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BillyBass

Elf advice needed

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Hi all,

I have just acquired a Trace Elliot Elf to use as a headphone amp. My thinking was to use it for silent practise at first and then to buy a cab to go with it later.  I’ve only been learning to play the bass since August 2018 and this is my first head purchase.

Anyway, I have been a little surprised at how much I have to turn the gain and volume on the Elf to be able to hear anything out of my headphones.  I assumed I’d have to be very careful with the volume and gain as the amp is rated much higher than my Rumble 15 practise amp that I have been using, 9 times the wattage into 8 ohms.  But no.  I have to turn the gain up to about 4 o’clock and then the volume to about 10 o’clock to get the same volume level as my Rumble 15 with the volume level set at 9:00 o’clock.  

The green light above the gain knob then comes on with each pluck, and after playing a little while the fan kicks in, with every pluck.

So, any Elf users out there, is this normal?  Or should I get more volume without cranking up the gain so much?

I was using a G&L 2000 tribute, in passive and active mode, and the active mode does give a bit more volume, so it isn’t the bass.

Any advice would be much appreciated.
 

 

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Don't expect the headphone settings to bear any 1:1 relation to the power of the amp. If the Elf is like old TE amps the input response is dependent on the gain setting and you should adjust it until the light flashes occasionally on the peaks and then back off one notch.

Then set the volume for 'comfortable listening'.

Bear in mind most companies are paranoid about being sued for ear damage so modern headphone outputs often have quite a low max volume. Also many quality amps now use speaker emulation for the headphones which affects how they sound.

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What headphones are you using? Some headphones need more power than others to drive them.  The green light flashing is ok, it will flash red when the gain is turned up and compression is automatically applied. 

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If your cans are high ohms then they will take more juice to run.  What are they?  Also, the rated wattage for the speaker outs on the elf are separate from the headphone amp circuit, so no worries there.

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Thanks for replying gentlemen,

I’m using AKG K701 headphones.  They are hi fi headphones not studio or ‘bass’ headphones.

Out of my humble Fender Rumble 15 they sound a bit light but I get enough volume.  I assumed the Elf would be a step up sound quality wise but not so with headphones. I wasn’t sure if the amp was faulty, but perhaps, following La bam’s experience, maybe the Elf is just built that way: Good with a cab but poor as a headphone amp.

I was umming and arring about whether to buy the Phil Jones big head but I thought the Elf could serve as a headphone amp and also as a practice/gigging amp, so I pulled the trigger.

It looks great and is tiny but maybe not appropriate for my needs?

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4 hours ago, BillyBass said:

I’m using AKG K701 headphones.  They are hi fi headphones not studio or ‘bass’ headphones.

I think therein lies the problem. The 701s are open back reference headphones - I'd class them as studio headphones  - with an impedance of 62ohms so they need driving pretty hard and obviously the elf isn't up to it.  I'd change to different headphones to be honest if you can. 

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For headphone use a lot of us are using the Zoom B1 effects pedal. You get a load of effects including some usable out of the box sounds, a tuner and drum machine built in but best of all for me the headphone output is really nice sounding and you can mix it in with audio from anything that'll drive earbuds. I run mine off AA rechargeables and get about 10 hours practice out of them but you can power it with a mains adaptor or USB lead. Looks like they are updating it so they are cheap £45 if you want one now https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-B1on-Bass-Effects-Pedal/dp/B00JLEHMG6

 

Actually have a look at the new one looks like they have kept most of the features of the old B1ON but made it a lot simpler to use. £69

Edited by Phil Starr
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6 hours ago, Phil Starr said:

For headphone use a lot of us are using the Zoom B1 effects pedal. You get a load of effects including some usable out of the box sounds, a tuner and drum machine built in but best of all for me the headphone output is really nice sounding and you can mix it in with audio from anything that'll drive earbuds. I run mine off AA rechargeables and get about 10 hours practice out of them but you can power it with a mains adaptor or USB lead. Looks like they are updating it so they are cheap £45 if you want one now https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-B1on-Bass-Effects-Pedal/dp/B00JLEHMG6

 

Actually have a look at the new one looks like they have kept most of the features of the old B1ON but made it a lot simpler to use. £69

I have been tempted by the beat buddy (if only it didn’t cost £300) not for the headphone out but the drum machine with the ‘sobriety’ level.  If the Zoom B1on makes a good headphone amp it could be a cheaper alternative.

By ‘new one’ do you mean the Zoom B1four?

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2 hours ago, BillyBass said:

I have been tempted by the beat buddy (if only it didn’t cost £300) not for the headphone out but the drum machine with the ‘sobriety’ level.  If the Zoom B1on makes a good headphone amp it could be a cheaper alternative.

By ‘new one’ do you mean the Zoom B1four?

That's the one.

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