Headphone Amp or Small Mixer?
a while ago i read, at least i think i did, a thread about using a small mixer in place of a headphone amp. is this possible? i am having a hard time finding a used cab in my LOW budget range and i want to start hearing myself practice. if this is possible i think it would be good to buy a piece of equipment that can be used for more than just a headphone amp.
i see that there are several for well under $100 but if i up the budget to the $80 - $150 range i can get one with effects, built in compression and a usb interface so i can do the "play along with" lessons and such. plus it seems to me that a mixer would have a better resale value if it doesn't work out. yamaha, nady, alexis and the dreaded beh........ all have units in this range.
any suggestions to help a noob out? :help:
Yamaha MG102C mixer or something similar, I got mine on a scratch and dent sale for $80. 8 channels. A small mixer is a great place to start.
It's the hub of the practice station, with a vocal mike, drum machine, cd player, tape deck, ipod, guitar, computer and bass hooked up to headphones. 98% with headphones, but I can also run the whole mix out to a power amp and monitors and PA speakers. I use an old Alesis microverb for effects.
Bass guitars don't put out a lot of signal in many cases, so a Di box may be in order. I use a MXR M-80 bass di +. Look for one used in the TB classifieds. I use mine for everything. Preamp, boost, some distortion, it's been around forever, while others have come and gone.
Having a DI box in your kit lets you hook into PA systems when you go play somewhere and don't have an amp. It might save your butt some night when your amp dies.
I've had headphone amps like the Bassman from Schultz, but the mixer has been a huge improvement and much more practical solution.
The whole practice station sits in a shelving unit at chest height and takes up about 6 square feet in the corner of the room, so I can stand up to practice, or pull up a chair. I added a little keyboard shelf to hold music, and also use magnets to pin up papers.
On the other hand, since you mentioned a usb port and you might have ideas for integrating your computer for recording, practice, and playback, a simple usb interface with a headphone out might suit you. Also, some multi effects units and loopers have headphone and usb outs. Depends on how portable you want to be. And being chained to your computer can be less than productive. I try to keep mine ten feet away.
If you have a mac, check out garageband and irealB.
my main usage would be for headphone practice and second would be for on-line lessons/play along with the usb. anything more than that is a bonus. a dedicated headphone amp is cheaper but it is a one use pony. when i add the cost of the headphone amp, the usb box and a di box i would end up spending more than i would on a $150 mixer that covers all three. the mixer is bigger but i can sit it on top of my amp head with room to spare ( peavey firebass 700) and it would only add one more 110v plug.
I have no experience with this particular mixer but a Behringer 302USB is only $50 at Amazon and it does pretty much everything you asked for. I know Behringer has a poor reputation, but a lot of that is for eqpt that is moved around. If the unit stays in the same place & isn't shaken too much, it holds up fine - at least that is my experience w/Behringer.
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