Travel Amp / Temporary Quiet Practice

tmcq65

Gretschie
Nov 10, 2021
127
Eastern Tennessee
Entering a two-phase new-job period where the first part will include hotel stays while I interview, followed by some kind of temporary apartment living between the new job start time and when we get into a new house and my wife joins me in the new town. I'm going to need a way to play my guitar through headphones.

Right now, when I have to buy the item, I'm unemployed....so keeping cost reasonable is a concern.
After I start the new job, and before we get a permanent place (where I can have all my toys and be loud) I'm probably going to be playing quite a bit - as there will not be much else to do by myself in the new town....so something that sounds good is a concern.

Right now, I'm leaning heavily toward the Fender Mustang Micro. I like what I've seen on review videos, and I like that it has USB audio-interface capability so I can experiment with some recording while I'm idle and don't have all my normal recording gear.

Anyone been in a situation like this? What do you use?
 

capnhiho

Country Gent
Feb 16, 2013
1,396
California
Back before I retired (nearly six years ago now…), my Roland Micro Cube logged many work travel miles and hotel stays with me. Guess that’s pretty old school nowadays…..
I carried mine in a Shure DJ bag with room for a cable, headphones, etc. The MC RX version had a built-in tuner and drum/rhythm tracker.

If that’s an option you might shop for a used one.
 

ronbo

Gretschie
Feb 28, 2012
426
Broomfield, Colorado
A buddy has a Positive Grid Spark and I'm thinking of getting one for that reason! Small, light, sounds really good with some decent effects and does have a carrying bag, although he has his in a gym bag. I've seen them as low as $190 plus shipping on Reverb (carrying bag is extra) and there were 2 on my local Craigslist for $140-$150 recently. Also recently played a Yamaha THR5 modeling amp, which seemed pretty versatile and is a bit cheaper, but I didn't like the sound as much as the Spark...
 

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
16,959
lafayette in
Don't forget to include decent earphones with whatever amp you get.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of small practice amps to choose from these days.
The Positive Grid looks good. Most of them are light years ahead of a Pignose.
 

tmcq65

Gretschie
Nov 10, 2021
127
Eastern Tennessee
Good suggestions, thanks...I have checked out the Cube Micro and the Spark (and the soon to be Spark Mini).

Fortunately I have a very good pair of headphones already.

While I do like the idea of a small practice amp with speaker, my Bassbreaker already lets me play fairly quietly at home "out loud". I'm really looking for something that is headphone only, unless the extra cash for a "traditional" practice amp gives me something I truly don't have and want.

Wondering if there is a different plug-in, perhaps a pedal, or some computer software solution?
 

MrWookiee

Country Gent
Jun 17, 2020
1,302
SoCal, USA
If you only care about headphones and don't need a wide range of tones, check out the Blackstar Fly Amplug 2. I like mine, though I prefer to play through a speaker. Vox has a product that looks identical to the Amplug.
 

montereyjack66

Country Gent
Feb 29, 2012
3,245
LA-ish
All good suggestions. Might throw in a note for the Blackstar Fly 3. Can play slightly louder than conversation level. Weighs almost nothing. Sound quality is fairly impressive. On board effects are not infinite, but cover the basics. You can find 'em used for a very reasonable price. Good luck.
 

KaHOnas

Gretschie
Aug 29, 2021
299
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
I've used a Tascam GB-10 on the road with a good pair of headphones. Now, I know it's not exactly an amp but it does afford you the ability to play near silently, it can record if you get a killer riff going, and best of all it's got a small footprint.
 

BrianW

Country Gent
Oct 21, 2014
1,385
Vancouver Island
I used to carry a guitar with me at work, and space was at a premium. Travel guitar and an IK Multimedia connector from guitar to Ipad. Headphones to the Ipad and I could get into a hotel at 03:00 and play without bothering anybody.
Lots of amp/effects emulators available as well.
Fwiw, that was a number of years ago, don't know what the cost would be these days. But it was cheap enough then and the whole thing fit inside the small "crew bag" (typical roller suitcase you see aircrew pulling around at the airport).
Might be worth a look


cheers
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,633
Santa Cruz
The absolute best solution I have found, and I’ve tried a few different setups, is the Line 6 pocket Pod.

With most small practice amps you have to lug it around, keep the knobs from getting hit and carry it separate from your other luggage.

With the Pod, you put it in your suitcase with your headphones and cord.

Its tone is amazing with a huge amount of tone choices and shaping. It has an input for your mp3, phone or IPad so you can play with backing tracks.

I’ve tried the other tiny ones, the Vox, etc, the terrible tone was not worth It.

I use rechargeable batteries and always carry a second set of batteries and the small charger.

52BF6D8D-CB42-43C0-B06A-A75B2950C029.png
 

tmcq65

Gretschie
Nov 10, 2021
127
Eastern Tennessee
I've used a Tascam GB-10 on the road with a good pair of headphones. Now, I know it's not exactly an amp but it does afford you the ability to play near silently, it can record if you get a killer riff going, and best of all it's got a small footprint.
That's an intriguing option. It's a little more than the Mustang Micro, but certainly has some functionality that I don't get anywhere else.

How does your guitar sound through it? Would I be able to deal with the sound for a couple of months while I'm transitioning?
 

KaHOnas

Gretschie
Aug 29, 2021
299
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
That's an intriguing option. It's a little more than the Mustang Micro, but certainly has some functionality that I don't get anywhere else.

How does your guitar sound through it? Would I be able to deal with the sound for a couple of months while I'm transitioning?
There's a fair bit of tone shaping options. Clean, it sounds pretty good. Some of the signal modifiers feel a little cheezy. If you have a decent set of 2.5mm headphones, you'll be in good shape.

It served me well while I was on the road for years. I bought mine in 2011 and I still have/use it.
 

Bertotti

Friend of Fred
Jul 20, 2017
9,101
South Dakota
@tmcq65 do you travel with a laptop? Or a IPhone? If so I would look at an app solution and put money into a great headphone and needed device to connect your guitar to the laptop or phone. Easiest travel solution. I have done this. I have traveled with a JSX MinI colossal and a multi pedal with headphone outs and even bigger amps. My favorite travel solution is an acoustic guitar. To each his own I guess. Good luck finding your solution.
 
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tmcq65

Gretschie
Nov 10, 2021
127
Eastern Tennessee
@tmcq65 do you travel with a laptop? Or a IPhone? If so I would look at an app solution and put money into a great headphone and needed device to connect your guitar to the laptop or phone. Easiest travel solution. I have done this. I have traveled with a JSX MinI colossal and a multi pedal with headphone outs and even bigger amps. My favorite travel solution is an acoustic guitar. To each his own I guess. Good luck finding your solution.
I do travel with my laptop, I have a DAW installed, and have an audio interface, but I have not been satisfied with the sounds I get through that (unless it's my tube amp and a microphone, which kind of nullifies the silent part). I do not use an iPhone.

I would personally like to just play an acoustic, but in a hotel or apartment I would not be able to play an acoustic .... I actually think my Gretsch is even too loud, and plan to use my Strat with the headphones.

Portability, while not a primary concern, is also one of the factors in my choice.
 

Bertotti

Friend of Fred
Jul 20, 2017
9,101
South Dakota
I get the tube amp part but when I’m in a hurry and want electric an app or logic does just fine for bedroom practice. As for acoustic, I am in hotels between 75 and 100 nights a year. No one has ever complained my acoustic was to loud. I also take my mandolin on the road with me, never a problem.
You have to do what works for you! Maybe a Winfield Typhoon or Nocturne BabyBlondeshell? I have both and they can be quite friendly to the neighbors.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,506
Petaluma
An answer to the OP's actual question 😉:



I've never used one but it is well reviewed, and for a $40 tiny headphone amp, what do you expect?
 

mbkri

Country Gent
Sep 22, 2012
2,837
Chicago
I use a Yamaha THR10 at night so as to not disturb the family. It has a decent range of effects, bluetooth capability to pair with my apple music backing tracks, headphones jack of course, and it has a usb out for recording. Comes in a good padded travel case. Ticks all my boxes.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,506
Petaluma
The absolute best solution I have found, and I’ve tried a few different setups, is the Line 6 pocket Pod.

With most small practice amps you have to lug it around, keep the knobs from getting hit and carry it separate from your other luggage.

With the Pod, you put it in your suitcase with your headphones and cord.

Its tone is amazing with a huge amount of tone choices and shaping. It has an input for your mp3, phone or IPad so you can play with backing tracks.

I’ve tried the other tiny ones, the Vox, etc, the terrible tone was not worth It.

I use rechargeable batteries and always carry a second set of batteries and the small charger.

View attachment 176559
I think this would be a great option, especially if you can find one used.
 


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