Ever since Orange launched the original Tiny Terror head back in 2007, it’s been on a mission to see just how far it can push its tech-shrinking skills while still making amps that are worth listening to. With the Terror Stamp, it may have hit peak diddiness.
This is far from the first stompbox amplifier we’ve seen, but it’s way smaller – and way cheaper – than the obvious alternatives. Yet it has a genuine valve preamp, a buffered effects loop, a DI/headphone output with cab simulation, and footswitchable output levels.
Based on the Micro Dark head, the Terror Stamp is about the same size as one of Orange’s standard effects pedals. The idea is you pop it on your board at the end of your signal chain and plug it straight into a cabinet – via, if necessary, a stage-spanning 20ft speaker cable that you can add for an extra £15.99. And if even that sounds like too much hassle, you can take a line from the DI output straight into the PA. There’s also a second use for the effects loop: plug your favourite preamp into the return socket and use the Terror Stamp just as a power amp.
All this, of course, is for the upcoming golden age of post-COVID gigging; while we’re waiting for that to arrive, a modest output rating of 20 watts and a headphone option make this a potentially strong candidate for home practice and recording.
When we reviewed the Micro Dark in 2016, we said it sounded “way better through a large cab than through a small, low-wattage one”. Our initial impression of the Terror Stamp, funnily enough, is quite the opposite. With single-coils at least, it can be hard to contain the amp’s zingy treble when it’s blasting out through a closed-back 2×12 cab. The intimacy of a compact 1×12 rated at 30 watts seems better-suited to the tweaked gain structure of the new model.
Mind you, there’s no hurry to be blasting out anything, because the clean tones on offer here are really quite charming. There’s a bit of hiss, and the absence of independent bass and treble controls is limiting, but that shape knob opens up a surprisingly broad range of voices – even if, with most guitars and most cabs, the best sounds always seem to be somewhere around the middle.
That remains the case when we crank up the gain, but it’s nice to be able to explore so any flavours of British and American overdrive with a single control. Even with medium-output single-coils the crunch starts coming well before halfway round, and there are real boopy fuzz tones on offer right at the reckless end. If only we could switch between high and low gain settings, rather than just two output levels of the same thing.
How does the headphone output sound? Fine, though we’re not exactly wowed by the realism of Orange’s CabSim circuit. What we’re more impressed by is the Terror Stamp’s power as a Class A/B output stage. If you’ve got one of those old Tech 21 Character preamp pedals with the option to turn the cab simulation off, it’s going to love this thing.
- PRICE £149
- DESCRIPTION 20W hybrid amp pedal, made in China
- CONTROLS Power switch; volume 1, volume 2, shape, gain; volume 1/2 footswitch
- FEATURES ECC83 valve preamp, Class A/B solid-state power amp, 8/16-ohm speaker output, cab-simulated headphone/DI output, buffered effects loop
- DIMENSIONS 134 x 99 x 61mm
- OPTIONS 20ft speaker cable (£15.99)
- CONTACT orangeamps.com