In my many, many years as a bass player, I’ve realized two things. One, we as a whole are more open and willing to try things that are lighter, more powerful, different features, etc.. Two, Phil Jones Bass consistently stays on top of that curve. However, as a father, I have also realized one thing. Having small and powerful amps from PJB is awesome, but when you’re trying to practice after “bedtime,” unless you want crying babies and screaming mothers, you practice unplugged. And while there are benefits to doing just that, it’s not always ideal. Thankfully, PJB has a new option for you.
The BigHead, which was released at NAMM 2014, is Phil’s take on the headphone practice amp. The first thing you will notice is how small the BigHead actually is; it’s barely larger than an iPhone 5. Set your smartphone of choice on top of the unit and plug it in (using the included cables), plug in your headphone of choice (I would HIGHLY recommend the PJB H850 headphones, but more on those later) and bass, and you’re ready to go. The front of the BigHead has separate volume and gain knobs, plus a powerful 2-band EQ; all things you’d come to expect from something that bears the PJB name. And true to its brand, the BigHead performs beautifully and sounds amazing, letting me hear all the nuances of my instrument, whether I’m practicing to a click track or playing along to something off my playlist.
And if that was all it did, I’d honestly be very happy.
The unit itself runs off a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, or USB power (with included cables). Fully charged, the unit can run for up to 8 hours, and since it’s charged by a USB jack, any computer or appropriate cell phone charger can charge it in less than 3. But that’s not all. With the USB out, the BigHead can also function as an analog digital converter for your recording software. Meaning, if you want to lay down some tracks in ProTools at the local coffee shop, with the BigHead you can do exactly that.
Or, maybe you want an analog preamp; it provides up to 12dB of gain and better than 96dB signal to noise ratio. What’s that mean? Well, if you want to take the Headphone Out and have that feed an amp or mixer, you can do just that. If you’re at gig with a backline that you’re not familiar with, you could still get the PJB sound from the BigHead, while utilizing the available equipment. That’s a pretty sweet, hidden bonus to this little device.
The BigHead Mobile Headphone Amp from Phil Jones Bass is a tremendous addition to the line of PJB products. Available now with a street price of $249.00, this is an ideal piece of equipment that has a LOT more to offer than just the headphone amp, and is at a size that you can easily keep this in the small pocket of your gigbag.