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My guitar sounds better through headphones than the amp speaker


My guitar sounds better through headphones than the amp speaker :(

The times are changing, playing out, loud, with a tube amp is gone for a while. Reason, kids. :cool:

I rarely get to play loud at home, so I'm just using a Fender Mustang I amp.

I don't like playing with headphones, but my guitars really sounds better through headphones than the amp's speaker.

None of my guitars characteristics come through at bedroom level, that typical strat sound is not there, it could be almost any guitar. But through headphones from the amp's phones out it's all there.

Why is there such a huge difference?

What would be the best way to make my strat sound like a strat again, with no headphones and with the volume low? Tube amp with an attenuator?

Tommy Biggs

Gold Supporting Member
I don't know that amp, but I prefer the sound of a 12" speaker at any volume to a 8".
Do you have an old cab lying around?
yeah, i dont like anything less than a 12. might as well be a 3" speaker.

also that amp is essentially a multieffects unit connected to a speaker, right? its not hard to imagine that type of amp would sound as good (or better) through headphones than it would an amp's speaker.


Moderation is key
Staff member
Power Station. Crank amp. Use PS to bring down volume. Enjoy.

I use mine nightly w 100w and 50w heads cranked w a 2-year old sleeping peacefully the floor above. No issues w noise and other than the literal thump you lose from the speakers my tone is still in tact.

Get a PS!


Attenuator and a real amp would probably do it. Anyways, I wonder why it sound like a strat through headphones, couldn't tell without.

Silent Sound

You may not like the voicing of the speaker, or prefer the voicing of the headphones. Or you may just like the EQ of the headphone output (sometimes those have a different EQ signature, cab emulation, or impedance than the signal being fed into the speaker). Or, and this is what I'm betting it is, you can turn the relative volume of the headphones up louder. Louder is almost always perceived as better sounding to our ears. It's the way our brains work. So if you're having to keep it turned down low in order to practice at home and have all of those other background sounds to compete with, then it's almost never going to sound as good as it would through headphones which will both attenuate some of the background noise and make the amp sound louder in your ears.

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