Today we can introduce you to the first Bluetooth speaker from the English guitar AMP manufacturer “Orange”. However, the Orange Box does a few things differently than its competitors and remains much closer to the Orange amps. We tested for you how the speaker performs.
First Marshall, now Orange?
If the name Orange doesn’t mean anything to you, no problem, Orange is an English manufacturer of electric guitar amplifiers. The company was founded in 1968 and is one of the best-known companies in this field. The name comes from the typical orange color that almost all Orange products have. Artists who rely on Orange amplifiers include the biggest in the world, including AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, but also some German artists such as Ärzte or Sportfreunde Stiller.
Nevertheless, the brand is not particularly well known outside of guitarist circles, in contrast to one of its biggest competitors “Marshall”. If I had to guess, this is probably because Marshall had a large range of entry-level amplifiers for electric guitars in its range relatively early on, which were no longer made in England and were and are therefore quite cheap. Orange now also offers smaller solutions, but the focus remains on high-priced amplifiers that are more likely to be bought by professionals and professional musicians.
Marshall also started selling the trademark rights years ago and brought Bluetooth speakers and headphones onto the market under the name, some of which we have already tested and which are very popular.
Will Orange try to build on this success? Probably not, the Orange Box and its bigger brother Orange Box-L are too special for that, but first things first.
Design and workmanship
The Orange Box is very much like its siblings; if you don’t look closely, you’ll see a guitar amplifier from Orange. The case is made of solid wood and covered with (presumably) artificial leather. The speaker is available, of course, in orange, but also in black. The front is made of the cord fabric in beige that is typical of orange.
The back and top are a curved metal, which is correspondingly robust. Due to its design, the loudspeaker is anything but a flyweight; it also weighs 3 kg. It is worn on a leather strap, which is of course included in the scope of delivery and is also pre-assembled.
According to the choice of materials, the workmanship is of very high quality; here you really have a very robust speaker. There is one downer, however: the power switch is a really nice metal toggle switch, and the button for Bluetooth is unfortunately a relatively cheap-looking plastic button – not a big problem, but it stands out in the contrast.
The Orange Box is really spartan when it comes to functions, but the speaker configuration is impressive.
A 4″ subwoofer and 2 x 2″ tweeters and midrange speakers are installed. The sub is powered by a 30 watt Class D amplifier, the two tweeters are each powered by a 10 watt Class A/B amplifier, which never happens with battery-powered speakers because such a configuration is comparatively energy hungry. Overall, the speaker has a rated output of 50 watts RMS.
Sound comes to the speaker via Bluetooth 5 or via the included jack cable. In addition to ACC, APTX is also supported if your smartphone can do that too.
Exactly, the battery. It can play music for up to 15 hours, a good value.
So far so good, but: There are virtually no convenience functions here; instead of USB-C or an internal power supply, you have to charge the speaker with the included 19V power supply, which is an annoying clutter that you have to take with you. That’s not really contemporary. In principle, the battery level cannot be read unless the speaker is completely dead.
You can’t control playback with the speaker either; that’s only possible on your smartphone. And even something like a stand-by timer, so that the speaker switches off after a while of not being used to save power, is not available.
The overall volume is also not synchronized, which is also the case with the Marshall Kilburn II .
The speaker is also not waterproof, nor is it resistant to dust and dirt. The Kilburn II is definitely better positioned here.
A real rocker!
So the Orange Box focuses more on the sound, but how good is the sound?
Basically, as always, the information about how you perceive the sound is subjective and cannot be generalized, but as always we would like to try to give you the best possible impression.
Here too, the Orange Box is more for connoisseurs than something for everything and everyone. In particular, music with lots of “real” instruments plays particularly well on the loudspeaker, i.e. everything in the direction of rock and rock/pop and indie. When listening to music with particularly large and voluminous bass, often from synths, the speaker quickly reaches its limits. The subwoofer seems to be designed more for a pushing bass drum and less for deep pads.
How could it be otherwise? Guitars in particular sound fantastic on the loudspeaker. If you want, you can also tweak the sound a bit using the built-in EQ. For us, the sound needs a little more highs, which complement each other so wonderfully. However, the bass control can no longer be used for amplifying the bass range from around 50% of the total volume, depending on the song. The speaker actually has an LED built in for the built-in limiter, which even inexperienced listeners quickly realize that there isn’t that much bass in it.
Despite the limiter, it can sometimes happen that the loudspeaker loses a little in the bass range, especially with electronic music.
The Orange Box is completely different than what you are used to from Marshall, for example. The speaker does without a lot of bells and whistles and delivers a very cool sound for music enthusiasts with a preference for rock-heavy music. Unfortunately, you have to take into account the situation with the external power supply in particular. If you want to put the speaker in your living room, this probably won’t be a problem, but if you’re looking for an outdoor speaker, this is definitely the wrong place for you.
In terms of price, the Orange box is also worth paying for; you currently have to put €315 on the table and you can currently get it almost exclusively from the manufacturer on the website.