Bogner Atma Amplifier

Pros: 3 Multi-Watt functions (18/5/1 Watt settings), Line out, 3 Channel (Clean, Overdrive, Boost), Effects Loop, 14 lbs, unique Aluminum Chassis design with active light indicators. 4/8 & 16 Ohm speaker outs. 3 Way Bright Switch works great with all pickup designs.
Cons: Must be turned on and warmed up in "Vintage Mode", some line outs are 1/4" while other earlier designs don't have a line out at all, some controls on back of amp so making switches on the fly can be a bit difficult until you gig the amp often. Price is a bit on the high side (as is the matching 1x12 cab).
The Boger Atma has been out for a couple of years now, yet it seems to be an amp I see on more stages or in more music rooms as Guitar Players are looking for a good Mid to High Gain sound without overwhelming their audiences in smaller clubs or having their neighbors flip out. I was personally tired of using an attenuator on my Marshall JTM 45. It just sounded like a Wet Blanket had been thrown on it (and I went through some pretty high-end Attenuators). And with Stage Volume such a concern these days, I thought I'd give the Atma a try.

First Impressions: The Overdrive of EL-84's don't quite reach the infamous EL-34 status when it comes to full chest tumping "grind". That said, Bogner did a great job with the Atma as his design has come so close to the Bogner modded Marshall amps that may pro's relied upon stages across the world. The real surprise for me was just how clean the amp could sound yet maintain the sort of "roundness" (think Fender) I like in a Clean Channel (as opposed to the Jangle of typical EL-84 amps I was used to).

Can 18 Watts keep up with a Drummer? Yes and No. I've had the pleasure of gigging with some extremely talented Drummers, but some just have one volume, while other play nuanced. In the case of a heavy playing drummer, I did have to use a Sennheiser e-906 so I could be heard FOH and in the stage mix. But the good part of that is that the Sound Engineer's I worked with loved mic'ing that amp up as they could easily work around the lower SPL's the ATMA pushed yet give me an enormous sound.

The Two Channel switch is well thought out. While the "Solo" mode is controlled by a volume pot on the rear of the amp, being able to be on the Clean Channel (giving me the option of using OD pedals to hit the fornt end of the amp), or simply step on the Clean Switch to engauge a great Rhythm Tone worked great. So then when I had a Solo, I'd step on the Solo switch and get that extra bit of gain that made my guitar pop right out of the mix. And there's no other Lunch Box style amp that I know oif that can get you 60's, 70's & 80's Rock tone as well as a beautiful clean all without having to use a single pedal.

I did use the Effects Loop and placed a WET Reverb and a Fulltone TTE Tape Delay to get the various FX sounds I needed (Reverb on 60's music, Reverb and light delay on 70's tunes, and Reverb and hardfer decaying dealy for the 80's songs). I also bought the Atma Aluminum 1x12 cab that came loaded with a Celestion G12H-30 Watt 70th Anniversary edition, and while it sounded fine with that cab, I switched to a Clestion Creamback G12H-75. I just love the way those speakers sound and I love the tubes to articulate all of my OD and Clean tone needs.

I gave the Atma 5 Stars only because I couldn't give it a 4.5 Star Rating. But perhaps the Atma needs to stay in its current layout (switching and gain control on the back panel) as real estate is lacking. But I promise that if you play in a band that covers Rock from the 60's/70's & 80's, as well as good clean guitar parts, this amp is something you should go try out.

Here's a great Video Demo of the Atma: (First with a Strat, then with a Les Paul) Skip to 3:14 to hear it with the Les Paul.

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