Trying to find a small, capable practice amp that sounds good can be a real struggle. One that can sit on your desk but also might be good enough for jams or even small gigs.
The Orange Micro Terror, a 20W hybrid head, aims to produce a big sound in a tiny package. But does it deliver?
I got my Micro Terror with its matching PPC108 1X8 cab for quick practice in my bedroom. I thought having a little amp that I could easily move around and that would be simple to just plug and play would be handy.
So after a few years of using my Micro Terror I think I can give a good rundown and review of it. I’ll go through it’s design, features, what it sounds like and overall whether the Orange Micro Terror makes for a decent choice of practice amp and whether you should get one.
Orange were always a big brand for guitar amps but it’s not an exaggeration to say that the Tiny and Micro Terror really helped put them back on the map. After fading in the 80’s and 90’s they began to experience a resurgence in the early 2000’s with the release of the original Crush series, Rocker and Rockerverb.
But the two Terrors are what sent that upward trajectory into overdrive.
It was Orange that started the craze for lunchbox amp heads, and the Terrors were really the first to take off. The Tiny Terror was first available in 2006 and the Micro Terror followed soon after in 2008.
The Tiny Terror was a 15 watt small head (sadly no longer made) that was intended as something you could comfortably pick up and take with you to a gig or the studio. The Micro Terror went one step further and became so lightweight and portable with an amazing sound and priced so low that everyone both wanted and could afford them. The rest is history, as they say.
“It’s basically a downscale version of the Tiny Terror – the original lunchbox amp. It’s one of the most perfect home practise amps that we’ve ever made.” – Alex Auxier, Orange Artist Relations
Read more about Orange amplifiers, their history, range of amps and what they’re good for with our Orange amps guide
The Micro Terror was based on the design of the Tiny Terror. Like the name suggests, it’s basically just a smaller version of the Tiny Terror.
Unlike most Orange amps the Micro Terror isn’t actually orange in color. Like it’s bigger brother the Tiny Terror it’s white, which might be a relief if you find the bright orange the majority of Orange amps come in a bit too much.
The little 1X8 cabinet you can get to go with it does come in the standard orange, or a less in-your-face black. I have the black and it is what it is – a smaller version of the 1X12 cabinets.
It’s a long way from being the most stylish or best looking head and cab but it’s absolutely fine and no worse than many others.
It’s called a lunchbox head for a reason – because it looks like and is the size of a lunchbox! With its little handle on top and featherlight weight it actually feels like one too when you pick it up. “Very cute and dinky” – the words of my mom when she saw it.
The controls are located on the front of the head. When it comes to combos I tend to prefer the controls on the top as the amp usually lives on the floor. But for a head like this that is mostly going to be on a desk or around head height the front facing controls are ideal.
With only a small amount of space and 3 controls there’s not a huge amount to comment on. It’s laid out well, is clear and looks fine.
Overall it’s a cute and decent looking little head.
The Orange Micro Terror feels sturdy and well built. Like much of the Orange lineup it’s made in China. But I don’t think that’s a red flag (no pun intended!) in the way it might have once been.
The heads chassis is made from steel and is doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. I reckon it would withstand some punishment if you aren’t all that careful with your amps.
To all intents and purposes it’s just a miniature version of a proper amp head, both in look and build.
The cabinet is the same – a smaller version of Oranges bigger cabs. It feels and looks the same as them as well, with the picture frame edging and basket weave vinyl.
Both the head and 1X8 cab are very light. The Micro Terror head is under 1KG and the cab is just over 4KG.
You can comfortably carry one in each hand (they have handles on top). So if you’re looking for a portable setup or to be able to grab-and-go then the Micro Terror is ideal.
Everything feels strong though. I doubt either the cab or head are going to fall apart and even if you treat them fairly badly they’ll probably hold up. I don’t treat my gear with kid gloves and I’ve had no issues with the build quality or durability of them.
With a head this small it should be no surprise to learn that it’s not packed with many features. You get a volume, gain and tone control as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can play with headphones and an aux-input. That’s it.
The 1X8 cab uses an 8″ Orange ‘Voice of the World’ speaker. Not much else to say about that as a cabinet only has one job (I’ll get to the sound quality of it soon).
Whilst it may seem lacking in features I think that’s sort of the point. If you want a very small or practice amp with loads of effects and amp sounds you can get one of the many good modelling options – BOSS Katana, Yamaha THR, Fender Mustang etc.
The Micro Terror is specifically designed to be simple. No fuss, no messing about.
You want a straight up rock sound? Plug in, turn it up and get playing.
Having the option to play with headphones is important for those who just want to practice. Annoying neighbors or family with an amp that’s too loud is a problem for many guitarists who need to play at home.
Being able to practice though headphones and not wake your kids, partner or neighbor is essential in most small amps now and so the Micro Terror ticks those boxes. The aux-in just allows you to play along with backing tracks or songs – very handy too.
If you’re interested in the internal workings then the Micro Terror is a hybrid amp. That means it’s uses a single 12AX7 preamp tube with a class D transistor power amp. A mix of solid state affordability and reliability with tube tone.
Anyway, let’s get to get important stuff – does it sound good?
Performance and Sound
The Micro Terror is, honestly, a bit of a one trick pony. But if you like that trick then it does it very well!
What it does is a classic rock sound. Think crunch to medium gain. And it sounds good! It’s got pretty awesome, high saturated gain that Oranges are known for.
So if you like and want to play straightforward rock music then you won’t be disappointed with the Micro Terror.
The tone knob does a decent job of shaping and sculpting your sound. Turning from left to right scoops your sound whereas the opposite say focus on the mids.
However, as it’s single channel and is designed for its gain sound you get very little headroom. Keeping the gain low and rolling off your guitar volume does reduce the crunch but to me it’s still a long way off proper clean tone.
Even more so if you are planning on doing more than just playing quietly at home or practicing. If your jamming with friends or playing small gigs then it’s going to be impossible to get a good clean tone.
But let’s focus on where it excels – the gain.
Keeping the gain fairly low and running a Tele through it with single coils gives a wonderful breakup tone. It’s not
As you increase the gain it moves into that unmistakable Orange crunch. Think a very traditional British rock tone.
Once you’re past 12 o’clock things really start cooking! The humbuckers in my Les Paul sound really chunky and surprisingly big. A very satisfying and classic rock sound.
Orange are known as being great for doom, sludge and stoner rock and cranking the gain all the way nails that thick, saturated tone. It can get a little fizzy when you push the gain to the max but it’s not too bad and an EQ or boost/distortion pedal will sort that out.
Whilst the Micro Terror isn’t going to get you into modern metal territory on its own just throw a tube screamer/overdrive in front of it and you’re pretty close.
What also really needs mentioning is that the Micro Terror is LOUD. For such a tiny little thing it’s ridiculous how loud it can get.
Even through the little 1X8 cab it’s enough to rattle the windows and get the neighbors complaining. I was genuinely shocked and didn’t expect it to get anywhere near the volume it does.
It can be tamed though. It doesn’t have a brilliant volume control and the taper could be better. But it’s also not one of those ones where you only have to breathe on it and it goes from barely audible to eardrum bursting levels.
So it definitely can and does work for quiet practice.
With the PPC108 1X8 Cabinet
The PPC108 are designed specifically for the Micro Terror. Both in size and look they are perfectly paired.
For bedroom practice or playing at home then the 1X8 will be fine. However, there’s no doubt it sounds better through something bigger. Ideally a minimum of 1X12 cab.
Put the Micro Terror through a bigger cab and it really comes alive.
1X8’s are notoriously boxy and the PPC108 is no different. You get next to no bottom end. The improvement in how it sounds through even a single 1X12 cab is going to be huge.
But it all comes down to what you want. If saving space is important and you only want the Micro Terror for a practice setup then the 1X8 should be fine. But if you’re hoping to turn it up a bit, even at home and use it to its full potential then definitely invest in a bigger cabinet.
Does it Work Well with Pedals?
Whilst I wouldn’t describe it as a clean pedal platform I’ve found it takes pedals well. The lack of effects loop doesn’t help so reverb and delay can get a bit muddy. But, and I’ve read of others disagreeing with this, it takes overdrive and drive pedals well.
A standard TS9 sounded great, and I was genuinely shocked as to how good it was. Virtually all the other pedals I tried it took either well or very well.
The most glaring issue for me is it’s lack of versatility. I don’t mind single channel amps if you can shape the tone and use the volume control on your guitar for dynamics.
But the Micro Terror is quite limited in the sound you get. It’s a good sound, don’t get me wrong, but it basically only does that sound.
You’re not going to be switching from clean to drive as it’s only got the one channel. Not a problem if you’re looking for one type of gain or sound throughout whatever you’re playing or you are good with your volume knob. But generally it’s a bit limiting.
It also doesn’t have any effects loop or reverb which is disappointing. But considering it’s size and price that’s not a huge shock, so you can’t really complain.
After the success of the Terror line of amps it seemed like everyone jumped on the lunchbox bandwagon. So the Micro Terror has a fair amount of competition in both its size and price range.
Let’s look at how the compare.
Orange Micro Terrror vs Micro Dark
The Micro Dark is aimed more at those looking for metal tones. But I think it’s a little deceptive as the Micro Dark has an effects loop, a better clean tone and more effective tone control.
You have to pay a bit extra but it’s not a huge difference. Is it worth it? That probably depends on what you need or want.
If you’re interested in playing metal then it makes complete sense to go for the Micro Dark ahead of the Terror. And even if you’re not a metalhead it’s worth a look.
The effects loop is decent and the improved clean tone makes it more versatile. For an amp that is squarely aimed at metal it’s surprisingly capable at all sorts of sounds.
For the small amount extra you pay it is absolutely worth considering it.
Orange Micro Terrror vs Tiny Terror
Whilst you can’t buy a Tiny Terror new anymore you can still pick them up for relatively cheap 2nd hand. And they’re really good value.
I actually prefer the Tiny Terror to the Micro. But even though they share a name they’re very different, and that’s probably why I prefer it.
The Tiny is all tube, for starters. It also came in a combo version.
Being 15 watt all tube makes it much louder than the hybrid 20 watt Micro. It’s also much less of a practice amp and more geared towards small gigs or studio use.
You get a much fuller, richer sound and you can shape your tone more effectively. It’s still somewhat limited being a single channel, however.
Even though they’re similarly named it’s not really fair to compare them though. They’re very different amps that are suited to different things.
Orange Micro Terrror vs Terror Stamp
Best to be honest here – I haven’t tried the Terror Stamp. So this is purely on the basis of what I’ve read and seen through videos.
The Terror Stamp is like a pedal version of the Micro Terror. They managed to retain all the same features of the Micro Terror yet make it even smaller, so small it’ll fit on your pedal board, and added an effects loop and master volume.
Sounds good, right?
Aside from it being a bit awkward to have it on your pedal board rather than as a head it’s hard to see how it’s not a winner. You’re getting the sound of the Micro with all the additional features of the Micro Dark. Win-win!
Orange Micro Terrror vs Crush 12/20RT/CR60
The Crush series of amps are all solid state and small combos in comparison to the hybrid head Micro Terror. At the smaller end of the scale they’re very much aimed at the low volume, small practice amp market. (Although the CR60 is actually far more than just a “practice amp”)
But they are all very capable and quality amplifiers. Orange has never gone down the modelling route and so you don’t get lots of different amp models and tones. Instead you get 2 channels – clean and dirty – both of which sound excellent.
They’re a really straightforward and no frills series of amps that sound way better than their affordable price. If you’re fairly new to the guitar or just want a simple amp you can play around the home they’re definitely a good option.
Does the Orange Micro Terror Have Reverb?
No, the Orange Micro Terror doesn’t have reverb. If you wanted reverb whilst using one you would need a reverb pedal.
Does the Orange Micro Terror Have an Effects Loop?
No, the Micro Terror doesn’t have an effects loop. The Micro Dark and Terror Stamp both do though.
Does the Orange Micro Terror Have a Headphone Jack?
Yes, the Micro Terror does have a headphone jack.
How Loud is the Orange Micro Terror?
Loud! It can get really loud. Definitely loud enough for small gigs. If you’re worried a 20 watt hybrid won’t cut it you’d be wrong.
The little Micro Terror is a beast and can keep up with amps much larger and more expensive.
Where is the Orange Micro Terror Made
The Micro Terror is made in China, along with most Orange amps. They moved most of their production to China a good number of years ago.
Is the Orange Micro Terror a Tube Amp?
The Micro Terror is a hybrid amp. That means it has a valve tube but the power amp is 20 watt solid state.
What is the Stock Tube in the Orange Micro Terror
The Micro Terror stock tube is a ECC83 (12AX7) preamp valve. As it’s a hybrid amp the power amp is solid state so there are no other tubes.
Should you Buy the Orange Micro Terror
Is the Orange Micro Terror perfect? No, of course not. But for the price you pay you’re certainly getting a whole lot of amp in a very small package.
As always with this sort of decision it depends. On what you want, what sound you’re aiming for etc.
If you’re strictly a metal player then you’re best looking at the Micro Dark or elsewhere. Likewise if you play jazz then the Micro Terror isn’t for you.
But if you want a very small practice amp that has a great rock or blues tone but can still get nice and loud it’ll be right up your street. It’ll work as an easy to transport backup gigging amp, or even to just try an Orange amp. In fact it’s a great, affordable entry point to try that Orange sound.
For the price you pay it’s amazing value. Also if you’re buying from Amazon you can take advantage of their free returns policy. Just try it out, see if you like it and if not then return it for all your money back.
I’ve been using mine for quieter practice in my front room for a few years now. It may not sound as good as my Rocker 15 but it’s small, convenient and still rocks. Give one a try!