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Nickthebass

Headphone / Mac practice setup

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I'm looking to put together a headphone based practice set up - I'm thinking of something like this https://www.gear4music.com/PA-DJ-and-Lighting/Soundcraft-Notepad-5-Analog-USB-Mixer/1XK3, into the a mac and then some headphones. I am guessing that I'll need some software on the mac as well ... any thoughts?

I'd like to be able to play stuff from my phone and / or play along with stuff off the computer.

Who out there has a set up along these lines? Any tricks, recommendations, bits of kit to avoid and things I haven't thought of? Any other radical ideas that would fit the spec in another way?

 

@ mods ... if this needs to move to "Misc" or another part of the forums then feel free to shift it!

 

Edited by Nickthebass

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Hi Nick

That will work fine. No need for any software unless you want to record, then you can use something like GarageBand which meets most needs. Otherwise if you’re just playing along with stuff you can play music from Spotify, YouTube etc and it’ll come through the interface to your mixer. Adjust the bass level to match and you’re good to go 👍🏻

If I may make an extreme but excellent suggestion, and you really want to fritter away some money on something extra, then having a Tecamp BassBoard in addition to headphones makes you feel like you’re on stage. Get one of those, too 😛

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You don’t really need a mixer, just bass - audio interface - mac. Headphones plug into the audio interface, all audio is routed through it, it’s effortless. I have a Focusrite 2 Pre, sounds nice, has 2 inputs, does everything I need. (It also has some annoying habits but that’s another story.) The MOTU Microbook interface I had before that was way more reliable but didn’t sound quite as good.

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Yep I keep it really simple.

Bass, whatever pedals you want into a USB audio interface and you are away.

if you have something like a focusrite you will need a camera connection kit into the iPad but then it works for Mac/iPad etc.

On the Mac garage band will do, the focusrite comes with free ‘light’ software versions, or get logic X which is great!

Failing that a simple iRig will work for iPad/iPhone and play and record into garage band. That is my preferred silent practice as in settings you can ensure it runs in the background and play along to tunes in Spotify or whatever. The padding of the signal and keeping ‘your tone’ is way better IMHO than into a combo amp with aux in as I struggle to balance the sounds without battering my ears

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I have that mixer (and I've had it's predecessor the Compact too) and it's a brilliant choice for what you want.

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I have a little Phil Jones BIGHEAD  -  truly pocket sized yet so much more than merely a headphone amp. 

It has an aux in and a bass in so you can mix backing and your playing, some basic tone controls and adjustable gain and volume.  You can even use it as  pre-amp into a powered amp or PA system.

Also a USB port so you can use it as a sound card on your PC (or Mac ) for digital input and output.  

Rechargeable by USB, works for several hours.

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Any usb mixer or audio interface is going to do exactly what you want. For a budget route, that mixer is a good choice, then in the future, if you get more into recording, you’ll have a better idea if it’s a mixer or interface that you require. 

Ped’s shout for GarageBand is a good one, not least for the bass amps on offer. 

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A lot of muti effects work as an input - I seem to have more inputs than anything but mostly use an old ik multimedia floor stomp into whatever your software is. Garage band works, as does amplitube and all that sort of thing, but I am a great fan of BIAS amp (which is often on special offer).

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I have just bought an Ampeg SCR DI (used and from the Effects for sale section) suits me down to the ground. I plug my iPhone or laptop into it, headphones into the other end and everyone's happy. It also records nicely into my Audient ID14 and Reaper. It works much better than the irig I used to use, and I think there is another one up for sale at the moment.

If I hadn't found that I would probably have got something very similar such as the Harley Benton one which looks very reasonably priced and well reviewed or the TC Electronic Spectradrive. 

https://www.thomann.de/gb/harley_benton_custom_line_bass_di_expander.htm?sid=f410180210a10e0afe04bb1fc80359c4

If you are feeling flush and would make use of all the features, the new EBS microamp 3 looks very nice, and would be very versatile. 

https://ebssweden.com/content2/effects/ebs-microbass-3-professional-outboard-preamp/

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I have a little Behringer mixer. Plug the headphone out from my Mac into one channel, bass in another channel and job done.

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