We now have a few anodized black and purple chassis in-stock! We are awaiting more transformers, but shipment by early/mid-October likely.
Overview and Features
Orion™ is our answer to the many requests we receive to create the ultimate “lunchbox” guitar amp. You won’t find a weak power section here — this amp can easily produce 45W of clean punch-you-in-the-gut power via a pair of 6L6GCs or EL34s. Further, you can load with just about any octal tube, thanks to the stout transformers.
The preamp section is all-tube via 5x 12AX7s.
4.2 channels give you flexibility not found in any other lunchbox amp. 4.2 channels — what’s that all about?? Well, since day 1 we have stood by the notion that a ‘channel’ must have an unshared EQ section. That’s why we refer to our Ares is a “single channel, dual master” amp. In the case of the Orion™, we build it around two channels and added second Gain and Level controls to each channel. By all intents and purposes you have 4 channels, but we can’t go against our established nomenclature — hence 4.2 = 4 channels, 2 EQs.
The KSR lit logo is standard on this beast. The 12-position DIP switch on back allows you to set the RGB color for each of the 4.2 channels. You can also turn it off, if you prefer.
A transparent, yet fully bypassable, tube buffered effects loop seamlessly couples the preamp to the power section. The loop is assignable to any/all/none of the channels. In order to achieve this, there are 4 toggle switches, one for each channel.
A built-in auto-switching dummy load allows for silent operation. With the included line-out and level control you can feed your DAW, effects, other amps, etc., easily. While this is not compensated for direct PA use without a speaker emulator, it is tapped off the speaker output, so you get all that power tube goodness you’ve come to expect from our amps, such as the PA50.
Biasing is quick and easy given the built-in test points and external bias control. Just remove the back cover to gain access to the tubes and control.
It weighs in at just 18.5 lbs — perhaps more than your little 15W amp with one channel, but that is very light relative to a typical ~50W head.
As with anything we build — order it in any color! Because of the unique chassis design, we can also offer custom color combinations. Our standard config is Flat Slate Gray for the chassis and the sides, and Flat Black for the hood (lid). This is a Duotone config with matching sides and chassis. Also possible is a Tritone config — this means the sides are a unique color. If you like it simple, you can also order the entire amp Monotone (one color for all parts). As our KSR Custom Shop builds new and unique combinations we will be sure to include examples here. Until then, your imagination is the only limit!
In summary, this little guy is packed to the gills with features, tones, and good looks — you will be pleasantly surprised once you lay your hands, and ears, on it!
Packed into the Orion™ amplifier are 4.2 channels — Clean, Crunch, Lead 1, and Lead 2. Clean / Crunch share and EQ, as do Lead 1 and Lead 2. Since the shared channels are voiced similarly, this shared EQ design doesn’t leave one of the channels useless in order to dial in the other.
The Orion™ Clean channel may be a misnomer. With the Hi/Lo switch you can go from Clean to a cranked M style amp. It’s fantastic with a Strat, but works just as well with modern pickups. The Bright switch allows you to dial in the right attack and twang as well.
The Orion™ Crunch channel takes the Clean channel Hi mode and adds gain and saturation. While this is technically a 3 gain stage Crunch channel, it can do full-on high gain tones just as well as bluesy rock stuff. Boost it with your Hera for even more options!
Lead 1 Channel
Based on the same DNA in which we started our company, naturally Lead 1 is based on our signature sound. It will be your go-to rhythm sound for sure. The Bright switch allows you to adjust your attack, though most keep it on.
Lead 2 Channel
Lead 2 takes Lead 1 and adds harmonic content, saturation, and changes the voicing slightly. If you can’t get a singing violin-like lead tone, or a punishing rhythm sledgehammer riff with this channel, the issue is not the amp. 🙂
A single Master Volume control drives the phase-inverter and power section. The typical Top (presence) and Bottom (resonance) controls are included, but now for the first time on our guitar heads, we have added an NFB (Negative Feedback) control. This allows precise control over the response of the power amp, and you’ll find it to be extremely powerful. Crank it for the most dampening in the power amp — the Top/Bottom controls will allow you to dial these frequencies back into the sound. Lower the NFB and the amp becomes more open and raw, just like an old M style amp on 11. Top/Bot still allow you to sculpt the overall sound, giving you extreme control of the overall character of the amplifier.
The power section consists of a pair of TAD 6L6GC or EL34 tubes, standard. However, just about any octal power tube can be installed — KT66, KT88, 6550, etc. Each tube is individually fused in order to protect the amplifier in the event of a tube failure. A Fault LED lights to indicate a fuse has blown and the tube is no longer functioning.
A built-in auto-switching dummy load allows for speaker-less operation of the Orion™. With the included line-out and level control on the back of the amp you can feed your DAW, effects, other amps, etc., easily. This is not compensated for direct PA use without a speaker emulator, it is tapped off the speaker output.
A custom wound USA made output transformer is a top performer and one of the highlights of this amplifier. Parallel speaker outputs allow one to easily drive two cabinets with a total impedance of 4/8/16 ohms. Included are 5 output jacks for various combinations of loads. For multiple cabs these jacks should only be used in pairs — e.g. 2x 16 ohm cabs into the 2x 8 ohm jacks. Or, 2x 8 ohm cabs into the 2x 4 ohm jacks.
115/230V 50/60Hz operation allow for easy international use of this amp. Note — be sure to replace the fuse with the proper rating for your country’s voltage. The mains fuse is located within the power IEC inlet. Inside the amp are several more fuses — please refer to a qualified service technician if any of these internal fuses blow.
Options and Accessories
Numerous color combinations available — see drop-downs for options, inquire for any others.
A matching custom 2-button foot switch is included. This allows for switching of the 4.2 channels. We’re working on a 4-button version to make switching more intuitive. The foot switch defeats the rear panel toggle switches when it’s plugged in.
In lieu of a foot switch, the Orion is fully compatible with our EX5 MIDI contact closure switcher.