A good headphone amp?

I’ve already searched for this in the forum, and found nothing other than discussions on the Vox one, and that doesn’t seem very durable to me (I saw many breaking in another group).

Since I won’t be able to carry my Fender Rumble 15 with me for the next few months, I was searching for a higher quality, reliable headphone amp. Something verastile would be the optimum.

Thank you all in advance!


You could go with something like the Ampeg SCR-DI.
The construction is very solid. Use it to fight off a bear, plug it back in, keep playing kind of solid. Has headphone, AUX connections, and other stuff. It is $250 new and about half that used.

There are a lot of different options for this if your willing to give up the convenience of being able to walk around anywhere with it.

If having the same kind of mobility as the AmPlug is important but you want higher quality there is the Bighead Pro (HA-2) from Paul Jones Bass. It goes for around $360. It a very high end piece of gear with a price to match.

Could you tell us more about where/how you will be using it? On a boat? At a desk? While hiking? In a hotel room? I’m sure we can help you find something.


If you really want to go all out, Darkglass makes a monster of a headphone amp, and it is more then just that, but it is small, portable, and its, well…Darkglass.



I’d be using it at home. I just need to move to another city for some months, and I don’t want to move my amp. It would be very expensive to do so, and the alternatives you listed seem much nicer than my cheap amp anyway. It would definitely be an upgrade!


I was watching that too, but most videos I found only show its metal capabilities. Do you know if it’s any versatile? It looks good, and it’s in my price range :smiley:


When you say METAL, you mean distortion and overdrive?
As far as versatile for a headphone amp, I think it is a choice between Clean with the drive or gain down, and then the range you can get as you up those?
so If you are to rely on the clean settings, they are all three quality units.

Starting with price, this one goes up against the Ampeg.
Both nice units, both probably have good clean and driven sound.
The BIG stand out advantage to the Elements is that it is more of a portable, go anywhere option, and just the ergonomics of the device make it an easier to deal with unit, and looks sleek as well.

Honestly I can not say which would be the best for clean tones, I am not sure any one of the three would stand out clean, but I could be dead wrong about that.
Hopefully some of the experts on these devices chime in.


Well, they are also different things in general. The SCR-DI is an Ampeg bass preamp and DI that happens to have a headphone out. The Elements is a headphone amp that happens to have a DI out.


So would there be more versatility in the SCR-DI that would be more beneficial to use as a headphone amp?

I think if we are looking at things to replace an amp for a time that is needed to be away from home, that the Zoom B1-four should also be included in the list.

it is not much bigger then the Ampeg SCR-DI, and it is way more versatile then anything we have mentioned, and it is under $100.
Plus it can be used when he gets back home along with his amp.

@Dr.Loveless. Have you considered a Zoom multi effects processor? it also has an Aux In so you can jam to tunes from your phone, tablet or laptop. There is more then enough versatility in that unit to dial in any tones you can imagine. not as cute and compact as the Darkglass Elements, but it can just about be clipped on a belt and run off batteries if you want to take it on the go.



Have you considered a Zoom multi effects processor?

I have one of these. It’s pretty cool for the money. I picked up the optional AC adapter too, so I can plug it in at hotels and not have to worry about carrying or buying new batteries.


Yeah, I was pointing out that you can us batteries if you don’t want to be connected to a wall, but you are correct, the power supply is more efficient for most uses.


I have that (as you know) and I can hardly recommend it to connect the headphones directly if you don’t have exactly the correct kind of headphones. Its output is 17mW and 32 ohm (I still don’t know how to make sense of the power output level there)

@Dr.Loveless I have been playing ampless for almost 4 months now. I have the Focusrite Scarlet Solo DAI, Vox Amplug Bass and the Zoom B1 Four that T_dub recommended.

I cannot use an amp at home so I had been in the search for a good setup here.

Hands down my best purchase was the Vox Amplug. The sound is really good. It has built in drum tracks (8 in total and one metronome) and works great on whatever headphones you plug in. “BIG PLUS” it is dirt cheap (39€ here in Italy)

I think to break it something really unusual should happen. Like forgetting it attached and putting your bass on a stand…


I’ve used Vox, BigHead and SCR-DI, but I highly recommend the Nux Mighty Plug. Sounds great and stream play-along music from your phone/tablet via bluetooth.


Now, that thing looks pretty cool.
I have heard good things about NUX (sounds like NEW X)
You can bluetooth music, that is a selling point, if I needed one, and I don’t, but if I did, this looks like a winner to me.


@Dr.Loveless Let us know if you need any more advice on this. Also, be sure and check back in and let us know what you end up choosing and what you think of it.


I wish I hadn’t clicked on that link for the NUX headphone amp… I feel GAS coming on… :grimacing:


I didn’t need to see it either. Really. Bluetooth playback. Sigh.


Double Sigh, Good thing I have absolutely no need for it. I have a million things I can play thru, including the DarkGlass Alpha Omega Ultra I just got.
I just can’t run around the living room bluetooth ing my backing tracks.
Good thing I can’t run around the living room as it is, I can hardly walk on these damn knees.


I wonder what its bluetooth latency is like. Probably bad, but who knows?


As long as it’s buffering on the device I wouldn’t think it would matter. Or did you mean something other than for the backing track?


It totally matters if you pluck a string and the sound has noticeable lag to when you hear it.

This is not a problem for listening to music but is a problem for performing music.

This is a concern with bluetooth devices in other areas too, not just music.

Even the cheaper wireless in-ear monitor systems that were made specifically for music production sometimes had unacceptable latency. It’s not hard to find old reviews.

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