Sound Quality from Headphones


I love the sound of my little Fender Rumble 15 amp. I was hoping I could get a sound close to that from my headphones, but I am far from that. What is the best I can expect from headphones, using Garage Band. Am I suppose to adjust the sound, only through Garage Band controls or, in conjunction with the controls on my Bass? I have made a lot of onscreen adjustments, but I can’t get the clean Bass sound I love. Am I expecting too much?


Most of the sound you’ll get from a digital interface will have to do with:
1.) How you’re plugging into the computer with your bass - what’s your analog-to-digital interface?
2.) The plugins and adjustments you use in the digital workspace.

Unless you have a home studio set up where you have lots of outboard gear with pre-amps and EQs and compressors, most of us use the built in plug-ins. What if any are you using from Garage Band?


Thanks, Gio. As long as I know the sound can be improved, I can deal with it. I need to do more reading on the items you mentioned.


Unless you’ve got your setup dialed, running your bass direct into a DAW (digital audio workstation, like Garageband) through a cheap interface can sound pretty bad. Tends to feel thin, dry, and lifeless. Having a nicer digital-audio interface has helped me a lot (I use an Audient iD14), and getting a little better with compression plugins.

Depends on your bass too - try playing with your bass’s knobs and see if anything helps!

Also, depends on your headphones a lot! If you’re aiming to enjoy yourself, you probably want some listening-focused headphones with heavy bass response, rather than something intended for studio monitoring, which will have a more ‘flat’ response that isn’t all that fun to listen to.


What’s the goal? to record yourself, or to practice through headphones?

If it’s to practice with headphones, the most (and simple) satisfactory rig I’ve used that can get close in tone to an instrument amp is a Vox Amplug 2 Bass, and Audio Technica ATH m40x/m50x (closed backs).

Tried several IEMs and other music/studio headphones, ATH m40/50 were the best for this by a large margin.


I think you can get a pretty good sound on your earphones routing your signal through GarageBand (or, perhaps, something like Ableton Live), and, of course, as @JoshFossgreen pointed out, a decent audio interface (e.g., a Roland Rubix 22; ca USD 150). It just takes a bit of time and some patience, especially if you want to hit a very specific sound (that you are used to from your amp). Even the somewhat limited possibilities in GarageBand can be overwhelming and confusing in the beginning, but I would just sit down for an hour or two and play with the options. Start with as clean/neutral a sound as you can get (both on your bass and with the amp model you choose in GarageBand). Then try different amps and presets and then tweak the different settings for compression and EQ before adding perhaps other effects (distortion, chorus, reverb, …). And if you get yourself into a blind alley, just start over from scratch! Good luck!


This is what I am doing - in fact it’s my only amp at the moment as I am still saving up for my real practice amp. I’m running the Amplug output into a pair of standard Sony MDR-V6 monitor headphones and the tone is decent. Not as good as through a real amp head unit, but not bad. Headphones like yours with a better low end would be much better.

The only bummer is that it makes watching the lesson videos fiddly because of the headphones. I think I am going to run my computer line out into the Amplug Aux In and see how that works.

The Amplug 2 Bass is a nice little device. I’m kind of impressed for the price, actually.


I think that’ll work, I seem to remember somebody else trying that and it worked well…


Yep worked like a charm!