Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

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beninma
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Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by beninma » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:25 pm

Has anyone else noticed any issues with their natural channel?

I am finding I can't figure out how to get a good sound out of the natural channel + just about any pedal that boosts the input or adds drive.

Most everything sounds very nasally and/or like a blanket has been thrown over the amp, it often kind of sounds like tons of midrange or something. Some examples of stuff I've tried that does this. EHX Soul Food (really bad), Orange Getaway Driver (maybe not as bad), Wampler Tumnus Deluxe (pretty bad), Maxxon OD808 (very very bad).

I've got an email into Orange about this, my Rocker 15 is about 2 years old and I'm wondering if something is wrong with one of the tubes/valves. I have always had some crackling on the volume knob on the natural channel.

The Dirty channel doesn't do this at all. Night and day difference. Every single one of those pedals sounds/sounded great on the dirty channel, even if you set up the dirty channel to be really clean.

This seems to only be an issue with anything that can boost the signal. No real issues with reverb, delay, tremolo, etc..

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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by Jondog » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:02 pm

Combo or Head? If head, what cab/speaker? I know with the 30 it’s a different story. I’ve only played the R15 combo and wasn’t overly impressed, mainly thinking it’s the small cab and speaker, sounded kind of the way you describe. The Natural channel is more about hitting the power amp for power tube crunch than a pedal platform. I do find it a bit finnicky with pedals sometimes. Amp modelling overdrive pedals work well and my favourite boost on it is the Xotic RC boost. You could try swapping the first and second preamp tubes to see if theres a change. The dirty channel does use half of the same tube the Natural channel uses though.
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beninma
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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by beninma » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:31 pm

Mine is a dead stock Rock 15 Combo.

Boosts do work great on the dirty channel, but the natural channel they don't work very well. The Tube screamer is like magic on the dirty channel, but most other stuff I've tried works fine too on the dirty channel as long as gain isn't excessive on both the amp & pedal.

If I was to start swapping the tubes I'd like to at least know what each one of the 12ax7 tubes are to avoid having to go through a long trial and error process.

Orange had already told me I probably had grid leakage on my Natural channel preamp tube after I talked to Tech Support last year, I just never did anything about it. (And they said I was the first person with a Rocker 15 Combo that they new of who had gotten a tube with grid leakage.)

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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by Jondog » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:15 pm

beninma wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:31 pm
Mine is a dead stock Rock 15 Combo.

Boosts do work great on the dirty channel, but the natural channel they don't work very well. The Tube screamer is like magic on the dirty channel, but most other stuff I've tried works fine too on the dirty channel as long as gain isn't excessive on both the amp & pedal.

If I was to start swapping the tubes I'd like to at least know what each one of the 12ax7 tubes are to avoid having to go through a long trial and error process.

Orange had already told me I probably had grid leakage on my Natural channel preamp tube after I talked to Tech Support last year, I just never did anything about it. (And they said I was the first person with a Rocker 15 Combo that they new of who had gotten a tube with grid leakage.)
The crackling on the volume pot indicates possible grid leakage. The preamp tube closest to the input and the one directly beside it would be the two to swap.
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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by stargazer747 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:03 pm

Are you sure its a tube issue and not just how you have your amp and any pedals dialed in? I have both the R15 & BH Terrors, just around a year old each. Maybe its just a matter of how the rig is set up? On one pedalboard I have an MXR 6-Band EQ and use it with the MXR Dyna Comp Mini while my other board has the BOSS GE-7 EQ along with the DOD 280 Compressor re-issue. Both ways, on the "Natural" channel I get an almost sparkling clean tone from any of my 6 guitars (all stock; no high output, distortion series, or active pickups). Which ever amp I use is either plugged into my Marshall 412 which has Celestion Vintage 30s or the EVH 5150 III 212 or 112 that has the 70th Anniversary speakers. Both EQs are set in the "V" shape which is sort of pulling out some mids and the compressors are set at 12 noon. Sounds like an Ovation acoustic/electric tone, that is up until you start dialing in more volume on that channel as it starts to breakup around 1 o'clockish. If I stomp on my boost, MXR Micro Amp dialed right at the middle, gives it a nice bite to my picking technique.
Heads: Orange Rocker 15 Terror, Brent Hinds Terror, Signature #4 Jim Root Terror, Dark Terror, Micro Dark Terror - Cabs: Marshall 412 Celestion Vintage 30s, EVH 5150 III 212 & 112 Celestion 70th Anniversary

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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by Arthon » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:15 pm

I dont have this problem with the natural channel of my Rocker 15 combo. I play it mostly clean with a reverb in the effect loop, but I sometimes use my boost (Solidgold fx) or my fuzz in it with great result.

But honestly, I use the gain channel most of the time. If I was using the natural channel more, I would buy a EQ pedal.
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beninma
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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by beninma » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:39 pm

I ordered some new tubes.. but I think there is still some user error here.. 2 years in and I'm still figuring out this thing. If changing the tube gets rid of the noisy volume knob & makes any improvement in the natural channel that'd be great.

It seems the natural channel really doesn't like a signal boost that is large relative to the preamp volume level. It breaks up so late you just get this giant clean midrange bump that gives that honky/nasally tone. (I have a Tele) So if I want to add any grit to it then the grit has to come from a pedal itself unless I have the preamp cranked. Trying to push it like the dirty channel seems to be counterproductive.

Like I said, Reverb or Delay in the loop is cake, you can't really make that sound bad with the Natural Channel. I have a Kongpressor and the Natural Channel absolutely loves that thing too.

My ideal setup would be only having one drive pedal, and figuring out a way to get 4 great sounds with the amp + that drive pedal without having to adjust either the pedal or the amp at all.

Totally Clean (Natural Channel) -> Hint of Grit (Natural Channel + Pedal) -> Fairly saturated Crunch (Dirty Channel) -> High Gain/Lead (Dirty Channel + Pedal)

It seems like it's possible if I get the setup just right for the natural channel but I can't rely on being able to push the dirty channel with a really hot signal from the pedal to do that. 2 Pedals could work too but I'm trying to keep the # down. I have a Fuzz too, those seem easy to get working with this amp. Reducing # of drive pedals makes room for the compressor too.

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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by Ronnie Robinson » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:51 pm

I do recognize what your saying but only on the bedroom setting. Does the natural channel still sound like that with volume at 12 o'clock in full power mode? I think it's unlikely.

I've got a rocker 15 terror essentially the same as the rocker 15.

It's a good sounding Amp but sounds it's best in full power mode with the volumes turned up. The bedroom setting tone is lackluster, bland and a bit like a blanket is over it, pedals sound very average and don't take boosts very well, I'd say it's a matter of too much gain and not enough head room - full power mode totally different ...for me bedroom mode it's a bit of a gimmick.

Even in full power mode unless your getting the volume past 10 o'clock the tone can be bland....but in the end it is a valve amplifier that needs turning up.

With volume turned up on full power the natural channel takes pedals really well.
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Mystic38
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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by Mystic38 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:01 pm

You are correct in your assessment, the natural channel has no mids taken out at all.. it effectively has a flat response and the sole tone shaping is a bright cap across the volume... I suspect this is why Ade called it the "Natural" channel vs a "clean" channel..

Anyway, for all intents and purposes, this means there is no regular sort of guitar tone shaping preamp on this channel so any tone shaping needs to be done externally.

I would suggest sort of pre-amp pedal (not OD) or an EQ pedal with the ability to cut anywhere from 500-1kHz to give you something perhaps more like you are expecting...and a better starting point for adding OD etc..

beninma wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:25 pm
it often kind of sounds like tons of midrange or something.

The Dirty channel doesn't do this at all. Night and day difference. Every single one of those pedals sounds/sounded great on the dirty channel, even if you set up the dirty channel to be really clean.

This seems to only be an issue with anything that can boost the signal. No real issues with reverb, delay, tremolo, etc..
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beninma
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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by beninma » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:19 pm

I do indeed have to play on the bedroom setting most of the time. I most often play the natural channel on 1W with the volume at noon. If I put it on full power in my practice area I'm going to end up with the volume around 9 o'clock and that really changes the tone.

I'll have to take the amp out to my garage when the weather gets nicer and crank it up. Hopefully it won't bother anyone.

If you're playing around with pedals this thing gets loud enough on the 1W setting. Easily > 90dB.

I definitely agree this effect on the natural channel is reduced on full power. I think I'll get a handle on adjusting around it over time. I could easily see the power level just being perception though. The amp is so much louder on full power that your ears are probably not perceiving things the same way as they have to adjust to the sound level. (Doubly so if you're playing with a bunch of other people at a rehearsal/gig level of volume.)

The Tumnus is really interesting as I learn how it works. I think it actually sounds like it is "dull" because I am so used to the amp's drive characteristics. Orange's drive to me really has a nasty/gritty/edge. "Greasy or Filthy" would probably be the words my teacher would use. I'm so used to hearing that characteristic Orange growl that I think when I hear stuff like the Tumnus provide drive it seems like the presences is missing when in reality it's just a different character to how it breaks up.

Same thing with the OD808.. it does seem to have some settings that don't mid-hump the natural channel the same way. It really is a great pedal for this amp. I could see using 2 of them with one set for the Natural Channel and one set for the dirty channel. The Natural Channel one I'd guess would end up with volume at around 11 o'clock and gain around 10-11 o'clock whereas the one setup for the dirty channel would end up with the volume near cranked & the gain rolled all the way off. I doubt I will buy a 2nd one anytime soon though.

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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by Les Paul Lover » Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:35 pm

I'm a bit embarrassed to recommend it again.....

But perhaps you'd be interested in trying out the now discontinued Digitech Hardwire CM-2 tube overdrive pedal. Essentially a tube screamer type with a flat EQ and independent treble and bass controls.

One of the few pedals I own that play really well with both clean and dirty channels of all my oranges. It sounds pretty good, vintage type levels of gain, and the treble and bass controls really let you fine tune your sound.
They aren't a boutique pedal, so trying one out is pretty inexpensive as their 2nd hand value is next to nothing - I got mine for £35/40, and that was fair market value.

I'm not sure how well it would play with the bedroom setting, but on 7w or 15w and low volume, and slight twist of the treble up might well liven up your tone. With the gain set low, it can play pretty clean.

Anyway, just another option.
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beninma
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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by beninma » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:58 pm

I swapped my V1 tube last night. I put in an EHX tube. Fairly arbitrary what I ordered, I don't know if I believe much of the stuff on the internet about what different tubes sound like.

In any case the Natural Channel sounds a little different with the new tube. I don't know if the old one was just not to my taste or something was up with it. Orange thought that with the amount I'm practicing I've got some pretty solid wear on my tubes. I would say the EHX tube is a little brighter with a little less of dark/smeary midrange. Works for me.

The new tube did nothing for the static on the volume knob. That is really not a big deal though. That static doesn't appear to be the pot or the tube.

One thing I didn't think to try was spraying DeOxit in the tube socket. I have DeOxit. Of course there was absolutely 0 corrosion or dirt on the pins of the tube I took out, so that socket is probably fine.

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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by adkguy07 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:35 pm

With respect to the noisy volume pot; that might be due to a batch of potentiometers being (perhaps) dodgy. My brand new Dark Terror, now almost 2 years old, had a similar issue with its gain knob from day one; still is noticeable. I do notice that much of the static noise lessens as the amp warms up throughly. Different tubes have proved no change heard, either. In a discussion with an OR15 owner last year, I learned we both had the same problem and his response from Orange hinted that perhaps the gain pot one was one of a batch that was producing noise. I'm not totally convinced of the “faulty pot” reason. I live with mine and the amp is sounding normal as of late and it seems to produce just what I expected from it.

As far as the description of Rocker 15 natural channel and the amount of mids you described, I think
that might be the design of that channel. Orange amp tone gravitates towards lower mids according to Ade in an interview I saw recently. That may be what you are hearing on the natural channel. I hear that too on my Dark Terror when I lower gain and increase volume to get “cleaner” Plenty of
midrange, especially when I turn my guitar up. I can get the tone a bit thinner with the amp's shape control, (almost a scooped tone) but it's not the Dark Terror's strong suit, so to speak. Perhaps the
Rocker 15, Dark Terror, and most other Orange amps sound so much better giving off a full tone be it
“clean” or gain'd up.


adkguy07
Last edited by adkguy07 on Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

beninma
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Re: Rocker 15 Natural Channel + Pedals question...

Post by beninma » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:53 pm

Yah the static on my volume knob has interesting behavior.

1. Turn the amp on to standby.
2. Set it to half/full power
3. Turn the knob... you'll get static. Keep turning it back and forth 3-4 times. Static goes away.
4. Put the amp back on standby
5. Take it off standby, static will be back, but again goes away after turning the pot back and forth a bit.

I think that's why they told me initially it might not be the pot and had something to do with the tube.

The gain & volume knobs on the dirty channel don't have this behavior, but for all I know the circuit differences keep it from happening. If the natural channel has less circuitry than most amps/channels maybe it'd let more through.

In any case a couple of the websites I saw that claim to test frequency response of different tubes would seem to back up my impression that the EHX tube reduces the midrange compared to the JJ.

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