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Oranges and Sunns

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ThePaste, Dec 29, 2000.

  1. Are Orange and Sunn amps good? I know Matt Sharp from Weezer uses an Orange, but I don't know anyone that uses a Sunn. Or maybe I do but don't know it.

    And also, are they expensive?
  2. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    They're both tube amps, aren't they? Of course they're good :p .

    Seriously. The resident tube amp genius - Psycho Bass Guy -
    swore off the Sunn 300T, then found one to his liking.

    Sunns ain't cheap. They list for over $1500, and that's just the head :eek: .
    I dunno' what Oranges go for. There are some threads here about both.
    Click "search", then enter Sunn or Orange in "keyword".

    If you're after tube amp tone, the new Pignose 100-watters aren't bad AND they're cheap :) .
    Santa got me the head-only version (B100V-H). I'm runnin' it through an SWR 2x10" :D .
    You can get the head for ~ $320. There's a 1x15" combo that goes for ~ $425.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    By default, all-tube amps are expensive. They contain expensive components not needed in solid state amps like output transformers and the tubes themselves cost a lot of money. Solid state amps can offer more features and more wattage per dollar because of the lower cost of the technology. The ONLY reason to go with tubes is you need the tone they provide. There is NO OTHER ADVANTAGE to all tube amps.

    Sunn was a major amp maker through the late sixties up to the early eighties then bellied up and was bought by Fender. They only started making bass amps under the Sunn name again about two years ago. So it's not surprising you don't see a lot of Sunn amps out there, Fender have to convince people to switch from their "old reliable" be it an Ampeg, SWR, Trace, whatever. They are playing on the rep of the old Sunn amps, since other than the name there is no relationship between the old company and the new one.

    Orange was resuscitated by Gibson a few years back, but Gibson stopped distribution. Orange was never easily found in the US so attained a magical mystique as many UK bands used them back in the 60s and 70s. Like Sunn, the new Oranges have the name of the old ones but are updated designs. Due to high prices and scarcity they haven't made much of a dent in the marketplace. Gibson never even bothered to import the bass amps, focusing only on guitar rigs.

    From a practical standpoint, US players can easily find Ampeg, Boogie and Sunn tube heads. The Trace, Eden (actually made for them by Koch in Europe)and Orange amps are harder to come by due to way fewer dealers.

    Ampeg SVT is sort of the "standard" for high power tube heads. Boogie's spin is they have a preamp more like a Fender Bassman which gives it a different kind of sound. The Sunn is not all tube, the preamp in the 300T is transistorized which lets them add goodies like graphic EQ, compression, etc. that players have come to expect in modern amps.

    Only Ampeg and Boogie have track records for long-term reliability (Boogie's first bass head came out around 1983) since all the other brands are too new to know if they will work night after night for a decade or more. If you will be on the road, that is a big concern.

    [Edited by brianrost on 12-29-2000 at 01:21 PM]
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    brianrost-I was wondering what was up with the Sunn's rise from the grave. Thanks.

    ThePaste- I used a Sunn Coliseum and an Orange Amp in the early 70's so what I know pertains to their vintage stuff. The Sunn was clearly the superior amp for bass, IMHO. Entwistle got me excited about them. Turning the volume up past 7 made it distort, but since it was tubes it was even order harmonics (sounded good). The Orange would be the better choice for guitar, IMHO. They didn't sound much different to me than Marshalls (for bass) and the word I got was that the Orange name took a beating for their reliability issues. Plus, they didn't keep up with the evolution of solid state/hybrid bass amps. To me, their appeal is that they have a mystique (at least in the US), because they were/are expensive, their looks are definitely unique, they're British, and they have that goofy logo.

    As for not knowing anyone who plays Sunn, Ray Riendeau, ("Groove Therapy" album), is one of their bass endorsers.
  5. [​IMG]

    Noel Redding with his Sunn's back in the day.


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