Graphic 120 Head - dating and info?

Maybe someone can help you date your Orange Amplifier?

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mal barclay
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Graphic 120 Head - dating and info?

Post by mal barclay » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:18 pm

Hi,

I wonder if anyone has any info or opinions on this head?

I bought it about 16-17 years ago in Edinburgh, and used it for some time when I was playing in pretty loud rock bands. The last 10 years it hasn't had much use, just because it's too loud for the kind of thing I'm doing now - but I'm considering dusting it off and investigating any mods to help bring the volume down a tad and make it more practical to use, because it just sounds so darn nice!

Serial no. is 120349, and the cab no. is OA 2974. Looking on the field guide website, that seems to date it to '72 - but I'm confused by the writing on the front panel, especially the 'Out of the blue' logo. All the letters 'appear' to be original to the amp - i.e., they look about the same age as the panel pictures - and it seems like a lot of trouble for someone to go to, putting transfers on just to mark the controls (when a bit of tape and a felt-tip pen would do...). But I thought all early Orange amps were pictures only?

The 2 large (capacitors?), components on the left of the chassis (looking from the rear), are dated Nov '68.

At the moment it has mismatched power tubes - the two on the left are original to the amp when I acquired it, so are pretty old, but in good shape. The ones on the right are Electro Harmonix replacements put in by a local tech just to get it running safely - he checked it over pretty thoroughly and everything else seemed OK.

I've read you can pull two of the power tubes on these amps fairly safely, so I might get rid of the EH tubes anyway, and knock it back to 80W - I'm thinking of rigging it up as a half stack, with an Eminence Legend 15". I've already tried it (tentatively!), through a Legend 15" in a combo I have, and it sounded like it might be a good match.

I'd love to get it going again, and use it as a gigging amp - my only hesitation is the memory of how loud it was! Which makes me think it may not be practical for me to use - but it is one of the nicest sounding amps I've ever had; fat and clear, with no harshness to it all, and the most beautiful rich, 'brown' sound when you get it overdriven.

Any thoughts?

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Randy Bass
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Re: Graphic 120 Head - dating and info?

Post by Randy Bass » Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:22 pm

Welcome to the Forum. That's an awesome amp you've got there. I believe that is one of the earliest OR120s based on the faceplate. The "Out of the Blue" text was probably the band name of a previous owner. It is definitely not original. The control labels are not even accurate.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to pull two tubes, but it will still be ridiculously loud. The vintage ORs are generally unable to be tamed effectively. They are built to sound best at extremely loud volumes. Also, I would make sure that you adjust your impedance setting accordingly if you go to two tubes.

I imagine the Legend 15 would be a good match tonally for the OR120, but you should make sure it is rated to handle that kind of power. Otherwise, it would be very easy to blow the speaker.
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mal barclay
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Re: Graphic 120 Head - dating and info?

Post by mal barclay » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:12 am

Hi, thanks!

I think you're right about the letters - I could probably clean them off, but I think I'll leave them, it's part of the history of the amp!

Yes, the volume...!! It's the only thing that stops me using it - but still, it sounds nicer at low settings than many amps; most tube amps can sound kind of anaemic on 1 or 2, but this sounds nice and fat and full, even on real low volume settings. So I'm hoping that for gigs that I might need a high-headroom, warm, clean sound for, it might work - maybe even for jazz...!

These days it's the only amp I have above 30-35W - in fact my main amp for club gigs is a Fender Brown Deluxe 6G3, which is rated around 14W! But it's right in the tonal area I love, and while I've often thought about selling it for practical reasons, it's such a cool amp and I have so many memories attached to it, I'm reluctant to move it on. Still, it's good to know I can try it out at 80W with nothing more invasive than a re-bias - the Eminence Legend 15" is rated at 150W, and while I wouldn't expose it to the full 120W, I think it can handle 80W; they are pretty robust speakers.

One thing I need to find though, is a replacement impedance switch - the socket is alright, but the switch is starting to crack. Does anyone know if there are replacement parts available that fit these sockets? I have a feeling that finding the correct vintage part might be hard work...!

bclaire
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Re: Graphic 120 Head - dating and info?

Post by bclaire » Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:59 pm

The letters are awesome! Definitely a late 60's - early 70's font - and judging by the up and down positioning (albeit slightly) of the letters, it looks to me like rub-off Letraset letters. I wouldn't remove the lettering even though bass is mislabeled as well as a non-existent middle control... but balls for one of them is just fabulous! I'd hate to see what the Orange graphic would have been if they had actually called it that! ha ha ha!

It's a very cool amp - and looks to be very old! The only way you could really use the amp would be to get an attenuator to go between the amp and the speakers to reduce the volume while still having the amp up...

As far as the impedance switch, I agree that you might not find the right part - and as original as the amp is, I'd want to see it kept original, but something like an impedance selector to me is OK to replace with a modern part. The pins on the old switches can get loose and you wouldn't want to replace an output transformer down the road because of it.

Welcome to the forum - it's great to see some old amps are still out there instead of someone trying to plug their Crush into a stereo.

bclaire
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Re: Graphic 120 Head - dating and info?

Post by bclaire » Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:07 pm

like this:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Marshall-or-O ... 4174626457" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

mal barclay
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Re: Graphic 120 Head - dating and info?

Post by mal barclay » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:17 pm

bclaire wrote:like this:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Marshall-or-O ... 4174626457" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Yup, I'll probably have to go down that road if I want to gig it - probably replace both the impedance and voltage selector, because safety wins out over 'vintage correct' IMO!

I did use it with an attenuator back in the day - back then it was a Marshall Power Soak - and I do have a 50W Weber attenuator I use with smaller amps which sounds pretty good. But I'll need something much more powerful for this head! Probably something like this - https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/mass150.htm

Any favoured attenuators for Orange 120s?

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