Bass Headphone Rig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TofuDumpling, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Hi, I'm new to the forum and new to playing Bass. I've been playing for about 3 months now.

    I currently use an old Crate practice amp, but I live in an apartment and the neighbors hate it when I turn the volume even a little louder. I've tried using the headphone out on the amp, but it sounds really bad. So I want to make some sort of headphone rig. Here's what I've considered so far:

    1. Get a better practice amp and use the headphone out

    2. Use a direct injection box, like the Behringer BDI21 in conjunction with a headphone amp, like the Behringer MICROMON MA400.

    3. Use a small mixer which has a built in headphone amp (not sure if this will even work).

    4. Use a multieffects pedal with a headphone out. One's available in music stores near me are the Korg AX3B and Zoom B1 or B2.

    Given that I'm just starting out, I dont want to spend too much on the setup as I want to upgrade once I get better. I'm into all kinds of music, but I don't see myself using too many effects - I think something to model different amp sounds might be better.

    Does anyone have any experience/comments/opinions on any of the above setups?

  2. GrowlerBox


    Feb 10, 2010
    Nude Zealand
    Any of those options would work, or there are also bass-specific headhone amps, such as the Vox bassplug (?exact name). The advantage of the effects boxes, of course, is that you also get to try out a range of effects that you may like to use as they are, or obtain dedicated pedals for higher quality/flexibility. However, that way, madness lies .... :eek:
  3. If you have an iPhone/iPod touch there are some decent apps you can get. That's what I use.
  4. I'd look at a Cafe Walter headphone amp if you can afford it ($170?) because the sound is incredible but but either a small cheap headphone amp or a small mixer would work fine and sound pretty good.

    Fwiw, a high quality headphone amp with decent headphones is one of the most useful and best sounding tools you can get.
  5. waleross


    Nov 27, 2009
    South Florida
    When I first got back to playing the bass, I bought a Pocket Rocket Bass Headphone amp before I acquired my first bass rig set-up. There are many products that do the same thing so you have a lot of choices and prices to go with.....:cool:
  6. JebDude


    Sep 22, 2010
    Could it be the headphones. Out of 4 pairs I have tried only two give me good bass response.

  7. I used a Digitech BP80 multi as a headphone amp for does cab modeling with 'phones plugged into it. It's not a bad way to go, especially if you want to try [DEL]a bunch of effects[/DEL] a few effects at the same time.
  8. Thanks for the quick replies.

    I tried the Vox Bassplug at a store, but for some reason didn't like the sound that much. It was also close to $60 and I think I'd rather spend a bit more and get one of the other options. I'm not sure how the pocket rocket compares to the bass plug, but I'll see if I can try it out at a store.

    What apps are there for iPod?

    Also, for future expandability/versatility, which option do you think would be best?

    My budget is somewhere around $150, but I'll still consider the Cafe Walter headphone amp.

    I haven't tried different headphones yet, I'm not sure what would be best. I use a pair of sony monitor ones.
  9. I use the app 'ampkit'. It was made by peavey, has tons of effects you can get, heads, cabs, everything. Overall great amp. You can record straight to it, you just need the part that plugs your bass into your phone, and that's only about $30. There are tons of other apps if you search the AppStore, but ampkit works great for me.
  10. Gallien Kruger now has an ipod app for this - havent had a chance to use it yet.

    You will need a special input/headphone setup - like an irig (there's one in the classifieds I believe) or you can actually build one yourself.

    I also use an app called 'Multitrack' which can lay down 16 tracks with live monitoring etc... and integrates with drum machine/sequencer apps.. v. good. Kills any other recording app I've seen.

    Also I have to say... The ipod actually gives me the best headphone sound I've heard to date - I think because it is friendly with my lower impedance headphones. With 32 ohm grados even the Cafe Walter distorts.
  11. What's the GK app called? I'll check it out right now and let you guys know what I think.
  12. Thanks! I will check out the iphone apps. The cable looks really simple...I'm sure its easy to build somehow. From videos on youtube, amplitube seems to be a nice app for iphone/ipod as well.
  13. Depending on budget, a Korg Pandora (PX5D) may fit your needs.
    Unfortunately, it has no provision for a belt clip.
  14. All of them seem to be very good apps. They are more focused on guitar, though. I just tried out the free version of the GK app, and could get a pretty decent tone just through my iPhone headphones. It's bass specific, so the EQ sounded really nice with my bass. I would recommend checking that app out if you decide to go the app route.

    I have to agree, though. The apps I've used seem to give me a great headphone sound, way better sounding then a tiny combo's headphone out jack IMO.
  15. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    +1 for Cafe Walter.
  16. I only practice in this method...

    A small mixer with headphone out works very well...

    Amplug is cool as you can use it anywhere.

    Multi Effects boxes are cool.. sometimes they hum a bit (through headphones)

    IF someone is ggging a Rolls PM351 serves as a practice amp, IEM, DI box and vocal trainer


    Out of all of them...

    Get something that you can run an mp3 player into (you'll have to make or buy a cord)

    Opinion would be a small form factor mixer... A Behringer Xenix is easily available.. the Alesis has USB recording.

    I'd limit the budget to 30 and use a mixer.
  17. IvanMike

    IvanMike TTRPG enthusiast, Happy, Joyous, & Free. Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    good headphones - start with those. AKG 240s are kind of a studio standard, they're not the best by a long shot, but I've used those for a long time.

    Often the issue with bass into headphones is dynamics and the wide frequency range. By the time you hear bass on an album, they've compressed the heck out of it and the entire track, and often used quite a bit of EQ. A good deal of this is to tame the song so it doesn't blow out speakers and headphones.
  18. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Try taping a stethoscope to your bass and then putting them in your ears. Works on acoustic, too. Talk about a natural sound, heh, heh.


    Mar 29, 2006
    Sony makes a series of headphones called XB.(Extended Bass)

    Theres XB300 XB500 and XB700 i think it is.

    The numbers relate to the driver size in mm's.

    I have the 300 and 500.

    Theyre both really good at reproducing even thick bass.

    I tried the 500 out on some YouTube videos of car subwoofer tests, and I swear my collarbones vibrated.:eek:
  20. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    2nd the Korg Pandora suggestion, great practice solution. The multiple drum patterns are a great addition to your practice session. Don't know if the iphone solution has drum patterns, anyone know?