Bass Guitar Headphone Amps

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by g4ui83tp2, Jul 7, 2003.

  1. Steve, Michael,

    A rather trivial question, but you guys give such good value in your answers it might be worth a go! :confused:

    I'm thinking of buying a "Bass guitar headphone amp" for practising and playing for my own amusement anywhere.

    Searching the web I've found the following:

    * Dean Bass in a Box Bass Headphone Amp
    * C Tech Pocket Rock-It Standard Bass Headphone Amp
    * C Tech Pocket Rock-It Bass Headphone Amp
    * Rockman Bass Ace Headphone Amp

    Prices and features vary a bit, but the basic idea seems sound.

    Have either of you ever used such devices? If so, would you recommend any of the above?

    Although I anticipate responses of the "The sound is pretty awful" variety it would be great to be able to "plug in" at the back of the bus and get on with improving my relationship with a bass.

    Very best wishes to you both.

  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK

    I've not tried any of those specific ones - my headphone amp is a Raven Labs PHA-1, which is great.

    However, I'm sure any of them will make a bass noise, it just depends on how fussy you are about the sound quality.

    There are other options - Korg or Zoom (or possibly both) make a tiny digital four track recorder that doubles as a headphone amp, and would allow you to practice in other ways to, and stick ideas down should you have any. Alternatively, if there's a power source on the back of the bus, you could just buy a little mixing desk, so you could use it for other things as well afterwards. Alternatively, you could get an FX unit like the Korg Pandora and have a bit more control over your sound. All depends on your far you want to take it...

    have fun!

  3. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000

    I've tried several headphone amps as I spend a good bit of time traveling and trying as you put it, "to improve my relationship with the bass." They do vary in terms of sound and features and in general, I think you get what you pay for. Some tend to focus more on simulating the sound of a bass amp, while others give you lots of groovy toys to play with. Oddly, I sometimes find that it can be helpful to practice with a device that doesn't have exactly the sound you're looking for, as it tends to better prepare you for real world situations where you often have to work with whatever is available. However, you don't want the sound to be so nasty you can't stand to use it!

    I currently have a Zoom PS-02, which has the multi-track recording feature that Steve described. I don't think it was specifically intended for bass, but I find a lot of the built-in features (tuner, metronome, drum machine, ability to record ideas) especially useful. I used to have a Pocket Rock-it, which was significantly less expensive but got the job done. If I recall correctly, the Raven Labs box that Steve has does an excellent job of giving you a clear, hi-fi signal so you can really hear what your bass sounds like, while I think the Rockman is more intended to give you the feel of playing through an amp.

  4. Thanks you guys,

    I am really impressed with the promptness and quality of your responses. Many thanks for the benefit of your experience and advice.

    The items you mention (PHA-1 and PS-02) offer a wider range of options than I was initially considering and look really neat from what I've found about them on the web.

    Bold new horizons beckon (especially with the ability to add a second player, make recordings, and use such a wide range of effects). I will have to go and consult with my bank manager to see how flexible the overdraft is!

    I hope to return with tales of mobile music making gone wild.

    Keep doing what you are doing and look after yourselves.

    Best wishes,

  5. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK

    Nick, I've just worked out that it's you!

    I've still got your Phish DVD

    see you soon!


  6. Ah Steve ~ you've been checking out the profile! Took advice from your ever-evolving site to make contact here. Very good value as Michael provided some really useful input as well. Do let me know when you are next in London with time for a chat (and a swap of DVDs!). Must stop the social chat here or I'll be moderated out :oops: . G4akaNS