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  1. #1

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    What is your option for playing through headphones? I'm talking about classic, clean Jazz hollowbody tone and maybe some low gain strat tones.

    Right now don't really have an opportunity to practice with amp, even not so loud, have to use headphones. Tried using BIAS Focusrite Solo, and didn't like it at all, sounds ok at high gain settings, but lacks dynamics and feels weird on mid and low gain, clean tone with 335 sounds really thin. I'm literally starting to get unexited and quitting practice session the moment i hear guitar in my headphones, as opposed to
    hearing a nice amp that physically pushes me and makes me wanna play more and more.

    Maybe any other guitar plugins for low gain playing? Maybe some preamp with speakersim is my option (Shift line Twin or Mooer preamps)?
    Of course, the less money is spent the better :)

    Thanks!

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  3. #2

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    I feel your pain, tvorog. I practice with headphones more often than with my amp, and like you I need my guitar tone to be inspiring to make the practice sessions enjoyable. I have a few options to suggest, all relatively affordable.
    1) The Digitech RP360 is a multi effects pedal that is jam packed with dozens of amp models. As with every modeling box I’ve come across, the lion’s share of the pre-loaded patches are aimed at modest or high gain distortion, and a lot have additional time-based modulation or soaking reverb added. But many of the amp models sound surprisingly realistic and satisfying when you lower the gain, take out the various time-based effects so that you are hearing the underlying, un-distorted tone. It has a headphone out, doubles as a USB interface for recording, and can also serve as a multi-effects unit in front of any amp. Also has aux in for combining backing tracks from an mp3 or phone with your guitar into the headphones. All this for about $170 USD.
    2) The Yamaha AG-06 is a very compact mixer/USB/iOS interface with a really nice phantom powered mic pre, 24 bit 192kHz A-to-D conversion, and a high Z input for direct input of guitars. Both the mic and high Z channels have compressor and effects which can be edited through a free software interface. The amp modeling on the AG-06 is not as flexible as the RP360 - you get one amp model that can be tweaked from sparkling clean to high gain saturated distortion. But it’s a really nice model that sounds very realistic. It has a headphone out as well. About $200 USD. (You can mix your mp3 source in with your guitar very easily since this is a mixer!)
    3) The Yamaha THR series compact practice amps also have nice sounding amp models, can mix mp3 sources with the guitar, have a headphone out, and double as great practice amps. I think these are around $300. The newer ones have more bells and whistles and are a bit pricier.

    I have found all three of the above to have realistic enough amp simulation to be inspiring for long practice sessions. Headphones will never sound like playing through a really great amp and Celestion speaker, but these options satisfy me well enough.

  4. #3

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    Here's something relatively new that I saw. But probably more than you want to spend.

    Boss wants to replace your practice amp with wireless headphones | Engadget

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvorog
    What is your option for playing through headphones? I'm talking about classic, clean Jazz hollowbody tone and maybe some low gain strat tones.

    Right now don't really have an opportunity to practice with amp, even not so loud, have to use headphones. ...

    I've been using the relatively new Zoom "G1 Four" multieffects pedal. There's a similar "G1X Four" that has an expression pedal attached. My G1 Four is 400 miles away right now so I can't check it, but IIRC I use the Fender Twin model with 2x12 speaker model, both tweaked by me for clean playing, and I sometimes use reverb or other effects as the mood strikes. I use mostly a Gibson ES335 or a Heritage Sweet 16 with it. I've been very pleased with the sound. The Zoom can be used to input into a DAW, and it has an auxiliary input to accept playalong tracks. Cost was around US$80, or US$100 for the G1X.

    The presets on the G1 Four tend toward the rock-and-roll, but it's very easy to adjust them to sound good with a jazz style.

    Another thing that works for me is to use open-back headphones with it instead of closed-back. The result sounds somewhat airier, if that's a word, and therefore much less closed-in than closed-back headphones sound.

    Zoom also has A1 and B1 Four models, aimed at acoustic instruments and basses respectively, but for my purposes I liked the amp simulations on the G1 better. For some players the A1 or B1 might be better.

  6. #5

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    Another option is to plug headphone output to powered computer speakers. You get more manageable volumes than using an amp but still sounds better than using headphones directly.

  7. #6

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    One of my favorite solutions for this was using a Gallien Krueger MB200 bass amp. It had headphones out and aux in, worked great. It also works well as an amplifier for cleans, some jazz folks and pedal steel players love them. Unfortunately it got hit in a lightning storm and I had to replace with another small bass amp, Mesa D800. If you can't tell, I'm really a bassist and a wanna-be jazz guitarist . You can get them used for $150-200, check the pedal steel forum, they frequently pop up there.

  8. #7

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    When we moved to a city apartment several years ago, I sold all my amps and bought a Quilter Microblock 45. It’s about the size of a guitar pedal, sounds great with headphones, and can power a cab if desired. No reverb, though, so I use an external pedal for that. So far, no complaints from the neighbors! Seems to run about $169 new.

  9. #8

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    I frequently use headphones including Focusrite interfaces. Previously an iTrack Dock, now a Scarlett 4i4 but I run through an iPad and use a simulator, Bias amp and FX usually. Took awhile to setup Bias to, what seems to my ears, a good jazz tone.

  10. #9

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    IMHO headphones are much more important than the input interface at the price level you are hinting at. They should all deliver similar representation of your guitar.

    I went from a decent set of closed back studio mixing headphones to a much better spec open back pair, and the difference was night and day.

  11. #10

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    I prefer playing unplugged, even electrics, or just turning down the amp to a really quiet, whisper volume. I find headphones tiring for long sessions, I hardly use them even when recording. Small modeling amps are great for really quiet distortion timbres if into that.

  12. #11

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    I run my guitar an iPhone into an iRig Mix and use the Fender Twin modeling within Amplitube on my iPhone. I can then run my iPad into the other channel of the iRig Mix in order to use iReal Pro for playing along with standards. It works great and allows for a good mix and I really like the Amplitube modeling samples.

  13. #12

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    Some time back I bought a Lunchbox amp and a Korg PX5D. A NYC guitarist I respect was gigging with that combination.

    Frankly, I couldn't get a decent sound out of the LB no matter how I used it.

    I didn't like the Korg unit much either.

    I'm aware that other players have liked both of them.

    I sold the LB, but I kept the PX5D. It is useful in a couple of ways. I often use it because it will blend a backing track with a guitar signal. You can play the result through an amp, which is how I usually do it, but, also, through headphones.

    I also use it to add reverb to my no-FX mixer. It works well for that.

    If I was starting from scratch looking for a way to practice with headphones I'd probably do it differently, but I already had the PX5D.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Here's something relatively new that I saw. But probably more than you want to spend.

    Boss wants to replace your practice amp with wireless headphones | Engadget
    Boss creates very high quality stuff, still I do not understand how they intend to solve the latency issue caused by the wireless headphones. It is around 100 - 150 msec, and could be 35-50 msec for extreme pricy products, which is still painfully high for playing music, especially jazz. If you pick a note, you will hear and feel your guitar, and only 50 msec later in the headphone. Plus add a 4-8 msec for digital amp signal processing (which would be not disturbing in itself)

  15. #14

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    I almost always practice via headphones. This is my setup:

    Mac Mini (playing MP3 or Youtube Jam Tracks) -> PreSonus USB interface -> Multi channel Mixer
    Guitar -> Pedal Board -> Amp head -> Resistor box ->Amp Cabinet -> Microphone -> Compressor -> Multi channel Mixer

    Mixer effects loops: Digital Delay and Reverb

    Headphones plugged into mixer.

    For recording I use extra effects sends on the Microphone channel of the mixer to get the dry signal back to the PreSonus USB interface and into the Mac Mini. That way I can monitor through the headphones without my time-based effects without any latency and record the dry guitar signal without the tails of the time-based effects.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by dconeill
    I've been using the relatively new Zoom "G1 Four" multieffects pedal. There's a similar "G1X Four" that has an expression pedal attached. .
    interesting .....

    have you you tried the octave
    down effect on guitar ?

    im thinking of purchasing a
    G1x

  17. #16

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    I wrote something along the lines of "I use a Zoom G1 Four ...". Then

    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    ... have you you tried the octave down effect on guitar ?

    im thinking of purchasing a G1x
    I've tried it, and it works as well as most other octave-down transposers I've used. Not my style, though, so I don't think I can really give it a thourough (how the heck do you spell thourough?) review. Octave-down is certainly not in my usual toolkit, though I can see where it might have its uses. I've used the G1 Four because it provides me with a reasonable simulacrum of a guitar through an amp, but through headphones, and I can recommend it for that application.