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Orange Amplification OPC (2013) review

Kat Orphanides
14 May 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,768
inc VAT

This is the ideal PC for guitarists, although the lack of SATA3 is disappointing

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Specifications

3.5GHz Intel Core i7-3770K, 16GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 8

Orange Amplification's line of music production PCs is uniquely built into an amp case that’s fitted with a pair of 6.5in JBL monitor speakers and a variety of 1/4in audio inputs and outputs for connecting instruments and mixing desks. Audio is handled via a proprietary sound card with its own low-latency ASIO drivers for hassle-free recording and live effects processing. We were surprised that the heavy duty case didn't provide more complete soundproofing, but the faint whirr of fans wasn't loud enough to interfere with recordings made around a metre away from the PC.

Orange Amplification OPC (2013)

The OPC doesn't just look the part, it really can be used as a full amp, but bear in mind that there's no direct pass-through from the guitar inputs to the speakers. The PC must be switched on to use it as an amp. Even so, the OPC comes with software effects racks and a wealth of other audio tools, making it a superb low-latency digital effects rack.

At the top of the PC are volume and tone controls for the speakers, alongside two TRS inputs suitable for connecting guitars or, if you flip a switch on the second input, a microphone. Another switch adds a 20dB gain boost to the second input for quieter audio sources, which is handy if you're recording an acoustic instrument with a microphone rather than pickups. There's also an antenna for the very handy integrated dual-band Wi-Fi adaptor, a neat little slot-loading DVD-RW drive and a USB port.

Orange Amplification OPC (2013)

AMPED-UP INTEL

The PC’s available in a variety of specifications with different processors, memory, storage and graphics cards. We've reviewed the top-of-the-range model, which has an Ivy Bridge Intel Core i7-3770K processor, a massive 16GB of RAM, a 500GB SSD and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti with 1GB of dedicated memory. It's a blistering specification by any standard, and the SSD and vast amount of RAM are particularly well suited to ambitious audio production and recording projections.

In our standard tests, the system got an overall score of 102 in our application benchmarks. The Core i7-3770K doesn't have much on our reference Core i5-3570K processor in terms of performance, but it’ll cost you £32 more than the i5. We recommend saving a bit of money when choosing your specification and opt for the i5 instead.

Orange Amplification OPC (2013)

The dedicated GTX 650 Ti graphics card is surprisingly capable when it comes to gaming. Orange has opted for a single-width graphics card, as a larger card wouldn't fit into the low-profile slot. The card has microHDMI, DVI and VGA ports, giving it wide compatibility with modern monitors. It produced a frame rate of 32.8fps in Dirt Showdown at ultra quality and even managed 25.8fps in Crysis 2 at full quality. Reducing the game's quality settings to Extreme produced a smooth 30fps, and Crysis 2 still looks good at that quality setting.

Incidentally, gaming audio sounds amazing through the integrated monitor speakers. Loud and full, with plenty of bass for the explosions. However, if you want proper surround sound, you can always switch to using the motherboard's onboard audio, as there are 5.1 analogue, along with optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs. Another advantage of having a dedicated graphics card is that the PC doesn't have to share any of its memory with an on-chip GPU.

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