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can you convert an effect pedal into a headphone amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CDuff, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. CDuff


    Sep 14, 2002

    I hope this is the best forum for this question and sorry if this has been answered before, I searched but all I could find was discussion about headphone amps and making your own headphone amp from scratch like the Cmoy amp.

    What I'm wondering is, can you turn an old effect pedal into a headphone amp?
    I have an old distortion pedal that I don't need and if I plug some headphones into the 'out' jack on the pedal I can hear my bass but at a very low volume. Is there a way to boost this signal so it's usable as a headphone amp? It's the same when I plug headphones straight into my active bass, the sound is extremely quiet but it is there. It makes me wonder if you could increase the amount of power to the signal, ie adding more 9v batteries, to increase the volume..

    Has anybody tried this?

    Any help is appreciated :)
  2. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    That won't do anything except toast your pedal. But most pedals do have enough power to drive high-impedance phones. Find one rated at 600 ohms or better and give it a try.
  3. CDuff


    Sep 14, 2002
    That was quick! :) thank you
    Is there any way to improve the pedal in question or would that just be more hassle than it's really worth?
  4. chaotick


    Aug 15, 2006
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    I was wondering if you could plug into one of those boost pedals (like the BBE Boosta Grande)
  5. arbarnhart


    Nov 16, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    Do you have some low impedence headphones?

    Another alternative is to get the cheapest set of powered speakers for a PC you can find that has a headphone jack. You can find them in the $10 - $20 range here.
  6. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    If you have to ask you probably don't have the electronics chops to do it. For instance, if the pedal uses diodes across the gain resistor of an op-amp to induce clipping you could remove them to increase the headroom of the op-amp. But knowing that does you no good if you don't know what a diode or op-amp are. If you do then that's what you can try.
  7. CDuff


    Sep 14, 2002
    I know a bit but obviously I'm no electrician ...my brother's almost finished his electricians apprenticeship, he can have a look.
    Thanks for the advice again..
  8. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Low impedance phones won't work. The pedal is designed to drive a high impedance amp input, which is a minimum of 100kilohms. It may give just enough into a 600 ohm load to work, but not with a typical 32 ohm headphone.
  9. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    .....and more than likely only through one earphone? I doubt the pedal has a stereo output jack.
  10. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    For a "ghetto" solution, make a 1/4" adapter to 1/8" mono plug and run it into some computer speakers. Then, plug your headphones into them.

    For me, I have an old DOD Bass 30 multi-effect pedal and it works perfectly for this, I can also add a CD cuz it's got a line it and I can jam with whatever I want or am learning at the time. Nevermind the affects, it's worth it for that function alone.

  11. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004
    I've run headphones out of my Digitech BP50 and it worked good enough.
  12. why not just buy a cheap behringer (or other) mixer? that will do the job and you have the option of multiple lines in.
  13. CDuff


    Sep 14, 2002
    :D I used to do that with my old speakers but I got new ones and there's no usable 'out' jack, it's a different kind of connection so I can't use headphones with it.

    Do you mean this thing?:

    I might consider it. I was looking for the almost free option (I just spent €300 on a new bass so money's tight) but if it's not happening than I suppose I could get one of those.
  14. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Digitech advertises this as a feature on the BP multi-effects line of products.
  15. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    There was a thread a couple years ago about using a walkman/cassette player as a headphone amp. Not sure I remember the details, but its something like making a connection to the head/reader of the tape mechanism.

    As mentioned the easiest solution is to use some PC speakers that have a headphone jack. You can usually find them for about $5 used at a thrift store.