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Orange Amplification Micro Terror & PPC108 review

Kat Orphanides
27 Apr 2012
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Orange Amplification Micro Terror & PPC108
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
158
inc VAT

This brilliant-sounding valve-based practice amp and speaker also make a great speaker set for your MP3 player

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Specifications

Valve amplifiers have recently come into vogue for high-end personal hi-fi equipment, particularly iPod docks. It's hardly surprising, as the characteristically warm tones of valve amplification make for a particularly pleasing listening experience. Orange Amplification’s valve amplifiers are legendary when it comes to stage gear, but even the company’s smaller practice amps might seem a little excessive when it comes to plugging in your MP3 player. Until now.

The 20W Micro Terror valve amp, measuring just 132x165x80mm, is small enough to fit into a lunchbox and even has a carrying handle. It has two inputs; the first is a traditional 1/4in TRS input, which feeds through the unit's valve pre-amp stage. The auxiliary input, designed to be connected to the 3.5mm output of an MP3 player or PC, goes straight to the final solid-state amplification stage and, although it's affected by the volume knob, the gain and tone controls don't affect it.

You can simultaneously feed in audio to both the 3.5mm and 1/4in inputs, making the Micro Terror perfect if you want to play or sing along to a backing track from your MP3 player - it's great for busking, practicing to a demo tape you're working on or the odd bit of drunken karaoke. We tested the TRS input with both guitars and microphones and were pleased to find that we were able to set the tone and gain to be clean enough for vocals - which the amplifier is not really designed for but, as mentioned, we really like karaoke - while still being well suited to its core function as a guitar amp.

Orange Amplification Micro Terror & PPC108

Turning the gain up produces a warm, fuzzy overdriven sound, which lacks the harsh precision popular in extreme metal, but if you're looking for a 1970s rock sound, you're in luck. The amp's mellow sound also combines brilliantly with a phaser for the rippling psychedelics of space rock. Turn the tone knob towards the treble and you'll get a crisper, brighter sound which lends itself to speed punk, deathrock and britpop styles.

For just shy of £160, you can buy the Micro Terror as part of an amp stack bundle with Orange’s PPC108 speaker, which we used in all our testing. If you already have a passive speaker you’re happy with, of course, you can buy the Micro Terror by itself for around £99 – it’ll work with any speaker cabinet with an impedence of 4ohms or above. The PPC108 speaker cabinet itself is robustly built, has two 1/4in TRS inputs on the back and houses an 8in speaker. At 250x260x140m, it’s almost as compact at the amp itself and looks snazzy in Orange’s trademark colours.

The Micro Terror is, first and foremost, a great practice amp. The ability to plug in a 3.5mm audio source from a PC or MP3 player means that you can easily set up a whole set’s work of backing tracks. The lack of a battery makes this unsuitable for buskers, but its small size is ideal if you need to take gear to practice sessions but lack the obligatory run-down transit van.

On top of its classic use, the amp and speaker stack combination outdoes the audio quality of many - more expensive – iPod docking speakers. What it lacks in docking capabilities, it more than makes up for in audio quality and sheer style. If you want a look and that’ll appeal to your inner muso, this versatile little kit is an ideal buy.

Specifications

Rating*****
AwardBest Buy
Speaker configurationmono
RMS power output20W
Power consumption standbyN/A
Power consumption on7W
Analogue inputs3.5mm stereo, 1/4in TRS (amp); 2x 1/4in TRS (speaker)
Digital inputsnone
Dock connectornone
Headphone output1/4in
Satellite cable lengths50cm
Cable typereplaceable
Controls locatedamplifier
Digital processingnone
Tone controlstone
Price£158
Supplierhttp://www.dv247.com
Detailswww.orangeamps.com

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