1975 Orange OR80R reverb combo

Well, all this talk of vintage Orange amps must have clicked something. Look what turned up at the workshop. These are pretty rare in Australia despite me owning two very similar ones, we don't see them very often and the reverb model is even rarer.


This amp has been through the ringer and come out the other side. It's owned by local R'n'R nice guy Nico who was the original guitarist in Brisbane band Budd. I saw their first ever live show in a back yard near Wooloowin somewhere at a bunch of friends house we affectionately called "the Bumholes". I'm sure Nico will correct me on this but I seem to remember the set had some Exploding White Mice and maybe a Stooges cover along with lots of Mudhoney/TAD etc?


Anyway, Nicko got this amp a little later and my only real memory of this amp from back in the day was it rolling down a flight of stairs from the first story to the ground floor, mid set at the Treasury hotel at an overzealous Budd show, and working when it was put back on stage. Yeah, they're well built.


Like I said it's had a hard life and it's the only vintage Orange I've seen that runs 6L6 (5881) power valves which I think was done by a guy in northern NSW in the 90's if Nico's recolections are right ? It's an odd choice, but hey, maybe that's all that was around then.

It's had quite a lot of other mods done but still very much retains most of that great Orange tone, which is in the driver stage really.


It's one of the rare reverb OR80R's with factory fitted reverb that used the second two output valve holes in the chassis for the reverb driver and recovery valves.

The tank is an old acutronics tank and seems to still be working although all the asociated reverb circuitry, that was a smaller PCB added inside the chassis has been gutted. I think all of this may have been removed when it was converted to 6L6's ? It's kind of a shame, but schematics are out there so it could be rebuilt if wanted.


Orange used the same chassis for the two and four output valve versions and just left the two holes open for the lower wattage one.

These models had the reverb volume pot fitted to the top echo loop hole and the other remaining jack was used as a foot switch input.


This bottom echo/reverb footswitch hole has been converted to a stand by switch which of course vintage Orange (and Matamp) amps never had. Some of my vintage amps come on when you plug them in and the switch is a kind of stand by (no power switch) and some don't don't come on when you plug them in but just come straight on when you hit the switch (no stand by). A stand by switch is a good idea for any valve amp really.


This amp came in about a month ago after being in storage for many years and we did some work to it to get it going and make it safe. These old amps can be like old cars that have been sitting around, you fix one thing and then something else needs doing.

We tested the power valves (Sovtek 5881's) when it came in last time and they tested fine but obviously sitting around for years and then being used a lot has shown up some other issues so we've put in new power valves and a bias and some more new caps and resistors.

It was also a little noisy so we did some lead dressing on it to quieten it down a little.


The cabinet is still in pretty reasonable, original condition albeit a little dirty. The speakers are non original but are up to the job, for now. I'd change them if it was mine but it works and sounds fine and that can be done down the track.

It should be right for more battles now and these are becoming quite sort after and collectable so as long as Nico looks after it it would be a contender to one day be restored and be a very nice, vintage collectors item, with EL34's for me .......


 

 

 

 

 

Aug 26 2013 Written By: Tim Brennan