This device is a 50 watt dummy load with a headphone output jack. It is not an attenuator, meaning you cannot control the speaker volume with this unit. Be sure to read the Additional Important Info tab.
The headphone jack is a stereo jack wired for mono operation. The output level to the headphones is continuously adjustable. A variable line out is also provided. The load switch switches between the normal speaker for the amplifier and the internal dummy load, which is nominally 8 ohms. Most amplifiers will tolerate a 2 to 1 impedance mismatch. The headphone output jack and its volume control are always active regardless of the position of the load switch.
This item is hand-built to order, to ensure the best attention to detail is paid to its construction. We build them one at a time, on a table – not hundreds at a time on an assembly line. This allows us to reduce the margin for error and produce an overall higher-quality product. Please allow at least 7-10 business days for your order to be built and then shipped.
CABLES: for combo amps, most people like to set the unit on top of the amp. sometimes there is enough slack in the speaker wire to reach and sometimes there isn’t. these cables will make it work for you: GMC2P and GMC2E If the speaker is hardwired, then you need the PV30MH. (click the links to view them, and add to your order if you need them.)
Can I control the volume of my speaker with this unit? No, this is strictly for headphone use – it only has a switch for speaker on or off. If you want to be able to control the speaker volume too, you should get the Minimass with the headphone output option.
What kind of headphones should be used? Any headphones will work. Headphone impedance isn’t an issue.
Does the speaker need to be connected? Yes, the speaker needs to be connected because it is easy to accidentally flip the bypass switch on the HA-50. If you don’t have the speaker connected, then flipping the bypass switch results in giving the amp no load, which is dangerous for the amp and can cause catastrophic failures. And the headphone output is always active, so if you don’t have the speaker connected, then you won’t even realize it if the switch gets flipped. The speaker acts as both the safety net for the amp as well as an alarm system that the bypass switch got flipped.
Is the headphone output speaker-compensated? No, it is not. It gives you exactly what the amp is putting out.
Does is sound good, though? We have found that cleaner tones tend to sound better through headphones. when you think about what a speaker does – it moves air which your brain then interprets as sound. The speaker in the amp is far bigger than the speakers in the headphones, so there is an ingredient of air movement that is necessarily missing. the headphone output gives you exactly what the amp is producing, and the simple fact is distortion/overdrive is not that pleasant to listen to at all. It gets softened and colored by the amp’s speaker and as it travels through the air, your brain picks it up as a better sounding tone than it actually is. You can witness this by playing as your normally would, and then position your ear so it’s directly in front of the speaker (like a boombox carried on your shoulder). It doesn’t sound as good as it does when you back away and allow sound to move in the air before it gets to your ear. With headphones, you don’t get this phenomenon, so you hear exactly all the little gritty artifacts in the overdriven tone, which your brain perceives as unpleasant. So cleaner tones sound better.