#1
Hi guys, I've just bought myself a lovely Vox ac15 amp and I've come across a bit of a snag. The amp doesnt have a line in for jamming along to a backing track, nor a headphone socket for respecting my housemates. I live in an ancient old building with poor noise insulation so past 10pm ill need to practice with headphones.

is it possible to make any kind of adjustment or buy any external devices so that I can play music through the amp to jam with and also play through headpones. There are 8 and 16 ohn external output sockets on the back but I read elsewhere that the output is too high and would blow the headphones.
#2
A pod like device?

Or an interface into a computer would be what I'd be looking at,
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#3
Erm, as you may be able to tell I'm not very technologically literate. Im a keen learner though.

An interface into a computer? How would that work. Wouldnt i lose sound qualiry due to limitations of the sound card?
#4
The Pod is an interface that will process the sound for you. Plug guitar>pod>decent headphones and you will have a huge variety of sounds to play with. Sounds that are well and truly good enough for practicing with. It's not like you are playing a gig through your headphones. The output sound will be more than satisfactory for practicing.

Otherwise you can use a DI box into the computer and use software to emulate the guitar signal. A cheaper option I believe but the sounds wont be as pretty. Still usable tones for practicing though I am sure.
#5
what they are saying is, there is not simple clean solution for you with your existing gear, or without buying another set of toys and or a new setup.

darn dude, this never occurred when buying the amp? i mean, thats a fairly large quality about amps to have direct outputs or headphone outputs. a vox ac15 is a tonal beast and a great gigging amp, but it is not ideal for the things you are asking.

headphone outputs come in a lot of practice amps. mp3 line in is available (like in the line 6 spider sitting next to me....probably the only reason i own it. great for blasting music at out door events), but that feature is more rare, especially on higher end amps. this is a more "home practice" feature that most amps built for live music or recording (like your ac15) will not have.
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what you can get, is an attenuator which will help bring the noise level down. it will not fix the mp3. that probably is not a possibility with a vox ac15
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BUT WAIT - i offer a solution! Weber has been making guitar speaker products for a while now. it may look rinky-dink, but i personally would trust em.

https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/hpa50.htm

that will help the headphone situation.

https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/minimass.htm

more functionality - i may choose this one personally.

https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/mass.htm

thier highest end unit

this will give you a headphone and a red box out to go to a recording setup, significantly more obviously.

unfortunately, the cost of equiping your "gig ready" amp with "practice amp" functionality is going to be about a 100 buck hit minimum no matter what you do. even with other products, still probably 100+.

however, i would love a vox ac15. so, consider it an investment. far better tone than a cheapo practice amp.

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i personally would take the mid grade options with is an attentuator with a upgrade for headphone out, i would probably add the red box TLS output or whatever. why not. the reason

the reason is that the attenuator will allow you to push the amp and get it to CRUNCH more easily, even at lower volumes. then you have the headphone out, so you can hear that crunch silently.


just the headphone out will allow you to use the amp silently, but you are not able to push the tubes harder. you will need to use pedals etc, probably what you are doing now. you must have found out, VOC AC series are LOUD!!!!!!! the attentuator makes your sound like angus young in your bedroom with 100% amp, no pedals.

its worth it, considering the headphone unit is 80 and the miniMASS is about 125+
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Last edited by ikey_ at Jan 20, 2014,
#6
Wow ikey,

Thanks for the post. You're right, I should definitely have thought about the headphone socket question before committing to buy but as mt other amp (Fender Mustang 1) has this functionality I assumed it was commonplace in modern amps. The cacophony of the guitar shop and my grouchy bored boyfriend affected my decision making abilities. I'm also a bit of a novice and voted with my heart and not my head on this one.

I have the option of using the Mustang 1 for late night practice. Crappy amp, but hey it's late, and the Vox for more social hours. It does have a master volume control which means I can still get overdriven tones at lower volumes.

Now here's the problem: my amp is still within it's 7 day cooling off period. I can return it without a problem (excluding the grumpy boyfriend who has to drive me back to Surrey). I could go instead for something like the Blackstar HT-5 which has both headphone and line in facilities. It has no master volume though, so to get overdrive (I don't like playing loud during practice) i'd either need to use a pedal or get an attenuator.

Is it worth looking into amps with these 2 features or do you think I'd be better off making do with what I have (I do love the sound of the AC15)

Also is it possible to attain the Line-in functionality with any of the tools you mentioned (play mp3 through amp whilst playing).

Thanks again for all the help
#7
You've got a very good amp for playing out (that you love!)and already got a practice amp. I'd stay with that.

There's nothing keeping you from playing mp3's through the Mustang whilst playing at a lower volume on the Vox either. You've got 2 amps, why not use them both?

Oh, and find a boyfriend that supports your guitar habit hobby!

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
Last edited by Arby911 at Jan 20, 2014,
#8
Arby,

I suppose you're right. I still think 15 watts is far too big for my needs but in time it will become a gigging amp so It's a good investment.

I can't really seem to get the drive I want at the lower volume but maybe a bit fiddling or a pedal should sort it.
#9
Another option is the get a Tascam CD-GT.

You wouldn't be using your amp, but it has a selection of in built amp sims & effects that are acceptable for use through headphones and is designed to be used so you can play along with the CD. It also has an input for an MP3 player.

I got mine used for £20 - I won't say it was the best £20 I ever spent, but it wasn't money wasted either.
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#10
well, if i were you, i would buy something similar to what i said, or keep using your mustang.

to my knowledge, there will be no add on accesory to play mp3s THROUGH the ac15. thati s pretty much a built in feature only.

no - these are not common items. most modern PRACTICE AMPS have these things, but to most serious musicians, fir theit main, rig, they want 100% focus on the tone and things that affect live playing, like channel switching, build quality, etc. VOX AC series are very vintage, very stripped down. definitely not modern in any sense. thats not what makes them a VOX AC series!!!!

if you intend to play out, a vox ac series, perhaps miced through a PA, and either some form of channel swithcing or a good overdrive / boost setup is a might fine platform for good tone.
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about overdrive - regardless if you have a master or not, it only does you so much good at low volumes. your going to have to keep everything way down low, and the amp never "opens up". its like idleing a race car. it doesnt want to idle. it wants to rev high. amps respond differently when they are turned up.

you said yourself:
"
I can't really seem to get the drive I want at the lower volume but maybe a bit fiddling or a pedal should sort it."

this is because you cant let the amp do its job without getting the cops called on you.

like classic crunch tone you hear about in non master volume amps or rock gods of old. ill keep using ACDC. that tone is traditionally had by CRANKING a stack. the amp / tubes naturally overdrive and "break up" creating a natural harmonic content and square wave form known as "distortion".

why i am saying this is that with an attentuator - it will bring the noise volume down so low, that you can CRANK your master volume if your home, and your amp will sound like its on 10, but volume wise it will be on 1.

so that classic AC crunch that makes AC series so famous can be had in your house.

ALSO - by now im sure you have realized, even though 15 watts, AC series are LOUD friggin amps! i probably will never own one because i think they are just too darn loud (even the 15).

no - i think the blackstar is a definite downgrade, unless the vox just doesnt do what you want. for example, i run most of my effects through an effect loop, i pretty much think i need one. so i will probably never buy an ac15. doesnt suit my needs. but darn, do ac15s sounds great!
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
Last edited by ikey_ at Jan 20, 2014,
#12
Thanks for suggestions.

I'm pretty sold on the idea of an attenuator. A little a bit of cash on top to get more out of this amp isn't too much of a pain.
#13
one thing - make sure that the voxac15 can directly connect to an attentuator! make sure all the proper hookups are in the back, etc. definitely do yuor research.

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whoa! that laney IRT studio is shaweeeet! i really like everything about it except the fact that it seems terrible for clean / rock tones. it seems like a metal beast. all videos are drop tuned heavy stuff, and about 5 seconds of bad cleans, like they just want to get that over with and go back to heavy stuff.

i like, i just wish the emphasis was better across all 3 channels, not full emphasis on high gain. oh well. thats why its 600 bucks and not 1200 bucks.
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Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
#14
edit! just thought of something else -

this unit goes in between your amp and your speaker. depending down long the cables are (a personal thing, you could probably rig this up to be 5 inches, mounted into the back of your amp), or ten feet, the unit just makes the connection with really long cables.

if you are using it as a headphone jack, keep in mind that your headphones have to reach the attentuator!!!!

you will either need to buy awesome headphones with a really long chord, or put that amp on a desk next to you while you play silently, or rig this thing up so that the attenutator can sito n a desk, and the amp can be across the room via large cables. something.


all these logistical issues you gotta work out. perhaps its not that clean of a solution.
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
#15
crazy idea here. use the volume knob on your amp. you will most likely have to readjust the eq settings and the sound my not be as good as when amp is cranked up but if you are just quietly practicing then so what not a biggie.
#16
i should hope that has also been attempted....
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
#17
Quote by gregs1020
the Laney IRT Studio does everything you want.

look into one of those.


Seconded

TS - do you have an ipad?

If so, have a look at an apogee jam and the bias and jamup apps. The perfect headphone practice solution.
#18
We have all faced this issue, killer amp for gigging, jamming w band! Reality is 5 watts cranked will blow the paint off the walls. Many options, & many opinions, personally I use a POD or Pandora to run guitar into, music, & headphones ..stereo is a step up killer sound anyway! There is no better investment than something to woodshed with & get chops happening with songs for timing as well...without that, well... no amp will sound good~!
#19
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#20
Tube amp low volumes... Needs boost I run a TS and Xotic Ep booster (it's on all the time) to get overdriven feedback at low volumes.
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