New headphone practise amp idea?

Discussion in 'Accessories [BG]' started by MM Reflexer, Jul 15, 2018.

  1. MM Reflexer

    MM Reflexer

    Jul 15, 2018
    Wondering if there could be an opening for a new gen of headphone practice amps.

    By practise amp, I am meaning a set up that allows the musician to practice silently without disturbing others. For me, it's important that I can connect my phone, so I can practise to songs/drum tracks/metronomes etc.

    I currently have a Vox Amplug, which works great, except I never use it because it's such a hassle to plug it all in! You have to plug it into the bass, plug your headphones into it, then plug your phone into it, only to remember that you forgot your Coke over the other side of the room and are now talked in a mess of cables.

    Surely it's possible in this day and age to make a device which wirelessly connects all 3 devices?

    Let me know if something like this would make your life easier, or if you have any ideas on how to make such a thing. I'm interested in making something myself, I have a little bit of experience in that area but would be a pretty seriously steep learning curve!

    My thoughts are that Bluetooth would be fine for connecting phone, but you would need an different sort of wireless connection to connect bass the Bass, otherwise you would get a delay.

    The other option that would simplify it is to install Bluetooth into an Amplug.

    Interested to know your thoughts. There may be something out there that I just haven't heard of even.
    Burwabit likes this.
  2. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    I have a Cafe Walter HA-1 that is simply fantastic and a pair of good headphones. Can't beat it. The Cafe Walter is clean and does not color the sound in any way. You really hear what the sound the bass is making... worts and all.
    There are others in the market. I'm not sure what a Blue Tooth arrangement would get for you, unless you're into dancing around as you practice. One of those Hotone Thunder Bass amps would probably be very good. Really, it's about practicing and getting the chops together, anything that sounds decent would do the job. All you really need is a few watts of power, and an auxiliary input.
    J_Bass likes this.
  3. dtripoli


    Aug 15, 2010
    Well, first off, sometimes it takes a little extra time to achieve your desired results.
    I used the Rockman Bass Ace for a few months. Quality was mediocre at best. Simple set up,
    Plug bass in, plug in your input from PC, laptop or phone and play on.
    I dropped that set up and simply used my actual practice or performance amp.
    I plug the 1/8" cable from the phone or laptop into the amp 'Aux-Input' jack and use head phones.
    Great quality.

    One is a craiglist find, an Ampeg BA108 practice amp and the other Ampeg PF-500
    Surprisingly the BA108 is better to use than the 10x more expensive PF-500 for headphone practice.
    It has a separate channel for the Aux-input and a separate volume control for the Aux input,
    whereas the PF-500 runs it all through one channel so you have adjust your input volume at the source rather than the amp. An important factor is, use good headphones.

    Warning: the PF-500 does not cancel out your speakers with headphone use, you have to unplug the speaker cable.
    PF-500 - $425
    Rockman Bass ace - $80
    BA 108 - $40​
    Oddly the cheapest one does the best job for headphone use.

    PF.jpg Bass ace.jpg ampeg-ba108v2-4.jpg
  4. fauxtoe

    fauxtoe Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Southern California
    I've used the iRig's, a USB interface to sync with my computer, and the best sounding setup I've come up with so far is using a compact mixing board. Sure it's bigger than most things out there and it has cables, but it's been the easiest I've worked with.

    I hate fighting technology and a mixer is about as simple as it gets. Personally, I want nothing to do with any kind of phone, tablet, or computer based interfaced. The iRig stuff just pissed me off even though it looks simple on paper. By using the mixer I can take the XLR out from the DI on my pedal board and get exactly the tone I want (which would normally run to the FOH) and mix it with the music I'm practicing to.

    Once you start throwing wireless into the mix it either gets complicated, expensive, or both.
  5. Why do people worry so much about making stuff so simple? If you can’t be bothered..... then don’t practice. My practice rig is my (active) bass direct into an alesis multimix. iPhone music into channel 2. Combo plug takes the dual 1/4” outs and sums them to an 1/8” jack that I plug my headphones into. I don’t care that my tone isn’t my ideal. I don’t care that I can’t cavort about the room like a fledgling gazelle. I learn my parts. Done.
    Garret Graves and fauxtoe like this.
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I was going to suggest the same thing. I've been using one at my desk for headphone practice for a few months now. Works pretty well. I send the line output from the amp into the computer, so I can play along with anything I have in mp3 or anything online. You could also go the other way around and send from the comp to the aux in of the amp, but this works better for my needs.

    In terms of convenience, everything stays plugged in all the time except the bass. Only takes a few seconds to plug one in, turn the amp on and go.

    As a bonus I can hook my cable end through the little roll bars on the side of the amp so it doesn't get lost when I'm not using it. The gap between the bar and the amp is just big enough to let the wire go through, but not the plug.
  7. fauxtoe

    fauxtoe Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Southern California
    I agree with you here. All you need is an easy setup that correctly mixes your bass and the music you are practicing to. Tone is all subjective anyways. That's why I use a mixer and take the headphone out to my IEM's.

    To the OP of this thread, I think the convenience of cables is well worth it over trying to figure out how to work a wireless everything setup into one package. It's cool to think about, but the execution is going to be difficult. Not to mention that I don't want anything that runs on batteries besides the preamp in my bass and whatever I use to play my music. It's one more thing to go wrong in the whole chain vs having a cable going from A to B.
  8. JakobT


    Jan 9, 2014
    Oslo, Norway
    I use a Phil Jones Bighead, simply the best I’ve used. It’s not wireless, but that’s no biggie. I’d rather plug in a couple of cords that fiddle endlessly with a Bluetooth connection.
    russellh86 likes this.
  9. MaxSpinrun

    MaxSpinrun Supporting Member

    Apr 10, 2012
    Knoxville, Tn
    This what I use. Very high quality and flexible I/O.

    Attached Files:

    CameronJohnson likes this.
  10. Acoustic356

    Acoustic356 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2014
    Roland Go:Mixer
    Roland Go:Mixer Pro
    Palmer Pocket Bass Amp
    TC Electronic Bass Fly Rig

    There are a lot of good options...
  11. filmtex


    May 29, 2011
    Vox amplug or Ampeg BA108. Both sound pretty good and both are pretty easy to use. I could get much more complicated if I wanted, but these two work fine. YMMV...obviously.
  12. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
  13. Bluetooth isnt really a goofd option due to latency and wireless is pretty expensive. I personally really dug my Phil Jones Bass Buddy pre/di for practice with headphones as it had a solid one knob compressor and a 5 band eq on board itsounded excellent could work on a pair of 9 volt batteries .Had a excellent di for recording or going direct to the pa live for ampless setup and also could power a 10 watt practice cab as a amp head if you want. I could see pairing that with a xvive wireless being pretty excellent.
    Randy Ward likes this.
  14. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I recently used the headphone out + aux in on a Fender Rumble 100 and was surprised how good it sounds.
    This was for learning a song from a CD.

    Folks rave about the old SWR headphone amp but it didn't work well for me.
    I wonder how much headphone impedance matters.
    I'm using Sony MDR 7506
  15. DaDo625

    DaDo625 Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2017
    I've tried:

    Vox - works, but gets tangled/bumped when used on a bass with a input on the bottom edge - but it's small and allows me to practice on the bass(s) I have stashed at sites I travel to.

    The Rumble 25 - works well as Jim C noted - but that amp has moved on in an upgrade trade - (I would snag a Rumble 100 if one crossed my path..DI feature not on the 25)

    The Roland Micro Cube Lots of features, battery powered for when I play bass at a acoustic guitar jam that allows for very modestly amped bass play, headphone practice and does not take up much room when I want to bring a bass on a road trip. Not a low cost solution given you can pick up 4-5 used Rumble 25s (or the equivalent) for what a new one will set you back...

    So I guess it depends on your situation and your budget. As long as your amp/system has a headphone out and Aux in (very helpful when using a drum beat like Drum Beats+) provided the solution does not need to fit in your pocket or something smaller than a cigar box.

    I've found that being able to quickly turn dead time (on hold for 30 minutes with support/reservations/"customer service") in to playing time helpful as a new bass player (correction - someone who owns bass guitars and gear and can make sounds come out..)

    And I am still looking for suggestions and following this thread...
  16. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    been using the headphone amp in my DSM OmniCabSim recently for headphone practice. Works and sounds great, I love that it sounds like a cab in a room, and not a flat mono bass signal.

    As a bonus, its one of the coolest pedals around for tone shaping.
  17. BassBeginer64

    BassBeginer64 Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2018
    Riverside Ca
    I also use the Phil Jones Bighead, I was shocked at the cost, but the more I use it the more I love it, I practice about every day with it, small and lightweight and with its own rechargeable battery, my computer is hooked up to it most of the time for practice, if it had a blue tooth setup on it I think it would be the most perfect Portable Practice Headphone Amp , my wife made a strap/pouch to attach to my Bass Strap, I am researching on how to set up a blue tooth attachment on it to link either my phone or Tablet or PC .
    russellh86 likes this.
  18. JakobT


    Jan 9, 2014
    Oslo, Norway
    I’m actually quite happy that Bluetooth isn’t a feature. I just like to plug in and play. :)
    russellh86 likes this.
  19. BassBeginer64

    BassBeginer64 Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2018
    Riverside Ca

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  20. I like your idea if it would work. I use the korg mini pandora. I use velcro to stick it to the bottom of my strap then a short cord to the bass. Still have to connect the headphones and then the aux input (iphone etc). It’s a lot of wiresand it’s sort of a hassle but the outcome is good and everything works. It’d be nice if at least the phone connection was wireless somehow.

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