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Bafflegab

Headphone amps

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Hi ladies and gents

I don't gig any more, so I tend to just use my GK MB200 for playing at home with headphones.  But sometimes I’m not in the mood for that specific GK sound, but also sometimes I’d like to play elsewhere in the house without messing with plugging amp in etc, the cables around my desk are all tidied away and a real pain to get at.  So I’m considering a headphone amp.

I’ve been looking at the PJB Bighead Pro.  But before I take the plunge, I’m wondering if there are any others I should be considering?  Obviously it’s gotta sound great, and be battery powered, and needs an aux in.  Not worried about DAW connectivity etc though, I don’t record or anything like that, just like to play along with Spotify.  Main issue with the PJB is lack of a mid control so if it had 3 band EQ that wouldn’t hurt, but not completely a deal breaker if not.

My bass is an active Warwick rockbass.

Thanks in advance!

Edited by Bafflegab

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There have been several threads about headphone amps on this forum (I'll try searching in a moment). My own experience is that the little toys such as Vox Amplug etc. are utter rubbish - go with the PJB, your wallet may complain, but your ears and bass playing performance will thank you. :)

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2 minutes ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

There have been several threads about headphone amps on this forum (I'll try searching in a moment). My own experience is that the little toys such as Vox Amplug etc. are utter rubbish - go with the PJB, your wallet may complain, but your ears and bass playing performance will thank you. :)

Oh, apologies - I’ll be honest, I didn’t think to search for that even though I’ve been doing searches for days on the PJB.  I’m a silly derrière ;) 

Yeah definitely not interested in the Amplug at all.  Have just been looking at the Ashdown Tone Pocket which looks like it might fit the bill as well.

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At the budget end, you could do far worse than the Zoom B1-4. Output jack for connection to amp or headphones. Gives you a master 3 band EQ and volume control for ease of access and the ability to set up a myriad of effects.

A lot of pedal for the money.

image.png.e0c8b90e1c7341a5849c47494725860d.png

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7 minutes ago, Bafflegab said:

Oh, apologies - I’ll be honest, I didn’t think to search for that even though I’ve been doing searches for days on the PJB.  I’m a silly derrière ;) 

Yeah definitely not interested in the Amplug at all.  Have just been looking at the Ashdown Tone Pocket which looks like it might fit the bill as well.

The search is not proving easy, so no need for apologies. I think the headphone amp info is buried in threads that start with a different topic and just veer towards it at some point. :)

Edit to add: I've found only old threads, so it's a good thing you have re-started the conversation - there will be new technology around by now. :)

Edited by Silvia Bluejay

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19 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

At the budget end, you could do far worse than the Zoom B1-4. Output jack for connection to amp or headphones. Gives you a master 3 band EQ and volume control for ease of access and the ability to set up a myriad of effects.

A lot of pedal for the money.

image.png.e0c8b90e1c7341a5849c47494725860d.png

Thanks, that’s useful.  I do quite like having effects to play with, but find that I barely use them haha.  I have a Zoom 506 bass, and mostly just get confused with it and end up not liking what I’m hearing 

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I tried the PJB one when i was trying basses at Bass Direct and was very impressed by it.

Curious to see how the thread goes as i'm thinking of buying one too.

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iRig and an iPad gives me a LOT of options.

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I have a pair of Vox amPhones - bought them for convenience but the sound is not good. I wouldn't recommend them...

 

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I had a similar query a couple of years back - maybe a few useful suggestions to have a look through, although as Silvia said there may well be newer models on the market now and my query, in any case, was also focused on having a DI out:

PS I ended up with the Zoom B14-X (which is the sibling of the B14 I mentioned above, but with an expression pedal included). I didn't go for one with a DI out in the end! :) 

Edited by Al Krow
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The Vox Amplug is not a high-end piece of bass gear, but if you just want to noodle around on your bass when you can't be arsed to plug in a proper amp it's fine.

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5 hours ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

There have been several threads about headphone amps on this forum (I'll try searching in a moment). My own experience is that the little toys such as Vox Amplug etc. are utter rubbish - go with the PJB, your wallet may complain, but your ears and bass playing performance will thank you. :)

I tried the PJB Bighead recently, it’s head and shoulders above the competition 😁

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I play through headphones all the time at home (Roland VB99) and have been on the lookout for a portable battery powered equivalent for a while. Noting has worked so far; either they're HiFi and great quality but just clean bass (I'd like to have some comp and reverb too ideally) or they have tons of effects but don't sound great (Zoom B1on which actually sounds great but has a fair bit of noise even with everything off, behind the notes as they decay (digital artefact?)). Maybe I'm spoiled by my main rig but I'd like to think there's something or that someone will make one one day!!

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For bass, make sure your headphones have a good, extended low frequency response. Closed back is much better than open, imho. The good old Beyer DT 770 or the Phil Jones model are both good and not too expensive.

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3 hours ago, ambient said:

I tried the PJB Bighead recently, it’s head and shoulders above the competition 😁

Yeah I was afraid of that 🤣

Was that the HA-1 or HA-2?  I’m struggling to tell whether the 2 is a hundred quid’s worth of upgrade over the 1

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I've been using a PJB bighead for a few years. It's great. Plug in my phone with Spotify, my bass and away we go. Tone is really good, although I don't use FX. Charges quickly and is super small.

They come up used periodically for about £100.

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I’ve “narrowed it down” (I say that with amusement because I seem to have found a bunch I didn’t know about)
 

also no idea what’s happened to my font 

 

EBS Microbass

Ashdown tonepocket

GK Plex

Palmer pocket bass amp

PJB Bighead

TC Electronic Spectradrive

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Just to throw a spanner in the works - consider whether you want something that requires plugging in. Going back to your original post I doubt you’d want to have to move a power adapter about all the time. If you’re going to get something mains powered you might as well have a mixer. 

Also people rave about the iRig app with an iPad but I’ve always felt there’s too much latency to enjoy it. 

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Yes you’re absolutely right, I definitely would rather something powered by a 9v or a rechargeable battery.

Agreed on the irig situation.  I also had a different type of ipad pluggy-in job, can’t remember the name, but didn’t manage to get a sound I enjoyed with either.

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5 minutes ago, Bafflegab said:

Yes you’re absolutely right, I definitely would rather something powered by a 9v or a rechargeable battery.

Agreed on the irig situation.  I also had a different type of ipad pluggy-in job, can’t remember the name, but didn’t manage to get a sound I enjoyed with either.

And now you're in the same dilemma as me!! The best quality stuff is mains powered. The battery powered options are either power hungry (Bass Buddy), noisy (Zoom), Crap (Vox), or have no compression (Bighead).

:(

To be honest I make do with the Zoom B1on because I don't use it very often and when I do it's generally for playing along with something so the noise isn't an issue. It's also really light and the batteries last for ages especially with the screen light off. It's also mega cheap, so for £20 you really can't complain, it's amazing really.

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I’ve got a Zoom 506 ii which is alright but I don’t love it, and can’t seem to set the EQ how I want it at all, ever mind easily.  I just don’t understand these electronic programmable pedals (I’d blame old age but have always been rubbish with multi-effects).  I used to have an original Zoom B1 and that thing drove me nuts haha

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Zoom B1-4 it is then! 

What are you going to spend all that cash on, that's not gone on a PJB? 😁

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