Meet the new Orange Distortion pedal, same as the old Orange Distortion pedal — at least that’s how it seems on the outside. After all, apart from the modern tweaks of an added LED and a 9V DC input, this looks like a straight-up reboot of the 1970s relic, right down to its simple type stencilled onto the classic chunky aluminium shell to ape the original units.
Under the hood, though, it’s a different story: the circuitry of the new Orange Distortion has been rebuilt from the ground up, ditching the original’s back-to-back diode design and replacing it with an amp circuit including a tone stack, where bass and mids are preset but treble is user-adjustable via a little trimmer inside the casing.
New design doesn’t mean new sound though — this one comes with all the bite and growl and warmth and howl that you need for that classic 70s amp-like distortion, from vintage crunch to full saturation. With only two dials, for level and depth, but huge versatility, the Orange Distortion can set up your sound for everything from a clean boost to warm and fat gravelly textures to red-hot trebly screamers and maximum saturation. There’s a sweet spot for Jimmy Page-style guitar heroics, and another for Nuggets-style garage rock squall: in fact, every shade of grit and dirt is in there, as long as it’s vintage.
Add in a hardwired switch that’s separate from the PCB and therefore super-easy to service, and you’ve got a vintage pedal fit for the modern age. It’s that level of attention to detail, combined with dedication to an era of crunching power chords that makes the pedal a perfect homage to one of rock’s golden ages, ready to be heard again with fresh ears. It might be a new design, but with the Orange Distortion, the song remains the same.