Headphones Into Active Bass

We have a lot of new people looking for an inexpensive option for headphone practice. I’m asking the community to help determine if this is something to recommend to new players.

What you can do to help!
If you have an Active Bass and headphones with a 1/4 inch connector. Plug the headphones directly into the bass and report back here with what you think of the sound.

  • Extra points if you can offer a comparison with any of the other headphone amps out there.

Thanks @Mao for bringing this up.


This is going to barely work for some bass/phone combos but not well.

What you are describing is exactly the situation you get when you underdrive a high impedance headphone set without using a headphone amp.

Running a line level (or worse, instrument level) signal into a pair of headphones may be able to barely drive the 'phones if they are low enough impedance. But what you will find is you will start losing both high and low end harmonics and the tone will lack definition. Depending on how underdriven the headphones are it could sound pretty shitty indeed, or not even work for very high impedance phones.

The difference in this case is not impedance matching but the current required to adequately drive the higher impedance phones.


Must chime in here. Tried to use AKG Pro Audio K72’s direct into a Sterling by Music Man S.U.B Bass and nothing happened.

While these were very sad times, I went and got the Vox amPlug 2 Bass headphone amp from GC for $49.99 and was worth every penny. Easy to pop into the Bass and good for not pissing off the house when I get up at 4 in the morning and need to get things out.

Hope this helps!


ESP Ltd. B204-SM Active Bass - I can barely hear myself directly plugged into the bass. It’s barely louder than what I can hear from the bass directly. I have high impedance headphones though so that might be a factor.

Since it doesn’t really work for me I don’t really need to compare it to the VoxAmp. With one setup I can play/practice with the other I can’t.

I like having the VoxAmp so I can just pop it in my gigbag and be able to practice anywhere but at home I usually play with my DAI as it’s easier for me to play a backing track into the mix.


I like my Vox AMPlug but I also plug my AKG’s into my Promethean 20W practice AMP and it works well!


I’m going to call this, Not Recommended.

Thanks everybody.

Edit: I changed the title of this thread to make it more accurate.