Orange Terror Bass and OBC112 Bring Iconic Tone in a Small Package
I’d been meaning to write this review for a couple of months. I’ve had the gear for a bit and chances are, you’ve seen/heard it on my social media feed. My gigging schedule kept my dance card full; sorry, folks! But in the case of an amp review, that’s actually a good thing, right? The name Orange is no stranger to iconic rock tone, and the re-released Terror Bass head and new OBC112 Cabinet build on that legendary status with smartly designed gear for the modern musician.
Ask and You Shall Receive
When it originally hit the market, the Terror Bass was incredibly well received. When it went away, original units were highly sought after, and bass players inundated Orange with requests to bring it back. So they did…with a couple new tweaks.
It’s a hybrid amp; an all valve front end, with a 500w (at 4ohm; 250w at 8ohm) Class D power section. The front panel has the same layout as the original, but with an added clean switch. This gives you more headroom and a smoother, clean tone. A pad switch on the front helps with active basses (taking 6dB off the input sensitivity), and the effects loop is hybrid like the amp; valve on the send and solid state on the return.
With my day job, having an amp head like the Terror Bass is great, as it has enough tonal options to allow me to use it when prototyping new strings on classic basses, modern ones, really esoteric instruments, and the like. I’ll toggle the clean switch regularly to give me a better understanding of how the strings would sound in different settings.
Keeping the Bottom End
As much as I enjoy the bass head (and you’ll hear about that in a moment) the OBC112 Cabinet is the star in this combo. A 15mm Birch ply cabinet with a 400w Lavoce Neo 12″ speaker sounds gigantic, while only being 26lbs.
Having used neo speaker cabs for many years, I was blown away by the presence and sound this cabinet has. It’s got a darker tone (closer to a 15″ speaker) than many cabs of its size, but retains the punch and clarity of a 10″ speaker. And if you start pushing the valves on the Terror Bass, you’re gonna get tone in spades.
On the Stage
I had a couple of solo bass performances (check out my solo project here), and decided to use the Terror Bass and OBC112 Cabinet for the run. I use a bunch of effects (distortion, echo, delay, a looper, etc..) and figured this would be a great “trial by fire” for the rig.
The first thing I really liked was the portability. The Terror Bass comes with a high quality carrying case (with shoulder strap). The OBC112 Cabinet is easy to carry. And yeah, I know; it’s a neo cabinet so it should be easy. But as we all know, the placement of the handle is EVERYTHING in this situation, and Orange got it right. The handle placement is natural, comfortable, and easy to carry for long distances.
If there was anything I could nit-pick about the rig at the gigs, it would be that I would’ve preferred to have a second OBC112 Cabinet with me, if only to get the speakers closer to ear level. The one cabinet has a small footprint; it’s not very tall. But in terms of overall volume, hearing myself over the drummer was no problem at all. The added bonus was to hear how nicely the Terror Bass plays with effects, especially distortion. I’m usually a solid state amp type of guy, even though I know the character and nuance that a tube amp gives you. But it wasn’t until I hit the distortion pedal and REALLY heard that nuance shine, that I was sold.
And that was still with the clean switch on.
In the Studio
The studio is always a different story. You’re under constant scrutiny; this is where “acceptable tone” gets left at the doorstep. I had a session for a singer/songwriter yesterday, and grabbed the amp and my Reverend Triad bass. The scratch track had a blues-rock vibe, reminiscent of the Black Crowes. We EQ’d the amp with the gain around noon, to give the amp that “pushed tube” sound without breaking up too much. We also pushed the treble a bit, to give the attack a little “sizzle.” The engineer ran a DI out from the amp, and then mic’d the cab (options!) to blend both in post.
To say the setup worked well is an understatement. The character from the front end of the Terror Bass really added that nuance to the tone of the bass. And the OBC112 Cabinet sounded like a full stack, despite being a tiny little thing. The engineer even commented on the breakup we were getting; after sound check, we pushed the gain just a bit more because everyone was really digging what the Terror Bass was dishing out. I can’t wait to hear the mastered track, but from what I did hear, the amp crushed it.
The Orange Terror Bass head and OBC112 Cabinet bring you the iconic tone you’ve come to expect from the brand, but in a size/weight that is conducive to the modern player. With the addition of the clean switch on the amp, you’ve got even more tonal options at your disposal. The cab sounds absolutely huge despite its footprint and weight. All in all, this is how a company listens to the needs of the players, period.