At just under £140 for a valve amplifier, the Orange Terror Stamp is affordable – but is it good value for money? This review hopes to answer that!
I found myself in the market for a new guitar pedal when my Fender Frontman 15G decided it no longer turned on. I’m no engineer, and I’m sure it’s repairable, but nevertheless, I decided it was time for something new.
I decided heading down to my local PMT would be the best bet, as I’d need a little advice on what amps work best in my situation (playing through headphones and recording while using a cab sim pedal). In the end, they suggested the Terror Stamp would fit the bill – and if not it can always be exchanged or returned.
What is the Orange Terror Stamp?
The Orange Terror Stamp is a 20-watt valve amplifier in a pedal. The pedal is designed to be used in small or compact playing rigs for live playing; as well as in silent guitar recording applications and headphone playing applications – to help with this the pedal offers a cab sim headphone output jack. It is based on Orange Amplification’s Micro Dark mini amplifier and houses a AX7 valve inside its hybrid valve/solid state circuitry.
The Terror Stamps portable but versatile offering means it is marketed at those that need a compact recording or gigging rig, and for those that need a spare amplifier just as an insurance policy of sorts.
But is it worth the hype?
Where to buy the Orange Terror Stamp?
I bought my Terror Stamp from PMT in Manchester, where it retails (at time of writing) for £139. GAK stocks it at the same price, but you’ll also find it at Anderton’s (£145.00), Guitar Guitar (£149) and Thomann (£155) among others. While PMT and GAK have the lowest prices of this piece of kit, factor in delivery charges etc. when purchasing, or there might be a discount somewhere else.
Why I bought the Orange Terror Stamp
As someone that enjoys jamming at home and recording music as a hobbyist, going for high-end professional equipment, would be overkill, even if I wasn’t limited by space and budget.
I’ve said in a previous review that I live in a setting where playing loud is not something I can do freely, at least not for long, so I am most productive when playing through headphones. I’m also able to manage volume better this way.
I also wanted a piece of equipment that would bring the most out of my Two Notes Torpedo Cab M+, for which I have access to 44 virtual cabinets, as well as various reverb options; as well as something that could deliver great tones on my Fender Stratocaster and Ibanez GSR 180 bass. It made no sense to buy a combo amp that would make my other hardware redundant.
I don’t own cabinets (this review will avoid cabinet performance), and in looking for an amplifier, I was concerned about using my Cab M with just an amp head (for which it would require a load box, meaning buying an extra piece of hardware to use the hardware I’m buying so it can work with the hardware I own).
If I was starting from scratch, there are of course options that would eradicate the need for these, but my aim was not to start from scratch.
So, at first glance the Terror Stamp looked like a piece of gear that would go some way to fulfilling my requirements.
I’ve had the Terror Stamp for a few days now, and while I’m still learning about it, I’m able to share a few thoughts.
With all the context out of the way, there’s lots I enjoy about the Terror Stamp, so I’ll cover those first.
The Terror Stamp is the size of a large pedal – need I say more? My entire rig now fits on a pedal board – amplifier pedal, cabinet pedal and 12 other pedals of various kinds. When not playing, I can store the board away, leaving the room tidy.
The Terror stamp uses a 12AX7/ECC83 valve in its pre-amp section, so you’re getting great tones from this compact pedal. For the power amp section, it utilises a 20W Class AB Solid State power amp, which is how the amp pedal can be so compact.
There are five inputs/outputs, four knobs and a footswitch on the pedal (as well as the on/off switch on the side). This means the pedal lets you have two master volume controls (Volume 1 being the lower volume, and Volume 2 for louder lead sections), a Shape knob for equalisation control and a gain control.
The pedal also has an line in Input; Send and Return jacks; Cab Sim headphone output; a Speaker Output for 8-Ohm and 16-Ohm speakers (and only these types of speakers).
This means as well as giving a good amount of control to our sound on the amplifier, it works well with all kinds of pedals. Distortions, gains, EQ can be connected to the Input, while delays, reverbs, pre-amp pedals and cabinet simulators others connect to the Send and return via the Return.
Instead of several EQ knobs, Orange give you control over the equalisation through their proprietary Shape knob, which adjusts the mid frequencies (but not just) as you swivel it from left to right. The result is a broad range of sounds, which will be most useful around the middle.
The extreme left and right of the Shape control might be a little difficult to listen to, but I imagine in the context of mixing multiple guitars bot in studio and live, you may want a high treble/ high bass guitar mix panned to one side to add character to the dominant guitar, which will no doubt be around the middle.
Superb clean tones
Orange may be known for its high-gain tones, but that doesn’t mean the Terror Stamp can’t provide clean tones that will be the envy of everyone. Clarity is the key word when it comes providing a low gain sound.
Having come to this piece of equipment from a 15-watt solid state practise amp, I was floored by the higher gain the Terror Stamp delivers. The presence of the valve is really felt, and once I was able to combine it with my preferred cabinets, the distortion on display was authentic, fun and I couldn’t stop playing.
Whether your connecting pedals before or after the Terror Stamp it works well with them, so if you prefer you pedals to shape your tone, not your amp, from what I’ve seen of the it is able to provide unbiased clean tones that make that happen.
One thing I’m most happy about is the send and return FX loop, as I was unable to use a looping pedal or delay pedal when just playing through the Cab M – somehow the sound got muddied. The Orange Terror Stamp has no such issues. Delays, loops, and reverbs all have a clear signal with this.
While I’m so far mostly impressed with the Terror Stamp, there are a few issues I’ve had, but I’m sure these will be ironed out with use.
While the Shape control on the pedal works best between the 10 and 2pm position, that leaves a whole lot of shape wasted. This is no deal breaker, but I’m some players out there will also prefer more direct control over the shape of their tone. If you’re not confident in this solution, best leave it at 12 o’ clock and use an EQ pedal or other solution.
Gets fuzzy fast
More t do with the learning curve of this piece of equipment, but I do find the gain goes out of control quickly when using pedal for a little boost. I’m sure it’s something I’ll iron out with time, but for now I do find myself becoming vary aware how much pedals boost the signal going into the amp.
Perhaps it’s just me being used to my old amplifier, which was perpetually at 2/10 volume and only ever on a clean channel, so this is a new aspect!
Cab Sim Output
I was less than impressed with the headphone output which provides an emulation of a Orange 4×12 Cabinet. If I needed an amp that provided emulation, I would likely have returned this product. Fortunately the folks at Orange are a step ahead and I can use my cab sim hardaware for my own cabinets – including, as it happens, an Orange 4×12.
Clean tone volume
As much as I value the cleans in this compact amplifier pedal, the Terror Stamp does suffer somewhat from being able to provide high volume cleans. I’ve tried with an EQ pedal and with a compression pedal to try add value, and the result is signal break-up.
It’s no deal breaker for me – I’m playing into headphones, and can adjust the volume on my cabinet simulator, but for live players, I imagine this will be a limitation.
Other things worth noting
Do not turn this off from the power without switching the amp off from the ide switch. I’m really not sure if blown valves are covered by the warranty.
The Terror Stamp is designed to be used with only 8-ohm and 16-ohm cabinets with minimum 20-watts power rating from the Speaker Out output. For those that play with cabinets, this should be more than enough for playing gigs etc, but something to consider if you don’t have such a cabinet and intend to play aloud. Of course, there’s also the headphone out ant the Send jack, so there is still a solution.
The Terror Stamp comes with it’s own power supply – so do not use a daisy chain to power this. In terms of power supply, it not a pedal but definitley an amp.
Frequent Questions about the Orange Terror Stamp
Can I use the Orange Terror Stamp with headphones?
As mentioned previously, there is in fact a headphone out with a cab emulation built in for a decent audio experience.
Is there an auxiliary input on the Terror Stamp?
There is no dedicated auxiliary input – so if you need to jam along to a song etc., you’ll need to make the FX loop work for you.
Can the Terror Stamp be used for direct recording?
The Terror Stamp is a useful tool for going direct into a mixing desk or audio interface for direct recording applications. But it’s limited – the cabinet simulated output will provide an Orange cabinet with no reverb, so you might need to add to room feel in yourself. For me, the Send output is the most valuable asset for direct recording – as it allows for a more powerful cabinet simulation to improve the signal it reaches the audio interface.
Where can I read the Terror Stamp User Manual?
It’s a short one, but you can read the manual here.
Is the Orange Terror Stamp loud enough?
I haven’t tested it with a cabinet, nor do I plan on it, but it’s designed to run with 4×12 cabinets, so if you’re worried about being heard in a band, it’s plenty loud enough. However, if you’re playing exclusively clean tones, you might feel limited.
Can a pedal power supply run the Terror Stamp?
The Terror Stamp has it’s own dedicated power supply which should always be used to power this amplifier.
Coming into this pedal more by luck than anything, I’m super impressed with how it delivers what I need, and with such great sound too. The clean tones are stunning, and when I combine it with an external pre-amp, I’m able to get really shiny tones, but by itself it’s all you need too. I’d happily just use the Cab M as a cabinet simulator.
The distortion tones on display are fantastic and allow a broad spectrum of styles to be covered. For extreme metal tones, you may, however want to add a pedal, but the Terror Stamp is more than capable of doing the heavy lifting of your tone.
I’ve also used the pedal to play and record bass guitar, and the tones from that are more than fine (I use a budget bass, so I’m not fussy with what I sound like!)
And coming in at around or under £150, it’s fantastic value for money and well worth owning – assuming you have a cabinet/virtual cabinet solution already sorted.
Watch the Terror Stamp in action
We’ll be posting audio examples in due course, but Alexis Guitars posted an in-depth review of the hardware, check it out below:
This is a review of a product I bought at full price as an end customer. As such I have zero investment in writing a review aimed to sell more gear.