When Orange announced the news that they had a big secretive product to unveil at NAMM 2013, I must admit that I assumed it would be a big orange spaceship with guitars for wings and a control panel purely made up of amplifier knobs...
I was SO WRONG! Instead they announced the new Orange VT1000, which is a new accessory for testing valves, allowing you to see how much your tubes have degraded and also allowing you to make sure that your tube pairings are balanced.
Sounds fairly elementary on the surface, but the cool part is that you can now make decisions about which valves you want to use, not only based on the type of valve, but also on the degradation of valves.
A valve that has been blasted a few hundred times will give you break-up quicker than a brand new valve, allowing you to get thicker distortion tones at lower volumes. A brand new set of valves will remain clean at higher volumes and give you a more glassy sound.
If you also use Oranges new OV4, you can switch any set of valves into any amp without electrocuting yourself and blasting yourself across a room.
So in essence, you can switch out balanced valves (you can test the balancing on the VT1000) which have different levels of degradation, and offer different levels of break up at different levels of volume, and give your amp a totally different sound. Useful for if you want to use the same amp for a jazz gig, and then go and use it for a heavy metal gig (that really would be pushing the limits, but that's the gist).
All of this is explained, better than I could ever explain it, in the video featuring Doug Doppler.
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