There is always the problem of practicing loud enough so that you can hear it but not so loud that you disturb everyone else. But then along came a superb mini invention that solves the problem – the Best Guitar Headphone Amps. And nowadays there are a number to choose from.
A headphone amp for a guitar or bass will let you connect it to a small device. It will then send the signal to headphones or a small built-in speaker. Convenient, compact, functional, and often very cost-effective. And with these headphone amps, you can even pick a specific genre of music for practice, as we shall see.
So, let’s have a look at what’s on offer as we find the Best Guitar Headphone Amp for you…
Top 7 Best Guitar Headphone Amps On The Market Reviews
1 VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC30 Guitar/Bass Headphone Amplifier – Best Classic Guitar Headphone Amp
If you could choose an iconic symbol to represent music what would it be? We can’t think of anything more appropriate than this. A mini Vox AC30. It was there at the start of the 60s, and it is still here today. So when you are designing a tiny little headphone amp for guitar and bass, why not make it look like an icon.
It’s 3.39 by 3.15 by 1.22 inches of pure magic and nostalgia that can fit in your pocket. When someone said let’s make it small, they meant it.
Easy to use…
This is one of those perfect little products that you come across. It is only a headphone amp, but can you think of a better present for a guitar player? I doubt it. And it is so simple to use; in fact, it might be the perfect practice accessory. Just plug it in, plug in your headphones and away you go.
In its basic sound format, they have tried to give you a standard no effects AC30 sound. Not really possible, of course, though they do quite well in creating the famous top boost sound that everyone knows. But with this little amp, the authenticity of what it sounds like is not the issue. If ever you feel slightly disappointed with the sound, then just look at it. All will be forgiven.
Move into the Shadows…
Controls are simple, and even on such a small little amp, they are easy to use – a basic Tone and Volume with a Gain. And if you really want a flashback, they have also included the classic tremolo sound. That was one of the sounds that helped to make this a legendary amp. It is there if you want to do your Hank Marvin impersonations.
But that is not all you get with this little masterpiece. There are nine effect options, including delay, chorus and reverb, and three other amp simulators. It will also handle bass as well as guitar for practice purposes.
The build is quite solid, and the jack plug folds away. Plus, it will turn itself off when it is unplugged to save battery time. And on the subject, it takes two AAA batteries. There is also an aux-in if you want to play along with Mr. Marvin, the Beatles, U2, Queen, Nirvana, or any of the other countless bands who have used AC30’s.
A brilliant little practice amp at a super price. This has got to be a contender for one of the Best Guitar Headphone Amps around.
Ok, Vox AC30 at the ready, plug in… yeah, yeah, yeah!
To find out even more, check out our in-depth review of the Vox Amplug 2 AC30.
- Great little practice amp.
- Easy to use.
- A replica of an icon.
- Some quality effects are built-in at a great price point.
- Absolutely nothing.
2 VOX AP2MT amPlug 2 Metal Guitar/Bass Headphones – Best Guitar Headphone Amp for Metal
So you love the idea of the Vox AC30, but you’re a bit more of a ‘metalhead’ than that. Well, here is the answer.
Whilst the British amps gave you that all-out rock and heavy rock sound, it was the US amps that excelled at this stuff. And this little Vox amp nails it, giving you some serious metal grind if you want it. But, it also has a clear and treble based sound should you mellow a little, but it is for the ‘other’ sound it has been specially designed and built for.
So much from such a small box…
As with the AC30 version, you get three amp modes to choose from. They will give you some varying tones and also an optional mid-cut. You also get a choice of three effects for each option – Delay, Chorus, and Reverb. It is amazing how much they have packed into this little headphone amp in terms of sound production.
As with it’s ‘normal’ AC30 brother, it is compact in size and measures just 3.39 by 3.15 by 1.22 inches and weighs just three ounces. And it also runs off of two AAA batteries, which will give you about 17 hours off use. It has an automatic power-off facility when it is unplugged.
The useful 180-degree folding plug mechanism is included. Connections are also the same as the other versions with headphone out and Aux-in. So you play along with Metallica, Pantera, or whoever you prefer.
This is another great little headphone amp that works for guitar or bass, Convenient and compact; it fits in your pocket easily with its fold-away design. So, if you like that metal sound, this is worth a listen. Set at a great price point.
Plugin and let rip, and no one will ever know!
- Compact little amp with great features.
- Portable metal in your pocket at a great price.
- At the price point, none at all.
3 VOX AP2CR amPlug 2 Classic Rock Guitar/Bass Headphone Amplifier – Best Guitar Headphone Amp for Classic Rock
Continuing the iconic Vox theme, let us fill the gap. We’ve had the traditional British AC30 sound with its boosted top end. We’ve had the grind of a metal practice amp from the US. Just one thing left to go in terms of defined sounds. The classic crunch of a 100-watt amp top made in the UK.
Vox might have been the masters of the AC30 and associated sounds. But it was Marshall, HiWatt, and Orange that blew the world’s socks off. And in some cases still do.
Learn from the masters…
With this sound, the analog circuit used is crucial. You can’t even get near the sound if that isn’t right, as most manufacturers have found. Vox has had a close look at that before producing this.
This little headphone practice amp has all the basic attributes of its cousins. The automatic power-off facility to save the battery and the 180-degree foldable jack plug for easy storage. There is the quarter-inch socket for headphones and the 3.5mm aux-in for linking up a device to play along with a playlist.
Effects and mid-boost…
Included are three different types of chorus, reverb, and delay that allows you to create exactly the sound you want. They have also included a mid-boost that can be used when you choose.
It runs on two AAA batteries and you should get 15-17 hours of battery life. This little amp will suit the guitar and bass, although there is a special Bass version with lower frequencies if you prefer.
A Marshall stack in your pocket…
But with this, you get that Heavy Rock sound that we all recognize as coming from a seriously loud stack. We can see most people plugging this in and just saying that as a guitar headphone amp, it is “All Right Now.”
Super little practice amp with a great style at an attractive price point.
- Great look at a superb price point.
- Amazing sound with some great effects.
- Once again, nothing we can see for the price point.
4 DigiTech RP360XP Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal – Most Versatile Guitar Headphone Amp
There are some people who prefer a different type of practice session. They, therefore, require a different type of sound management and turn to pedals like the DigiTech RP360XP Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal.
This is designed principally for stage use. It incorporates an enormous amount of effects and gives you the opportunity to create just about anything you wish. If you are looking for a simple plugin and play practice solution, then it’s best to turn away now.
Built for the road…
It is an effects pedal that has a tough build with its sturdy metal chassis and footswitches. It measures 13 by 15.18 by 2.63 inches and weighs 5 lbs, so this one won’t be going in your pocket for convenience.
Buried deep in its circuits are over 160 amp sounds and 28 cabinets along with 82 effects. It also has an expression pedal. There are also 60 drum patterns. You can, therefore, set up a complete practice partner using up to eight effects for each preset. There are 99 user presets and a further 99 factory installed options.
Is there anything it hasn’t got?
Other features include a built-in tuner and an aux input for connecting up a device if you choose. There are plenty of other connection options one of which is a stereo ⅛ inch headphone output.
Using the headphone output, you can mute the outside world. Just play along with any of the settings you have created. The sound quality is excellent, and it creates a live atmosphere. No worries about some late-night full-on practice using this effects pedal.
Do you need all this for a practice session?
However, it is not a cheap option for some practice, and some might be put off rehearsing this way purely by the price. As a pedalboard that includes a lot of potential, it is very good. But it does carry a lot for what some might view as ‘just’ practice.
- A lot of sound creation features included.
- Plenty of sound management options with presets to create specific practice sessions.
- An expensive way of practicing for some.
5 BOSS GT-001 Table Top Guitar Effects Processor (GT-001) – Best Sounding Guitar Headphone Amp
When you are talking about anything to do with effects, you’ll usually find Boss. This is another of the Best Guitar Headphone Amps that gives you an all bells and whistles practice scenario. This processor is a little different from some of the other similar products. If you are looking for something to give you great sounds, then Boss will do that.
This is an amplifier and an effects modeler that has the latest effects and COSM options from Boss. This gives you a virtually endless range of tones where you can set up exactly what you need. There aren’t many processors that can say that. It goes a little further by having a guitar to MIDI converter. With this, you can use your favorite virtual instruments.
Need to do some recording?
It has, of course, the facility for a decent level of recording via the USB in 24-bit/44.1kHz. It also has an XLR input, and it has patches that are specially designed for vocals and acoustic guitar.
You can set up the exact sound you’re looking for from the Boss range of built-in effects. These can be saved individually to one of the 200 slots for your use later. If you prefer, there are 200 patches that are already installed. Plus, you will have access to the online Boss Tone Studio for downloading and editing software and sounds.
Connect just about anything…
Other pedals can also be attached to the processor if you choose. Access to your parameters is quick and easy. And there is an external input to connect a drum machine or a music player with playlists.
As a practice tool, it is all-encompassing. But as with all the effects processors, it is a rather expensive way to do it. If you are just looking for practice in its basic form, then this option is probably not for you. If, however, you want to set up and practice to exact playing scenarios, then this option has many benefits.
Practice, perform, and record…
It also has many other options with regard to live work or recording. If they are also things you need then it will certainly pay its way.
An excellent processor with great Boss sounds. Not a cheap ‘just for practice’ alternative though.
- Excellent Boss effects and options.
- Good for live and studio work as well as practice.
- An expensive way of practicing if that is all you need.
6 Line 6 Pocket POD – Most Versatile Mini Guitar Headphone Pod
You might be looking at processors as good tools for in-depth practice sessions. They certainly can do that. But they are often quite bulky and difficult to carry around with you if you need to. However, if you need a portable compact processor for practice that carries effects, then you need to look closely at the Pocket POD from Line 6.
It is just 5 by 3.25 by 2.5 inches and weighs just over one pound. You can virtually put this piece of kit in your pocket and carry it around with you. Not only is it small and convenient it is absolutely packed with features. This is definitely one to be considered as one of the Best Fully Featured Guitar Headphone Amp you can buy.
Practical and versatile…
It is certainly an option that gives you a variety of uses. You can run it through your amp and make the most of its built-in features. Or you can plug in your headphones and just rip into a practice session. This means you can practice anywhere and at any time.
The system mutes when you are using the headphone socket. So you are not going to cause the neighbors to move house.
Cab sims, amp sims, effects, everything…
To get the exact sound you want there are 16 cabinets and 32 amps to choose from. Put anything with anything to get that special sound. The sound management is enhanced with sixteen different effects and varieties and sound options for each.
The usual Delay, Reverb, Chorus, etc. are all there. Plus obviously many others. There is also a built-in chromatic tuner. That can be set to silent for any on-stage tuning if necessary.
To add to the options there is a jack socket to plug in your MP3 or CD player to play along with or learn songs.
User friendly but a bit of a squeeze…
The controls are quite close together and therefore don’t give you a lot of room to play with. But they are quite user friendly and so set up is quite simple. It has dozens of presets that you can use as your base sound.
An excellent little pod that carries a lot of features at a reasonable price point.
- Packed with features and operating options.
- Excellent as a practice tool.
- Controls are a little cramped.
7 Danelectro Electric Guitar Mini Amplifier – Best Budget Guitar Headphone Amp
Now, this is another little guitar headphone amp that we really like. Certainly, one to be included as the Best Guitar Headphone Amp for Beginners. It has that vintage look that just sets it apart from the modern-day things we are usually presented with. It has the look of ‘Back to the Future’ 50s innocence that has unfortunately long gone.
This little amp is just 5.6 by 5.8 by 3.1 inches and weighs less than a pound. In fact, it is so compact you can actually hook it on to your belt using the built-in belt clip. It has some really nice vintage-like tones in its basic form. But you can also dial up some noisy grit and red hot blues if you prefer.
Let’s get into overdrive…
The controls are located on the top of the amp and are easy to use. They offer some basic tones that are really quite nice. The controls are basically a volume and a tone. But there is also a third knob that gives you varying levels of overdrive if you want it.
You can choose to use it with the built-in speaker which will generate about 10 watts or by using the headphone socket which will mute the speaker.
A superb option for anyone on a tight budget…
It is plastic made of course, with a leather carrying handle. It is quite sturdy and has a reasonable feel about it. However, it is very, very cost-effective, and that has to be borne in mind. It is not going to give you a couple of hundred dollar sound options. It is a small little practice amp, and that is it.
But we think it’s good fun and the retro look makes it a nice cheerful thing to have around.
- Great little practice amp with a retro look.
- Some decent sounds at an amazing price point.
- It will be too basic for some.
- You will get better sounds if you pay more.
Best Guitar Headphone Amps Buyer’s Guide
Practicing at home with a decent amount of volume is hardly ever an easy thing to do. You want it to sound right but unless you live in the middle of nowhere then the volume has to be controlled. Therefore, having a small practice amp you can plug into is an advantage.
And in our review, there have been some small ones.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run… oh sorry someone already said that. But there are essentially two paths. You can choose the processor option. Plenty of power in your ear, dozens and dozens of sound options. But do you really need all that for practice? You may well do, of course.
But for those that don’t, there are some very simple to operate compact little options. They tend to be designed to spring nostalgia on you. No bad thing really. Sometimes it helps to remember where all this came from.
All the sounds you need…
But even those gentle reminders of an illustrious past have some modern options to help you. They include effects and overdrive. And some are geared towards specific styles of music and genres.
In such small little boxes, there are some little technological miracles. The processor route is more expensive by far than the ‘nostalgic little box’ route but it depends on what you need. But with the ’little box,’ you can’t really go wrong money-wise.
Looking for more fantastic amplifier options?
If so, check out our reviews of the Best Mini Amp, the Best Tube Amps, the Best Solid State Amps, the Best Portable Guitar Amplifiers, the Best Low Watt Tube Amps, the Best Modeling Amps, as well as the Best Guitar Amplifiers under 200 Dollars currently on the market in 2021.
So, what are the Best Guitar Headphone Amps?
Practice is a serious business and so it should be. But it’s also fun. If you don’t enjoy practice perhaps you don’t like your instrument. We would, therefore, choose a guitar headphone amp that enhances the fun aspect. We need a few sounds on it, but we don’t need 300 effects and all the paraphernalia that goes with that.
Therefore, we are going to choose the…
We don’t need any more than that features wise. We choose this one over the Metal and the Heavy Rock versions. But only because we like the top boosted sound it tries to recreate.
We also liked the…
…for its retro vibe. But at the end of the day, the AC30 won the crown. Nothing says music quite like the AC30 to us, and here it is. And when it’s not in use, put it on the bookshelf so you can just look at it, isn’t it wonderful!