I’ll get right to the point. I recently had a private party gig which featured one guitar and one vocal and, using only the Orange Crush Acoustic 30 amp, had all the guests up and on the dance floor for hours! The gig was an outdoor show for 35 people or so on a covered deck this past summer, properly socially distanced, and the sound from the Crush Acoustic was clearly heard out in the open area and all the way inside to where the bartenders could be seen bopping their heads to the music. Job well done, Orange Crush Acoustic 30!
With that ringing endorsement out of the way, let’s dive into what makes this versatile amp a great choice for solo/duo gigging performers. The Crush Acoustic 30 is a compact, two-channel, battery-powered unit with effects, a separate buffered effects loop, with XLR and ¼” line outputs to run separate speakers or into a board. It’s lightweight and easy to carry, and features a tilted back design, a smart move which angles the 8” speaker just enough for buskers on the street or in the park.
You can also play backing tracks or break music from a phone or tablet via the 3.5mm Aux-in jack. The Crush Acoustic 30 is old-school, so there’s no Bluetooth to control the channel levels, which is a blessing in these phone/tablet-centric app-controlling days. Sonically, a Class D 30-watt amp powers the 8” Voice of the World speaker. And, of course, the amp is packaged in a cool-looking, attention-grabbing orange tolex, though you can get it in black if you’d like.
Channel 1 has a ¼” jack and 3-band EQ which handles the acoustic guitar. There’s also a -10db pad and a color switch which adds presence and treble boost to brighten a dull-sounding guitar. Channel 2 is a ¼”/XLR combo jack which can be used for another guitar or a vocal microphone, with a mic/line switch. Orange made the smart move of adding 48v phantom power to this channel, in the event your mic needs this feature.
The Effects section features chorus and reverb- and one or the other can be blended to each channel. There’s also a Q-switch to notch out unwanted frequencies. I tend to only use a little effect to fill out the sound, and a splash of reverb (though I would prefer delay for vocals) provided just enough to give it the extra oomph and presence needed to catch the audience’s attention and focus on our performance.
As mentioned above, this unit is battery-powered, which makes it an ideal amp to take with you for outside jamming or busking. Orange states the batteries can handle 3 hours of power at full volume, 5 hours at 50% volume and 8 hours at low volume. The batteries are disengaged when the power supply is used, saving battery life.
On the gig mentioned at the top of this review, the amp was plugged in. I have, though, used it in battery-only mode on a few outdoor gigs. These were more mellow shows where full volume wasn’t needed, and the amp handled the full three-hour show (with a break or two) without issue. That said, 10 AA batteries are required, which can get pricey if you are a steady-working musician. I’d opt for plugging the unit in whenever possible and using the battery-only option as a second choice. But it’s great to know that flexibility is there.
Guitars used included a new Taylor AD17, Breedlove Concert and a Gibson J180 with LR Baggs Anthem pickup. Sennheiser e95’s and Audix OM series mics were used for vocals. On each gig, the separation, clarity and punchiness of the Crush was impressive to me, my singer and the audience. Best of all, it’s an easy and quick setup, in the event you need to get in and out of a gig and hit the next show. For me, it’s all about making the entire gig experience seamless and smooth, and the folks at Orange get that with this amp design.
If I had to quibble on anything, the battery compartment requires a screwdriver to access, which may not be something most guitarists carry with them. I also find the symbols used for the control knobs a little confusing. Call me a guitarist and not an engineer, but I need to know quickly what each knob does right away. Sure, I’ll listen with my ears and learn what each does, but there’s a gig waiting and people to entertain! Last, the power supply is a two-piece 19v external unit, with one part connecting to a standard IEC plug. I’ve seen these more frequently lately on smaller amps so perhaps they’re easy to find. If you lose this, though, you’ll be using the batteries more frequently.
Overall, Orange has done a great job with the Crush Acoustic 30 amp, their latest venture into the acoustic amp market. A happy, smiling dancing group of party guests at one show and an attentive listening audience at another event shows the diversity this amp packs in one light-weight system.