Believe it or not, but cheap amps don’t necessarily suck – and Orange Crush 12 is the greatest example of that. I recently had a pleasure to test it out and it made me realize quite a few things about affordable gear.
The Crush 12 isn’t that expensive and it’s ideal for both clean tones and overdrive. It’s not huge but it gives you plenty of power to practice at home. There is a few things that could be better, but don’t worry – I’ll cover that in a minute.
As always, I’ll try to make this review unbiased. I want to point out that this is a very solid amp though. All the sound demos and photos below are mine, so you can be sure that this combo was tested by an actual person :).
Let’s start with a quick sound demo.
About Orange Crush 12
This is probably one of the most popular amplifiers that are currently made by this brand. It’s a pretty cheap piece of gear, so it’s very appealing for everyone who’s starting out.
But I have to admit that this combo isn’t only for noobs – I’m sure that even more advanced players would love it. Most of the cheap solid-state amps of that size sound like crap, but that one is a bit different.
They’re also easy to get – I’m almost certain that your local music store will have it in stock. If not, you can try Amazon, Thomann, Sweetwater or even Facebook marketplace. Who knows, maybe someone from your street is selling it?
What makes it different from of other amps of that size? Well, it’s highly responsive. Don’t get me wrong, obviously it’s not a tube amp. But it reacts to playing surprisingly well and that’s a VERY good sign!
Orange Crush 12 is simple to use and it has a few cool features. Have a look at the photo below. You’ll notice that it has just a couple of controls that are very basic. I’m sure that any beginner will easily figure out how to use it. Of course, that classic orange aesthetic is also cool as hell.
Oh, and the speaker! That’s a very strong point of that amp too. Orange decided to put a 6-inch Voice of the World speaker into it. It’s a custom piece that they created, so you won’t be able to find it anywhere else.
A few of the most important features of that amp are 3-Band EQ, Overdrive and Headphone Out. Obviously, you can also adjust the gain and volume, but that’s nothing unusual.
The fact that you can use that amp with headphones is a game-changer! Imagine that you came home from work and you want to practice, but your wife and kids are already asleep. Using headphones is literally the ultimate solution in that case!
I also like the fact that every control has these little black icons above them. Some of them actually look funny. Is it just me or do they look like Egyptian hiergolyphs?
So yes, that’s pretty much it! A very basic setting with no built-in effects. Some may complain about that, but maybe it makes this combo even better? In the end, it works with pedals surprisingly well.
I bought this combo from someone who didn’t want to use it anymore and shame on them, because it was a fantastic deal for me! Although I don’t have any photos from the unboxing, I can definitely say that the build quality of that amp is very solid.
That orange material is very sturdy, so I assume that it won’t be that easy to break it. Of course, don’t throw it at the walls – it’s a bad idea. But if you’re planning on using it in your bedroom just to play and chill, it’s just extremely unlikely that something bad is going to happen.
The controls also feel solid, same with the grip handle. Generally, the quality control in the factory must’ve been good, because there’s nothing to complain about.
I took some time and I recorded a few sound samples for you to hear. It’s all basic, but it should give you a brief idea on what you can expect from that combo. The EQ controls were somewhere in the middle in all of these samples. Full video review available here.
Chorus & Reverb
Fuzz & Reverb
I really hope that you took some time and you heared all of the demos shared above! I really like the clean tone of that combo, it sounds awesome especially when you pair it with a good reverb pedal (I’m using either Fender Marine Layer Reverb or Walrus Audio Slo).
The overdrive is nice too, it has that classic and punchy Orange sound. If I had to choose, I’d probably choose that kind of tone rather than the tone of Marshalls or Fenders. This is totally subjective though!
Last two samples were recorded with some effects, and if you like the chorus part – it was the Walrus Audio Julia V2. I think that these demos prove that Crush 12 works amazingly with pedals! The fuzz was quite nice too – it was Fender The Pelt.
Overall, hopefully you enjoyed this stuff! If you want more, you can always watch the video review of that amp available on my channel. Here it is.
If you’re the type of guy who needs to know all the boring details like dimensions, weight and everything else – here’s a table for you. The vast majority of you will probably ignore, but I know that there’s at least one person there who wants to see it.
|Inputs||1 x 1/4″|
|Headphones||1 x 1/4″|
|Power Source||Standard IEC AC cable|
|Dimensions||11.42″ x 12.01″ x 6.88″|
|Weight||10.4 lbs / 4.7 kg|
Pros & Cons
Just like any entry-level amp, the Crush 12 has its own pros and cons. Do I think that it’s the best guitar combo for home use? Yep. But it doesn’t mean that it’s flawless either.
- low price
- great tone (especially clean sound)
- classic aesthetic
- punchy overdrive
- solid construction makes it difficult to damage
- only one channel
- limited power
- no built-in effects
The advantages are clear – we pretty much already covered it earlier in the article. But the fact that this amp has only one channel can be annoying. It means that if you want to switch from clean tone to ovedrive, you have to manually adjust your settings. I’m sure that it won’t be a problem for some of you though.
Limited power means that you won’t be able to use it for rehearsals or band practice. It’s simply not loud enough to use it with a drummer.
And as you know, there are no effects included. Again, it’s not a huge issue, but on the other hand it would be nice to have at least one effect here too. Something like reverb or chorus would be nice. As an example, Blackstar Fly 3 Mini Amp has a very nice built-in delay effect, so it’s not impossible for the manufacturer to add it to an amp of that size.
Who Is It For?
In my opinion, this combo is designed for a few categories of guitarists:
- absolute noobs who’re looking for their first amp
- people who just want to play at home
- a bit more advanced players who want to get a functional practice amp without spending too much money
I would be VERY happy to start my musical journey with that model. Unfortunately, when I started back in 2008, I had a combo made by an unknown brand which sounded absolutely terrible.
12 Watts of power is enough to annoy your neighbours upstairs. People who live across the street will probably won’t hear you though. So since it’s not a powerful amp, it’s actually ideal for home use.
And of course, the low price can be appealing for all players – no matter how advanced they are.
Would I Buy It?
Yes, absolutely! I’m an experienced guitar player but I still consider the Crush 12 as a fantastic combo for home use.
However, since I’m playing and rehearsing mainly with my band (you can check out our music if you want), I need a much bigger and louder combo, ideally tube amp.
So if I had to choose an amp to use in my bedroom, I would probably choose this small orange beast. But since my priorities are a bit different, this piece of gear isn’t really for me right now.
In the end, it all depends on your own needs. Just think about it. Do you need a lot of volume or not? Do you want to use it outside of your apartment or not? Figuring it out should make it very clear whether this amp is suitable for you or not.
Orange Crush 12 vs Crush 20
If you need more power, choosing the larger brother of today’s amp – the Crush 20 – may be a really good idea.
I had the pleasure to test it out too, so I now what I’m talking about! The 20-Watt version is a bit louder and most importantly, it allows you to instantly switch between clean and overdrive. Having two channels is VERY useful.
But honestly, it all depends on what you want. If you just want to practice some beginner guitar licks in your bedroom, the Crush 12 will be more than enough. It’s a shame that it doesn’t have two channels but it’s not that big of a deal.
It also depends on your budget, because as you can imagine, more power means more costs. So if you want to save up a bit, choosing a smaller version may be smarter.
I haven’t recorded any direct sound comparisons of these amps yet, but I do have a video review of Crush 20 on my YouTube channel, so if you want to see it, check out the video below.
As I mentioned in the beginning, inexpensive gear doesn’t have to suck. This amp proves that statement. I’m sure that if you decide to get it for yourself, you’ll agree with me on that.
So that’s pretty much it! Now you can either completely ignore that model (if you think that it’s not for you) or you can run to your local music store or Amazon to eventually get it.
But no matter what you decide, I want to thank you for reading this article. It means a lot! If you do end up with it in your bedroom, leave a comment under this post and let me know what you think. Other readers would probably love to hear your thoughts about it too.