So I own an audio interface, and the headphone jack is massive. My headphones are the kind that you can plug into an Iphone (3.5mm?) so I put an adapter over it. I then plug my bass into the interface, boot up logic pro, and start playing. But the problem is it sounds absolutely awful tone wise, and the sound is really quiet for some reason. I was wondering how other people play bass guitar with headphones.

  • Can we get a little bit more info on what the interface and headphones are? might help us diagnose the issue a little better. – meganoob May 19 '20 at 1:29
  • In my case, the answer to the title question is "badly" . But the answer is that you have impedance mismatches somewhere and/or failure to amplify the source. – Carl Witthoft May 19 '20 at 12:28
  • Sure thing, it's a Tascam 2x2 USB interface. The 'phones I'm using are these olds Beats Solos. – Kaito K May 19 '20 at 17:40

The setup you describe should work fine - if you can be more specific about the model of interface, maybe someone might be able to guess what's going wrong. But if you want a small, easy-to-use setup for practicing bass with headphones, I like bass multi-effect units with headphone outputs - companies like Zoom and Boss make various examples.

  • Just wanted to clarify how these units (it kinda looks like a massive effects pedal) would be powered. Do they have an independent power source? Ideally I'd prefer to practice without my amp. – Kaito K May 18 '20 at 22:28
  • @KaitoK Most of them use a mains adapter - some can run on batteries too, but I prefer not having to shop for batteries. – topo Reinstate Monica May 18 '20 at 22:31

Do the interface and headphones sound ok if you just play back an audio track? If so then your headphones and adapter are probably fine.

Audio interfaces sometimes don’t have a lot of headphone output to begin with, most are powered just by USB. The impedance of your headphones will affect the amount of playback volume you will get through your phones as well, basically lower impedance will give you a little more volume and vice versa. You can try a different set of phones or consider getting a headphone amp but I assume you don’t want to buy more gear.

As for the bass sounding both bad and quiet, it may be for different reasons. If it’s very quiet compared to everything else see if you have a pad switch and make sure it’s not activated. Also check for a line/mic switch and make sure that’s set correctly. If the sound is distorted make sure the channel input gain is not overdriving the preamp. One other thing, if you have a “direct monitoring” switch, turn it on when playing and tracking your bass. It will sound better and with no latency. You may also need to mute the bass track in Logic so you don’t get a slap back if you do this.

I also play bass and use Logic with a basic Steinberg UR12 audio interface. Even even though the headphone volume isn’t anything to write home about I can work with it and I get a clean sound from my bass. Hope these suggestions help.

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