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Cafe Walter Headphone Amp Review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by KJung, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    There was a thread a while back asking about headphone amps designed for bass. I was in the process of purchasing a Cafe Walter at the time, and was asked to provide a review after I had some playing time put in.

    I've put in a few hours of playing time with the unit, and am very pleased. It's a funky looking unit... very 'boutique' looking... with a simple steel case. Very sparse, with volume controls for 1/4" instrument input and for an auxiliary input (stereo mini plug input for MP3 player, etc.). It also has an auxilary output and an AC adaptor (included in the price). A red power light comes on when you plug in the instrument when using battery power. The unit stays on when using the AC adaptor.

    I'm using Bose Tri Port headphones with the unit. The headphone output is stereo, so no need for any sort of stereo to mono adaptor. The unit is very transparent and has plenty of input headroom (which I found lacking on most other units), and tons of output volume. Even aggressive slapping and hard finger style playing on the B string did not overdrive the input stage of the unit. Very nice!

    I played a number of different basses through the unit, and it did a good job of reproducing the inherent voice of each instrument... from the growly, raspy, aggressive grind of the 70's J Bass-oriented Celinder Update 5 to the big, mellow, organic fat lows, warm mids and 'hi fi' treble of a Jerzy Drozd Excellency with an OB-3 pre.

    All in all, a very high quality, usable, well built unit that is great to practice through. Very highly recommended.

    Bass Northwest has them in stock.
  2. I totally agree....I have had my Cafe Walter for probably about a year now and it has taken the place of everything else I have ever tried....no tone controls needed, this thing really just reproduces the sound of the bass and lets you clearly hear your technique. I give it a BIG thumbs up as well.....


  3. vision

    vision It's all about the groove!

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    Great review Ken! Quick question for you...have you tried the Cafe Walter using the aux input with a cd player/mp3 player at all? I'm wondering how well it handles your bass along with the wide frequency range of recorded music...
  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Good question... and I've been a very lazy boy and have not ventured to Radio Shack to get the appropriate cable. I'll post when I do. All indications are that it will handle it great. It's just wonderful sounding.
  5. Funkengrooven

    Funkengrooven Turn it down? You gotta be nuts!!

    I had an extended email conversation with Walter and picked his brains shamelessly :D and built a preamp based on one using alternate IC chips that I ran past Walt before I built it.
    The results were outstanding.
    I recommend anything Walter designs. :hyper:
  6. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    how's the battery life?

    anyone try it on long road/van trips/tours?
  7. I'm gassing for this little unit for more than two years now. You guys are NOT helping here... :)
  8. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I'm on about 10-12 hours now with no end in site... although I haven't used it continuously for over an hour at a time. Seems very good!
  9. ganga


    Jul 14, 2005
    What's the price for this lovely piece of hardware? :)
  10. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    PM sent