Anyone use / gig with a Mesa Transatlantic TA15? Have one on the way...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by magilla, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. ChrisVereb

    ChrisVereb Member

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    I have the 30 1 x 12 combo, not the 15. I bought it for the red channel sounds since vox isn't really my cup of tea. Turns out I just needed to play the right vox circuit. Cripes that green channel sounds great. It's just so right when dialed in a little crunchy.

    The tweed mode is a great clean sound. For my needs it is really easy to dial in.

    The H1 and H2 sounds are good, but I don't use them a ton. I like the H1, but it doesn't seem quite as brash as jmp/jcm drive sound...but the combo speaker could have a lot to do with that. It feels more JTM45-ish if I had to pick a Marshall to compare it to.

    All of the models except the tweed definitely need the master up at least 1/3 of the way. The master is pretty good in that there is actually a change in volume over most of the range.

    IMO the TA-30 has enough juice for home and gigs with good PA support, but I wouldn't mind a higher wattage model honestly. Some jams I wish there was some more headroom...but I like really loud jams.

    Oh and it's crazy portable too... Size and weight are very reasonable. The price is unreal too. Just a great great value.
     
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  2. djw

    djw Member

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    I used mine at a jam today, with my tandem Barber CDD/GC mini pedalboard, and it just killed. It’s generally not my first go-to for most gigs cause I usually either need more low end or more clean headroom, but if sounding a little dirty all day is ok, then the TA15 is aces. I used a strat and ran a TC HOF in front as well, amp just slightly dirty... sounded amazing. Glad I keep it around.
     
  3. Buck Woodson

    Buck Woodson Supporting Member

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    How does the TA tweed compare to the 90 watt Mark V tweed mode?
     
  4. moosewayne

    moosewayne Supporting Member

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    There is a lot more headroom in the Mark V tweed mode.
    The difference isn't quite as obvious if the Mark V is running 10 watts, but it's still there.
    The TA's EL84s give the tweed a kind of fast urgency while the Mark's 6L6s (I've always used 6L6s in my Mark V) are about the bloom and power, if that makes any sense.
    I liked the Tweed on the TA a lot more than I thought I would. It's one of the reasons upgrading to the full-sized Mark V was a no brainer for me.

    I wish I was a wealthier man. I'd have loved to keep my TA-30 and Mk V both.
     
    David MacNeill likes this.
  5. Brion

    Brion Supporting Member

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    I’ve been enjoying a TA-15 for the past few weeks. Playing through a 2x12 with a scumback M75 65 watt and a Celestion Creamback or a Mesa Thiele with EVM. Love the Green Channel Top Boost mode and Red Channel Hi 1 mode the most. I keep trying the Tweed mode and it works for some things I play, but haven’t fallen in love with it yet. I kind of miss having an effects loop as I do enjoy some verb and delay, but my EQD Dispatch Master works pretty well into the front end with the TB mode and a Gretsch or Strat or Tele the way I set it.
     
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  6. signine

    signine Supporting Member

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    I just picked up one of these. Fun fact: just switching between all the voicings/wattages with all the controls at noon is very enjoyable.

    On the red: I accidentally discovered that you can get a great clean sound out of hi2 at 25w, hi1 does plexiish to jcmish pretty happily at 15+, at 5 it sounds more like a modern marshall. I bought the amp because I wanted Hi1 but I basically don’t use it at all. Tweed is freaking perfect. Hi2 with the gain cranked is very clearly Mesa. It makes me want a mini rec.

    On the green side Normal is basically Vox clean. It actually reminds me of my Lil Night Train when I swapped out the ecc83s for a pair of 5751s. It’s not bad, and it and Tweed both eat dirt pedals in a way that’s very unique. The most magical of all the tones is the Top Boost though. Just crank the volume to 2:00 or so on any wattage, crank the treble, keep the bass under noon and use the cut to taste. No pedals required. Turn the vol back to 11:00 and hit it with your favorite boost or fuzz.

    Anyway that’s just a couple days of fun under my belt so far. The only bad tones in this amp are when you crank the treble or bass too far when you have the gain cranked, or keeping the master too low when you don’t have the gain cranked.
     
    Brion and gearscrubs like this.
  7. thesjkexperienc

    thesjkexperienc ^^^ I made this guitar^^^ Supporting Member

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    I’ve been looking at these amps and wanted to know if there are any benefits to going with the TA30? I don’t need more volume than the 25 Watts of the TA15 and the reverb and effects loop are not important either.

    Also, how durable are the TA15 amps? As solid as most Mesas?
     
  8. Brion

    Brion Supporting Member

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    Board mounted tube sockets aside, mine seems to be a sturdy build. At least the tubes point upwards letting some of the heat escape away from the PCB.
    The 25 watt setting doesn’t seem to add much volume over the 15 watt setting, but it feels a bit more stout.
    I haven’t played the TA-30.
     
    blackba likes this.
  9. briwinters

    briwinters Member

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    I have a TA-15 that was my main gigging amp for years. I paired it with a Mesa 1x12 Theile cabinet...for me plenty loud enough to gig the bars I was playing unmiked and still get over the drummer. I pretty much used it as a pedal platformer.....dialed in for edge of dirt when I leaned into it, a few boosts and an OCD to give me different shades of gain. Mostly I never used the channel switching functions...my usual favorites were either the Top Boost or Tweed modes. Even though I didn’t switch amp modes live that was one of my favorite features of the amp...whenever I got GAS to use a different amp live Id just switch amp mode and viola, new amp. Used to get great compliments about my tone with it, loved how it sounded/felt most of the time, using the standard TGP cliche “takes pedals very well.”

    Reason I stopped gigging it? Had 3 different incidents of tubes going south using it live. No clue if it has anything to do with just having bad luck with tube quality, that I was pushing small glass hard, a problem with my particular amp or a combination of things. And certainly not looking to open a “tube or no tube debate” here. Just my own personal experience. I bought a Roland Blues Cube Stage about 3 1/2 years ago and it’s a good fit for what I need live so that’s what goes out the door with me for gigs. I’m on the verge of selling my TA-15 just because I never use it anymore...it served me well but it’s not getting any use.

    For sure I’d recommend downloading the PDF manual for the amp....Mesa does an excellent job explaining how all the controls work and interact with each other. It’s an amp that can get dialed in to sound harsh if you don’t understand how the controls effect each other. Worth a read even if you’re just considering buying the amp. I’d also recommend analog delays over digital just because no effects loop, everything into the front end of the amp.
     
    blackba likes this.
  10. nic'o'caster

    nic'o'caster Member

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    A little update since my last post about the TA-15. I found a used TA-30 for a third of the new price. A bargain, and a fantastic amp. It sounded as good as the TA-15 but with added headroom and more punch for the clean tones (even the cleans from h2 were too die for !). So I gigged it a few times with excellent results... until it died two weeks ago... for no reason (or too much lugging around ?)... what a bummer !

    I also spoke to a friend who was very happy with his TA-15 until it had a problem (smoke !)...
    Well, my point is that those amps are terrific amps with tons of excellent sounds but they seem to be somewhat fragile for the road !
    Maybe the reason why Mesa did discontinue them !?
     
  11. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    The TA30 has a gain boost on the 2nd channel, that the TA15 doesn't have, which I think is significant. Also the TA30 just sounds bigger than the TA15.

    The TA15 supports a more compact footprint, lower price, and the 5Watt mode. I love the 5Watt mode on my TA15 and like the ultra portability, so that is what I opted for, but for pure sound, I would go for the TA30.

    As far as reliability, the TA15 is my gigging amp. It does run the EL84 tubes hard in all modes, so expect to replace them fairly regularly if you play it a lot.
     
  12. signine

    signine Supporting Member

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    Mesa amps are the opposite of fragile as long as you let them warm up a bit. Have you tried swapping in a new set of Mesa tubes? If you bought used there’s a good chance the tubes are toast. I’ve also heard from a few TA series owners that the PI tube went out on them, which is generally a surprise since preamp tubes should last thousands instead of tens of hours.

    Smoke sounds like what happens when a cap blows due to a power surge or maybe what happens to transformers when running without a load though. That one is gonna be more frustrating.

    You should check out the Mesa factory hammer testing though :)
     
  13. nic'o'caster

    nic'o'caster Member

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    I just watched the hammer test at Mesa factory on youtube, interesting indeed !
    Before bringing the amp to the doctor I will first investigate with the tubes, examine visually each of them and swap the dubious ones. Thanks for the suggestion !
     

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