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Orange Amps offers analog warmth with its first line of Bluetooth speakers | Engadget


It seems that guitar amp companies making Bluetooth speakers could be the new thing. UK-based Orange Amps has just launched a duo of Bluetooth speakers called the Box and Box-L. The first is a battery-powered portable model, while the latter is a wired option that’s more of a homebody. Both echo the design of this iconic brand’s guitar amplifier and speaker series, using the same colors, logo and control panel style. The specs hint at decent stereo sound in the $300-$350 price range with Bluetooth 5.0, aptX support, a Class D amp for the subwoofer and Class AB analog amplifiers to help the full-range drivers produce a warmer sound. There are some deviations from what you’d expect, however, like the absence of USB charging, a front-facing only design and the lack of any weatherproofing or IP rating.

The Orange Box is the slightly smaller of the two models at 11 x 6.9 x 6.7-inches and 6.6 pounds with a vegan-leather carrying strap. You can choose between the classic orange exterior or a black version and it’s priced at $299 (£275). There’s a 4-inch subwoofer powered by a 30W Class D amp and a pair of 2-inch full-range drivers powered by dual 10W Class AB analog amplifiers for a warmer sound.

A cropped image shows someone in jeans and wearing chunky rings holding the Orange Amps Box portable Bluetooth speaker by its carrying strap.
The Orange Box portable Bluetooth speaker.

Orange Amps

The specs for the battery-powered Box list a charging time of three hours until full and a runtime of 15 or more hours. It also lists a 2,600mAh li-ion battery, so we’re interested in a real world test. There’s no USB port, so you’re stuck with the DC19.5V charging cable that comes in the box.

The wired model is called the Box-L and it’s slightly larger at 13.8 x 7.9 x 7.9-inches and 9.6 pounds. It’s also available in orange or black and priced at $345 (£315). As mentioned, there’s no onboard battery, so it’s more of a sedentary beast. You can expect a slightly beefier sound, however, with a larger 5-inch subwoofer powered by the Class D amp and two 2-inch full-range drivers powered by dual 10W analog Class AB versions.

An Orange Amps Box-L wired Bluetooth speaker with a black exterior sits on a granite kitchen countertop.
The Orange Amps Box-L wired Bluetooth speaker.

Orange Amps

Both models have a 50W RMS output and a frequency range of 35Hz – 20kHz, so we expect they’ll probably have a decent amount of bass. They also support Qualcomm aptX for high resolution audio, alongside AAC and SBC.

The general physical design is the same for both the Box and Box-L. The core framework is made of wood, with a tolex (vinyl) covering. At the top you get a control panel with knobs and switches, much like those found on the brand’s line of guitar amps. There’s a power toggle, battery indicator light, knobs for bass, treble and volume adjustment, as well as a 3.5mm aux input. In addition, there’s a Bluetooth pairing button that does double duty as a play/pause control and a small audio limiter light to let you know if you’re driving the system too hard. The company claims to support the right to repair and will offer replacement parts in case you just can’t help yourself from pushing the speaker too hard and break something.

Both models are available today in the USA, UK and the rest of the world at the Orange Amps website as well as Amazon. Although, in Australia you may have to stick with ordering through either Amazon or the company’s regional distributor Australis Music Group. The portable Orange Box is priced at $299 (£275) and the wired Orange Box-L is $345 (£315).

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