If you’re a player who derives the majority of your tone from pedals and modellers, the hundred-watt Orange Pedal Baby 100 could be just the sort of unit you’ll want to reach for to move some air. Featuring a Class AB push-pull of a classic Orange guitar amp and at just 7 lbs., this little powerhouse makes a sweet little fly rig. Nick Jennison Tells us more.
There was a time when cranking up a valve amp was the only way to achieve a great tone. Unfortunately, the practicalities of relying on a big, heavy, fragile amplifier don’t jive with the realities of being a working guitarists in the modern era. With touring budgets shrinking, more and more players are getting fantastic results using modellers and pedals as the foundation for their tone and leaving their amps at home.
Travelling light may be a necessity, but it’s not without it’s issues. Pedals don’t exist in a vacuum, and if you’re playing through a Twin one night and an 800 the next your pedals will sound wildly different. Modellers come with their own share of problems too: if you’re lucky enough to be playing in a venue with great monitoring (and lucky enough to get enough of a soundcheck to dial in your monitor mix) then it’s all gravy, but we all know those gigs are rare.
Orange have a solution in their Pedal Baby. It’s a clean, loud power amp that’s light, compact and built for the rigours of the road. Equally well suited for modellers and pedals, this little powerhouse will provide all the volume you need without unduly colouring your core tone.
Where the Pedal Baby differs from similar “pedalboard amplifiers” is in it’s power amp architecture. Instead of the Class D amplifiers commonly found in this corner of the market, the Pedal Baby is a solid state Class A/B design, which offers punch and dynamic response that’s much more like a traditional guitar amplifier.
The controls layout is very simple, with just three knobs for treble, bass and volume. Like most Orange amps, the EQ is very powerful, but remains musical across it’s entire range. Leaving the EQ flat produces a linear response that’s perfect for modellers, and turning the treble and bass up replicates the midrange scoop inherent in most valve amp designs - making it perfect for drive pedals.
Because of the linear nature of the Pedal Baby’s response, it’s a great choice for a “second amp” in a stereo or wet/dry rig. It works great running pedals into the front of both amplifiers, but in a more complex 5-cable-method setup the Pedal Baby shines, with enough tweakability to match up with the “master” amp’s tone and more than enough volume to keep up with even the loudest of valve amplifiers.
If you’re the kind of player that centres their rig around either pedals or a modeller, the Orange Pedal Baby is a great choice. It’s loud, light, robust and incredibly easy to use.
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