A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

The Vox Headphone Amp came in yesterday

That Vox AmPlug Bass Headphone Amp that I ordered from Amazon came in yesterday. Its 4 days early, as it was scheduled to arrive on Monday. I tried it out yesterday, on the Ibanez 4-string and on the Brice 6-string.

Some of the reviewers on Amazon said that it doesn’t work well with basses that have passive pickups. My Ibanez is passive. I didn’t have a problem with it. There are 3 controls on it, volume, tone and gain. They can each be dialed from 1 – 10. Adjusting the volume alone resulted in a quiet sound. However, when I switched on the gain (its activated as a 3rd setting on the on/off switch – its called FX) and raised its level a little, the volume jumped a lot. I’m really happy with the amount of sound that I’m getting. I had the volume turned up to 5 and the gain turned up to 3, and it was plenty loud. 😉

Vox in package

Gain, tone & volume dials. Aux jack for MP3 players.

Later, I tested it out on the fretted Brice. That’s active/passive. When the volume knob is down (like the rest of the controls) its active. When you pull it up (so its a little higher than the other controls) its passive. It performed perfectly in both settings. There was a slight tone difference when it was in active mode. The sound was brighter, and there’s a little more reverb on the low B string. I think that I had the gain turned down a little when it was in active mode as well.

I didn’t try plugging in an MP3 player yet. I’ll do that when I have more time, and when I remember where the MP3 player is. 😉

Another concern on Amazon is that the headphone amp doesn’t stay properly connected to the output jack on the bass. This is a valid concern for some basses. On the Ibanez, it was a little loose. Three times, when I changed from a standing to seated position, the amp fell out of the bottom of the bass. I’ll have to create something to hold it in place later on. I temporarily wrapped the cord from my headphones around the bottom horn of the bass and back around the headphone amp to correct this yesterday. On the Brice, its not an issue. The Vox clicked more securely in place. I think that maybe the jacks on the basses themselves vary slightly in width. But, whatever the reason, the Vox fits snuggly in one but not in the other. An elastic band will correct this easily enough… so I”ll be demolishing some underwear sometime soon.

Headphone jack

On/Off/FX switch

Finally… I have a day off from work this Sunday, but I can’t use it to practice. I’m flying down from here in NY to Florida this evening and returning on Sunday. My mother’s aunt (she’s in her 90s) was transferred to a hospital there. She’s not doing well. It sucks for me because I work with nursing homes. I design clinical software (and work 6 days a week). We advocate heavily for both frontline nursing staff and for nursing home residents. I’m somewhat familiar with state and federal nursing home regulations and politics (and believe me, in NY, its political – we try to keep clear of that nonsense though).

My mom’s aunt was placed in an assisted living facility (its a dirty story, her niece became her designated representative a few months ago, cleaned her out, and left her there). Their rules are different from nursing homes. Mom’s aunt was pretty sharp when she was on her own, but in the few months since transfer to the facility, she’s degenerated dramatically. She sees and speaks to dead relatives and doesn’t eat. It doesn’t look like she’s going to make it to the end of the year, and we’d rather see her while she’s breathing than when she’s not.

So, I’ll probably bring The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Bass Guitar with me, for the flight there and back. I’ve been reading the Dummies guides more, but I like to cross-examine the books, and this will give me time to really cram a lot of that book. Bleh. 😦

Here’s a link to the Vox on Amazon:


One response

  1. Pingback: I’m back from Florida « Ugly Bass Face

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