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3 Monkeys Orangutan 1x12 combo
Overall Rating
Submitted: January 23rd, 2010
by Pete Alinovich
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Sound Quality
I wanted a 6V6 based amp that had more power than the usual options, such as a Deluxe or a Princeton type amp. I like the sweet breakup of that tube but these type of amps are usually a little underpowered for me. I had heard good things about this amp so I decided to check it out. The 6 way switch interacts with the volume control so as to change the gain structure of the amp at each setting. The first 2 settings are firmly in the Blackface/Brownface camp. The first being clean and twangy and the second slightly more hairy with more midrange. The 3rd setting is the "brownest" of all- somewhere between an old tweed Pro and a vintage low wattage Marshall to my ears. From there the settings get progressively brighter but still possess an old school, low gain feel, with good crunch at each setting. It's all power tube distortion once you are past about 6 or so on the volume knob. This amp does not try to cop any other amp's tone directly, but all of the sounds possess a flavor that will be familiar to you- Marshall, Vox, Orange, tweed, Brown, Black, etc. The big feature for me though is the "lift" boost. When engaged the bass control is disabled and this gives the amp a bit more juice, volume, and clarity. Very, very nice. The boost is also well thought out. Just enough to lift your solo above the band but not enough to make you sound way out of place, The boost does not add so much gain that you could not leave it engaged and just use the volume on your guitar to clean up. And this amp really cleans up nicely via the volume knob. The only thing it can't do is high gain metal although I have put some pedals in front of it for fun and it takes them extremely well. No weird interaction or squawkiness. The reverb is a nice change of pace also. It is what 3 Monkeys calls "room". It's more in the vein of a studio type reverb- in the background but still there. It never gets in the way of the tone of the amp and seems to be a perfect choice for this amp. The tonal options available to you are many and I can't imagine a style of music you could not use this amp for. I have had the amp for a few weeks and I'm enjoying it more all the time. A really well thought out, useful amp for the gigging guitarist.
Built like a tank, handwired, solid cabinet. The amp looks great also. The overall vibe of the amp is sort of early 60's cool. The crushed glass control panel and faceplate give it a definitely retro look but not in a hokey, contrived way.
General Comments
I'v been playing for 20 years and have owned a lot of gear. This amp appealed to me in a way that made sense. It gives you the ability to sculpt some fantastic tones without using the complicated tone sucking circuitry that many mass produced amps rely on. Therefor it retains an organic feel that lets "you" come out in the final product. A really great idea that was well executed.
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