First Impressions: Orange Getaway Driver Overdrive Pedal

I recently bought my first Orange pedal, the Getaway Driver.

The Orange Getaway Driver, on my pedalboard.

What do I think of it? Read on for my First Impressions.

What Did You Buy?

I bought a Getaway Driver overdrive pedal, made by Orange Amplification. They’re pretty affordable, so I got mine brand new from my local guitar store.

As I understand it, the Getaway Driver is an amp-in-a-box (AIAB for short) pedal that aims to capture the sound of a cranked 70’s amp. Orange doesn’t say exactly which amp, but I assume it’s going to be one that they made back in the day.

Why Did You Buy It?

My local guitar store has just become an Orange dealer. I don’t have a lot of experience with Orange, so I popped round to try the first shipment of gear that they had in.

The Getaway Driver was one of the pedals that I tried, and in the shop it sounded different enough to be worth bringing home with me.

I was drawn to two things in particular. It’s got quite a mid-rangey tone, and as I crank the gain up, the attack can get a bit rounded. Or, at least, that’s what I was hearing in the shop. It kinda reminded me of a cranked tweed amp, only not at the same time.

I found that an intriguing mix.

What Is My Rig?

Today, I’m playing:

  • Deadnote, my PRS McCarty 594
  • into the Axe-FX 3
  • out to my pedalboard
  • and back into my Axe-FX 3

I’m playing Deadnote in the middle position. The bridge volume is on full. The neck pickup is split, with the volume on 4. Both tone controls are up full. This is how I prefer to set the guitar up for rhythm playing.

I’ve got the Orange Getaway Driver and Ceriatone Centura in separate loops of my Gigrig G2. I’m using the Centura as (to my ears) it sounds identical to my real Klon KTR. When I’m not using the Centura, it’s completely out of the signal chain so that its buffer does not affect the sound at all.

On the Axe-FX 3, I’m running my own pedal platform patch. I’m in the process of updating it for the new Cygnus X3 amp modelling algorithms that just came out. I’ll write more about that in a separate blog post.

How Does It Sound?

Here’s the Getaway Driver on its own:

PRS McCarty 594 > Orange Getaway Driver (internal button out) > Axe-FX 3

There’s something about that sound that made me jump, the first time I hit the play button. I find it very “in your face”, very immediate perhaps. It’s got lots of attack, but also a nice amount of low mids.

The Bite Control Is Not A Tone Control

I’ve got the pedal’s Bite control cranked up to 2 o’clock or so. That’s where a lot of the attack is coming from.

I can turn the Bite control to try and tame the attack, but through my rig, the pedal quickly starts to sound dull.

I say through my rig because, when I tried it in the shop through one of their amps, there was plenty of top-end even with the Bite control down to 10 o’clock or less. And, looking back at the YouTube demos from when this pedal was launched, no-one there was having to crank the Bite as much as I have to.

Clearly, my rig is a lot darker than most!

Taming The Top-End

The pedal’s got an internal button, which can be used to change the character of the top-end. On the website, Orange says that this is to help the pedal adapt to amps that have a bright cap.

The innards of the Getaway Driver. The “internal button” is at the top of the pedal.

Here’s how the pedal sounds with the internal button pressed in.

I’m not using the exact same settings as before. The knobs got knocked while I was taking the back off the pedal. Couldn’t be helped.

PRS McCarty 594 > Orange Getaway Driver (internal button in) > Axe-FX 3

In the room, when I was recording that demo, I thought that the pedal lacked a bit of something in the top-end. I was worried that this internal button had taken too much away. It certainly didn’t feel as inspiring to play.

But listening back, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all. As a recorded tone, I like how it’s changed the attack. I think it’s just right, and now gives me a sound that is distinct from both my tweed tones and plexi tones.

And there’s another advantage too …

Does It Klon?

With the internal button out (how it came from the shop), I really didn’t like the result of boosting this pedal with a Klon-style pedal. With my preferred Klon settings, I felt it was harsh and unpleasant to listen to while playing.

However, with the internal button in, that top-end now has a bit of room for the Klon-style pedal to work its magic. I’ve also reduced the gain on the Getaway Driver, to compensate for the boost effect coming from my Ceriatone Centura.

PRS McCarty 594 > Ceriatone Centura > Orange Getaway Driver (internal button in) > Axe-FX 3

With more time – and some tweaking – I think that could sound pretty good. As it stands, though, I don’t think I quite got there this time.

To my ears, the top-end’s a little harsh, while there’s something going on in the low mids that I don’t understand but I’m pretty sure I don’t really like. Reducing the gain on the Getaway Driver seems to have thinned the mids out a little too much. I don’t think the pedal’s at its best when it’s held back.

If I was building a pedal board for a gig or a jam, I’d want to pick drive pedals that all worked with the same settings on my Klon KTR and my amp. I’m definitely a set-and-forget person there; I don’t want to be tweaking anything when I’m switching in a live environment.

I’m not saying that you can’t do that with the Getaway Driver, just that it’s a bit too different to fit alongside the pedals that I’d normally stick on a board.

Final Thoughts

Some amp-in-a-box (AIAB for short) pedals are great for tone-shaping. Stick them at the end of the pedalboard, and run drive pedals into them to flavour the signal.

I found the Getaway Driver to work best as an overdrive pedal, not as an AIAB pedal. It’s really only got the one sound, and I don’t think the pedal offers enough control over the EQ to do the tone-shaping role for me.

But hey – what a sound! I couldn’t tell you if it’s the sound of the 70s (a decade that people reminisce about far too fondly), or even the sound of an Orange amp. But it’s different, and regular readers may recall that I love having options.

I have no trouble imagining myself using this as a second tone for doubling guitar parts. I’m very curious to hear how it blends with both tweed tone and plexi tone.

I just wish that internal button was on the outside.

I’m not a fan of internal controls in general. Most of them, it’s not a problem in practice. But this is a control that I want to experiment a lot more with. And if I was gigging through third-party backline amps (which I am not!), I imagine it would be very helpful to be able to sound-check the pedal both with and without the internal button engaged.

Bonus Content: A Sneak Peek At The Getaway Driver Through My Tweaked Rig

Earlier on, I mentioned that I’ve had to crank the Bite control a lot more than I should have done – more than I had to in the shop, and more than I’ve seen others do it on YouTube demos.

It’s not the pedal’s fault. It’s clearly my pedal platform patch that needs tweaking. So, after finishing this blog post, I decided to use the Getaway Driver to help me dial in (possibly) better settings for my pedal platform patch.

For reference, here’s how the Getaway Driver sounded through my regular pedal platform patch:

PRS McCarty 594 > Orange Getaway Driver (internal button in) > Axe-FX 3

And here’s how it sounds through an early attempt at tweaking my pedal platform patch. I’ve been able to turn the Bite control down to around 11 o’clock on this recording:

PRS McCarty 594 > Getaway Driver (internal button in) > Axe-FX 3 (tweaked patch)

What do you think of the changes?

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