Orange Amplification OPC review
3.3GHz Intel Core i5-2500K, 6GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Orange Amplification is one of Britain's most iconic makers of music equipment and the company's amps have been seen on stage with everyone from Jimi Hendrix to The Cure. It seems like a long dive from the main stage at the Isle of Wight festival to the desktop PC market, but the OPC is both brilliantly designed and extremely well targeted towards its niche audience of guitarists, singer-songwriters and bedroom musicians.
The OPC looks just like one of Orange's practice amps. You can use it as one, too, simply by booting the computer and loading one of the easy-to-use software suites. Everything comes fully configured and there’s a reassuringly comprehensive user guide sitting on the desktop.
At the top of the chassis are two 1/4in TRS inputs, which can be used to connect instruments including guitars, basses and electric violins. If you want to plug in a mic, you'll want to use Input 2, which has a specific mode for microphones and an optional 20dB gain boost which will be helpful if you use a standard dynamic mic. Also located on the top are volume, treble, middle and bass controls for the built-in pair of studio quality JBL speakers that lurk behind the woven front panel, as well as the power switch, a USB port, the PC's wireless networking antenna, a vertical slot DVD drive and a faceted amber light that lets you know the OPC is switched on.
At the back of the case is a pair of 1/4in TRS inputs that allow you to feed stereo audio from an external source such as a DJ console or mixing desk to the PC. Below them are two more 1/4in ports which can be used together to output stereo audio; alternatively, you can use the left output by itself to drive a pair of headphones - the output supports impedances of between 32 and 600 ohms, so even high-impedance studio reference headphones can be used.
You'll also find a more familiar selection of PC ports on the back. There are two HDMI and one VGA graphics outputs, six USB ports - two of them USB3 - an eSATA port, Gigabit Ethernet, both optical and coaxial S/PDIF digital audio outputs and a set of standard 3.5mm stereo audio outputs for 7.1 surround sound. The 7.1 sound is supplied by the motherboard’s Realtek ALC889 audio processor, but Orange has also built a second dedicated sound card into the case, and it’s this that drives the high-quality audio inputs and outputs and is controlled by the low-latency ASIO driver interface required to carry out real time audio processing.