A practice amp is much like an in-ear hearing device, but instead of the ear inside the device, it has an amplifier that you plug into your guitar or acoustic. It is used most often by professional guitarists to amplify the sound of their playing so that they can play along with other musicians. A practice amp allows you to practice almost anywhere, as long as you have a flat surface to place the device on. Since most practice amps come with adjustable volume control, it is easy to practice wherever you find a flat surface. You do not need to worry about standing too close to your practice amp, as the speakers will usually produce enough sound for the area in which you are standing.
A practice amp is a great investment because it lets you practice any time, anywhere. They are also very portable and can even be brought along on a trip to the beach or to a friend's house for some informal guitar playing. Practice amps are designed for one thing, and that is to make sure that you get as much practice as possible out of your guitar. Therefore, practice amps should be as all-inclusive as possible. They should let you practice almost anywhere: at home, in your car, or at a coffee shop. The patents on these devices are incredibly important because they allow people to bring them virtually everywhere.
The newest generation of practice amps includes USB connectivity, which lets you use the device without needing a headphone. The benefit of this is obvious: no headphones to damage! However, the downside to this USB connectivity is that there is no direct way to connect the headphones to the amp. Instead, you need an accessory called a "headphone adapter," which connects the headphone to the USB port. This is the same problem that exists with most printers, where the headphone port needs to be attached to something like a USB hub in order to attach the speakers to the printer.
There are basically two options when looking at whether or not to invest in a USB-powered practice amp. First, you can choose between a "line output" or a "fly 3." What makes a fly 3 different from a line version is that the latter allows you to mix a guitar into your audio input, giving you a true live sound effect that some Line amplifier models simply can't reproduce.
If you have already bought a combo model, then your only decision is whether or not you want a combo model with a built-in preamp or one without. While most guitar players will agree that a built-in preamp is a necessity, some can't live without one because they only play/feel the lead role in a band with a preamp. Some live bands will also want a true bypass feature, which lets you do away with the middle man and directly process sound through the guitar amplifier without leaving the stage. Finally, some guitar amps have onboard effects like distortion, making a world of difference in a solo performance by adding a touch of authenticity. Whatever your personal preference may be, you should always take a few minutes to read the user's manual before purchasing your new practice amp.
A couple of the newest innovations in practice amps are the new iPhone headphone amp and the Blue tooth speaker. The iPhone headphone amp allows you to record and playback your practice material directly through your iPhone, eliminating the need for an additional practice amp. The Blue tooth speaker is essentially a foot pedal that you can plug in via the headphone jack on your iPhone. Rather than having to carry around a separate amplifier, you can just simply take the little blue thing out of your pocket and use it to playback your recordings.
When it comes to practice amps, there are a couple of choices that are taking the market by storm: the Orange Micro Terror and the Hijack Artist. The orange micro terror is basically a miniature guitar that looks and sounds exactly like an electric guitar. Once you connect the orange micro terror to your computer via the USB port, you will have the ability to play through a guitar simulation software program right on your computer. While it may sound like a joke, the orange micro terror actually has quite a bit of power behind it. It can be used to create your very own guitar solo or a simple accompaniment to any guitar practice track.
The Hijack Artist is a guitar amplifier that incorporates electronic pickups into its circuitry. By using electronic pickups, the Hijack Artist is capable of providing great practice amps even without a preamp. By placing a microphone between the pickup and the amplifier's power input, you will be able to hear yourself play through one of your favorite guitar tunes without actually having to purchase a separate instrument. If you are looking for a very unique practice amp, this is one great choice.