The world of audio and musical equipment can be a tricky one to navigate at the best of times. With so many different products, conflicting opinions and confusing reviews, it’s hard to know what’s actually the best product for your needs. Luckily, the team at Mixdown have put in the legwork for you, sifting through the spec-sheets and putting the products through their paces to bring you Mixdown’s Picks - a new series of expansive, category defining product guides across our digital channels. Anything that has made the cut has rated highly across the board with the Mixdown staff, garnering a unanimous tick of approval from our staunch critics.
This time, we’re getting into what’s now a must-have for any guitarist looking to jam out or record awesome sounding tracks from their bedroom: low-wattage amplifiers.
Phil Jones Bass Bighead Pro HA-2
Distributed by: EGM Distribution | Expect to pay: $680
Key Features: A portable high performance multi-function headphone amplifier with an inbuilt digital audio interface, the Bighead Pro from Phil Jones Bass is a dynamic tool designed to create high-end results while slotting comfortably into the home studio market. The unit includes master volume, input gain, treble/bass for instrument input signal, headphone jack, line out, AUX input, and a micro USB for battery charge.
The Bighead HA-2 uses a high-resolution USB audio interface that supports PCM playback and up to 384 kHz sample rate and 24-bit resolution. Also, with sample rates of 2.822MHzand 5.644 MHz supported on DSD playback, this is a desirable choice for both musicians and engineers that desire high performance with very pure sound quality.
A headphone booster amp as well as a preamp to drive powered amplifiers, the HA-2 has both passive and active instrument inputs with a two-band EQ that is ideal for guitar and bass, yet versatile enough for use with many other instruments. It also has an internal lithium-ion rechargeable battery that is fed by its USB jack, so any computer or appropriate cell phone charger can charge it in less than three hours, but it can play for up to eight hours.
Mixdown Says: As the second model in the Bighead series, the HA-2 is a step-up model to the popular HA-1 Bighead with added technology and features. With its digital interface and lightweight size at only 290g, plus the supplied soft carry case and plug-and-play cables, this is an easily portable system for monitoring on the go. The Bighead Pro unit is a convenient whiz-kid that will easily suit any practice or D.I.Y. recording situations.
Overall: The HA-2 is a classy and easy to use headphone amp with excellent sampling capabilities, versatile input preamps and smart EQ features. The eight hour playback time is a bonus for musicians already challenged by lower-end technology, and the sound, even on mid-range headphones is crisp and clear, with excellent dynamic range. The fact that the unit will also boost powered speakers for playback is the sonic icing on the cake.
Hit up EGM Distribution for more details.