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cheap preamps/headphone with preamp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by choo5, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. choo5


    Apr 15, 2004
    sydney, australia
    for a while now iv been wanting something small and compact i can take with me in my bass bag to play, even just a small headphone amp or something.

    guitarists have smokey amps ect but what about bassists? all iv realy seen are pockitrockit's for like $90USD and im not realy intrested in paying that much for a headphone amp.

    also iv been advised i could get an effects pedal with a pre-amp but thought i'd ask advice here before making a purchase.


    - Jedidiah
  2. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Three things come immediately to mind:

    1. Cafe Walter headphone amp -- pretty cheap at $169 on ebay from Steve "Dude" Barr at the Vintage Bass Trading Company. Incredible little preamp in terms of sound, but no frills. It does have an input for another audio source (CD, ipod, etc). Your bass will likely sound better through this and a good set of headphones than almost any rig you'll ever try.

    2. Phil Jones Bass Buddy -- Cost is a little over $300, but this little guy is a really nice bass preamp, with a headphone preamp built-in. It also has input for another source, as well as a 5-band EQ, and a really nice compressor. It can even power a small cab with 10w of power for solo practice. This is a great sounding preamp, and a really nice headphone preamp as well. The unit is really well built, and worth the money.

    3. Tascam CD-BT1 mk. II Bass Trainer. VERY helpful for playing along with CDs (it has a built-in CD player), and has useful features that allow you to slow down a song, or loop a part of a song, or even "remove" or "enhance" the bass on the CD so you can play along with it. Audio quality is not as good as either of the others, but it's really handy for learning songs off a CD. I just sold mine recently. They run around $150 new, not including AC adapter, which you really need.

    You could also get a "Bass Ace" Rockman off ebay for around $80.

    Hope this helps. A decent headphone amp is a really useful thing to have.
  3. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I looked at the Cafe Walter, tried the bass buddy, but ended up with a Soundcraft Compact 4 mixer. At $100 it was cheaper than either of the above options. What separates this mixer from others is it has a hi-Z input on one of the channels, so you can plug a passive bass straight in and not get tone sucking. It's not as compact as the Cafe Walter or BB, but it's about the size of a 12" laptop so it's still reasonably portable. It's dead quiet, and while so far I've only used it as a glorified headphone amp, I'm sure it'll come in handy if I ever decide to record something or need to set up a small live PA.
  4. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Used Pandora PX3B goes for about $70 on ebay. Headphone amp about the size of a pack if cigarettes with bult in effects, 50 different drum patterns, tuner, sampler, can mix with external music source, etc.
  5. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
  6. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
  7. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    Thanks for the info, I didn't know.
    A friend of mine owns one but uses it for things other than what we're discussing. I'll try it out with my Precision/headphones next time I go over there.

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