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Active bass -> headphones?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Oysterman, Nov 8, 2000.

  1. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Is it possible to use a common pair of headphones as "practice amp speakers" if you have an active bass? Is a 9V preamp loud enough to give you something audible?

    Since cheap headphones are cheaper than cheap practice amps, and (I suppose) colour the sound less, I thought of buying just the headphones instead of a practice amp with a headphone output... saving some of my precious dough, ya know? :)
  2. Most active bass outputs are mono, whereas headphones tend to be stereo. What is likely to happen: 1) nothing, 2) you will get output on one side only, 3) you will get output on both sides. I use a little RavenLabs mixer when I practice with headphones, and that's powered with 2x9v batteries. Even if you CAN hear it, bass sounds pretty awful in cheap headphones. I live in an apartment and practice mostly unplugged (neighbourly consideration). In a quiet appartment, I don't need amplification to hear how my tone is, and whether or not I'm in tune.

    Hope this helps -

    - Wil
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    In general, no.

    Problem #1: most headphones have VERY low impedances, 8 to 100 ohms maybe and the preamps in most active basses want to see a load of about 600 ohms or more. They will have trouble driving the phones to a decent volume.

    Problem #2: Although your guitar cord uses a 2 conductor plug, the bass itself is wired with a 3 conductor plug. The 3rd conductor is used to act as a switch for the power to the preamp. Headphones also have 3 conductor plugs, you can't plug them in directly because then the preamp will have no power. Even if it did, the bas would only drive one side of the headphones. At the very least you would need to make a 2 conductor plug to 3-conductor jack patch cord just to hook up the phones.

    Best bet is to just buy a headphone amp, there are some out there for under $50 that will do the job (I see Music Yo has one for a mere $13, dunno how good it sounds), you could get by even cheaper buying a used one.
  4. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    For $50-$60 you could get one of the low end Zoom's or look for one used. Built in tuner effects etc.

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