Bogner ATMA 18 Watt Head

Head/Combo: 
Head
Price Paid: 
$1600
Condition: 
New
Country of origin: 
USA
Tube Type: 
EL84
Features: 
 
ATMA FEATURES:
  • Foot switchable 3 channel all tube amplifier with effects loop.
  • EL84 class-A cathode biased power amp with EZ81 tube rectifier delivers 18 watts.
  • Built in power attenuator lets you scale down the power and headroom from 18, 5 to 1 watt. Allows fantastic low volume bedroom amp tone, gain and feel.
  • Clean channel with volume and tone controls plus a bright switch lets you dial in a variety of sounds from blackface mid-scooped to thick tweed tone.
  • Overdrive channels share the usual bass, mid, treble controls as well as a 3 position voicing/gain switch covering 60's, 70's and 80's gain and tonal characteristics. A single gain control sets the overall gain for the crunch and solo channel while the crunch preset gain control on the back panel lets you dial in the gain difference between the two overdrives.
  • Thin aluminum outer-shell and chassis allows for reduces the size and weight for traveling light
  • 16, 8 and 4 ohm speaker outputs allows use with most speaker cabinets. Multiple cabinets use requires a splitter box.
Pros: 

Classic Bogner tone in a 14lb, 6.25" H x 12.63" W x 6.50" D lunchbox!

VERSATILITY! The ATMA is like a mini Bogner Ecstasy -- with three channels (clean, crunch, and solo) AND three gain stage modes (60s, 70s, 80s), AND three wattage modes (1w, 5w, 18w). I have five other low-wattage tube amps, and the ATMA is the most ambitious, feature-rich, and fully-realized lunchbox sized amp I have encountered to date. This makes the ATMA a wonderful amp for the studio OR for club-level gigging.

Tone. If you're familiar with Bogner's signature tones, they are in here.

Cons: 

I wish it had a standby switch. I realize there is no need for a standby switch on low-wattage amps with slow-warm-up tube rectifiers, but when it's not there, I miss it. Similarly, I wish the power switch was on the front panel. 

Nitpicking -- The Jem light reacts to your playing as you play (on purpose). I find this a little distracting. And until you're really familiar with the amp, the microswitches and their labels are tough to read in low stage light.

 

Sound Quality: 
5 (excellent)
Reliability: 

So far, so good.

Customer Support: 

Not needed yet, but I have dealt with Bogner before, and it still has a small shop feel to its support. You call, and you get a tech on the phone. It probably won't be mad Reinhold himself, but you never know.

Summary: 

In addition to using this amp in my own guitar rig as one half of a stereo rig, I recently had the opportunity to produce one of my drummer's songs where he played all of the rhythm guitar tracks using this amp (and I used it for the lead work). This was a pop song and pretty different from the kind of heavy rock I usually play, and the rhythms were recorded with very a different kind of guitar than I use -- a Guild semi-hollow body electric with a Bigsby-like trem. We used the ATMA, and we were all quite impressed by the variety of excellent sounds we were able to get out of the amp very quickly. Everything from warm, shimmery cleans to really thick 70s style crunch with the characteristic Bogner midrange. When it finally came time for the lead work, I just plugged in a Les Paul and rather than selecting the Lead channel or the 80s mode, I just upped the gain a little harder in the 70s mode and got a very British sound for the lead work. Having the 3 wattage modes let us record at reasonable levels while getting full power amp saturation when we wanted it.

This is a hell of a little amp. Extremely well done. Some people will balk at the $1600 price tag, but that price isn't even at the high-end of boutique low-wattage amps. And (again) look  at the features you're getting for that money. It's got everything people complained the Orange Tiny Terror didn't have, and more

Overall Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)