Next generation headphone amp

Just picked up this little beauty today. If it does half of what it claims It will be a quantum leap upgrade on the old Vox headphone amp. It’s charging up at the moment but I will try it out tonight instead of annoying the wife and dog with my painful attempts at slap bass! Definitely not bad for just over £30

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Looks interesting. No drums though looking at the description.

I’d be very interested in your thoughts after you try it out a while. I think my Vox one is totally broken at this point and needs replacement.

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no I don’t think there is but then it would be perfect and nothings perfect :rofl:

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Will let you know!

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whistle sound Looks nice! Yes, share your thoughts.

@chris6 I’m sure the amps and effects are more than ample compensation.

No built-in drums, but with bluetooth audio-in you can just stream drums/metronome from your phone or computer. Thanks for the heads up on this, I love that it has a rechargeable battery. Drives me nuts that the Vox one still runs on AAs.

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Far superior to the Vox. Hands down IMO. Some effects and cab sim stuff, phone app. Don’t worry if you can’t flash update it… nobody can ( flash update doesn’t work, doesn’t matter)

That looks cool indeed! Can’t wait for your review

Very interesting. I use the Vox one several times a week so would always be up for something better.

Lots of NUX talk in here:

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I have had about half an hour with my new NU-X (pronounced as en-u-ex if that matters). It’s not been enough time to explore all the features but enough for a quick over-view. I tend to ramble so if anyone wants the short version now – yes, it’s worth buying.
I had no idea who NU-X are, so I’ve done a bit of digging: They appear to be a wholly owned brand of Chinese company called Cherub Technologies. If you buy one you might want to remember that because searching on the app store for the Nu-X MP-2 mighty plug will not get you anywhere. The app you want is called Cherub Mighty Amp (they do not mention this in the manual). Apart from this they seem to make a lot of tuners, acoustic pre-amps, budget guitar effects pedals (in the same vein as mooer and donner mini pedals) and even amps – who knew? They do not seem to have great distribution, at least in the UK; Amazon stock them at a silly price (over £60) but I got mine from Dawsons Music for just over half that. I suspect you can get them from Thomann.
Mine came well packaged. In the box there is the amp, usb cable, inspection certificate and a small 20-page booklet in English and Chinese. The quality of manufacture seems good. I’ve had several Vox headphone amps in the past and always been shocked at the cheap construction, not dissimilar from something you’d get in a Christmas cracker. By contrast the MP-2 is made of better quality piano black plastic, not unlike my Mercedes key fob.
If you’ve had enough of my rambling by now and just want to see it in action, there is a pretty good YouTube video here:

Reading some of the comments on this video I see people complaining it does not work with Samsung devices. All I can say is my Samsung Note 9 found the plug as soon as I opened the app, but I guess, buyer beware. The plug itself is only about two inches long and fits snuggly into my Jazz Bass and is completely unobtrusive. When you turn it on (via the mute button which confused me for a second or two) it glows blue if you select bass mode on the app or green if you select guitar mode. I do not know why they bothered with that or even why it amused me, but it did. Just for reference I tried it with some cheap Samsung earbuds and some over-ear Audio-Technica headphones. As you’d expect the headphones were much better, but the earbuds still worked fine.

On bass mode you get two amps cryptically called MLD and AGL. I have no idea what they are meant to represent, and they are not massively different but to be honest, they both sound good out of the box and you probably do not need models of every amp under the sun for a practice amp. There are also three pre-set channels for pop, rock and funk which will automatically select one of the two amps and set EQ’s accordingly. Pop gets the MLD amp and rock and Funk get the AGL amp, but you can also adjust EQ independently. You get gain, level, bass middle, Treble and Mid Freq. There are some usable tones to be had with tweaking although to be honest the funk pre-set was pretty nasty. Guitarists get far more options (isn’t that always the way) with different amps for each channel so clean channel gets Twin Verb, JZ120 and Tweed Dix, OD Channel gets Plexi, Top Boost 30 and Lead 100, Dist Channel gets Recto, DIE VH4 and Fireman and AGM Sim Channel gets Optima and Stageman. I suppose there is nothing stopping you playing bass on guitar mode if you ever wondered what a bass would sound like through a Vox AC30 and did not want to risk blowing vintage speakers!!

As far as effects go there is a gate section with Threshold and Sustain (some sort of compression?), EFX section with touch wah, uni vibe, tremelo, phaser, boost, Bass TS (Tubescreamer?), 3 band EQ, muff, and crunch. The cab sim channel gives options for BS410, AGL DB810, AMP SV810, MKB 410 and TRC 410. Again, I am not sure what half of these are. I would just leave it on AMP SV810 (which I assume is an Ampeg full stack) cos I’m that kind of guy. There are certainly more variety of tones with the cab sims to be had than with the amp models but again I would say they are not really necessary. Confusingly (at least to me) there is also a Mod channel with phaser, chorus, ST Chorus, flanger, vibe and tremelo. I have not yet worked out why these are not just in the effects channel, particularly as that already has a phaser, vibe and tremelo. Finally, there is a reverb section with room, hall, plate, spring, and shimmer. Overall, I am impressed with the effects. The modulation and time effects seem to work far better than the distortion-based effects. Word of warning turn down your headphone volume before engaging ‘Muff’. I found Muff and crunch to be really nasty and sounded like I was playing in the engine room of a power station on the ocean floor. Not nice. But then I rarely like anything other than a clean tone - you might like them. I liked the reverb effects, I thought they were pretty well implemented. Even the Shimmer was pretty good although nowhere near as good as on my Hall of Fame. The USB port on the Amp is utilised for firmware updates as well as recharging (take note Vox, no need for AA batteries these days) so hopefully NU-X will improve those overdrive models. In guitar mode you do get more effects (again, quelle surprise) with Red Drive, Morning Drive and Distone added to the EFX channels and a whole new Delay channel with analog delay, tape echo, digital delay and ping pong that is denied the bass player.

Next on the app is a metronome/drum machine section. Initially I did not think it had a drum machine as no mention is made on the feature list on the packaging. Bit of an oversight I would have thought because it would be a big selling point to many bassists. I have not played around with the drum machine very much yet but its serviceable, with modes for pop, metal, blues, swing, rock, ballad rock, funk, R&B, latin and dance. Tempo can be adjusted from 40 bpm to 240 bpm and there is a tap tempo function. The light on the plug also flashes in time with the beat so you get a visual clue as well. Let us be honest you could pay more than the cost of this little headphone amp just for a basic drum machine.

Finally, there is a jam track section with some built in tracks to play along to. These are split into backing tracks and artists tracks. The artists have names like Kit Tang, Chen Lei and Ken Chou. I mean they might be really big names in China. You probably would not want to devote much time to these. On the backing tracks you do get Blues in A, funk in Em etc including an hilarious version of The Thrill Is Gone called Thrill Disappear but to be honest most of them sound like Chinese elevator music. One thing that you will notice from the YouTube Video which I have not tried yet is the fact that you can input all your desired setting for the plug and then use you phone to stream music as well which would be far better than the supplied backing tracks. I am guessing you could also use the usb input on the plug to connect it directly to your computer for recording/streaming music.

So that is about it. My conclusion? You get a helluva lot of features for your money. The only thing I have been disappointed with so far are the overdrive effects and ‘Thrill Disappear’ (which is an horrendous mash-up of one of my favourite songs). This would make a great addition for anyone wanted a bit of easy late-night practise without having to go to the hassle of firing up an amp and pedal board and perfect for practise in hotel rooms. I reckon it would also be a great purchase for complete beginners who have not yet taken the plunge to buy a proper amp. Where else are you going to get an amp, pedal board, and drum machine for this price?

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Nice review @chris6 thanks. I’ve been having a look around and don’t see it anywhere for £30 though… just checked Dawsons.co.uk and see at at £54.99.

Pocketsize audio interface with effects and drums, and bluetooth audio streamed from the phone… suddenly I think I need one!

By the way I saw a mention on another forum for a third party android app to control it:

Looks like a developer has managed to write a flutter app to unlock some features! Big thread about it here:

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Given that Amazon sell it for £60, £54.99 would seem to be a more realistic price. I think I paid £34 but it must have been on a special promotion (I actually placed the order over a month ago and although Dawson’s despatched it almost straight away I only managed to find it at a sorting office yesterday. Royal Mail said on their Track and Trace that it had been delivered but they lied). Not quite the steal at £54.99 that I thought but I think if you are in the market for a good headphone amp this is still probably the best out there

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Thank you so much for the review @chris6! Bookmarking this thread with a reminder for christmas :see_no_evil:

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Awesome review. :slight_smile:

I’m curious how this stacks up against the much more expensive Element. Different beasts, but the Element had a headphone amp and can be controlled with Bluetooth. Also has lots of other gadgets too. I’m not sure if you can add effects to your sound, but I know it has cab-sims.

https://www.darkglass.com/creations/element/

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I didn’t know about the element at all JT. It certainly looks like a next-level piece of kit but simply for headphone amp functionality I wonder whether its worth paying five times as much? I’d certainly like to try one though, it looks tasty.

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Yeah, I think it’s overkill just for the headphone amp. The one you got seems to have a decent amount of good features and seems great value for money. I’m thinking of getting the Element, but to also use it for the cab SIM and DI out. I’d use it as a headphone amp, but would also have it on my pedalboard.

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Yeah. The NUX is a cute practice tool. The Element is a permanent part of a pedalboard that happens to have a headphone amp too.

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