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Microphone Month 3

Mesa/Boogie TransAtlantic TA-15 25-Watt Tube Head Reviews

4.5 stars based on 23 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Chris McCown

    Mesa may have come late to the Lunchbox Amp Party, but they showed up in style and in good form. I played through this amp and checked out all five of its voicings. In typical Mesa fashion, there isn't a bad tone to be had from this amp. If you think this can't power a 4 X 12 cabinet and still rock you, think again! There's a new sheriff in town, its name is TransAtlantic, and it came to play!

  • from April 6, 2014

    Glad I Believed the Reviews Here!

    I'm one to not usually give out 5 stars but this one deserves it when everything is considered. Most reviews on this amp are positive but my mind seemed to remember the few negatives and I worried about buying one. The reviews here at Sweetwater were overwhelmingly positive however and I hoped they were correct. I finally bought one after considering many smaller amps out there, now I'm wanting to sell all my other amps.

    It's just that his amp does it all for me. Each mode is astounding, and I get the feeling they could have made a great amp centered around any one or each of the modes we get. I find myself dialing in a certain mode (I love them all) and playing for hours, cleaning it up with my guitar volume, sometimes channel switching. With my band I set one channel for slightly dirty cleans and one for medium dirt.

    I don't read much about the Normal mode but it's one of my favorites. Overall it exhibits the qualities of a JTM45 to me- man what a fun mode! I could go on and on but suffice it to say that all modes are great and if one wasn't it would really stick out. Also the video Sweetwater does on this amp is spot on- it really captures the great sounds from this amp, though there are many more on tap.

  • from kansas city, MO March 27, 2013Music Background:
    professional club musician 30-years

    Absolutely brilliant...

    i have had mine for a couple of years... I drive it through an old sunn cab with 2 12 celesion vintage 30s and frankly the sound is incredible . i have people at shows asking where my amp is hehehehe when i show them this thing their jaw just drops, the best thing i can say about these besides the obvious, small loud,class Ab, A dual ,A single multiwatt,multivoice heaven, this thing has dripping harmonic content ...but the best thing? i pull my guitar out more. Why? coz this little amp is hella fun just to plug into and play,it will take any pedal you can throw at it, but it sounds oh so good just by its self... and it weighs about a gazillion pounds less than my old 74 fender twin(orange back jbls), and has a tweed voice that will compete with that sound. i love this amp wont ever part with it

  • from Los Angeles, CA December 2, 2012Music Background:


    I have owned hand crafted, custom shop Fender, Marshall, Carr, Rivera, etc. and this has to be the best overall sounding and versatile amp I have ever owned! My only improvement suggestion to swap out the tubes and standard speaker with the Celestion Gold!!!!!

  • from Nashville, TN August 21, 2012Music Background:
    Studio/Touring Pro

    Huge amp in a little package!!

    This little head reproduces what I had in a dual-amp ATA touring/studio rack. Channel-switchable between a "Vox" flavor and a "Marshall" flavor. Perfect volume for just about any stage. Takes pedals great - though, you don't really need them except to add "more" or different tone colors on the fly. Am blown away by the breadth and depth of range this one amp covers. What I REALLY love is the portability - perfect for folks in metro areas where taxi/subway/rail is the main transportation, and for fly dates!!

    I haven't had it one a "lot" of dates yet to see how it holds up on the road, but so far so good.

    Toneful, portable, flexible. Done.
    Get one - you won't be disappointed!

  • from San Diego, CA USA July 5, 2012Music Background:

    You Get What You Pay For...

    Is this little guy expensive? Yep, but like the title says, you get what you pay for. I run this amp through the 23" 1x12 TA cabinet right now, (until I can get my hands on a Royal Atlantic 2x12 to add to it) and this thing sounds amazing (and better than the Mini-Recto) for any rock, classic rock, classic metal (if you want a modern metal lunchbox amp, then you'll need to get the Mini-Recto), and the cleans sound articulate and full. The Mini-Recto has great cleans as well, and while they sound a little different, I'd say they are both just as nice in their own ways. So if you are on the fence about either of these amps, that's what you have to decide between, but if you're looking for a high-end, tough-built, great-sounding lunchbox, I would really consider looking at these two.

    This amp pretty much satisfies all my needs, and I won't be needing another amp for years to come, until Mesa comes out with another brilliant lunchbox.

  • from San Diego, CA May 17, 2012Music Background:
    Songwriter, Guitar Player, Vocalist, Engineer, Producer

    Keeps Me Playing

    I've been using modeling software to record guitars for some time and have gotten decent results, but I knew I'd never be able to reproduce the true tube tone I love without a great amp. The last amp I owned was a Fender Blues DeVille that made me work really hard to get anything close to a good recorded tone out of it. At one time I had a Mesa Dual Rectifier half stack, and that's always been my bar for great distorted tone. My all time fave. But I work in a lot of styles and needed something versatile that would sound good at low to mid volumes.

    I auditioned the Mesa 5/50 and Lonestar and found their distorted tones lacking. I played through a BlackStar which I did not like at all and an Egnator, which felt like a good imitation of a great tube amp. But when I played through the TransAtlantic, it immediately felt like home. Nice beefy distortion with the Mesa chunk I love, beautiful clean tones, and a tweed / slightly dirty sound that I am just falling in love with.

    I've played more electric since I got this amp than I had in years prior, that's how good it feels to me. If you're looking for a small, lower wattage amp that can do a variety of tones better than 95% of the amps out there, I would recommend the TransAtlantic.

    A couple notes - if you're looking for all out metal distortion, this will get you close but you're probably better off with something better suited to that. I'd recommend getting a Mesa cabinet with it, imho you won't really experience the full magic it has to offer through another cab. I like it with a guitar with high output pickups.

  • from Philadelphia, PA USA May 11, 2012Music Background:

    A Drummer's Best Friend?

    Fortunate to be a Spaun drummer, I appreciate quality and innovation...I find both in this wonderful little powerhouse. I bought the amp for my guitar player because I wanted to hear what he was playing...clearly. Also, when the amp was demonstrated for me it blew away anything near it's price point. Do yourself a great service...talk
    your guitar player into any Mesa Boogie; you cannot go wrong.

  • from FL April 24, 2012Music Background:

    Great little amp!

    Great little head. Tone: Check! Ease of use: Check, Tone: CheckX2!
    I was looking for a lower powered amp so I could get some nice Boogie tone without drive my wife and kid crazy. This fits the bill. But it should be plenty loud to play unmiked in any small venue. Really versatile. Still experimenting but I find I like the tones in the 15W settings the best.
    I know that a lot of us musician types don't read the manual, we want to open her up, plug her in and wail away, but you can save yourself some time and probably a little frustration working toward the really nice tones in this amp if you take about 10 miuntes to go through it. The manual does an excellent job of explaining the different power modes and what the limitations are in each. It also provides some sample settings which I found really helpful as a starting place to work towards finding the tone I wanted. I've seen a few reviews where people complain about a "POP" when switching channels. The manual explains early on the circumstances in which that can occur (usually a 5W setting on one channel and a 15W or 25W setting on the other) and what to do to keep it from happening. I followed the guidlines and haven't heard a single pop during channel switching.
    I'd rate it a 5 but I have one minor complaint and one not so minor complaint. The minor complaint is that the blue LEDs inside are almost ridiculously bright. The need to be toned down a bit. Second complaint is the price. at $900 it's a pricey little lunch box. Do I think it's worth it? Absolutely!! But still, that a lot of money for a small amp like this.
    If it's in your price range though, this is the one to own!

  • from Michigan December 22, 2011Music Background:
    part time gigging lead guitar

    great head

    Great little head. I got tired of hauling a Marshall half stack to gigs, plus, unless you're playing outdoors (some of our gigs have been),. the Marshall stack has too much headroom. I picked up a 1x12 cab for practice with the band and a Mesa Rectifier 2x12 cab for gigs. I have consolidated the gig gear. I can get any sounds out of this head and use a Gibson trad pro with coil taps and a Bigsby vibrato. So, now I don't have to switch guitars between a Tele and LP, or switch speakers (Fender v Marshall v Vox). I'm still playing with all of the settings. Great possibilities. And made in the US. Have had this since it came out. Picked it over the Tiny Terror, Night Train and others. Would take a good look at the TA30, now. Good job, Mesa.

  • from Singapore February 18, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Musician

    Buy this! You won't regret it!

    I'd give it 10 stars. You can get soooooooooooo many tones out of one tiny box. Seriously, forget about the Vox Night Train and Orange Tiny Terror. The Transatlantic can do Brit tones, Mesa tones, Fender tones and everything in between. Damn.

  • from Ohio August 26, 2010Music Background:
    Musician, Engineer

    Amazingly versatile amp

    This is one of the easiest amp to dial in tone. I use it with a split wired '70's Marshall 4-12 cabinet with 25 watt Celestions. The amp sounds of Vox, Fender and early Marshalls all in one. If you need a harder Marshall sound, just use a boost pedal inline with your guitar and your ready to shredd too!!!!

  • from Omaha, Nebraska July 16, 2010Music Background:
    Singer/Songwriter (Witness Tree band), Studio and Live performer both Rhythm and Lead guitar

    Dynamic Tone for Miles!

    When I first demo'd the TA I was blown away! Not looking for an amp that required a lot of tweaking or one that could "do it all," I wanted a simple but powerful amp that could be used in the Studio, at Home, or on the Road, and still had the tone I was getting from amps that cost many time more. This is it!

    I need a dynamic clean sound that could go from mellow picking and strumming to a classic tube-driven Fender distorted tone with breakup and warmth equal to the pressure I placed on my strings. Best clean channel I have ever heard! When I was playing it at the store the Salesman - lifetime guitarist and tone junkie - was speechless when he heard the range and tone.

    The 25, 15, 5 watt switching is a huge bonus as it allows me to use the amp with a variety of different Cabs to get the appropriate volume and tone. If I am using a 1x12" cab, the 5 watt is sufficient to get the tone and volume I need (ideal for the studio). With a 4x12" cab, the 25 watt channel will blow you away with volume that rivals any high watt amps. Fear not the low watt amp!

    In addition, the amp has tone presets, two on the clean side and three on the dirty side. The clean and dirty can be switched using the foowswitch that comes with the amp. The standard clean is good, but the top boost has so much range and great sound, even a finicky Tele picker will find it a good home. The dirty side features the classic Fender sound with a little gain. You can add more gain to it providing a controlled but dirty tone that can again be played clean to dirty with a shorter threshold for distortion, depending on how hard you are picking. After I got this amp I eliminated my Overdrive Pedal and use this channel instead. The second setting is gain boosted and is really kinda dry. Good for a Hard Rock or Metal Rhythm guitarist who wants to prevent stomping on their Lead. The third setting brings back the tone again as it emulate a saturated, warm distortion you only see from a Marshall or similar British amp.

    Finally, the amp has two speaker outputs, able to handle two 8 ohm cabinets. I tried a lot of Vintage Celestion 30 watt cabs out there, and found the Fender Supersonic and Vox gave the amp the best match.

  • from June 21, 2010

    Nice amp but where is the effects loop?

    Just amazing the Blackstar HT5 has one but this doesn't. Tube drive loop would have made this a must have.

  • from SloCal June 6, 2010Music Background:
    gear freak and weekend rock god.

    Crazy good, totally gig-worthy

    Got the TA-15 late afternoon, gigged with it that evening. I don't switch up rigs without being absolutely certain that the tone will be there when the house lights go down and quite frankly with this little Boogie you'd be hard pressed to find a tone that didn't just knock you out. My bandmates stood drop jawed for the first three minutes, then just smiled and looked me then my amp the rest of the night. Gigged with the TA driving a Black Shadow driven Mesa 2x12 on top a Genz BenzGflex 2x12. Plenty power for small clubs w/o micing the cab. No worries cutting through heavy handed drummers(you know who you are). Incredible "chime" clean or overdriven, the best Boogie has achieved to date. My rectifiers are about to get some much deserved time off. Bet we will be seeing an increased wattage version of the TA soon. In conclusion, Mesa/Boogie TA-15. Get it.

  • from Petaluma, CA April 9, 2010Music Background:
    Singer /Songwriter

    Mesa Boogie TransAtlantic

    I live in Petaluma, just a few minutes from where the Boogie Factory is located, so I'll admit up front that I've been partial to Mesa products. Having said that, I felt my last Mesa amp, the 5:50 really pales in comparison "tone -wise" to the TA 15. In fact, insofar as any Mesa amp I've owned (four so far), this, by far, is the most veristile by a country mile. I play the TA through a Boogie 1 x 12 open back, loaded with a Celestion Neo Vintage and it's simply killer. It loves pedals too! Oh...and the service at Sweetwater deserves a 5.0 too!

  • from Reynoldsburg Ohio April 1, 2010Music Background:
    Hobbyist (in the closet musicain)

    Worth the wait

    Well I had preorder my Mesa TA/15 back in Late January, And I got it today . Its a (HELL OF A AMP) A great 2 channel multiple tone amp. Yes, its made in thee USA. Great for all styles of music ,even hard rock. Sorry Metal Heads this amp is not for you. Mesa has this amp at a fair price $899.00 And Sweetwater was great I will buy all my Boogies from them. Thanks Joel your service was great!

  • from Central FL April 1, 2010Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Best one out there

    Typically, "lunchbox" amps are designed with either recording in mind, or cranking the amp up and getting big amp sound at low volume. This one does all that just fine, but it's also an extremely viable LIVE rig for the gigging musician. There's so much headroom in the 25 watt mode, and EITHER channel sounds good clean or dirty, (Though quite different) depending on how you set it. That's a feature not usually even found in higher priced Boogies. That 10 watts makes a big difference. Lots of clean volume available.

  • from SC April 8, 2015Music Background:
    Once pro, now old.

    LOVE IT!

    This amp actually broke my heart for over a year. It went through 5 sets of tubes, the 1st only lasting 2 hrs. The only reason I didn't get rid of it was that it sounds SO GOOD. After 2 returns to Mesa and a scolding for not checking the tubes first, I took it to another shop. The tubes were bad. YOU CANNOT USE THIS AMP WITH 16 OHM SPEAKERS. I don't care what the manual says (it MAY shorten tube life). MAY? Shorten? how about destroy?
    So I got a Mini- Recto 1-12"( 8 ohms of course)....VIOLA! It sounds incredible! I have all the amps it claims to emulate. I haven't switched channels often and experienced the pop others have complained of. However, that was a problem with the Mark II. I learned to work around it. Silence your strings, hit the pedal, no pop! In the Mark IV there was circuitry to alleviate the pop but it cause a slight delay and interrupted playing. Believe me, you can work around it easily if you try. I have a hand wired Marshall 2061, DSL401 and have had Mark II, Mark IV, @ 60's Fender Bassmans, Deluxe, Twin Reverb, etc. I'd take this amp over all of them for sound and performance

  • from Colorado July 7, 2010Music Background:

    Awesome little lunch box!

    This thing is really a beast, clean tones sound amazingly rich and deep with plenty of blossom, with the master volume too its ridiculously easy to go from ultra clean to great srv tones with just the weight of your hand. top boost really captures that classic british sound and the tweed gets all the deeper fender sounds, its like having 3 amps in 1. I have to say I wouldn't say the 25 dyna watt setting sounds 10 watts louder than the 15 watt setting but it does provide better lows on the overdrive channels. My only complaint is this might not have all the classic boogie overdrive you might expect, lower gain sounds great but as you start to pile it on it kind of losses its focus making it tough to nail those tight overdriven rythyms. nothing a good pedal cant fix though. besides that minor complaint this really is the best sounding amp i've played with a plethora of sounds on tap.

  • from Dallas, TX June 23, 2010Music Background:
    Project Studio Musician / Engineer

    Expensive - and worth it!

    It's what I have been searching for - a low / medium power amp for my project studio. It's very versatile with both true Class A and AB (push pull) with a wide range of good sounding voices in the two preamps. A lot of studios are going to have one of these! I'm using two closed back Blackheart cabinets with 12" speakers. Made in America! It had a good printed manual, carry bag and a great foot switch and cable to change channels. It also has a 5-year warranty.

    Cons: no built-in reverb (if it matters) or a 16 ohm speaker output, which would could be useful (it has one 4 and 8 ohm output). I usually record dry, but also use a Boss FRV-1 reverb pedal, which I like. No service manual or schematic.

    joel @ Djembe Records / Dallas

  • from April 27, 2014

    Great Vox tone

    This is a good little amp head. I mainly use it in a worship setting and being able to lower the wattage is great for playing smaller venues. I love the top boost vox channel on this amp. I plug it into the mesa mini recto cab and it sounds very big.

    The only things I don't like about the amp:
    without an fx loop the vox side of the amp is the only mode that sounds good with a delay pedal. A delay pedal run into the marshall or boogie mode sounds awful.
    The amp is a little noisy. The vox side with the cut knob pushed in is the worst offender with being noisy.

    Overall it is a great little amp head that can give you a handwired vox sound plus three other good tones at a variety of volume levels.

  • from April 21, 2010

    So So amp

    I purchased the T-15 amp on a whim, but also have the Vox Night Train. Comparing the 2, both sound good for what they are, lunchbox amps to go to practice with and play small venues with. Comparing the two, Mesa has a much better distortion channel than the Vox, however, it's not great. It does not have the creamy full sounding distortion you would expect in a hand built tube amp...it is honestly pretty sterile. Also lacks the lows you expect from Mesa, but if you love Marshall sound, high/mid high gain, than you may like this amp. The clean channel is versitile and it comes close to an AC-15 sound. However, overall something is missing. The sound of the amp is uninspiring. It lacks the warmth of a AC-30 or Budda or the wha wha vibrato sound you hear in a great tube amp. My biggest complaint is this amp has a delay and loud "pop" when changing channels. Although it isn't as bad if you keep both channels 15 or 25 watts as suggest in the manual, it is still unacceptable for any amp to do this and renders the use of both channels unusuable during one song...very poor design on Mesa's part.

  • from San Antonio, TX April 29, 2011Music Background:

    Fantastic Sound/Horrible Design

    The tones you can get from this amp are outstanding. HOWEVER there is this channel switching "pop" you hear when switching channels with or without the footswitch. It is LOUD on all wattage settings. Called Mesa and was told this was normal and part of the design of the amp. THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE for a $900 amp.

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