Orange Amplification has announced its first ever US-designed and made amplifier, a signature model for Marcus King entitled the MK Ultra.
Unlike the amplifiers’ namesake – a complicated tale of mind-control, psychoactive drugs and government-backed torture – the unit itself is quite simple. The EQ is incredibly minimalist, with only two controls: Deep and Sing. The two EQ controls operate on different parts of the signal chain, and are organised as such – the Sing control works pre-volume control, adjusting the brightness of the input signal. After the volume control is the Deep knob, which thickens the sound post-volume control.
The two EQ controls and the volume control make for a total of three knobs on the amplifier. The volume control will adjust how saturated the amplifier is, with your guitars’ volume control an essential part of dialling in your sound.
The amplifier is based around two 12AX7 preamp valves feeding into a dual-6L6 power amplifier stage for a total of 30 watts of output. It’s designed to push the power amplification tubes into break-up, too, at least at higher volumes – given the lack of a master volume control, this is perhaps not the amp for those needing a home practice amp. However, at lower volume settings, Orange states that the amp still has plenty of headroom and a fast response – making it an excellent partner to pedals of your choice.
Construction is ultra-premium – the amp is hand-wired in the US, using custom Heyboer transformers, This is reflected in the price, as the amplifier lists for a rather pocket-threatening £2,499.
King said of the amplifier: “For me to have a signature amp with Orange is just like a childhood dream that’s come true. It’s a uniquely crafted American amplifier by a British company for a uniquely crafted American Man.”
See him demonstrate and discuss his amplifier below.