Marshall vs Orange Amps: Which One Should You Choose?

Two of the most iconic brands in guitar amplifiers are Marshall and Orange Amps. It’s very hard to choose between the two. This is because both companies offer a wide selection of guitar amplifiers. They all deliver top-quality sound, build, and features.

The differences between the two British amp companies are pretty subtle. They’ve both got that British tone, and they do it well.

If you want that stoner metal rock sound like Black Sabbath or Mastodon, then Orange gets you there. But if you want that classic hard rock sound, Marshall is the way to go.

This Killer Rig article will explore all the differences between these two brands of amps. We hope to help you figure out which one will best suit your needs.

Marshall and Orange Amps

Marshall and Orange are two of the most popular amplifier manufacturers globally! Both brands have been around since the 1960s.

To many guitarists, Marshall is the defining rock ā€˜nā€™ roll amplifier. Marshall amps were introduced in 1962.

They were designed as a more affordable alternative to standard American-made models. Over the years, they’ve been used by everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Slash of Guns N’ Roses.

Meanwhile, Orange amps are newer on the market, having been founded in 1968. They have a smaller lineup of products than Marshall.

They also specialize in guitar amplifiers and cabinets. Orange also has a reputation for quality and durability, with many older amps still in use today.

Differences Between Marshall and Orange Amps

Marshall DSL40CR Amplifier

Looking for a great-sounding tube amp to pair with your Les Paul? Or maybe a loud and proud solid-state model for your heavy metal band? Then you can’t go wrong with Marshall or Orange. But which one is better?

Let’s take a look at some key differences between Marshall and Orange amps, so you can decide for yourself:

  • Marshall is generally more well-known than Orange.
  • Marshall’s signature sound is characterized by sizzling distortion and crunch. Whereas Orange offers tons of gain but still maintains incredible clarity and definition.
  • Orange amps have a retro look with their choice of tolex color and black logo. Marshall sticks to its sleek design of black amps with white faceplates and gold knobs. 
  • Orange models tend to be cheaper than Marshall for similar wattage.
  • Marshall’s amplifiers are best for rock players who want to achieve a classic tone. Orange products are good for modern heavy metal guitarists who like a more scooped sound.

Check out our Marshall vs Blackstar comparison here.


Orange Rockerverb MKIII Amplifier

Marshall is generally more well-known than Orange, with a wider market reach. There are also more famous bands who use Marshall amps than bands who play Orange.

However, that doesn’t mean Marshall is better than Orange. Instead, it means Marshall amps have been around longer. They have had more time to build their brand name and fan base.

Orange was more successful in the early to mid-1970s. Outselling Marshall and staying afloat in the amp business longer. It was then that Orange was able to compete with Marshall as a major amplifier brand.

Orange amps, particularly the Tiny Terror, achieved cult-classic status in the early 2000s. All with the help of endorsements from alt, indie, stoner, and metal musicians. But with all these, Marshall has been a more consistent mainstay of the industry.

Related: Vox vs Orange amps.

Signature Sound

The Marshall vs Orange amps debate often comes down to their signature guitar tones.

Marshall’s signature sound is characterized by sizzling distortion. Plus crunch, which is a result of a large amount of midrange in their amp tone. The Marshall sound is a high gain, distorted and compressed tone. To put it simply, it’s the sound of rock ‘n’ roll.

As a guitar player, you’re probably already familiar with this iconic tone. From the growling crunch of a Plexi stack. To the high-gain roar of a JCM 800! Marshall amplifiers have created some of the most legendary tones in rock history.

On the other hand, Orange amps are very popular with modern hard rock and metal players. This is because they can deliver fizzier high-gain sounds.

While Marshall amps have high upper mids, Orange models push lower frequencies more.

Their tone is also characterized by a pronounced midrange. Something that listeners can hear over the rest of the band, which will stand out in a mix.

Music Style

Most guitarists who use Marshall amps are rock players who want to achieve a classic tone. The Marshall sound has better sustain and a thicker tone with smoother highs. It would be the more popular choice for classic and hard rock.

Orange amps are very versatile and can be used in various musical settings. However, these amps are particularly appealing to artists such as metal players.

This is because they offer tons of gain! All while maintaining incredible clarity and definition.

In addition, Orange is more focused on cutting through the mix. They are regarded for their distorted tones. Because of this, Orange amps are the best choice for modern metal and hard rock players.

Design and Aesthetic

The difference is crystal clear when you see an Orange and a Marshall amp sitting next to each other. One’s bright, vibrant orange. The other’s black.

Orange amps have always had a distinct ’70s retro look that has become iconic in rock n’ roll.

They’re made of orange Tolex and have black lettering on the front. They have a simple control layout which includes knobs for volume and tone.

While Orange has an eye-catching vintage vibe. Marshall sticks to the tried and tested approach.

Black amps white faceplates, and gold knobs. As a result, Marshall tends to be more modern and sleek with its iconic look that has been around for decades.

Marshall Vs Orange Infographic

Check out our Marshall Vs Fender comparison here.

Price Range 

Take a look at these brands in terms of the price range. It’s easy to note that Orange amps are almost always cheaper than Marshall. Even for similar wattage.

For example, an Orange Crush 35RT is $279, while a Marshall MG30GFX costs $299. You can generally get comparable sound from both amps. But with more wattage from Orange than from Marshall.

Let’s compare the other best-selling Marshall and Orange amp models ideal for beginners

Best Solid-State Models

Orange Crush 1212W$99
Marshall MG1010W$139.99
Marshall MG15 15W $169.99
Orange Crush 20 RT20W$199
Orange Micro Dark20W$199
Marshall MG30FX30W$299.99
Orange Crush 35 RT35W$279
Marshall Code 5050W$399.99

Marshall vs Orange Amps: Which One is Better?

Now that you know more about Marshall and Orange amps, which one is the right choice? 

Marshall is the way to go if you’re looking for the classic British sound. They’re best known for their models that have that raw, gritty, crunchy sound. It’s perfect for rock and blues.

Orange amps are especially good for heavy metal and hard rock. But you can also get some other great tones if you’re willing to experiment.


Ultimately, it’s impossible to say whether one particular brand is better than another. This is because of so many factors.

Much like other aspects of music gear. You need to consider what you want out of an amp before deciding which brand is better suited to your needs.

Photo of author

Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!