Vox Amplug, Fender Mustang Micro, iRig 2 or

I am a beginner and about to buy a new electrical guitar, thinking of a Fender Player Stratocaster. As I have to do a lot of practice at home I want to start with a headphone amp like the Vox Amplug, Fender Mustang Micro or iRig 2 or something similar. I must be able to play the music from my phone at the same time in the headphone and the rest will be extra. It would be nice to connect it sometimes to garageband or use an amplifier on the PC just to see how all this works as I am new to all this.
Do you have any suggestions for me ?

I’m sorry I can’t comment on the amp plugs etc but I’m sure others will come alongwho use them.

From a “real” amp perspective most will come with a headphone out and many with an aux in ( or even Bluetooth connection) to allow you to play tracks whilst you practice. It’s worth having a real amp just for the times you can use it as it’ll sound very different from playing through headphones.

To use GarageBand or indeed “amp” plugins on a laptop ( which in fact garage band would allow ) then you’ll need an audio interface. Many newer amps will also include this OR you can buy them as standalone items ( a popular one is the focusrite scarlet 2i2 ) . Your guitar then simply plugs into the interface and the interface connects via USB to your pc/laptop.

There are lots and lots of people here who will be able to answer all your questions.

Thanks @Rossco01 for the comment.
I am looking for this very small type of Amp while it is super portable and I can easily take it anywhere or store it. The Vox and Fender ones just sit directly on the guitar with only the headphone connected to it. This is why I do not want to go for a “real” amp yet. I will though as soon as I get better on the guitar :sunglasses:

There are a couple of options that you might find interesting,
https://www.thomann.de/gb/line6_pocket_pod.htm
And
https://www.thomann.de/gb/line6_sonic_port.htm
Both can plug into a computer, the second one into an iPhone or iPad, both have similar capabilities, the second one using an App.
Both wouldn’t be redundant when you do get an amp as they provide you with an Audio interface.

I have the fender micro and it is very good. Bluetooth in for iPhone and headphone out (sometimes I plug that into my stereo).

What it doesn’t have is any good way to interface with PC. You might see about the iRig for that, but I don’t know what it can do without the PC.

I have a Vox amplug, got mine to begin learning too, after a few months I ended up buying an amp instead (a Boss Katana). The Amplugs are not a bad option in a pinch but I wouldn’t want to use it long term.

You will chew through batteries, the sounds/effects are pretty limited, the plastic is cheap and having a dongle hanging off gets annoying.

I’d suggest the Fender micro.

I have the vox amplug and its OK. It’s older technology and it doesn’t have bluetooth.

I also have the iRig2. Its more complicated to use. It has some good features and I can plug it into my ipad to record with garageband. There are plenty of tones to be found using either the Garageband amps or something like the tone bridge app. I do have some feedback issues with it to be honest. You will need a cable. and you will need a phone/ipad with an amp app.

I don’t have the Fender Micro but it ticks a lot of boxes. The amps/effects that are built in are excellent and more than you will need as a beginner. It has bluetooth so you can stream backing tracks and lessons straight to it. It also appears to have a USB recording interface.

From the manual
“Mustang Micro can be used as an input device for digital recording software by using a USB cable to connect the USB-C jack (H) on the bottom of the unit to the USB port on the user’s Mac or PC.Note that Mustang Micro can only be used as a source for USB audio (which cannot be routed back to Mustang Micro for monitoring).No external driver is needed to connect to an Apple computer. For assistance with configuring and using USB record-ing, visit the “Connected Amps” section at https://support.fender.com.”

Here is someone using the Fender Micro to record to an ipad.

Oh, that is cool with the micro. I have one and don’t know (or didn’t remember ) that! Thanks!

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The Fender Mustang Micro is the best practice tool that I’ve used. A few reasons:

  1. I can play any time I want without disturbing my family
  2. Sound quality is nearly as good as headphones plugged into my amp.
  3. Enough different amp and effect options that I can get close to what I want without having to spend much time dialing it in.
  4. Bluetooth connectivity allows me to stream the Justin Guitar beginner app or a Metronome app or any music at all into the headphones to play along with.
  5. The overall experience of having music and my guitar sound coming through headphones allows me to really focus on getting my rhythm and dynamics just right to match the song or drum track I’m playing to.
  6. Built in battery gives more than two hours of playing with Bluetooth streaming before needing recharged. And it recharges quickly too.
  7. Super compact and self contained. I can play any where I want and move around as much as I want.
  8. I can use the USB out to plug into my iPad or PC to record.

I also have an amp that has Bluetooth, a headphone out, and usb out for recording, but the Mustang Micro is so much more convenient for headphone use that I use it 95% of the time. I love to use my amp when no one else is home and I can crank it up, but that doesn’t happen as often as I would like.

Befor I got the Mustang Micro I had. Vox30 Amplug (no Bluetooth, not rechargeable, poor sound quality) and I only used it a handful of times before I gave up on it due to poor sound. I now use my Mustang Micro several hours a week and can’t imagine learning guitar without it.

At this point in my journey (two years in) I would say that if I had to choose between my amp and the Micro, I would keep the Micro.

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That sounds really exciting what the Mustang Micro can do !
The only cons I can see is that you cannot use Garage Band to make the effects and get this back into the headphone ?
And the price ? In Europe it costs about Euro 115,00 now and there is not much availability at the moment.

The fact that the iRig 2 is not giving a good sound really puts me off so I will take it of my list.
@Rider2040 says that also the Vox Amplug is not giving a good sound. Do you have the same experience. Is the cable connectivity working well between iphone and Vox Amplug to hear the beginner song app from Justin’s ?

The amplug needs a 3.5mm (1/8 inch) aux cable to attach to a phone/table if you want to listen to music while playing. It works well, but its another thing to keep track of. The fender micro tones will be significantly better. You can’t use garageband with it.

With the the IRig2 you will need a cable to attach your guitar. It has no bulit in amp so you have to load an app like garageband, amplitube or tonebridge to get a tone. Clean tones are fine but high gain tones can be a problem (at least for me). I never got it to work as an interface with PC or MAC.

Honestly, after reading Rider2040’s post I think the Fender micro is the clear winner. With the Fender micro If you want to use the garageband/amplitube effects than my guess is you:

  1. Select the cleanest tone on the fender micro with no effects
    2.Connect the micro to the phone/tablet/pc
  2. Start garageband or ampsim of choice and select the simulated amp and effects
    4 plug your headphones into the phone/tablet/ipad and you’ll hear it.
    Perhaps Rider could confirm this.

IMHO you should spend the vast majority of your time playing guitar, not potentially getting sidetracked by fiddling with amp settings.

That’s odd. I see 1 2 3 in this edit box. Yet it shows as 1 2 2 4

If this works and the sound is good then it is a clear winner.
I know I need to play guitar at the beginning but sooner or later I will buy a nice ‘real’ amp and it should be nice if I could already see how an amp and there settings work so I am better prepared when the time will come to buy the amp.

Thanks for all these comments, really helpful

I haven’t used garage band or other amp sim software on my PC, so I don’t have any direct experience.

This video shows that you can feed the Micro into garage band and then plug headphones into the ipad to monitor the output. I’m assuming that you could add effects in garage band too, but that is not demonstrated in this video.

Fender Mustang Micro + iPad: Easiest Way to Record Guitar - YouTube

In this video you can see that they are just using the effects that are included on the Mustang Micro. There’s plenty of options there to help you explore sounds and start to get an understanding of what different effects do.

Recording With the Fender Mustang Micro: Not Just a Headphone Amp - YouTube

If you’re looking specifically for a recording interface, I am sure that there are much better options, but the Mustang Micro is an incredible practice device that will allow you to dable in recording as well.

It’s a bit more expensive than the Fender Micro, but it’s a got a whole load of high quality tones, and is a decent audio interface as well as being a pretty awesome and portable practice tool.

Cheers,

Keith

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For the past couple of years, I used an iRig2 and Amplitube as a way to connect my guitar to listen over headphones. I was also able to use Justin’s play-a-long songs in his app by switching the Amplitube setting to “Background Audio” ON. For the most part this worked OK, my biggest complaint was that it was almost impossible to get the right balance between the guitar volume and the song volume.
For Christmas this year I got the BOSS Pocket GT that @Majik posted above. I haven’t had a lot of time to play with it yet but so far, I’m very impressed. The selection and quality of sounds available is great and I love the fact that I can easily edit the presets and also add my own. Although I haven’t explored it yet, the unit is capable of playing track for various sources using Bluetooth. Finally, because the Pocket GT and my Katana 50 use both use the BOSS Tone Studio, I expect to be able to get the same sounds on either.

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The NUX Mighty Plug is another great option. It is similar to the Fender Micro in form. You can save seven presets with the newest firmware. It can act as an audio interface. It is a bit cheaper

https://www.nuxefx.com/mighty-plug.html

There are plenty of reviews on youtube.

This device has bluetooth connectivity for music streaming. It also connects to your phone via an app. The app allows you to select from 12 different amps. You also have access to a large amount of effects, modulations, delays and reverbs.

You can dial in a tone via the app then save it as a preset.

I got my hands on a Nux mighty air and connected it to a new ipad USB-C to USB-C. The mighty Air is basically the Nux plug with 2 x 2"speakers and a bass radiator (whatever that is). It connected to the ipad and I was able to use garageband with the garageband amps after modifying some settings. The tonebridge app also worked well. The mighty plug has a micro-USB connector.

OpsRes raises a very good point. If you are using an phone/ipad app like amplitube or garageband, in conjunction with Justin’s lesson or backing track, then adjusting the volume for each is a bit of a pain. In this scenario the volume slider on the phone/ipad will effect both amp volume and and lesson volume at the same time. Its better to be able to adjust the volumes separately. You will be able to adjust volume separately of you don’t use an app like garageband.

I would recommend the Fender Micro because:

  1. The Fender presets sound great.
  2. You will probably have to dial in some tones into the Nux to really get what you want.
  3. I seem to have gift for dialing in crap tones therefore I am biased towards the Fender.
  4. You should be able to use an iphone/ipad amp app if you really want to. I can’t personally vouch for it though

The Fender Micro and the Nux Mighty Plug are both great pieces of equipment. Either would be a great choice.

Note: If you have an Ibanez guitar with a deeply recessed output jack, then the Nux won’t fit but the Fender Micro will.

Thanks guys, I bought the Fender Mustang Micro and am really happy with it sofar. I am a beginner so I did not use all the functions yet. I am using it with Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones that I bought back in 2011 and always used in the airplane.
Which headphones are you using ?

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I mostly use a set of cheap old earbuds. For just guitar, you don’t really need super high frequency extension. I don’t use mood canceling because I need to hear outside things, usually.

I use a pair of Grado SR-80 headphones (not noise cancelling) that I’ve had for a long time and really like. The cable is heavy duty enough that you don’t hear any cable noise. I plug it into my Vox Mini3 G2 and only use the headphones since I live in a NYC apartment and can’t make any serious noise (unfortunately).