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Alembic Club » Alembic Basses & Guitars » Archive 2006 » Archive through October 19, 2006 » What is your preferred Alembic + Headphones setup? « Previous Next »

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Intermediate Member
Username: lothartu

Post Number: 173
Registered: 8-2003
Posted on Friday, September 01, 2006 - 4:21 pm:   Edit Post

Sometimes playing through an amp just isn't an option for various reasons. When you put on a set of headphones to play, what's your setup?

Small practice amp with headphone out?
A "hang on your belt" gizmo?
A dedicated headphone amp?
A small mixing board?

Personally I've got one of those "hang on your belt" gizmo's and the sounds is... ummm... "lacking" and I'm wondering what everyone else's setup is.

Anyone have a personal headphone setup that they feel does justice to their Alembic?


(Message edited by lothartu on September 01, 2006)
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 4369
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, September 01, 2006 - 4:48 pm:   Edit Post

Jim, check out this thread wherein Joey talks about his setup.
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 995
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, September 01, 2006 - 6:25 pm:   Edit Post


I've had the Mackie/Audio-Technica setup described in the thread Dave pointed you to for over a month now, and am VERY satisfied.

I practice/play along with lots of CDs, or play along with the radio, and this rig is just super for this: Your ears will bleed before it starts to break up, JUST my kind of setup. There's probably any number of boards that would work for this, but I really liked the high-headroom with the VLZ preamps on the first four channels plus trim. I can NOT think of better headphones for bass than these AT-40fs AudioTechnicas.

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 650
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Friday, September 01, 2006 - 8:14 pm:   Edit Post

Jim, I have a few differant setups I use with phones.
First I have a set of Sony MDR-V700 head phones. They're kind of pricey but they sound great. If I'm up stairs in my "harley room" as my wife calls it, I plug my bass straight into my E-MU 1820 which is attached to my PC. I then plug the headphones into the 1820. Super sound.
Or If I'm in my practice room and it's getting late I'll plug the Sony head phone into the head phone out on my SWR 750 head and get another great sound.
Or If I hapen to be in my living room late at night in my easy chair, I'll plug my headphones straight into My Series II or any of my Warwick basses (these all have 18 volt preamps and can power the phones just fine)and still get a good sound.
I have one of those small "head jammers" and I agree, the sound isn't that great. Of all the setups the EMU-1820 sound card is the best, PLUS you can record with it too!
Advanced Member
Username: lowlife

Post Number: 244
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Saturday, September 02, 2006 - 3:30 am:   Edit Post

I use something simple and portable, meaning that it can fit into almost any backpak.
A Behringer 4-channel mixer and a pair or Audio Technica ATH-D40fs headphones. Aside from just playing my bass, I can blend in the output from an FM tuner, CD player, MP3 player etc.
Most of all, the "sound" is close enough to my "live" sound. There appears to be more than enough headroom with this mixer/preamp. I've turned it up to dangerously loud volumes without any distortion.

Ellery (Lowlife)
Username: series_iii

Post Number: 75
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Saturday, September 02, 2006 - 7:51 am:   Edit Post

here is my practice setup. it works well for all of my instruments (steinberger XL-2A, spyder w/ 20th anneversary electronics, 1976 series I, 1997 series II 5-string). i spend many hours with this setup and it sounds real good. no listener fatigue from crappy sound.

beyerdynamic DI770 headphones - i think these are actually DJ headphones. but they're the only ones that i've tried that can take the beating that a bass (especially a 5-string) hands out and they sound real good. they were kinda spendy though. i think i gave $200 for this set at GC but they were well worth it imho.

CD-BT1 bass trainer. the best bass trainer/looping gizmo that i've tried. the effects suck and it'll go through a set of batteries in about an hour (!) but it sounds great. i've got a pandora that travels with the steinberger that's way more battery friendly but it requires an outboard music source and it's looping feature isn't that great - sound quality is pretty crappy but it works in a pinch.

custom built home-made-stereo-to-mono 1/4" adapter. since the rack supply for the sereies instruments lives at the rehersal hall (and i live in an apartment for now) i run all the basses on battery power and use the 1/4" outputs. there's a posting somewhere on the board how to make one of these. i get a surprising amount of battery life out of the series basses but i sure wouldn't go on stage with one powered like that unless i had absolutely no other option.

boss tuner - i had this one for years. i don't trust the tuner in the CD-BT1

Username: worldfamousandy

Post Number: 72
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Saturday, September 02, 2006 - 8:06 am:   Edit Post

Most of my prcticing is done "au natural." My Series 1 is loud enough without an amp, and every time I have tried phones, the cord gets in the way.

Andy Calder
Username: rxbassman

Post Number: 19
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Saturday, September 02, 2006 - 12:12 pm:   Edit Post

I use the Tascam Bass trainer a lot. The new version out CD-BT1 Mark II ($149 street price) has some good updates. I can change the tempo and key of the song, loop it, and enhance or cut out the bass line. It sounds fine with a good pair of headphones.
Dale W.
Username: rxbassman

Post Number: 20
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Saturday, September 02, 2006 - 12:16 pm:   Edit Post

The power supply for the tascam trainer is $20.
Dale W.
Senior Member
Username: dnburgess

Post Number: 486
Registered: 1-2003
Posted on Saturday, September 02, 2006 - 5:23 pm:   Edit Post

Dale - I just got a Tascam Bass Trainer and I find that the volume level of my S1 is very low compared with the music. I've got the Input level on max and Passive input selected.

What am I missing?

David B.
Username: series_iii

Post Number: 78
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Sunday, September 03, 2006 - 6:36 am:   Edit Post

there's a mix menu selection that balances the CD level and the bass level. pushing the down button on the 4 way switch accesses this option. give that a try.
Username: somatic

Post Number: 42
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 1:08 am:   Edit Post

Current setup is
bass -> custom discrete preamp -> STAX SRM1 -> STAX Lambda Pro's. There's a new direct drive all tube headphone driver working on the bench that will go into a nice case and be in use soon.

I've had the cans for years, and they're the best, so why not use them.
Username: lg71

Post Number: 79
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 5:45 pm:   Edit Post

I use the headphones 95% of the time...
Well, since having a proper amp was a NO-WAY option, I had to invest in some good headphones, so I went for the Sony MDR-7506, very light, compact + comfortable. I just snapped a pair of HD600 right in the middle, they were a bit tight so I was trying to loosen them a bit... I have to wait and see with a bit of luck I get them replaced/fixed thru warranty, they are nice to, but I prefer the 600 for composing or mixing. My complete setup/compact studio is simply/mainly a computer, a soundcard and a Bass Pod XT.
Username: drjenney

Post Number: 82
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 6:59 pm:   Edit Post

I've got a new $299 Phil Jones Bass Buddy [VERY NICE] and a set of $250 Sony in ear monitors.Best rig I've found and the BB also has an input for an iPod, CD player, etc.

The Tascam Bass Trainer will not play CDRs, etc, so I use my Mac with a $40 piece of software called "The Amazing Slow Downer." It works!

[My regular preamp is a Glockenkland Bass Art, so I'm kind of picky].
Username: lg71

Post Number: 84
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 11:55 pm:   Edit Post

Dr Jenney, what model the Sony cans?

I checked the software demo, really nice, fast + efficient, great for learning fast licks...

Bass Buddy looks cool, how does it sound?
Intermediate Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 167
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 12:18 am:   Edit Post

I had some Beyer DT770s, which are great cans, although they crapped out eventually. I think they got some abusive signals (although not while wearing them, thankfully!) and in replacement, I got a pair of Ultrasone Proline 750s. They sound amazing! The bass is deep, but not at the expense of everything else. The Beyers were wonderfully deep, but the low end kind of overwhelms the rest of the signal. One big advantage of the Beyers is that they seem to have the most isolation of good sounding phones I have used. They were my can of choice for location recording. The Ultrasones sound more true (the actually match mixes very well with my Event ASP 8s I mix on, that replaced my Dynaudio BM5as, which are great monitors, but didn't translate well from my room, but I digress), but don't seal quite as well, requiring louder levels in noisy environments. If you don't require extreme isolation and can swing the price, the Ultrasones sound as good or better than anything I have heard.

I also have a pair of Ultimate Ears hifi 5 or whatever the model is. They are dual driver and sound wonderful as in ear monitors and to listen to music on an ipod, etc.

My practice amp with headphones when I am not using my home studio is a Raven Labs PHA-1. Great unit! Built like a tank and very hifi.

An all in one unit like the Tascam sounds interesting, but so far the PHA-1 with an ipod works fine, plus it can be used with all kinds of inputs.


Username: 0vid

Post Number: 27
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 3:07 am:   Edit Post

Setup: basses into one of my preamps

either: F1X, trace V type or Demeter VTBP201 DBL
into Behringer 24 channel mixerwith EFX

mixer feeds: Amcron (crown DA 75), drives Sony 7506 headphones.
mixer mixes my bass to my MAC G4, which runs protools, midi, or MP3s. I use Roni music's Amazing Slower Downer, which will slow audio OR MP3s and pitch shift as well. I can play along with most audio sources, and practice fast bop at speeds i can handle and work my way up.....I do a lot of sessions with different bands and musicians, so this helps with learning and transcribing unfamiliar music very quickly. I also find slowing MIDI down to be very useful in working on my time and accuracy.

BTW for elec. guitar, I feed any of my guitars into any of the preamps (my preferred one is the trace) , and use a DBX 2 way crossover usually at 3.2 to 3.5Khz and feed the low pass to the mixer as 'speaker simulated' guitar audio. I use a RAT or a TS808 and you can get very good distortion sounds. I patch time based efx through the aux ends on the mixer. The variable crossover is much more flexible than a fixed speaker sim. You can patch a graphic or parametric EQ if you want to bump or cut off low end....

FWIW, I used to use a triaxis, JMP1, DMC control gear and speaker sim, Akai midi controlled mixers, , Alesis and Digitech efx, in a 12U rack...I am frankly happier with the clean sound for guitar with the bass preamps, than the triaxis, (the marshall clean is of course crap). The distortion is v good, not as good as the best of the triaxis or the marshall but then the triaxis or the JMP 1 could get the sound of these stompboxes anyway...

And truth be told, at my age, I don't have much need for distortion .............LOL.

Of course, the F1X low pass output can also be used as a speaker simulated guitar output. You can use it as 'old school' speaker simulated bass if you like.....

(Message edited by 0vid on September 17, 2006)
Username: drjenney

Post Number: 83
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 1:19 pm:   Edit Post

I'm very happy with my Phil Jones Bass Buddy. The sound is warm and clear [though the specs only say <10% distortion]. I have a set of UE [5s?], which I use for practice and also for stage monitoring through the Hearback mixer. I also have some Sony HD580s [MUCH better sound, but not isolating].

When playing a gig, I prefer the rich, even harmonics of a "class A" rig [I've got a Glockenkland Bass Art pre and an Amperg Portaflex B-15, with THD Yellow Jackets installed so it runs in class A]. For effects, I use a Trace Elliot Dual Compressor, an EBS octave divider and a SGX nightbass SE effects unit.Oh, yah, and I use Bayou cables [Cardas wire and Nuetric connectors].

I also isolate my rig with a Furman Series II Pl-Plus conditioner on the upside and a Behrenger active direct box downstream [I play in churches that, like most clubs, often have dirty power and/or idiots on the sound board. So, call me paranoid...!].
Username: dumfuxx

Post Number: 44
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 10:51 pm:   Edit Post

I bought the mackie/audio technica rig off ebay for about 150, I can't wait to get off this oil rig and try it out. Too bad putting one of my precious alembics on an uber-vibrating helicopter is not an option. I miss my ladies out here. (offshore 4 weeks out of every 6). I've been thinking of building some kind of all carbon fiber 'stick' type bass to keep my chops up. portable and durable.
Username: rockbassist

Post Number: 93
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 10:51 am:   Edit Post

I use a Tascam BT-1. I sometimes play along with a cd or plug my IPod into it. This is the only way that practice on my own. Make sure you invest in a good set of headphones.

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