Orange Micro Terror vs Micro Dark  – Tube Amp Head Battle!

Author: Dedrich Schafer | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Rock guitar royalty has been playing Orange amplifiers for decades. Yes, if you take a look at the list of endorsers, you’ll find names that go from Stevie Wonder to Jim Root (Slipknot).

But you’ll also find Orianthi, Jimmy Page, Marcus King, Korn, Mastodon, Bob Weir, and John McVie from Fleetwood Mac.

How can a brand offer so many distinct flavors to have such a wide array of endorsers and followers? Well, Orange grew because of their amazing amps, groundbreaking orange tolex, and reliability to go to war and back.

Yes, Orange amps have made quite the name for themselves in the amp space. Their small form Micro series is especially well regarded as some of the best tiny amps around. The two stand outs in this series are the Micro Terror and Micro Dark

“But aren’t they just the same amps?” you might be asking. Well, let us take a look at how these amps compare. How exactly they are similar and how they differ.

Build

There isn’t much to say when it comes to the build quality of these amps. Orange amps are always well built and very solid.

Both amps are made from high tensile steel. That means that you can pretty much throw these things around and they won't even feel a thing.

They are also both super small. These types of amps are often referred to as “lunchbox amps”. They are designed to be small enough to fit in a backpack for easy transport.

Features

 At first glance, yes, these two amps look identical apart from the Terror being white and the Dark being black. The Dark is also slightly bigger, but slightly lighter than the Terror. They even share similar features.

Both amps have a Volume, Tone, and Gain control. Both have an input, phones out, and speaker out.

But there are two features that are unique to each amp. The Terror has an Aux input, and the Dark has an FX loop. So, you wont be able to jam along with MP3s on the Dark, and effects aren’t going to sound as great as they can with the Terror.

Both amps are 20 watts. This means that they are packing some serious volume for their small sizes.

Sound

 This is where you start to notice the differences between these two amps. 

The cleans are fairly similar. Both amps have a very pleasant, delicate clean tone. The Dark, ironically, does sound slightly brighter to me. The Terror is warmer and a bit more rounded, but I certainly noticed a touch more shine with the Dark.

Adding some gain, the Dark still has a bit more brightness and even some extra crispness to its sound. The Terror is still a bit darker and warmer.

Turning up the gain further, things start to become quite interesting. The first thing I noticed was the difference in volume.

At about half gain, the Terror starts to become noticeably louder than the Dark. It is almost like they swapped volumes.

The Terror also becomes a bit richer. It has this very nice crunch to it, while the Dark is a bit fuzzier.

Pushing the gain all the way, I realize what these amps are meant for. The Terror has a great, overdriven rock tone. The Dark, on the other hand, is much more distorted and clearly leans more toward a metal sound.

I also noticed that their volumes seemed to balance out again with the gain turned up all the way. The Terror is still slightly louder, but the Dark does catch up again and I needed to only turn its volume up a touch to match the Terror.

The tone control also seems to be very different between these two amps. On the Terror, you are getting a pretty straightforward tone control.

This pretty much just lets you determine how much low, mid, or high frequencies you want in your tone. The Dark has a tone shape.

This changes the actual tone instead of just cutting certain frequencies. This means that you are getting a much more gradual change as you adjust the knob. This gives the Dark a wider range of tones, making it more versatile.

Overall, the Terror has much more of a midrange, crunchy tone to it. The Dark is much fuller, fatter, and darker.

Which is Better?

Honestly, I don’t really know. Both, neither?

This is one of the toughest comparisons I have ever had to make. Both amps are just so similar while also being very different.

The Terror is cheaper without really sacrificing much in terms of quality. But the Dark is also just about $40 more. It almost just makes sense to spend the extra money to get the Dark.

Rock N' Roll vs Metal

The way an amplifier is EQ’d says a lot about the target audience. Thus, it also says a lot about what you can expect from the amp itself in terms of tone.

To begin with, the term “crunch” is a term that rock n rollers have been using for a very long time to describe that gnarly overdriven tone that helps certain chords set a mood. For example, could you think of the initial riff of “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones without that crunchy Telecaster sound?

Well, if you play a Telecaster through the Tiny Terror and use the gain knob between 9 o’clock and noon, you’re instantly in rock n roll heaven with that razor-like midrange cutting through the mix (and making feet move).

If you do the exact same with the Dark Terror, what you get is a slightly more compressed tone with more gain and bottom-end. This tone is more muscular and perceived as bigger but not as bitey as the Tiny Terror’s tone.

Thus, if you plug a Super Strat into both amps, the one that will take you to some proper metal tones to play “Enter Sandman”, for example, is the Dark Terror. This is because of the scooped sound with pushed bass and treble.

Yes, metal guitar players need that top end to define the tone and the low end to add muscle and power to any heavy riff.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that these amplifiers are voiced differently to aim at two different audiences.

While it’s absolutely true that you don’t expect any clean tones at all from these amps (Orange has a rocking reputation since day one), the one with more natural overtones and mild overdrive is the Tiny Terror. Therefore, if your ear gravitates toward Keith rather than James or Kirk, then the Tiny Terror is more suitable for you.

On the other hand, if you want to get some face-melting tones with a lot of gain to chug the night away and are not concerned about the subtleties of the organic overdrive of the amp, then the Dark Terror is your new favorite amp.

In a nutshell, if you want something that is a bit crunchier, then the Terror will likely be more up your alley. If you are looking for a powerful little metal amp, then the Dark will be more your style.

Verdict

Choosing between the Micro Terror and the Micro Dark is going to be tough for any guitarist. These amps are just so fantastic in their own right.

Moreover, both feature the build quality, sound, and powerful tone that made Orange the huge brand it is today.

So, regardless of your choice, if you are looking for a powerful, great sounding amp that you can throw in a backpack, you won’t go wrong with either one.

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About Dedrich Schafer

Dedrich is a guitar player, songwriter and sound engineer with extensive music production and studio experience. He mostly listens to classic rock and punk bands, but sometimes also likes listening to rap and acoustic songs.

1 thought on “Orange Micro Terror vs Micro Dark  – Tube Amp Head Battle!”

  1. I concurr that the Dark has a wickedness about it, tonality is fantastic !!!! ….. and sounds great through a ppv108, ppv112, AND the ppv412. …. I’ve sold the 8″ which has face melting capabilities, and opted to keep my 2 ppv112’s and ppv412, and it rocks the shit out of both cabs ….. then I have the TH30 which is just all melty

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