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This article was originally published in issue #9
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It was one the surprise launches at this year's NAMM show - Orange's signature #4 Jim Root Terror head and cab. But Orange doesn't do signature amps, does it? It certainly never has before, so what made Slipknot's Root the lucky man? And what sets the Jim Root Terror apart from the pack? iGuitar got one of the first review samples and Rick Graham started asking the questions...
I was very surprised to learn that the UK's Orange Amplification hasn't produced a single signature model product in its forty plus years history and when you think of some of the legendary names who have used Orange you have to wonder why. Well, whatever the reason, that is now a thing of past following the introduction of the 'Signature #4 Jim Root Terror Head'. Produced in conjunction Jim Root, the guitarist from Grammy-nominated band Stone Sour - and perhaps the more well know Grammy-Award winning band Slipknot! - this amplifier is an all tube/valve mini head, in the familiar Terror style package - slated to be capable of a lot more than just high gain tones.
Based on the dirty channel of Jim Root's own Orange Rockerverb 100 amp that he uses on tour and in the studio, the #4 is essentially a 15 Watt head that packs a pretty beefy punch. For this review we had it hooked up to its matching #4 Signature closed back 2x12 Orange cabinet with offset speakers and as a pair they both looked pretty beastly all in black. I say all in black but with a subtle dash of Orange in the right places! It's also great to see a signature product associated with such a high profile player/band that isn't completely covered from head to foot in the band's logo. Instead, a much more subtle approach has been opted for by the addition of a small signature on both the head and cab, resulting in a much classier looking product (both Slipknot and Stone Sour logos are visible are on the rear of the amp).
The Orange's front panel is a relatively simple affair, with full three-band EQ controls, gain control and a power attenuation switch enabling the user to easily switch between 15 and 7 Watts. Turning to the rear of the amp we have multi speaker outputs and a very handy tube driven FX-Loop, should you wish to take your tone in a different direction.
As the #4 has been marketed as being a highly versatile amp and not just a fire-breathing Heavy Metal dragon, I was very keen to get it plugged in, powered up and switched on, so I could sample some of the clean tones on offer- which is something I'm guessing most of the targeted demographic may not be all that interested in! But it was pretty obvious that Orange was going to voice the Jim Root more on the aggressive side of its Terror range, and if it was to deserve its billing as something more than a Metal amp, then it had to deliver more in the way of tone that the sort of high gain mayhem you'd take for granted.
And I was very happy to discover that the Orange didn't disappoint in that department at all. I fact it's capable of some really lovely clean tones with good headroom. The range of the three-band EQ is very impressive indeed, too, and with a little bit of tweaking can take your clean sounds into completely different territory. Turning the gain control in a clockwise direction put a very big smile on my face indeed. Everything I dialled in, from lower gain vintage sounding Rock, to full-on in your face Metal, sounded superb, with impressive sustain and rich harmonics across the board. Heavy chugging rhythms sounded beefy but very tight, while leads felt smooth and creamy but with an aggressive edge. Very impressive and very inspiring!
Check out the video and hear for yourself!
I had a great time reviewing this amp. It is most certainly a very versatile unit, capable of far more than the obvious ultra high gain tones. And then you have to take into account the price, which we feel makes it all the more impressive. I have to be honest, I'm never one to be very excited about a signature model but this amp just made me want to play and play and play. That, for me, is a sure sign of a fantastic product! We've no choice but to award it our joint highest ever score. Well done, Orange.