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June 29, 2022, 06:06:22 AM

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Looking for the tiny Orange Crush 3W mini amp (2018 version) schematic

Started by Dolmetscher007, December 08, 2020, 08:44:04 PM

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I have been looking into creating a tiny practice guitar amp that can run on a 9V battery. Marshall, Fender, Vox, Orange, and even Danelectro all make one of those tiny practice amps. I've found a schematic for several of these amps, but the Orange 3W Mini Amp is, in my opinion, the absolute holy grail of mini amps. They really do sound night-and-day better than the others. I'm not looking to build a clone. In fact, the Orange Mini Amp has a built in tuner that I am not interested in including in my design. But boy I'd love to see what makes their gain circuits sound like that.

There was an Orange 3W "Micro" Amp that came out (think) in around 2015. But in 2018, they released the Orange Crush 3W "Mini" Amp. Ha! The cabinet and everything look exactly the same. One is the Micro and the new one, the Mini... but the sound is quite different. I'd really LOVE to see a schematic of the 2015 Micro and the 2018 Mini, so I could see what they did differently in mkII. I am not experienced enough to reverse engineer a PCB, otherwise, I'd just buy the $70 amp and take it apart. But... if I am honest with myself (and you guys), I am pretty sure I'd just wreck the amp, and not fully understand what I'd be seeing. Especially if the PCB is has multiple layers etc. I wouldn't know how to even tell.

Anybody got any ideas?
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My first build was something called the 'Noisy Cricket'.  It could work on a 9V, but I opted to use a Boss power supply.  Sounds great, and gets a little dirty as your turn it up.

I once took it to an audition with a little 1x8 Orange cab. I know it's just one watt (tops), but I thought it was going to be a low-key audition. The guy was pumping backing tracks through a HUGE PA.  I pretty much pegged that little thing, and it just about kept up.  However, he said he wanted me to play 'cleaner'... I told him to turn down his PA :)

Look it up. Fun little amp to build.

I think I have a short demo on YouTube of me using it. But, I used a dirt box the whole time..


If looking for a small 9v practice style amp, you could always try SSGuitar's own Honey Amp: https://store.ssguitar.com/product/honey-amp-kit/

Schematic and other info are in the Honey Amp section of the forum here: https://www.ssguitar.com/index.php?board=21.0

I'm looking at doing another version of this and rather than using the LM386, use a much cleaner and quieter PAM8302A.  Not sure how much interest there is for this though, so it's still in the beginning stages.  The upside is that it would yield about 2.5w of power and run on a single 3.7v lipo battery with very high efficiency.
Life is what you make it.
Still rockin' the Dean Markley K-20X


The great thing about DIY practice amps that run off 9V power is that there are so many to choose from! (The other great things are that they're inexpensive and usually fun and easy to build, of course.)

Off the top of my head:

  • The aforementioned Honey, of course, which I had a blast building. (and I'd definitely be interested in a Honey II with a different IC!)
  • The Noisy Cricket Cabell mentioned.
  • I got started with runoffgroove.com's Ruby, and their Little Gem mkI and mkII are also worth a look. They have some mod suggestions for their designs, as well.
  • Bruce Zinky's Smokey is as simple as it gets, it even omits the Boucherot cell from the LM386 datasheet's "minimal" schematic. (The Noisy Cricket page I linked also shows a couple of simple Smokey mods.)
  • At the other end of the spectrum, Electrosmash's 1wamp crams in all kinds of features. Looks like kits/PCBs aren't currently available, but full schematics, KiCad files, etc., are hosted on their forum.