How many times have you arrived at a gig, only to realize that – whoops! – there’s no power outlet? Though it’s not that common, I’ve encountered the situation

Alesis Transactive Mobile PA How many times have you arrived at a gig, only to realize that – whoops! – there’s no power outlet? Though it’s not that common, I’ve encountered the situation enough that I’ve been looking for a small, portable PA system that can handle a small gig with no electricity.

Most portable battery-powered amps – with the exception of a few of the pricier models – sound like an AM radio to me, so I was pleasantly surprised when I tried the Alesis TransActive Mobile PA. It made very efficient use of its 22 watts, producing enough sound to fill a fairly large room, and the 8” speaker delivered clean, clear and surprisingly authentic sound.

The TransActive has two channels and a stereo RCA input. The first channel is a combo XLR and 1/4” input and the second is a 1/4” instrument input. All three inputs have individual gain controls, and a master volume control makes the system even easier to use. The PA includes a pull-out handle and built-in wheels that make it a breeze to take anywhere, and the standard speaker pole mount proves very helpful in elevating the system off the floor. One particularly interesting feature is the iPod dock built into the top – useful for playing music during breaks or jamming with a backing track.

The battery charges completely in four hours and lasts approximately six hours at full volume. It has a battery level indicator and can charge while in use. The stereo 1/4” output link can hook up to another TransActive PA or any powered speaker or PA system.

From jamming in the basement with your iPod to playing on the street or around the campfire, the TransActive is versatile as a performance or practice amp. You’ll certainly get your money’s worth if you play a lot of outdoor gigs or frequently find yourself without a power source.


MSRP $599 - Alesis -

Our expert has stated her case, now we want to hear yours. Share your comments and ratings below.

The author’s Collings D2H rests on his favorite Fender amp combination for acoustic guitar: a Bandmaster Reverb atop a 1x12 extension cab with an Eminence Maverick inside. The amp has a custom-made baffle board with two 8" speakers, so can go it alone for smaller gigs.

Interested in plugging a flattop into your favorite silver- or black-panel beauty? Here’s what you need to know.

Have you ever tried to plug your acoustic guitar into a classic-style Fender amp? There are some hurdles to overcome, and this month I’ll provide some advice on how to get past them. But first, some background.

Read More Show less

A lightweight, portable amp series developed after months of forensic examination of vintage valve amps.

Read More Show less

Need an affordable distortion pedal? Look no further.

We live in the golden age of boutique pedals that are loaded with advanced features—many of which were nearly unthinkable a decade or so ago. But there’s something that will always be valuable about a rock-solid dirt box that won’t break your wallet. Here’s a collection of old classics and newly designed stomps that cost less than an average concert ticket.

Read More Show less