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User Review

Powerful enough, and with a great sound. - Reviews Orange Micro Dark

Value For Money : Excellent Audience: Anyone
A single channel hybrid mini amp head with a single preamp tube, a 20W solid state poweramp, a headphone out, mono effect loop and 8-ohm output.

I needed a amp with a headphone out, at least one tube and an effect loop which was compatible with the speakers I already owned, so considering all amp heads on the market the Micro Dark was the obvious choice for me (all-tube models with a headphone out are very scarce, except fot a Bugera model which costs 3 to 4 times as much).
Oh, and the sound of course: this one goes from blues to metal in a breeze.

I’ve owned it for a week as of writing this review, and haven’t tried any of its competitors.
Please note that this amp has a rather warm sound in my opinion, it might be powerful enough in rehearsal, especially in overdriven sound or maybe even in a jazz band with a not-so-violent sound.

So, I’ve only used it at home, most often with headphones and the rest of the time plugged into one of the two speakers of my Carlsbro GLX 150 combo – Celestion 12"s, which I consider better for the lower range than the cab which comes with the Micro Dark which is only a 10”.

Soundwise finally, this head certainly gives its all with a cab. The sound of its preamp tube is not a mere myth, having only used solid state amps so far I can clearly tell the difference.
However, my headphones are awful, so it would be worth trying with quality headphones.

As for its controls, except for an on/off switch, you only have 3 knobs left to do the job.
Left from right, you have Volume, Shape and Gain.
No introduction necessary for the first one, the Shape knob controls the tone from the lows on the left to the highs on the right, and the Gain control really rocks as hard as it gets past half its course with the volume cranked up.

The way the contrôle interact with each other is very important with this amp, and those used just like me to put several od/dist pedals in front of it will often have to change the gain depending on whether you use a pedal or not.
Another point to notice it that until half its course, the Gain control works as a volume/boost with the sound remaining clean.
The drive sounds beautiful, with a simple-yet-efficient 70s-rock British sound that reminds of Vox, so it would be a pity to only consider the Micro Dark as a mere base for using pedals, which was how I originally intended to use it.
In the end, I have diminished my number of overdrive/distortion pedals after getting it.

The effect loop beautifully mixes the modulation and delay effects in, which is what I was after.

A little cons though with the lack of compatibility of some pedals, for instance the Voodoo Lab GIGGITY which doesn’t come out well, I still have to figure out why.

In the end, I recommend this excellent Orange Amps product, which features an excellent value for money. I’m happy to have discovered it.