What portable "device" do you like when using headphones?

IRG

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5,109
I'm finding that the only time during the week I can practice guitar, is later at night, so I can't turn up my amps with the family, etc.

So I need to use headphones on these occasions. I want something portable, not too expensive ($300ish) and that sounds good. I have a couple of very different options in mind. Mind you, this device, if it could, would serve double duty in my stereo rig as the other amp. I have a pretty good pedalboard for my main amp, right now I'm using a Mustang III as the stereo amp. It's too big and bulky to move around the house, and the headphone jack stinks.

Some options:

1. Blackstar HT-1 head. Nice and portable. Supposed to sound pretty good with headphones. And I could buy a cabinet for it, and then it could serve that "double duty" thing. $250 new. + $229 cabinet

2. Yamaha THR10. Seems to get rave reviews. How is it with headphones? Having multiple tones and some basic effects in one box is kinda cool. Not sure how it would work in my stereo setup. $300 new

3. Eleven Rack w/Pro Tools. $639 at Sweetwater. Doesn't fit my budget at the moment, but maybe worth saving up for. I don't own a DAW, and my current laptop is also my work laptop, not sure I could get IT to load up the software for me, but if so, this might be cool. Probably the best sounding option for headphones. Not sure how this would integrate into my stereo rig though.

Other options I should consider?
 

chrisjnyc

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7,075
I love my Zoom G3 with headphones... have you tried the S-Gear amps? You would need a Mac or PC, but they are really really good!
 

IRG

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5,109
I love my Zoom G3 with headphones... have you tried the S-Gear amps? You would need a Mac or PC, but they are really really good!
I was just checking out the Zoom G3 on Sweetwater. I guess if you love it with headphones, it must have a headphone jack! I didn't see it listed, and they didn't have a good pic of the back panel on their site.

Who makes the S gear amps? Not familiar with it.
 

Montana Slim

Member
Messages
192
Yes the Zoom G5, the slightly bigger cousin of the G3 (which cost about 180) is very good for headphone use and costs around 300. They have two effects: air and reflections which create that spacey feel through headphones and enhances headphone experience.

However, I guess you would need FRFR monitors with the G3/G5 to run in stereo with your other amp. That's one possibility but I can't speak any further on that.

I practice most of the time with headphones and actually run my iphone with Bias and Jamup Pro XT into the G5 just so that I can plug my headphones into the G5 and use the air and reflections effects.
 

IRG

Member
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5,109
Yes the Zoom G5, the slightly bigger cousin of the G3 (which cost about 180) is very good for headphone use and costs around 300. They have two effects: air and reflections which create that spacey feel through headphones and enhances headphone experience.

However, I guess you would need FRFR monitors with the G3/G5 to run in stereo with your other amp. That's one possibility but I can't speak any further on that.

I practice most of the time with headphones and actually run my iphone with Bias and Jamup Pro XT into the G5 just so that I can plug my headphones into the G5 and use the air and reflections effects.

Thanks! CHecking out the G5 now, like what I'm hearing!
 

IRG

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5,109
Yeah I think the G5 might work well, mostly for the headphone thing. Could still add it to my pedal board if need be. I think I might replace my Mustang III anyway, and just add another tube amp for variety to the Fender Humboldt at some point. Maybe a Marshall DSL15 or something like that. But for the time being, a good unit with headphones will go a long way to get back to playing at night time, which is the only way I can play. Weekends though, I can open it up louder with the tube amps.

The G5 (and G3) offer a whole lot for $300, that's for sure.
 
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1,000
I just put together a headphone rig for similar reasons, and love it. I picked up a used Frenzel Dual Pro tube preamp for $160 (http://www.frenzeltubeamps.com/page17.php), and the ADA GCS-3 for $149 new (http://www.adaamps.com/Products/ada-GCS/GCS.htm). With just those two, I can conjure up a lot of different tones using the switches on the ADA and the EQ and input options on the Frenzel. It's not as portable as an all-in-one amp or Zoom-type pedal, but I don't need it to be. I have it set up on my desk and just run my pedalboard right into it. I threw a reverb pedal between the preamp and the ADA, though it sounds good in front too. And the preamp takes dirt pedals well and sounds great. The ADA is OK with dirt but the tubes in front make everything better IMO.

The Frenzel has some customizable options, and is only $245 new, but there are some used ones out there to be had. Another, similar option (albeit more expensive) would be a tube pedal by Kingsley or Effectrode, or there's the EHX LP2ube preamp pedal which apparently is good for a similar application if you swap out the tubes with 12au7s or 12at7s.
 
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602
I just got in a yamaha DGStomp that I've been using exclusively for headphone practice at home. Great feel, great sound, decent efffects, though it shows its age when you're trying to modify various parameters (isn't nearly as intuitive as any of the current-gen modelers I've used). Then again, I got the manual with it, and even if I hadn't, it's readily available online, and it is well-written.
The only time I've heard it not through headphones is plugged into my home stereo, which also sounded great.
 

ChrisVereb

Member
Messages
2,136
For a budget solution that's battery operated, there's the Zoom G1on. Same family as the Zoom G3/G5, still has the "AIR" that's great for headphone use, 5 effects slots with looper that syncs to the built in drum tracks. It's a smaller and uglier G3 with an aux-in for jamming to demos, backing tracks, etc... At $50 why worry about it doing double duty with anything. It'll work good for late nite jamming without bugging the family (which is why I just bought one) and not eat up to much of the gear budget that you've got to worry about it too much.

If you're like me, you're not going to be completely satisfied with any headphone setup. It's not the same, no matter the cost. I decided to go "good enough" on the headphone rig and save my "tone" money for my loud rig where it can really be useful.
 
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schristie

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Used 11 Rack...you can find them in the $300 range quite a bit here on the emporium...you won't be sorry.
 

IRG

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5,109
For a budget solution that's battery operated, there's the Zoom G1on. Same family as the Zoom G3/G5, still has the "AIR" that's great for headphone use, 5 effects slots with looper that syncs to the built in drum tracks. It's a smaller and uglier G3 with an aux-in for jamming to demos, backing tracks, etc... At $50 why worry about it doing double duty with anything. It'll work good for late nite jamming without bugging the family (which is why I just bought one) and not eat up to much of the gear budget that you've got to worry about it too much.

If you're like me, you're not going to be completely satisfied with any headphone setup. It's not the same, no matter the cost. I decided to go "good enough" on the headphone rig and save my "tone" money for my loud gig where it can really be useful.
You make a good point, about a headphone setup not being ideal no matter what, and I would agree. Which is why the Blackstar HT-1 had me intrigued, as the headphone output is apparently pretty good - likely good enough for practice. And then I just pop it back into my main rig and voila. So there's something to be said for this setup too.

I'll have to look closer at all of the Zoom options over the weekend. I'm visiting the new GC in NYC next week, maybe I'll have to try out some of these options first hand with some decent headphones and see how they sound. Nothing locally to try out unfortunately.
 

IRG

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5,109
Used 11 Rack...you can find them in the $300 range quite a bit here on the emporium...you won't be sorry.
How is their durability? I'm hesitant to buy gear like this used, unlike guitars that I know I can usually fix on my own.
 

schristie

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,229
I regularly gig with an 11R and it's in a padded gig bag.

Never given me a minutes trouble, I don't abuse it but it does travel and get plugged in and out quite a bit with no issues so far.



How is their durability? I'm hesitant to buy gear like this used, unlike guitars that I know I can usually fix on my own.
 

IRG

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5,109
Not on my original list, but the Yamaha THR10 seems to get a lot of respect as well. Seems pretty cool in demo's I've seen, the small speakers concern me, but it's not a tube amp, so maybe that doesn't matter. Hopefully the headphone jack is pretty good too. Would be easy to transport around the house and such, $300 new.
 

ChrisVereb

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2,136
I tried the THR10 and THR10C and passed. I liked the THR10C best, but most reviews point to the THR10 or THR10X as being better. The floor models I tried were possibly setup weird. The reverb was dialed in with a really long decay that seemed to get louder before it dropped off. Even turned all the way down the reverb was still kinda big. There was also some odd sounds going on with note decays, but the more I thought about it after the demo it may have been an poorly configured noise gate. Clean notes kind of warbled on the way out. There was a bit of headphone whine, but it may have been able to be dialed out with the full set of options available when sitting at the computer. About 1/2 the sim's were OK, 1/2 were less than OK. I really like the portable amp / interface concept...but these particular models left me feeling unsure about spending $300 to get a whiny amp with a quirky gate and weird reverb.

I'd really like to try them again at a different music store and find out some schlub was just tooling around with the settings on the ones I tried. The demos sound much better than the actual units I sat down with.
 

IRG

Member
Messages
5,109
I tried the THR10 and THR10C and passed. I liked the THR10C best, but most reviews point to the THR10 or THR10X as being better. The floor models I tried were possibly setup weird. The reverb was dialed in with a really long decay that seemed to get louder before it dropped off. Even turned all the way down the reverb was still kinda big. There was also some odd sounds going on with note decays, but the more I thought about it after the demo it may have been an poorly configured noise gate. Clean notes kind of warbled on the way out. There was a bit of headphone whine, but it may have been able to be dialed out with the full set of options available when sitting at the computer. About 1/2 the sim's were OK, 1/2 were less than OK. I really like the portable amp / interface concept...but these particular models left me feeling unsure about spending $300 to get a whiny amp with a quirky gate and weird reverb.

I'd really like to try them again at a different music store and find out some schlub was just tooling around with the settings on the ones I tried. The demos sound much better than the actual units I sat down with.
Funny how that is sometimes. I'd have to try one out first before I'd consider it.
 

rublalup

Member
Messages
486
I own an 11R. And I really love it. My pod hd500 now only serves as a midi controller.

BUT....

for headphone use I find more pleasant the pod than the 11R ... is like the 11R gets me "tired".

I´ve heard about an "air" adjustment on other devices and I believe thats what the 11R is missing. You can make some adjustments with the reverb, but I havent find a tone that allows me to play more than 30 minutes. Its not that it sounds bad (******** it sounds great)... its just that is exhausting. Sorry my english dont let me put the right words to what I feel... I hope I make any sense.

Just my 2 cents
 

ChrisVereb

Member
Messages
2,136
I can relate to "tired" using headphones. Usually because I'm using them after midnight when the rest of the family is asleep...and I should be too!

Seriously though, I do know what you're talking about. For me it's kind of a claustrophobic feeling. Even with reverb applied, it can just feel like you're jamming under a big heavy blanket with your gear. Might be the fact that i use big studio "cans" type of headphones instead of ear buds.

I read an article once where Craig Anderton gave a formula for using a few delay VST's set to prime numbers to give a good sense of space when using headphones. i haven't been able to find it online, but he mentions a similar trick here: http://blog.discmakers.com/2014/07/virtual-synths-and-the-art-of-imperfection/

the new Zoom multi's have an "Air" effect that I think is supposed to do something similar. I haven't messed around with mine enough to say if it's really helps with fatigue, or if it just sounds less headphone-y. I was impressed with the amount of space it seemed to add when i did a little sound-on-sound looping with the box where both parts had the Air effect applied.

Su Inglés es mucho mejor que mi español , así que no te preocupes por las cosas del lenguaje. Entendemos !
 

DanR

Member
Messages
3,662
For just headphone playing/practicing, the Digitech RP360 might be a good option for you. I use the RP360 when I can't make noise at night. It's portable, not expensive ($150) and sounds pretty darned good to me and you can conjure up all kinds of tones with it. I have a POD 2.0 and I enjoy playing through the RP360 much more.
 






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