Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Orange MT20 Micro Terror Guitar Amplifier and PPC108 Cabinet Review


A few years ago I wrote a less than flattering review of the Orange Tiny Terror guitar amplifier, so I did not have much hope for their even smaller Micro Terror, but after messing around with it for a while I came away impressed. This is more than your usual practice amplifier.

The Orange Music Electronic Company is a British amplifier manufacturer that has been around since 1968, and have maintained a steady following throughout the years, in part because of their association with major acts of the 1970s.

Micro Terror is not just a clever name: this thing is about the size of a kitten. It measures about 5.5 by 4.5 by 6 inches, and weighs in at less than two pounds. Even with its tiny footprint it cranks out 20 watts of solid-state power, with a 12AX7 tube pre-amp for added character. It looks like a downsized Tiny Terror, with the same white case and little cartoons for each knob and jack.

The controls are dead simple: gain, tone and volume -- the Micro Tiny Terror is not a knob farm. Also on the front are the ON/OFF switch, a single ¼-inch input, a headphone jack and a 1/8-inch auxiliary input. On the back there is a single 1/4-inch 4 ohm speaker output and a jack for the power supply. This uses a laptop style power supply to provide 15 volts DC, so converting this for use in other markets should be easy.

Build quality (from China, not England) is very good, and the finish was laid nicely over the steel chassis. This amplifier does not come with a carry bag, but it is small enough to fit in a gig bag pocket.

I mated this amplifier up with the closed-back Orange PPC108 cabinet, which is a pretty good match-up. My god, just look at how orange it is! The cab seems solid and should hold together like a brick house. It is loaded with a single 8-inch special-design (whatever that means) Orange speaker that can handle 20 watts at 8 ohms. The whole thing is light, coming in at around 9 pounds and it measures around 10 by 10 by 7 inches.

This combination of amp and cabinet ends up being a really good practice amplifier. It can do an unbelievable crunchy overdrive, and the tube really warms things up. I had good results with a Strat or a Les Paul, and it was really fun with my Bass VI. Unlike the Tiny Terror, this amp does a good clean sound too (not as tinny), though it is a single-channel amp, so switching back and forth takes some knob turning.

Running the Micro Terror through a bigger speaker cabinet, the Orange PPC112, brought this into a new dimension of fullness and volume, and turned this into a good small gig set-up. Of course this speaker will cost you a few hundred bucks more.

As it is, the Micro Terror and PPC108 is better than most any practice amp you will find on the market, especially when you factor in the price. The MSRP of the Micro Terror is $199 with a street price of $149, and the MSRP of the PPC112 cabinet is $139 with a street of $99. You will not be able to do better for $250!


1 comment:

  1. How cool to have nice options like this in such a low price range.