A while back I decided it would be fun to learn to play the Bass. Instead of driving my loved ones insane with a practice amp, I instead got an Apogee Jam 96k so that I could use my iPhone 5 as an amp simulator with headphones plugged in.

This worked pretty well, but I soon found myself practicing without any amp and effect models engaged, effectively using the app as a headphone amp only. Somehow, this felt more “direct”.

Yesterday, I decided to measure the latency of this setup to see if that might make a difference. The latency without any models in place turned out to be 17ms, but adding a few models quickly tool this up to about 40ms.

Am I right to assume that 40ms certainly is noticeably too much latency in this case?

A latency greater than 5-7 ms (depends on age) is noticeable for a trained ear, but even for an absolutely untrained ear more than 15 ms is DEFINTELY noticeable. So take a guess where we are at 40 ms…all this iPad/iPhone stuff is a nice game, but was never designed for Pro Audio.

Well, electric guitar and bass players are supposedly used to a bit of latency because it takes time for the sound to travel from the speakers to your ear. In that way, the 17ms latency in my headphones is like standing 17 feet from an amp…

Obviously you are more an Eric Clapton than a Bootsy Collins type :wink:

@fcd72 I’ve only been playing for a few weeks now, so I still suck equally across all styles. :slight_smile: I do find Bootsy more appealing than Eric though.

Even though the 40ms latency is most certainly noticeable to me, I have to admit that for now, I can’t really tell the difference between the 17ms latency when using the iPhone without any amp models in place, and no latency at all when I use my mixer.

Regardless, I am going to get a simple portable headphone amp for practicing; no good reason to have any latency when I can’t use those amp models anyway.

I play a bit of bass as well- after using software for a while, I found the best amp simulation to be one of these into a mixer/sound card.

@elthorno Thanks for the suggestion; I’m assuming those are essentially digital amp simulations in a pedal form factor? I was planning on getting a Vox Amplug Bass for now.

It’s actually analogue, basically a preamp/dirt pedal. The Amplug may suit your needs better right now though, as there’s no dedicated headphone output on the VT. But you may find later on that you amass a collection of home made fuzzes, and need something to run them into… :wink:

@elthorno Thanks again, I ordered their VT Bass DI box which is essentially that SansAmp you linked to with additional connection options. Looks like a brilliant option for my planned use later on and will allow me to play around with my Strymon pedals right away.

No problem! The DI version looks great, you’re all set to do gigs with that. Also the VTs will easily get up to line level, so you can feed the bass into a Shruthi filter if you really want to get crazy!

Here is an interview with some interesting info on how these things work. It’s pretty much amp modeling using analog circuitry.

@elthorno I really do have to thank you again. The range of tones you can get out of this thing are frankly pretty amazing, as is how well it responds to your playing. You probably saved me from a long and winding goose chase along all kinds of diifferent digital amp sim options with this. :slight_smile:

I love my sansamp. It even makes those digital amp sims sound better!

@t2k glad you like it! It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as a digital amp modeller, but I think it does one thing really really well, and there’s a lot to be said for that.