Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Orange Amplifiers! PT 1...

                                                          Orange Amplifiers! PT 1...

1960s 

Orange was founded in 1968 by musician and electronics designer Clifford Cooper of London and opened premises at 3 New Compton Street in London's West End. Initially, Cooper used only the basement as a professional recording studio, the studio featured an IBC mixing console originally owned by Joe Meek producer of The Millionaires. The studio was failing to meet its overheads so on 2 September 1968 the ground floor premises were opened as a music shop, where in order to cover wage costs, Cooper sold his own band equipment.

Difficulties in obtaining stock meant that the new Orange shop at first dealt only in second hand equipment. Fortunately, many musicians around that time preferred older, used or beat up guitars as they were considered to be better of quality and have more character than the new ones available. The Orange shop was the first to cater for this market. The difficulties faced in stocking the shop lead Cooper to decide to begin designing Orange's own amplifiers and in the late autumn of 1968 Huddersfield based company Radio Craft, owned by Mat Mathias, was appointed to produce the first Orange branded amplifiers. Whilst in London, Orange shop salesman Mick Dines became closely involved with the design of Orange cabinets. As a touring musician, Dines understood the rigours equipment was subjected to on the road and was instrumental in ensuring that durability was at the forefront of the design with features such as the basketweave grillecloth and the wooden skids which not only gave strength but improved the sound dramatically by acoustically coupling the cabinet to the stage or wooden floor. It is a common misconception that the earliest Orange amplifiers were jointly produced by Orange and Matamp, the brand name that Mathias used on his own design of amplifiers. This was not the case. Radio Craft produced h-fi guitar amplifiers which, whilst ideal for bass guitar produced a tone far too clean and flat for electric lead guitars. Early Orange Matamp amplifierswere built by Radio Craft to Cooper's design to provide the new generation of guitarists with the sustain they demanded. The front end was modified and Cooper changed the chassis from lightweight aluminium to enamelled steel. The Orange logo was designed to be clearly visible on stage. When the design was delivered to Radio Craft, Mathias suggested that a small Matamp logo be added, which as a courtesy to Mathias, Cooper agreed to, making Matamp a model name. The first of the Orange Matamp amplifiers were 100 watt valve amps and were produced in very small numbers in the rear of tobacconist shop owned by Mathias. Demand for Orange amplifiers grew quickly and Radio Craft was unable to keep up with orders. It became apparent that larger premises were vital. Mathias was unable to finance the move so in 1969, Cooper Mathias Ltd was formed to replace Radio Craft. Cooper's feeling was that a 50/50 partnership would be to the advantage of all parties rather than to simply finance Radio Craft with the benefit of cheaper overheads in Huddersfield than in London. The central plan behind Cooper Mathias was to increase capacity and productivity to a level at which the service could be offered to other amplifier companies.Orange was founded in 1968 by musician and electronics designer Clifford Cooper of London and opened premises at 3 New Compton Street in London's West End. Initially, Cooper used only the basement as a professional recording studio, the studio featured an IBC mixing console originally owned by Joe Meek producer of The Millionaires. The studio was failing to meet its overheads so on 2 September 1968 the ground floor premises were opened as a music shop, where in order to cover wage costs, Cooper sold his own band equipment.Difficulties in obtaining stock meant that the new Orange shop at first dealt only in second hand equipment. Fortunately, many musicians around that time preferred older, used or beat up guitars as they were considered to be better of quality and have more character than the new ones available. The Orange shop was the first to cater for this market. The difficulties faced in stocking the shop lead Cooper to decide to begin designing Orange's own amplifiers and in the late autumn of 1968 Huddersfield based company Radio Craft, owned by Mat Mathias, was appointed to produce the first Orange branded amplifiers. Whilst in London, Orange shop salesman Mick Dines became closely involved with the design of Orange cabinets. As a touring musician, Dines understood the rigours equipment was subjected to on the road and was instrumental in ensuring that durability was at the forefront of the design with features such as the basketweave grillecloth and the wooden skids which not only gave strength but improved the sound dramatically by acoustically coupling the cabinet to the stage or wooden floor. It is a common misconception that the earliest Orange amplifiers were jointly produced by Orange and Matamp, the brand name that Mathias used on his own design of amplifiers. This was not the case. Radio Craft produced h-fi guitar amplifiers which, whilst ideal for bass guitar produced a tone far too clean and flat for electric lead guitars. Early Orange Matamp amplifierswere built by Radio Craft to Cooper's design to provide the new generation of guitarists with the sustain they demanded. The front end was modified and Cooper changed the chassis from lightweight aluminium to enamelled steel. The Orange logo was designed to be clearly visible on stage. When the design was delivered to Radio Craft, Mathias suggested that a small Matamp logo be added, which as a courtesy to Mathias, Cooper agreed to, making Matamp a model name. The first of the Orange Matamp amplifiers were 100 watt valve amps and were produced in very small numbers in the rear of tobacconist shop owned by Mathias. Demand for Orange amplifiers grew quickly and Radio Craft was unable to keep up with orders. It became apparent that larger premises were vital. Mathias was unable to finance the move so in 1969, Cooper Mathias Ltd was formed to replace Radio Craft. Cooper's feeling was that a 50/50 partnership would be to the advantage of all parties rather than to simply finance Radio Craft with the benefit of cheaper overheads in Huddersfield than in London. The central plan behind Cooper Mathias was to increase capacity and productivity to a level at which the service could be offered to other amplifier companies.

http://www.theoompahroundabout.com/