Practice amps typically come with 1-40 watts of power so you’re not going to be using them on your next stadium tour. They’re scaled back versions of the eardrum splitters we’re all used to and their light weight and compact size make them perfect for those long hours spent perfecting your craft.

When it comes to guitar amplifiers, few companies can boast the pedigree or line-up of Orange and their newest practice amp, the Orange Crush 35RT Combo, elbows a lot of the competition out of the way and immediately enters the discussion regarding the best practice amplifier on the market. Yes, it’s that good.

With a pair of footswitch-enabled solid state channels and a 4-stage preamp, the 35RT Combo delivers an incredible range of tones that will have you waxing nostalgic for all those classic rock guitar gods of yesteryear.

The clean channel is everything it should be; free of the slightest whiff of overdrive with plenty of headroom. While the dirty channel produces full bodied, aggressive overdrive crunch when cranked that will put some wind in your hair.

Atop the trademark orange Tolex-covered box you’ll find Orange’s equally distinctive graphic icons for each control which includes a ⅛” input for MP3 or CD and a CabSim headphone input jack for keeping the neighbors happy, along with the usual array of standard control features. (By the way that CabSim headphone jack emulates a 4×12 cabinet to an astonishing degree of accuracy.)

The digital reverb of the 35RT Combo sounds completely natural and is never overwhelmed by the various distortion settings and even though the effect/loop offerings consist solely of send/return jacks, it’s more than you’ll get from most practice amps.

Features

  • Built in chromatic tuner
  • Low Impedance effects loop
  • Aux input
  • Digital reverb
  • 10” Voice of the World speaker
  • 2 35 watt, solid state, foot switchable channels
  • Transparent fully buffered effects loop
  • Analogue signal path

Pros

  • CabSim loaded headphone output for quiet practice
  • Big enough sound that you’ll be tempted to take it to gigs
  • Attractive price point (click here for the best price)

Cons

  • Some complain of poor sound quality at lower volumes

Verdict 

The 35RT produces some of the most compelling sound you’ll hear from a 35 watt practice amp. It’s an amp with a lot of personality that can play nice and clean or get as nasty as you want to be. Digital reverb is seamlessly integrated and never gets lost in audio mud and the construction, as you’d imagine from Orange, is first rate.

If you’re expecting more from a practice amplifier than what you will get in the 35RT you probably need to recalibrate your expectations to match the world the rest of us live in. This is an awesome little solid state amplifier that will provide you great expressive range and impressive sound quality. It doesn’t look, feel or sound cheap and will fulfill all your practice needs whether you’re just starting out or are looking for something to bring on the tour bus with you.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, the Orange Crush 35RT Combo has to be in the discussion when it comes to the best small practice amp on the market. It’s pretty close to being a perfect amp if what you’re after is something that’s easily portable yet able to produce big, authoritative sound that covers the entire emotional range.

The 10” speaker is really much louder than it has any business being, almost to the point that, as mentioned earlier, you might be tempted to bring it along for club gigs and the like.

In addition, the Orange Crush 35RT Combo amp comes with a transparent, fully buffered effects loop that allows you to get more than you thought possible from your guitar/practice amp/pedal setup.

All in all, the Orange Crush 35RT Combo destroys any preconceived notions you may have been harboring about practice amps. Partially because it’s at the high end of the practice amp wattage scale, but mostly because of its responsiveness and ability to produce everything from those ultra-clean sounds right off a 1950s Sun recording to those “dragging your soul through the gutter in the rain” tones you were only able to previously create with a classic Marshall or some equivalent monster.

There’s no doubt that the Orange 35RT Combo will bring a live show feel to the rehearsal room while the CabSim headphone output delivers the same and more to your headset when you need to keep it down. From the masterfully conceived and integrated digital reverb to the chromatic tuner and its larger than most practice amps output, you’ll be nodding your head in silent approval after your first practice session with this, arguably one of the best compact amplifiers on the market today.

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