
The effect of the shape control becomes even more dramatic as you turn the amp up further: it can be stratified as classic rock to the left and modern metal to the right. This is the time to use the master volume control if the roof hasn’t caved in already. It provides great sound, just not at super high volumes. Being a class D, it can’t provide the sag and breakup of an all-tube amp. Using it at quieter volumes works great and even better than other most fully tube amps, so this can’t be held against Orange.
Features Worth Considering
Be ready to play with your guitar’s tone controls, as the isn’t any proper dedicated treble filtering on the amp and this can become an issue. A noise gate would also be very useful too, since a feedback squeal can be recurrent with the gain set high.
The effects loop works just fine without any additional noise, it gives room for the creation of a multi fx rack, reverb unit which minimizes unwanted sound as well as creates create contrast.
The headphones are not anything special. A 6.55 mm jack headphone output and a 3.5 mm jack supplementary input are a great plus for self-practice, but I advise against it being used for actual recording. The output from the headphones is harsh sounding.
As far as the speakers are concerned, Orange suggests that you use its own PPC108 as a partner; this 1×8-inch cab with a close back and it is available in black, so it would no doubt look synchronized with the diminutive Micro Dark on its shoulders
The Micro Dark does genuine cleans. With a fully set volume, single coils come out very pure up to around 10 o’clock on the gain dial. Even though it sounds a bit lightweight through the green back, it is very much as loud as an all-tube 20 watts amp through the bigger cab.
The compression is not perfect but it has a smooth and natural crunch. By just a little tweaking, you can set the EQ profile for a wide range of music.
Orange Micro Dark
- Unboxed weight; 0.78kg
- Cost; £128
- Description 20-watt hybrid convertor with a very high quality of output and ECC83/12AX7 preamp, made in China
- Anterior view: On and off button (switch), headphone output (with a speaker for low quality recording); master volume, shape, gain; guitar input
- Posterior view: fx loop send and return, 8/16-ohm speaker output
- Size: 165x135x95mm
- Weight 780g/1.7lbs
- Features; A channel solid state mixed amp head, extra preamp tubes, and a low output headphone.
- Finish Options; Dull,hard steel that doesn’t easily break under tension.
- Orange Amps Contact
020 8905 2828
Orange Micro Dark Review – Verdict
The Micro Dark orange amp is definitely one of a kind, it provides so much value for such low cost. Most amps within this price range don.t offer as much value that this amp offers. Also, being very small in size makes it very portable. It definitely has its shortcomings but to have such dynamism and features from an amp this cheap and of this size is very commendable. This is a highly recommended product, especially for metal guitarist who love to grind but are tired of lifting heavy equipment, also for people who want something affordable they could record with while at home.
We really hope you enjoyed this Orange Micro Dark review. If you want to check out more of our Orange or other amps be for to head to our amps section of our site!