A good headphone amp?

Great Review, thanks for the detailed info after spending some time with it.
Gate - Noise Gate, silence any hissing
EFX - GEQ maybe?
Amp - Amp Sim?
IR - Cab Sim?
Mod - Chorus or Phaser or Flanger maybe?

Other then the Gate, just guesses. EFX could maybe be distortion or fuzz instead of EQ, but I can’t say without playing with it.

That is all pretty decent for a little headphone amp.
I mean, it is no DarkGlass, and it is not the Boss or Ashdown or ?? a few others that make little headphone pre-amp / amps. But it seems to be built to be a lower cost alternative to get you some of the features those others are offering.


I gotta disagree. That was a pretty damn good review.

These terns get confused and twisted all the time. Even by some manufacturers.
In simplest terms, going from least distortion to most distortion it would be…

  • Overdrive - least distortion
  • Distortion - middle distortion
  • Fuzz - most distortion

Thanks for the review, that’s really helpful! I think I might just have to go for it and eat the shipping costs if it turns out not to work for me, but even just having the bluetooth option I think will make it worth it.

I grabbed this image from their site which lists the various categories of effects etc. that you can change, I assume the 3 channels (pop, rock, funk) just use different defaults from these?

So from that list I guess if I wanted to find a heavier/distorted sound for some cases I’d want to play around with the “Muff” and “Crunch” effects? (Neither of which are labelled as “Overdrive”, “Distortion” or “Fuzz” to make it extra confusing for me :face_with_raised_eyebrow:)

I’m not sure what difference changing between those 2 amps or the IR setting makes but it’ll be something to play around with.


Boost might be a mild overdrive.
Bass TS would be the Bass Tube Screamer for distortion.
Muff would be the Big Muff Pi for fuzz.
I don’t know what Crunch would be.

AGL would be an Amp simulation of an Aguilar amplifier.
I don’t know what the MLD is.


Thanks @T_dub, @eric.kiser, @Substr. After writing this, I started to play around a bit more with the DAI function and I might have an addendum to this review.
Stay tuned…


I did a bit more playing with the NUX using it as a DAI. It wasn’t that bad and again I wouldn’t replace it with my current gear that I have at home, but for some quick recording for self-evaluation, I would say it passes the test. I’ll be posting a cover I made using the NUX shortly so go to the thread Post your covers! to check it out.


Thanks for posting that cover! I hadn’t even thought about using it for recording (as I can’t play a whole lot yet!) but it’s nice to know it works well enough too. I put my order in and now just have the painful wait for it to show up :tired_face:


That actually has a decent amount of options, and since @JerryP could do a cover from his hotel room with it, it seems to be a very worthwhile purchase if you have the need for anything like it.

Based off that picture of effects, I can tell I sort of got the answers right.

The effects list with Wah, Phaser, Boost, Tube Screamer, EQ, Muff (fuzz) and crunch, which could be an effect of OD and Compression or Fuzz and Compression together, or one of the Orange Amp effects?
Either way, it is pretty plentiful and I think it makes this the tops of the small headphone amplifiers on the market. (sorry Vox owners)


So I got my NUX today and have had a bit of a play around, here’s a few thoughts on it.


  • Sound wise it’s far ahead of the old amplug I had for both bass and guitar, the variety of sounds you can get plus that noise gate are really nice.
  • Built in metronome and various drum loops with custom tempo
  • I haven’t tried it yet but as Jerry demonstrated can be used as a decent interface too
  • Not very expensive for what you get

Unfortunately a few cons too:

  • Noticeable delay when streaming audio to the NUX. This is mostly an issue because I planned to use this to stream Josh’s lessons and also things like songsterr tabs etc. but when the audio is out of sync with the picture it gets a little awkward. I’ll keep testing this as it might be manageable at least for the lessons.
  • The app doesn’t remember any changes you make to the presets unless you save it to the device, so if I go into the “Rock” preset, fiddle with some settings, then swap to “Pop” it loses my changes which I might not have wanted to store.
  • Build quality is a teeeny bit iffy, not quite the amplug level of “breath too hard and it’ll fall apart” but I wouldn’t want to throw it around too much.

I noticed in the manual that it says you can use the USB connection for audio playback as well so I’ll give that a try too, but my main goal was to not be tethered to the PC.

If this doesn’t work out or if the bluetooth streaming delay is too problematic then I may end up looking for a different solution, though I’m not sure what would be best if not this. Practice amp, cheap OD pedal, and just use headphones? Maybe one of those little “magic boxes” like the tc electronic spectradrive or palmer pocket amp? (though I know very little about these)


Unfortunately using the usb to play audio was a no-go because I’m just getting this high pitched background noise as soon as the cable is connected, tested on both a desktop PC and a laptop unplugged from the power :sleepy:

As cool as the NUX is I don’t think it quite works for me, so I’ll probably return it and find something I can use a regular aux input with. If you don’t need synced bluetooth audio / video though, I would still definitely recommend this over the vox/blackstar amPlugs just based on sound quality and lack of background noise alone.

I’ve researched those “magic boxes” (real name: Bass preamp, so I learned) and this Palmer Pocket Amp for bass seems to tick all of the boxes - aux input, headphone out, clean/od sounds, some controls but not an overload of patches and settings. Has anyone tried one of these out who can can comment on it at all?


Sounds like classic feedback. Were you attempting to record audio onto a PC you were using to stream audio to the device?


Nope no recording, just playback, and the sound was there even if the PC’s output device wasn’t set to the NUX.


A few of us here are preamp geeks. I own several and have tried a few others in the past. Preamps are awesome and IMO every bass pedalboard should have one.

That said, their primary use is not as a headphone amp. There are certainly some that have headphone outs but their main use is for tone-shaping of the bass in a pedal chain or standalone.

However some of them do make for excellent all-in-one boxes that are good for practicing as well as being more or less most of what you need for playing live or recording, as far as tone control/EQ for the bass goes.

One I would recommend looking at is the Ampeg SCR-DI. I owned one and it’s great for the preamp, really good tone, but the distortion didn’t do it for me. But it has both aux in and headphone out.

The TC SpectraDrive, as you noted, has aux in and headphone out. It doesn’t really do it for me as a preamp but YMMV.

The Palmer has some nice features, but seems pricey.

Zoom multieffects boxes like the B1four also make really nice little practice devices and you have a ton of effects to play with.


Thanks for the comments, and yeah I realise a preamp is a bit overkill for purely home headphone practice but I think it would suit me well, and maybe I can use it to help with recording later on.

I’ve seen that Ampeg mentioned a few times but it’s a bit more than I’d like to pay, that’s why I was focusing on the Palmer as that’s cheaper than the SpectraDrive too - do you not think it’s worth that price (144 euros for me) ?

I briefly tried out the B1four before but it was quite overwhelming for me with all the effects and patches, that’s one appeal of these little preamp boxes too. I think I just need something simple to plug in and go and then I can stop procrastinating quite so badly with this setup and actually play :grin:


Is the palmer cheaper for you? Here they are more expensive than the Ampeg.

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Ampeg SCR-DI - €249
TC SpectraDrive - €166
Palmer Pocket Amp Bass - €144

Quite a difference between them for me.

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Interesting. Ampeg is owned by Yamaha so maybe it’s just cheaper here? No idea.

Meanwhile the Palmer is a bit more than that here.

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The B1-four can easily be bypassed. I did the B2B on it with the aux in from my ipad.
you just press the two foot switches at the same time and it throws it into Bypass / Tuner mode.
Investing in a pre-amp prior to a pedalboard is not a bad idea, but the education about effects and pedal chaining you can get from the Zoom when ready is really valuable.
I get if you tried it and it just was not for you, that is cool, but if you thought it was too hard to just plug in and get a clean tone to use with Aux in and headphones, it is pretty simple to get to actually.
There are blank patches you can run also that are the same as clean mode.
Just FYI in case you did not know, cuz the value to what you get and what you can learn is pretty incredible when it comes to those Zoom B1-four boxes.


Hey y’all!
Sorry if I haven answered anymore (although I was probably the most interested in the subject lol), but I had a rough time in the last few months. I’ve read every answer though, and many alternatives were very appealing (but expensive!).

Anyway, I ended up getting the NUX, because I decided not to get anything more expensive than my bass. I’ve been playing with it for the last couple of days, and it’s quite an intriguing toy. The only real downsides I see are the lack of a direct output volume slider on the thing, and a compressor pedal. I’ve had a hard time finding a good sound that was loud enough without clipping (is that the right term?), but I’ve found a few, and I’m satisfied so far.

It’s clearly a guitar thingy more than anything, but it’s very comfortable, and the ability to stream your music library directly in your headphones through this thing is way more convenient than I thought.

I’ll let you know how durable it is in a few months, if you’re interested. So far so good.

Anyway, happy new year everyone, and keep practicing!


Hey everyone, I have a VOX amplug and I think it was originally ground breaking technology back when it was released (2012). It just does not sound that great and is incredibly flimsy. In hindsight I wish I did the darkglass Element, but had sticker shock and will probably buy one as soon as my amplug splits in half.