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- Power supply dying, blowing fuses repeatedly usually suddenly. Fortunately repair is achievable and if not replacement modules from Orange are available.
- Power amplifier burn out caused by overheating, overload or just bad luck.
- Other faults are typical service things like valves, control pots and jacks.
- Like all class D amps reliance on good fan airflow is essential so make sure to clean it out every couple of years or so.
- Original English made Celestion Vintage 30 speaker
- New JJ Power Valves less than 10 hours use.
- Original pre-amp Ornange branded- no microphonics.
- All new from panel items all pots, jack socket and lamp holder.
- Inside the amp is in as new condition with no circuit board wear and tear whatsoever.
- Most valve amps
- visibly worn decoupling caps
- interstage electrolytic coupling caps
- Tantalum caps
- Carpeted capacitor bed. Though red tape is a bit of surprise.
- Sealed pots
- Paper wound transformers
- All screws locked with sealant
- Anti vibration valve sockets
- Valve clamps
- Ventilated pre amp tube shields
- Neat wiring and point to point layout
- Very low noise.
- Anti vibration pad lined chassis
Orange amps are characterised by their distinctive colour, original sound, great build quality and over engineering that sets them apart and above their rivals.
Orange Bass Terror
The original bass terror in its small tin box with carry bag was an immediate success. Great sound and highly portable. It comes in 500w and 1000w variations and is pretty reliable.
Some issues that I have come across are:
Repair success is pretty good on these amps thanks to the excellent support from Orange.
Orange Rocker 30
These 30w, 1×12, dual gainy channel amps have very little to go wrong in them. The only issues I have seen are from typical wear items like damaged pots, jacks and valves.
Here is a rare old Park 50 that was entrusted to me recently by a discerning collector. Great build quality on these hard to find marshall plexi style amps.
This section is about some techniques and ideas for restoring old equipment.
First section is on Cap restuffing.
On vintage amps and radios we often want to retain the amps capacitors since they such a part of the look. Particularly true when they are visible like on Ampeg flip tops.
In the above case of a delightful Park 50 amp several of the caps had dried up and various repair solutions had been tacked on with tape or glue. This conscientious amp enthusiast wanted to restore it properly and asked me for some options.
In this case because the cap cans are quite big 35mm and 25mm it was easy to restuff them. What is restuffing? Well it is what it sounds like. Replace the innards and have new capacitors that the eye cannot see.
It is a time consuming that involves cutting into the aluminium can of the capacitor, heating up its insides so that gunk and glue inside melts and can be removed. Next we need to find suitable replacements such as the excellent miniature range from Rubycon that are between 10 and 12.5mm diameter and similar height so fit into the cans directly.
I like to use two capacitors in series, with equalisation resistors to make the working voltage that each cap must deal well within its range. On This park B+ was over 450 the same rating as the caps but in fact when I checked the spec the caps peak is 450 and working is 450vdc.
Care needs to be taken with adequate insulation material since the series cans will have high voltage on one of the cans. I like to do a PAT insulation test on the the cap to be sure that there is no possible short as well.
Once the caps are in the can then the wires are brought through tiny holes to join on to the old cap terminals. Don’t forget that our original cap can is in two halves now but we can join together using wire diameter heat shrink and optionally some plastic plumbing tube internally is strength is required. This sounds a bit flimsy but don’t forget that the cap is going into a metal holder and that will provide a firm grip on out new but old looking part.
Visually you can only tell that cap has been restuffed if you look very closely. You can see the wires coming through the top but that is all.
And it’s great to know that you are running with brand new caps. In the case of this Park 50 the amp was a little bit hummy beforehand so has benefited from the new caps although it was not so bad to have needed them doing.
Restuffing a capacitor like this typically takes a couple of hours time, great patience but the results are rewarding.
Kit Amps like this beauty from TAD offer the best way to get an unaffordable amp into your hands for a reasonable amount of money.
This particular remake of a classic Marshall is pretty much identical to the original and has a few upgrades that make it better.
Things like ceramic valve sockets, noiseless (well compared to marshall) transformers and the cloth wiring adds to the sense of luxury.
Ok you never see this stuff but it is kind of comforting knowing that it is there inside.
Once built you then own a classic sounding amp with an expected lifetime of forever.
Most of Fenders popular mid range amps like Twin 65, Hot Rod, Blues Deluxe and Junior are fitted with cheap plastic Jack sockets.
A simple upgrade is to upgrade them with the vintage style metal chassis jack made by switchcraft as used on most guitars and all the old fender amps.
The nice thing about this upgrade is you feel the benefit every time you plug in and play.
Very old but working bass head. Heavy, tatty and simple to use.
GP11 pre amp, Transformer fed DI.
Exceptionally nice condition Orange amp from the early 2000s. As I understand it that is quite an early Orange.
It has been a regular gigging amp for one of my clients that wanted to try something more suited to clean tone like a Traynor or Fender.
It is in very original condition with just and some light wear to the corners and nick or two on the tolex and some evidence of stickers on one side. All of this could be hidden with a little paint if it was a bother.
Come and try out this lovely amp.
Comes with one-year guarantee on everything except the valves and a free service (excluding parts) in the first two years of ownership.
I don’t really work on HiFi, why you ask? It’s a fair question and the reason is that there are just so many different makes, manufacturers that it is difficult to gather any experience on them all. So there are a few makes that I like or have success with and I will accept them for repair projects.
Some of these makes are:
I really love the sound of the old Marantz HiFi amps from the 1970s. Walnut veneer chip board surrounds, glowing lights what a joy. I don’t usually work on HiFi but here I make an exception.
These amps are made to the highest standards and feature great transformers and parts top to bottom.
A couple of issues I have come across and are worth sharing to help others.
Crackling no matter volume level
Seen on Marantz 4240 but applies across the range. In this scenario the amp works as normal but produces a fairly constant rustling / sizzling bacon style crackle. The fault may increase gradually folowing switch on or be permanent. Even with no input connected the fault is present and not effected by the volume control.
The cause is leaky tone recovery transistors on the PCB driving the amplifier blocks.
Everywhere on the internet people talk about replacing capacitors. It’s a bit over stated. Often their are visual signs like rupturing. leaks and yes these should be replaced in pairs but shotgunning the whole amp is wasteful of time and money and unlikely to be worth it.
So concentrate on where it is needed.
If you have one of these amps that you would like to sell either for restoration or parts donor I would be interested to hear from you.
Cabinet resonance problems with the great little amps is a major nuisance. The cause is the chipboard baffle. This would have been ply in the old days but in Fenders reissue they have gone for a more affordable design choice.
You may be able to fix yours just by tightening the securing screws up a little. It’s a hard life being a combo and they will loosen off in time.
See below for an attempt to solve the problem with a little DIY cabinet rework.
Remove baffle add bracing at top. Some folks like bills used angle aluminium but this model already has had a ply brace added but it is just pinned in. Here I have added several decent screws carefully drilled in, glue and some additional brace.
Refit baffle applying wood glue and adding additional securing screws.
At the back of the amp I added a brace to reduce the rear panel resonating.
These gadgets are fantastic streamers with a loyal community following.
One common fault is a drop in output from one or both of the channels. The fix is quite simple in most cases and I am doing these by post for £34 each plus shipping costs.
If interested contact me for details.
They really are…
Great build quality start to finish.