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Orange Box review: The Bluetooth speaker Led Zeppelin would have used

Our Rating :
£275.00 from
Price when reviewed : £275
inc VAT

The Orange Box has the looks and the sound to delight, but its portable credentials are more than a little questionable


  • Big, detailed and involving sound
  • Great spec by portable speaker standards
  • Looks the part and then some


  • Too big and heavy to be properly portable
  • Not particularly dynamic
  • Lacks USB charging

Storied British pro amplifier company Orange has clearly taken inspiration from rival brand Marshall and decided it too can make waves in the world of consumer audio. It’s started with a couple of Bluetooth speakers – and the Orange Box, which is similar in price and stature to the Marshall Middleton, is the smaller of the two.

Smaller isn’t the same as small, though, and the Orange Box is undeniably big and heavy when compared with most of the options on our best Bluetooth speaker roundup. So much so, in fact, we’d dispute whether portable is actually a valid description.

As a speaker, though, this is a product with positives. It’s far from the most dynamic speaker around, but it has nice, natural tonality, a stack of presence and knits together the frequency range well. It creates a big soundstage on which recordings can do their thing and is more than capable of teasing out the fine details along with banging out the broad strokes. And it can do all this for ages, thanks to a big 15 hours of battery life.

If you want a backpack-friendly speaker to go wherever you go, look elsewhere. But if you want a tiny facsimile of a musician’s cherished amplification, one that does justice to its maker’s heritage, Orange could be the only fruit.

Orange Box review: What do you get for the money?

Ordinarily, mildly distinctive is the best you can hope for when selecting a Bluetooth speaker. But there’s no mildly where the Orange Box is concerned – the company’s half a century of experience with professional, concert-standard amplification means it has an established and distinctive aesthetic on which to draw.

And so the Orange Box is a fairly big and boxy speaker measuring 28 x 17.5 x 17cm (WDH) and weighing 3kg. It’s available in the company’s trademark loud orange tolex finish as well as a rather more sedate black alternative.

On the outside, the Orange Box covers the essentials in a manner that will be recognisable to anyone familiar with the company’s backline amplifiers. The top of the speaker features a chunky power on/off toggle switch next to a big, jewel-faceted orange light that confirms power is on and has a modest little battery charging/battery charged light next to it.

There are three rotary dials that adjust bass, treble and volume respectively, with a small warning light next to the volume control to let you know if you’re overdoing it. A 3.5mm analogue input and a Bluetooth pairing button complete the lineup. On the rear panel, there is a DC input socket for driving the Orange Box with mains power or charging the battery; Orange claims the Box will run for over 15 hours from a single charge, and will go from flat to full in around three hours.

On the inside, the Orange Box departs from the Bluetooth speaker norm just a little. For example, it’s hard to think of another speaker that uses two different types of amplification – the Orange Box powers its 102mm bass driver using 30W of Class D power but drives its pair of 51mm full-range drivers using 10W of Class A/B amplification each. Wireless connectivity is via Bluetooth 5.0, with SBC, AAC and aptX codec compatibility, which is considerably more conventional, and there’s nothing odd about a claimed frequency response of 50Hz – 20kHz either.

READ NEXT: The best wireless speakers on the market

Orange Box review: What did we like about it?

The fact that Orange supplies the Box with a faux-leather carry-handle/strap helps its portability credentials no end – otherwise, you’re left carting about a pretty heavy speaker that’s too big to fit in one hand.

You’ll make your own mind up about the aesthetic, of course. Orange has obviously had a look at the progress Marshall has made in consumer electronics and fancies a piece of the action – and if you’ve read this far, the chances are that you like the miniature guitar amp vibe as much as we do.

There’s plenty to like about the sound the Orange Box makes, too – and it seems fair to suggest that it doesn’t sound unlike the way it looks. This is a Bluetooth speaker that’s capable of expansive, forceful and room-filling sound. Even if you take it into the great outdoors, there’s no danger of its sound being swallowed by the open air.

It’s no blunt instrument, though. Play Orange Crush by REM (pun most definitely intended) and there’s more than enough subtlety to accompany the straightforward presence and attack. The Orange Box punches hard in the low frequencies, but not without control or insight – detail levels are respectably high, and there’s a good variation to bass sounds. The midrange is similarly informative and distinct, and there’s plenty of shine to the top of the frequency range despite the absence of any dedicated tweeters.

There’s always a point source of sound, of course, but nevertheless, the Orange Box conjures a fairly big and wide soundstage. It organises recordings on there with a degree of success too, so even complicated or instrument-heavy arrangements never sound cramped or inhibited.

The speaker is tenacious where wireless connectivity is concerned. It initially pairs rapidly, and then is quick to pair every time you switch it on (provided you’re using the same source player, of course). Orange is claiming a big 15 metres of range and, much is with its claim for 15 hours of battery life, we’re in no position to disagree.

Orange Box review: What could be improved?

Despite its significant power rating and the straightforward potency of its presentation, the Orange Box isn’t the most dynamic Bluetooth speaker you have ever heard. The Orange Box constantly sounds like it’s going full tilt – its presentation starts at a considerable level of intensity and never really deviates one way or the other, no matter the light and shade that might otherwise be apparent in the recording.

Otherwise, our misgivings are all about the object itself rather than the sound it makes. What makes you consider a battery-powered Bluetooth speaker, after all? Portability is probably a big part of it. But despite its carrying handle and its very decent battery life, the Orange Box just isn’t all that portable – not unless you only intend to venture into the garden with it. It’s too big and too heavy to fit in a backpack, so isn’t a candidate for keeping you company when you’re out and about. It’s better suited to a static life on a shelf.

But if that’s the case, it’s short on features given its asking price. It’s no smart speaker, after all, and has none of the network functionality that would make a more adaptable at-home wireless speaker. And the lack of USB charging seems an oversight, too – how many battery-powered, portable devices do you own that don’t have a USB-C socket?

Orange Box review: Should you buy it?

You buy the Orange Box Bluetooth speaker because its unarguable plus points outweigh its shortcomings as far as you’re concerned. This is a big, vigorous-sounding speaker with an aesthetic that’s beyond simple pastiche, great battery life and apparently unshakeable wireless connectivity. And for some customers, there’s no doubt this will be more appealing than its unportable weight and dimensions are off-putting.

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