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Korg Pandora PX4B vs. Phil Jones Bass Buddy

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bassthumpa, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. Korg Pandora PX4b

    11 vote(s)
  2. PJB Bass Buddy

    10 vote(s)
  3. Other

    5 vote(s)
  1. bassthumpa


    Aug 31, 2004
    Austin, TX
    Hey folks,

    Now that I've narrowed down my bass options to a few, its time to find something that'll let me hear the darned thing! I've shopped around for cabs, heads, and combos, but I've decided that since my budget is pretty limited and I won't be doing any away-from-home playing for a while, all I need is a good headphone/practice amp.

    I've narrowed things down to these two:

    Korg Pandora PX4b: I'm sure most of you here know about this packed little tool, and I've been able to seach the forum and get some pretty good ideas of what to expect from it. Usually found for around $220, may be able to score an ebay or private sale for less.

    The item I'd like more feedback on is...

    PJB Bass Buddy: I was pretty bummed that Raven Labs packed it in before I could get my paws on the PHA-1 that many hear have praised highly. However, I've stumbled onto this little "buddy" during my search for opinions on the Pandora, and it looks like it might be a fitting substitute for the defunct PHA-1. It goes for the same cost at $300, and looks like it might be worth the money just as the PHA-1 seemed to be. Seems to be a modified version of the head-portion of the briefcase model.

    I'd like to hear your input on this decision, especially from those that have experience with the PJB Bass Buddy. Or, if you have another option in mind that are along the same lines as these two, feel free to throw it into the mix.
  2. bassthumpa


    Aug 31, 2004
    Austin, TX
  3. wiermabj

    wiermabj President and founding member - Bass Newb Club

    Jun 4, 2002
    Westminster, MD
    You could also consider the Line 6 Guitarport. It does have a few bass sounds in it with the updated software. It's a great practice tool and you can use it to slow down songs to half speed w/o changing pitch. Has a built in metronome and tuner. It does require being attached to a PC, so if you're looking for ultimate mobility, consider your other choices. I have no experience with either of them.
  4. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    My only experience with Phil Jones gear is my Briefcase, but based upon how nice it sounds, I am thinking the Bass Buddy would be a strong product as well.
  5. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    When did you get one of those?!!

    I've been thinking about a Briefcase as a jazz and practice amp - obviously it wouldn't have the LF extension of my Acmes but would you say it has a similar tonal character what with them both having 5" drivers and being designed for a transparent sound?

  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I've had it for several months, now. First off, it will not have anything near the low frequency extension of your ACMEs. In fact, with just the two 5's, it does not have a lot of low end at all (though for two 5's, you wouldn't expect it). But, standing right in front of an upright bass in an open room, you don't hear a huge amount of low end, either. Same goes for an acoustic bass guitar. So, in my experience, when you use it with an acoustic instrument, and you talk about how "it sounds like my bass, only louder", I would say that this is very much the case - although it's not really a ton louder. If you are running a 5-string electric through it, the Briefcase actually does a respectable job, and has a nice vibe, but be sure to have the compressor engaged. The compressor, BTW, really sounds nice, and has little to no artifacts. The amp itself is a monster. I used it to power my HT112/EX112 (without using the internal speakers, of course), and I was floored at how loud it is. The manual states that it is rated to handle a 3 ohm load, so you might be able to get away with running another 8 ohm cab in addition to the 4 ohm internal speakers (for a total of 2.67 ohm load).

    On the whole, it is not a very loud 100 watt practice amp, but it does have exceptionally good tone, it is nicely portable, and it has the option of battery power. This last feature was what really sold me on it, as I occassionally do some "jam around the campfire" sessions, and acoustic guitars and fiddles tend to drown out my ABG.

    Hope this helps, Tom.
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    almost totally off topic but - depending upon your needs, don't overlook a lot of preamps that have headphone outs like the old swr grand prix. even a bunch of small heads and combos have that as a feature. think used.
  8. joeybcdt


    May 6, 2004
    SE Texas
    I know this is heresy........but my Pandora just flat out sucked. It was very noisy (S/N Ratio) and couldn't get any volume.

    I now have a Cafe Walter Cafe Walter and a Raven PHA-1. The Walter is more power and a cleaner real sound. And the batteries last much longer. The Raven is more versatile but still sounds excellent.

  9. bassthumpa


    Aug 31, 2004
    Austin, TX
    I've been looking at the Cafe Walter. Kinda turned off that there is no AC option, but if the batteries really last that long then perhaps I should give it a second look.

    Where in the world did you get a PHA-1? Did you get it before RL closed shop? I've scoured the net hoping to find someone that had a couple left, but no luck.
  10. peabody

    peabody Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2002
    La Crosse, WI
    I really like my Johnson J-Station. It's a little bigger that the Pandora, but it is a modeler that has both bass and guitar amp/cabs, which I find useful because I fool around with a six string every once in awhile. They are inexpensive...probably less than 100 bucks on the Bay. It is a great headphone practice amp for me.
  11. joeybcdt


    May 6, 2004
    SE Texas

    I can't say enough good things about the Cafe Walter. It does what it does and it does it very well.

    I bought my PHA-1 here in the classifieds a few months ago. It was still NIB.

    I should sell one but I can never decide which I like better so I've kept them both.
  12. bassthumpa


    Aug 31, 2004
    Austin, TX
    I guess I should also throw the Fodera headphone amp into the mix. Bass Northwest has it going for $299. I'm not sure how would stack up next to the PJB though.
  13. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I'm in the market for a headphone amp I can practice with since I can't make too much noise in my apartment. I was pretty set on the PX4B until I stumbled upon this thread and the PJB Bass Buddy. The PJB website just says "coming soon," but is the Bass Buddy already available?
  14. Wings


    Feb 6, 2005
    Bellport, NY
    If anyone has an iPod they might be interested in the Jam Pod which will be released soon. It's a headphone amp that plugs into the top of an iPod. For $49.95 it might be worth a look. I put my name on their mailing list so I'll be notified when then release it which is supposed to be soon. Here's a link http://www.dvforge.com/jampod.shtml

    I like the idea of a one piece unit with only the headphone wires and the wire to my bass coming out of it. Of course it doesn't have anywhere near the features of the other options mentioned here, but it is an interesting concept.

  15. pdxmar


    Feb 13, 2005
    I have owned the PX4B for about a year now and just love it. I use it all the time. Can get a great range of sounds from it. I normally use it with heaphones but have also run it in front of my amp and it sounds great. It is a bit noisy but I have found that if you use the buuilt in NR it solves the problem completely.......it is really a noise gate. The built in drm beats are cool and if your a tweaker you can spend hours getting just the right fx for any style and then store them. I have 25 user sounds I have made and use just them. Anything from Jamerson to Marcus Miller. Hope this helps :hyper: