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In the past, there’s never been much to represent Orange amps on the plugin market. For Orange lovers like myself, it’s been a very long wait but finally there is something to be excited about. Well after the years on standby for a high quality plugin based on one of Orange’s best amps…. it’s here.
The The Brainworx Rockergain is based on the popular and extraordinarily useful, EL34-fueled Orange Rockerverb 100. The heads and combo amps in the series have become very popular with a very wide variety of players including Jim Root, Brian “Head” Welch, Brent Hinds, Lee Malia, Matt Skiba, Andreas Kisser, Dave Catching and many others.
The plugin includes the 2-channel amp, a very solid cabinet section and some simplistic processing tools at a more than affordable regular price. Another option would be to look into Plugin Alliance’s monthly subscription bundles that give users access to their choice of plugins for a low monthly fee. These services can be very handy and affordable.
In a slightly surprising (and appreciated) move, Brainworx chose the black tolex for the GUI. One would think being the first plugin based on such an amp would bring a loud Orange tolex but I really like the move to go with the black as it’s easier on the eyes for longer sessions. Plus, I have always loved the look of black tolex on Orange amps so all is well. The GUI is laid out perfectly, looks awesome and functions with absolute ease apart from the IR window but we will get to that.
No BS, when this plugin came in for review, I had it installed in what seemed like no time flat. I was abusing it with every fuzz and distortion pedal plugin in my collection within 5 mins of getting the email and all the while with a giant smile on my face. I could not wait to use it for the creating of mountains of stoner rock and doom tones. There’s something undeniable about the relationship between Orange and Fuzz that is just meant to be in the analog world and it didn’t take long to find out the plugin realm was no different. Whether it’s a massive wall of doom or the smooth push of a stoner rock wave, the Rockergain really does this job well.
The clean channel is very simply laid out and really easy to dial in quickly. The volume on the clean works well with the amp’s master so to drive the clean channel, turn the amp’s master volume to around 3-4 and bring the clean channel volume up. That can produce a more “driven-clean” or low gain feel that I really love for driven blues, classic rock and other more classic uses. The Rockergain’s two channels create a lot of versatility for users that prefer a more classic / vintage selection of tones. EL34 tubes + low to mid gain = enjoyable for me. The amp’s British tone traits are very well looked after inside the plugin.
The Orange Rockerverb also has a very cool high gain side to it that can tend to be overshadowed by the amp’s other capabilities but they are very much in check. The high gain channel is capable of monstrous tones for any type of heavy playing from djent to thrash metal but in some cases, it may benefit from the addition of a boost / drive of some sort. The amount of gain on tap here is actually pretty surprising to me. The amount of saturation as the gain knob goes up makes for a really pleasurable pick attack. The EL34 power section makes for a warmer, rounder tone so those looking to tighten things up need only reach for a tube screamer with basic settings. The high and low inputs come in very handy to create even more versatility for the user and the ability to cater the input to specific pickups.
Whether it’s 3D or just a tiny window with a list of files doesn’t matter as long as it’s a cabinet section with a selection of properly shot impulses responses. However, the drop down menu in this case is way too limited for the amount of files they are now bringing to the table. To get to the bottom of the list, it’s a bit of a slow process (10 seconds from top to bottom of the list) so this could use a look for future plugins. There is a selection of over 100 IR files that are separated by the cabinet type but labeled English, American etc. The RC info button in the cab section provides the complete details for each IR (mic etc) and the RC off button turns off the cab section and processing tools. I didn’t find a single IR file that I didn’t care for or that didn’t match up well with the amp in the suite.
UPS / DOWNS
Brainworx has answered the long-ringing call for a high quality plugin based on one of Orange’s more popular amps. Prior to the Rockergain, there was only ONE good quality Orange plugin on the market (Black Rooster Audio Cypress TT-15) so when the Rockergain came to us for review, it definitely caused a bit of a frenzy. There’s something so comforting about seeing the Brainworx name on a plugin and even more so when the plugin is based on a piece of analog gear that I really enjoy. Before I hit the strings, I just knew the experience was going to be enjoyable but yet every time I have used the plugin, I enjoy it more than the time before. From the heaviest doom riffs to funk tones and everything else Orange are known to excel at is well represented here.
There isn’t a whole lot to discuss on the negative side of things. As mentioned, the increased IR selection is awesome but it creates a serious need for a new file selection method. No need for a 3D cabinet upgrade or even specific mic / position controls, just an easier way to go through the IR files would be great. Adding the ability for users to load their own selections would also be a solid addition given the complete signal chain in place. Additionally, to give the plugin some more independence, a boost pedal would add the last piece for a complete signal chain. This would in turn also create an even more complete user experience for those that prefer an all-in-one solution.
Overall, I can’t explain how excited I am in a way that fully conveys my enthusiasm. I have personally been wanting a Rockerverb plugin for years. Hell, I have been wanting a plugin based on really any Orange plugin for a good while and I always hoped the first one to hit the market would be a real gem. I was not the slightest bit let down by the Rockergain and I can’t see it impressing many others. The lengthy and growing demand for a quality Orange plugin has likely caused high expectations for many and as an Orange amps enthusiast, I can say it’s worth every penny.
See more: Plugin Alliance launch video