Play music and bass through PC with headphones!

So, here’s the deal. Our garage used to be my “man cave”, where I would work and play; my “office” was out there, as was my “studio”.

That has changed. My son has taken over the garage (he’s finishing what I started and converting it to a studio apartment for he and his GF) and I have moved inside to his old bedroom. This works out better all around…

…except for one thing: in the garage, I could play my bass through my amp as often as I wanted and as loudly as I wanted, and often did (even when on work ZoomToMyTeams calls, yay mute). I can no longer do that, as my GF works in another room in the house, and my daughter’s room is right across the hall. I mean, there will be times when I’ll be able to cut loose, but the early AM or during working hours are now verboten.

So, help me, BassBuzz… you’re my only hope.

In the garage, I plugged into my amp which had an XLR out going to the XLR in on my DAI. The DAI was plugged into my PC via USB, and my stereo via RCA. I would play music on my PC which went through the DAI audio outs to the stereo and play along with the music through the amp. If needed, I could fire up Reaper and record my playing, and I could also import tracks into Reaper which I could play through the DAI audio outs over my stereo if I wanted to record tracks.

So! I want to be able to play music and bass at the same time, through one set of headphones. I have picked up a decent set of headphones with great bass response, which I can use on the amp, on the DAI directly (which sounds great), and through the headphone jack on the PC (I just haven’t tested that is all). What options do I have?

I know that I can plug the bass into the DAI, the headphones into the PC, import a track into Reaper, turn monitoring on for a record track, and route that all to the sound card and out the headphone jack, but that’s painful if I want to play a few songs in a row. I’d prefer to, like, play music through iTunes or YouTube Music or whatever, and have the bass come through the DAI to the headphones as well.

Anyone have any other ideas?

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Pickup a cheap Zoom B1 Four. Input your music / backing tracks via a 3.5mm jack from your PC. Plug in your bass to the input. Headphones to the output. You can record out from it to your DAI if you wish. Plus it’s battery optional so you can jam in the yard with it if you want. Done.

Plus it’s got a built in drum machine to work on your timing :wink:


The best solution would probably be a little mixer with at least 1 hi-impedance (hi-z) input for bass and stereo input for your stereo. I have this one ( Soundcraft Notepad-12FX Mixer with Effects and USB | Sweetwater ) for my Volca setup and it is (with the mixer capability) 4 channel audio interface that records 2 channels of the Stereo master out and 2 selectable channels.


I have a setup where the bass goes to the DAI and use the headphones out of the DAI. If you select your DAI as speaker for your PC, you should get the sound of your PC through the DAI to your headphones.


Why don’t you just plug headphones into your DAI and use DAI as your input and output?
I use it to listen to music but also to practice.

Here is my whole setup:

  1. bass directly into IN 1 with direct monitoring enabled - I turn the gain up when I want to play bass
  2. OUT to Studio monitors (main volume) - I turn this up when I want everything via monitors
  3. OUT to Headphones (headphone volume) - I turn this up when I want everything via headphones

I balance the volume between the computer and the bass by either using the volume knob on my bass or by adjusting the audio volume on my computer.

Also, when I don’t want to use the interface, I just power it off using on/off switch on the back (unfortunately most DAIs don’t have that “advanced” feature).


I have had my eye on one of those for a long time. This might be the excuse to get one.

That works? That might be my preferred method until I can land a B1 Four.

Yeah, that was mentioned above. I’m going to give that a shot, for sure.


Yes, you can connect your headphones directly to its headphones out (or your studio monitors like @jacq suggested). Here’s a bit of information, not that much though :wink:

What does an Audio Interface do?
Audio interfaces convert microphone and instrument signals into a format your computer and software recognize. The interface also routes audio from your computer out to your headphones and studio monitors. Interfaces typically connect to your computer via USB cables.


Does your amp have an aux in?
And a headphone out?
If so, use those (aux in for music in).

Boss Waza Air simplifies all of this, but at a price.

Your original thought to pull the track into reaper and do it that way is a good way too.

Your DAI alone won’t let you pull music in from your (phone I assume?).

Yes indeed, you need a headphone amp. I have the Fender Mustang headphone amp. It blue-tooth’s to my phone (where all my MP3’s are stored) and plugs into my bass. I can start an MP3 on my phone and play the bass while hearing both at the same time. The fender is probably the most expensive unit out there (there are many) but it has provided me a lot of enjoyment, plus it has a multitude of effects built into it.

The NUX Mighty plug allows you to play music and bass through your headphones.
It is a great solution as long as you don’t want to play along with videos, there is a delay that knocks the sound/vision out of synch but if just playing along to audio it’s fine

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As far as I know, a DAI is always connected to a PC. Shouldn’t be any trouble to access music from there :wink:


Thanks everyone! I got it working through the DAI. Plug that into the PC, plug my bass and headphones into it. Set the PC sound output to the DAI, play music through iTunes or YouTube or whatever, play along, it all comes through the headphones.

Joyous day. :slight_smile:


Ah. Got it now. I wasn’t tracking.


This is the right answer. If you have a DAI, forget the sound card in the machine, just don’t use it. Use the DAI for sound output. I was actually confused at the question in the first place :slight_smile:


Ya i got totally confused.
One thing I also do in this vein, I use a little program called “Bluetooth Audio Receiver” to stream my iphone to my PC (come on Windows, really? - you can’t build this into the damn platform? - honestly, sigh), which lets me use things like AnytunePro+ and Amazing Slow Downer from where all my music sits and I can play along, loop, learn, rejoice.


Here’s your solution: