Paired with headphones and a bass, this little black box can create a freeing experience.
Clip 1: Bass at 1 o’clock, mids at 11 o’clock, highs at 1 o’clock.
Compact and light with nice-sounding preamp. Handy recording interface. Eight hours of playing time per charge.
Pricey if only using as a headphone amp.
Ashdown Tone Pocket
Ease of Use:
Headphone amps are nothing new, but they continue to get smaller and more feature rich. The svelte and stealthy Ashdown Tone Pocket is no exception. It’s about an inch tall with an approximately 4" x 4" footprint and weighs all of a half-pound, making it right at home in a guitar-case compartment, gig bag, or under your pillow.
The Tone Pocket’s command center is its 3-band EQ: bass, mid, and treble dials with +/- 15 dB on each band. A volume dial rounds out the control quartet. After the short time it took to put headphones on and plug in my bass, I was gifted with transparent and distortion-free tone with plenty of volume and headroom, and no worries about upsetting a family member or neighbor. A little bump on the bass and treble controls was all I needed to set and forget.
Around back there are 10V and 12V power-supply options, a balanced line out, and a USB port, which functions as a third power-supply option and a link to your DAW of choice. It was a breeze setting up the Tone Pocket as an interface for recording a couple sound clips. More importantly, I didn’t experience any latency issues to speak of. The Tone Pocket’s price tag isn’t exactly pocket change, but when inspiration strikes, you have quick and easy (and good) amplified sound at the ready.
Test gear: Fender Precision, Orange O Bass, Monster Inspiration headphones