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NAD! OB1-300 Review.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Boy_Narf, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Boy_Narf


    Dec 19, 2013
    Hello Everyone!

    So in guitar land, I'm an Orange addict. I won't buy any other amps, I'm obsessed with them to say the least. When they announced the OB1 I knew I had to have it. Took me this long to find a used one for the right price...


    So I just ripped through it for about 30 mins and the clean side really let me down. If I start to dig in it breaks up in a VERY pretty unpleasant way. Almost sounds like the speakers are crackling, but it does the same even at lower volumes. I'm playing it through a Traynor TC1510 rated at 600 Program power so it should be a near perfect match. It's like the grit will kick in for a split second then go immediately back to clean. There is no smoothness to the transition. Even my mini class D Traynor head handles this better. Of course I tried cranking the mids cause you know, a bass needs to cut, and YUCK! Seriously a bad sound, so back to noon they go :) Amp clean tone = 3/10, awful, boarding on unusable unless I'm playing with a light touch. I also tried setting it to active mode which seriously brings down the level. In passive volume at 10 oclock is probably more than I would ever need during a rehearsal or with PA support. With the active switch I had to get it up past 2 oclock to match the level and there was a seriously drop in clarity and low end. I don't have an active bass to test it out with so I'll be avoiding that for now.

    Anyway, blending in a touch of dirt really brings this amp to life. I settled on 9 o'clock for both knobs on the dirt side, and I'm impressed. It's not at all "tuby". I consider the V4B to be the best bass amp I've ever heard for grit/grind/warmth while still maintaining a reasonable volume. The OB1 is not that kind of amp. It's about clanky fuzz/distortion. There is nothing subtle about this at all. I found that even setting the knobs to 9 oclock that it has far more dirt than my old clean rig with an dirt pedal, but there is more clarity due to the blend circuit. Compared to when I ran dirt pedals with a clean blender, the OB1 sounds like one sound, as opposed to two separate sounds being played at the same time. Very nice blend they have achieved here. For EQ I've boosted the treble to 3 oclock (this fretless is super dark), and boosted the bass to 1 oclock (I'm not touching the mids, they sound gross). Great clank and sustain that's for sure! It's even a touch "rattish" IMO. I will say this is a one trick pony, and I'm not sure I've ever said that before. If I ever have a gig that requires cleans/headroom I will be taking my Traynor head for sure.

    Build quality seems fine. I didn't notice anything funky. The bass and mid knob were a touch scratchy but spinning them around a few times sorted that out. What I will say is terrible, is the fan noise. WOW! There doesn't seem to be any RPM changes on the fan. It's either off, or full blast. There is no way you could mic the cab for recording unless it was in a different room. The fan was easily audible with the volume at 10 o'clock. My Traynor head has a fan as well, but you can't hear it if you are playing.

    So in summary...

    If you love dirt, and only dirt, and always DI instead of MIC, this might just be the amp for you! I'm glad I found it used, cause I would have probably returned it for full price. I think for the price they are asking, there are better options.

    P.S. I tried running my Bass BB Preamp into it and it worked fine. The issue though, is I can't really set the amp to "a touch of grit" like I imagined. There seems to be a sweet spot where the dirty side really starts to sing, and any lower the two signals don't really blend. I won't be needing a pedal for this amp, that's for sure.

    EDIT: If you didn't know, I up use my Traynor bass rig for my clean guitar amp. With a touch of tweeter blended in it works brilliantly! I just tried the OB1-300 for guitar and it's awful. Even set to as clean as possible it still has too much grit for the tweeter to handle. This my friends, is a bass only amp. Hmm, I wonder how it will sound my with my Sub Phatty :)
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  2. Boy_Narf


    Dec 19, 2013
    Well I had my bass player use the amp at jam tonight. It sounded pretty good! I did hear a few pops during the jam though. After they left I did some testing of my own. He plays through an old SUB bass with an active pickup. I set the amp to active and sure enough if I'm really laying into the strings it sounds like the speakers are popping. I can reproduce the same sound on my A4, but it's harder to hear over the fret board noise. If I tune to drop D however, it's very noticeable. I'm running it through a Traynor TC1510 cab, which is rated at 600 watts program, and 300 rms. It should be a perfect match! Keep in mind that I'm testing this with the volume at the first tick, so it's not a matter of excessive volume. I'm also running it through my pedal board which has a clipping light on my wireless, as well as my looper. Neither of them are even close to going off, so it's not a problem with output. I don't have this problem with my old head but it does have a built in limiter, and is only around 250 watts rms. What do you guys think? Is the head just too powerful for this cab?

    Any help would be appreciated.

  3. Boy_Narf


    Dec 19, 2013
    Alright so I did a bit more testing this morning. I believe it's fret board noise. I adjusted the treble control while playing and cutting it to around 10 oclock gets rid of the "popping noise". I think why I don't hear this on my other amp is that it's MUCH darker. I usually run my Traynor head with the treble knob dimed. The fretless with flat wounds is extremely dark. Even with the treble maxed on the old head I can't hear any of the fret board noises. With the old head, whenever I ran a DI into my interface, I have to apply a LPF in order to tame the fret board noise. The OB1 seems to have a much fuller frequency in comparison to my old amp causing the noise to come through the amp. As I mentioned before it's much more apparent in drop D, but that's probably because the string is looser causing making it easier to bounce off the fret board under regular playing. One of the things I noticed immediately about the OB1 is that is much more "present" it is than my old amp. I will also say my Traynor head hates drop D. It loses all of it's punch trying to reproduce those frequencies. This amp however loves it! Drop D is way punchier than standard tuning, seems to really get the 15 moving!

    I still stand by my statement that the clean side is not clean (unless I'm playing with he lightest touch). It has barely any headroom. I'll now refer to them as an OD side, and a distortion side. Another thing that I find odd is just how noisy the amp is. Even with the blend and gain off it's still pretty buzzy. I've got it plugged into a Furman SS-6B, running into a new outlet that runs direct to the panel. I did some testing and found that the amp is dead silent with nothing plugged in, but even if I just plug in a cable with nothing else it starts buzzing. Very odd. I've never had a cable add buzz to an amp before, and it can't be a ground loop as the amp is the only thing plugged in. The only way to kill the buzz is to turn down the master to 0 and I'm really hoping that buzz doesn't come through the DI. We are currently in the process of moving so I won't be able to check for another month or so.

    Oh and in regards to the Music Man bass, I think the pickups are too close to the strings. I'll adjust that for next practice and see how it goes.
  4. Boy_Narf


    Dec 19, 2013
    Just heard back from Orange support:

    "In order to get the “cleanest” tone possible with the OB1, the Gain and Blend knobs would need to be turned all the way down and not utilized. It was designed to have a vintage, tube-type tone and therefore you may still find it to have some saturated overtones even when dialed in this way".

    So I'm not crazy! Grit and saturation on the clean side is as designed. Wonderful!
  5. Boy_Narf


    Dec 19, 2013
    Update. I made the mistake of selling my SB500H in favor of the OB1-300 and regretted it almost immediately. I just can't get the clean punchy sound out of the OB1 like I got out of the Traynor. I believe I was won over by the lovely filth, but quickly realised it's not all that usable in most situations. Fun to jam in the bedroom yes, but always ended up turning the dirt off with the band. So... It's up for sale, and I picked up another SB500H :) Running my Bass BB Preamp with just a touch of filth sounds amazing. Punchy, clear, and unlike the pops I get digging in with the OB1, I get a nice clank with the BB. Back to a great tone.

    Guess sometimes you have to sell off some stuff to realise how much you love it.
  6. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    Kind of sad. These heads aren't cheap so you would expect better results. I paid 600 bucks for a Carvin BX1200 and it's capable of driving two 4 ohm cabs with loud, punchy clear tone (400w x 2 @ 4 ohms). My feeling is they should have made this amp 500 watts for that kind of money. The distortion/gain feature would be nice if it started with subtle harmonics and gradually moved into gritty distortion as you turned it up. Being a big Orange fan I imagine you've tried one of the Terror amps? I read an extensive review on them and they actually put out MORE power than rated. I think the 500w Terror graded out at almost 600w without "unmusical distortion", which IMO is a great way to measure amps. Too late to get a refund?
  7. Boy_Narf


    Dec 19, 2013
    I bought i used as I wasn't a fan of the new price. Actually waited a few years to pick one up waiting for a deal. I'm sure the amp sounds fine, but it's just not for me. Yes I tried the TB500 back when the first gen came out. It couldn't get a good tone out of it. Farty mud I would describe it :) Orange bass amps have a pretty "vintage" tone and I guess I'm looking for more of a modern punch. I suppose playing a dark muddy bass, I need to have a fairly defined and punchy amp. Love the SB500H, welcome home :)

    Oh well. Onto the next.
    jeff7bass likes this.

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