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bass, drum machine, & headphones togther with single amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mjw, Aug 26, 2001.


  1. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Hi all,

    I have a drum machine that I'd like to use in conjunction with a bass amp, and will frequently need the ability to practice in "stealth mode" with headphones. :-(

    Will I be able to plug the bass, drum machine and headphones all into the same head? I've had people tell me that I can't (or shouldn't?) plug a drum machine into a bass amp, but rather to buy a keyboard or combo amp for that instead. I don't know if that's really necessary; perhaps it's just a more desirable configuration. If it's true, can the output from the two amps be combined and still heard from a single headphone, without having to buy yet another piece of gear to mix or combine them? I really need a fairly low-cost approach since the bulk of my cash is going towards the amp.

    As always, any help, advice or comments are sincerely appreciated. TIA
     
  2. There's no problem plugging multiple sources into one amp (PA systems do it all the time!), the only problem will be that all will be sharing the same power the amp can provide, so at times (mainly at volume) the amp may not be grunty enough and distort - but for practise/home, that shouldn't be an issue.

    Keyboard/PA amps are probably better for drum machines, but only in that they have a wider frequency range - you might find that a drum machine through a bass amp (even if the amp has a tweeter) will sound dull, thuddy, lifeless (depends too on the eq possibilities of the amp).

    Remember that the amp's EQ section will affect anything plugged in.

    Look at picking up a mini-mixer (Radio Shack and the like do them for peanuts), that way you can have independent levels for each instrument going into the amp. Failing that, a 2-into-1 adapter will work fine, just use the volume control of the drum machine to mix.
     
  3. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I'm thinking that ideally I'd have each device output into a channel of a small headphone amp/mixer, which then feeds out to the 'phones - something like this.

    Alternately, how about having the amp drive one channel of the headphones, and the drum machine the other? You could build a splitter cable for cheap with parts from Radio Shlock (or wherever). Unless your cans have a balance or channel volume control, you'd probably need to provide these in your cabling.
     
  4. MJW, ive done the same thing your talking about, i use a fender 25 watt practice amp, plug my drum machine into Input 1, bass to input 2. i can also plug my cd player into provided rca jacks, and of coarse headphone for stealth jamming. (i cant understand why my family makes me use headphones though?)
     
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Only if the head has at least two inputs (careful: on some heads using one input DISABLES the other!) or a side chain effects loop).

    If your amp has only one input jack, you can try using a Y-adapter to patch the bass and drum machine into the single input.
     
  6. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    MJW -

    Save yourself all kinds of headaches and spagetti factory wiring nightmares:

    http://korg.com/

    Click on the link to the PX3B, and find your new toy. I've had one for about 2 years now, and don't know what I'd do without it. I don't even use the effects programming capabilities of the box, I just use it as a headphone amp with a built in drum machine/metronome, with the ability to mix in an output from a CD player. It will record, loop, and playback - at up to 75% reduced speed without changing pitch - up to 16 seconds of a tune off a CD or tape player. It is not much bigger than a cassette tape box, and easy to carry around as well.

    The list price on them is ~$250, most places will sell them for under $200 (I work at Bass Central, we sell them for about $180...give us a call if you're interested and I'll hook ya up: 800-545-8813).
     
  7. Another alternative is to get an inexpensive 4 track recorder. This way you can run the drum machine and play bass simutaneously and hear the output to headphones, with the added bonus of being able to record your work!

    The Tascam Porta 03 is really cheap - about $150.00. It's a 4 track but has only 2 inputs, but that's not a big deal unless you wanted to record 4 tracks simutaneously. I think some dealers (MF?) even throw in a mic, headphones and blank tapes. It's not the most sophisticated piece of recording gear on the planet, but it gets the job done. I've had one for years and it works well.
     
  8. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    But doesn't the headphone amp/mixer need to have more than one input jack? It looks like the one in the URL only has one. ....or maybe just on this particular model???

    Mike
     
  9. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Good point. My son's guitar amp is like this. He can only use one at a time.

    I know the amp has two inputs, (active/passive)
    but I'll have to check on whether they'll both work at the same time. Thanks

    Mike
     
  10. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Wow, I wish I would've known about that before!
    I checked over here, and you're right; they're $189 at the place I usually get my stuff. I just bought a Roland DR770 there in July. I wonder if they'd take it in trade? Look's like I'll be stopping there on the way home. Thanks!

    Mike
     
  11. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    I tried this with my son's Crate amp, and wouldn't you know it...... when you plug something into input 1, it disables input 2, and vice-versa. Bummer.....
     
  12. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Yep, you're right - I found that one at MF's site, and didn't notice it had only one input. I thought it was a small mixer. My bad.

    I agree with Gard - the Bass Pandora is the most elegant way of doing this, but I was under the impression you didn't want to spend much. I actually have one and like it, but have been considering getting rid of it because it's overkill for me. I never use the effects.

    Get a Pandora - chances are, you'll love it!
     
  13. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Hey H.D., I stopped on the way home from work at the place I got my drum machine from. They said I can exchange it for a Bass Pandora (and get some cash back!!) so, I've got one on hold and am picking it up tomorrow when I come back with the Roland. And you're right, I was definately looking for something cheap, and since I'm able to exchange my Roland, that makes it even that much better. :)

    By the way, [off-topic] which Chicago suburb are you near? I grew up in Downers Grove, and worked in several Chicagoland locations. Just curious...

    Thanks again for the info.


    Mike