Practice amp or mixer?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by epic576, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. epic576


    Jan 17, 2013
    Gloucester UK
    Greetings Talkbass brethren,

    This may be in the wrong section, if so please can a mod move it?

    Basically I'm off to uni in a month or so and I can't lug my Laney combo with me as it weighs a ton and I'll have limited space in my accommodation.

    I've narrowed my choices down to either a cheap practice amp or a mixer plugged into my laptop (even more portable) . However when it comes to mixers I'm at a loss as I've never used them myself.

    Practice amps however I've again narrowed my choices down to -

    Vox Pathfinder 10 Bass

    Fender Rumble 15

    Laney RB2

    Peavey MAX 158

    With me living in the middle of nowhere I have no chance of trying these amps out so I'll have to rely on reviews.

    Any help would be appreciated


  2. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    You may consider adding the Ampeg BA108 to your list.

    They sell for 100.00 $ in the US.

    You can connect an audio source in, headphones out, and a line out, (1/4 inch T/S).

    Some people have stated here on T/B that they have even used it for a low volume gig amp.
  3. epic576


    Jan 17, 2013
    Gloucester UK
    I'll give it a look, cheers. Should have probably said I'm in the UK
  4. Hi.


    In Your price range, no practise amp will give the equal bang for the buck a mixer will.

    A few "extra" channels will become handy later on ;).

    IME/IMO anyway.

  5. BigDBass

    BigDBass PWIYB!

    I went with a 4 channel Behringer mixer for that purpose, and ended up quickly exchanging it for an 8 channel for a couple reasons. A mixer is a handy thing for a musician to have around, you'll find uses, and so will your band.

    I basically use it as a headphone amp. Bass and tablet/phone into mixer, headphone out. Play along with mp3s, YouTube, or software like band-in-a-box.

    Better value, better sound, and more versatile IMO than a dedicated headphone amp or cheapy practice amp.
  6. bobcruz


    Mar 10, 2004
    Alameda, CA
    +1 for the mixer. Borrow a powered PA speaker in a pinch and you're gig-ready.
  7. tonybassman


    Jul 27, 2011
    If you get a mixer I would suggest getting a DI as well for your bass input.
  8. xroads


    Nov 6, 2012
    I would get a simple audio interface instrument -> USB (check the thomann webpage). If you only plug in your bass, it will do the job, and you can mix other signals or eq your bass in the computer on the digital level.
  9. bigswifty1


    Dec 8, 2011
    I would definitely use an audio interface into your laptop. There are lots and lots, the two I have personal experience of are the Focusrite Scarlett series and the behrenger USB mixers. They both worth great for privat, low footprint, low noise practice.

    Plus of course you can record, play along to your mp3's and all that good stuff.

  10. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    Just before my GF bought me a used Genz-Benz amp, I was succesfully using a DJ mixer.
  11. If it's just for practice/relaxation, I'd go with the mixer. You won't disturb anyone and it should be good for neighbour relations. Depending on what you settle on, you may also have a great mixer for jams or starting up a band.
    Good luck with your education and your choice.
  12. If you want a mixer, get something software based (REAPER / Pro Tools etc) and spend your 'hardware' money on something USB enabled to get instruments into your laptop. I've used a Zoom B2.1u for a long time to practice, record, and play live with - versatile, heaps of effects to play with, small and cheap.
  13. epic576


    Jan 17, 2013
    Gloucester UK
    Much appreciated guys. My band mate records his guitar using Cubase, so I was thinking as I'm only looking at practice use, no want for high quality recording, just good enough to hear my playbacks. Cubase --> mixer (+headphones) --> DI (sansamp) --> other effects --> bass.

    Would this setup work? Or just a Zoom like tribal suggested? Could just use the headphone out from laptop then?
  14. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    A USB mixer works as a mixer and computer audio interface.
    A small mixer is always handy and plugging it into your laptop opens up a whole universe of software options.
  15. bccbass


    Dec 31, 2010
    I use a lot of the equipment mentioned here and think there are some great suggestions mentioned. If you have an iPad the iRig works well. This might be the lightest/ smallest setup. I also us the Barranger (I think 508) these run around $50 USD and a Sansamp BDDI to shape the sound (add $200). Just using the mixer for a clean sound works fine using the on board EQ. If room permits, the Ampeg 108 is a fantastic and small combo good for practice and small room rehearsal ($100 USD). Really loving the tone of the little Ampeg! Also, get a good set of IEM or headphones that can handle the bass! This is probably the most important thing to consider!
  16. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Agreed. A good pair of 'phones allows you to hear yourself better without disturbing others.
  17. jimmys15


    Nov 7, 2012
    +1 I have a M-Audio Fast Track Pro with Amplitube 3 on my computer, this has become my main practice rig. The M-Audio works great as a little mixer and head phone amp with really good mic/instrument pre's.
    The Amplitube Ampeg SVT and Bassman amp simulations are incredibly accurate. I play guitar too and Amplitubes 50 amp simulations +f/x pedals, tuner, and rack f/x's are imo studio quality, you can add them to your signal chain digitally. A free version of Amplitube can be downloaded, its worth checking out, and other stand-alone VST's like Line 6 POD Farm and Guitar Rig 4 might work for you.
    Others are available and some for free or min cost.

    Btw-my bass sounds killer straight into the Fast Track pro and a pair of $15 JVC ear buds!
  18. BigDBass

    BigDBass PWIYB!

    I started out with one like that but shortly returned it then bought the Xenyx X1204USB which became extremely handy for some "pickup" gigs as a submixer for mic'ing drums and/or horns. Would have gone with the model below (without effects) but thanks to a sale and coupon code it was actually cheaper for me to get the higher model. The Xenyx models have a passable mic preamp that makes it a bit more usable for plugging in a passive bass directly. And better sounding vocals as well.
  19. epic576


    Jan 17, 2013
    Gloucester UK
    Literally trying to go to as budget as possible as like I said earlier only need one for room practice