Playing guitar to music via headphones


I’d like to play guitar to some background music but sound for both must play via headphones. I only get a chance to do this at night when some family members are already asleep.

Any idea how to set something like this up?


Acoustic or electric guitar? ;)


Line 6 Sonic Port Channel Audio Interface

I use this with my iPad. Full virtual amp controls and plays your iPad/iPhone audio on the same output.


Are you okay with buying equipment to make this work? If so, how much money?

The “head” part of an amp has a headphones output. That’s how I do it.


I don’t know, maybe up to a couple hundred £ but preferably less.


I think you can buy a cheap amp with that budget!


Dumb question - is this only iOS compatible? No PCs or androids?


Wait, I already have a cheap amp.

Can I just connect an android with something like this along with the guitar and it will work?


Works with android too. Does not work with a PC. For that you want a PC guitar interface. Similar but that one I linked is designed for on the go with tablets and phones.


There are a number of audio companies that make good portable audio interfaces that (when combined with a software amp sim on PC/Mac/iOS/Android ) will do what you want.

The Line6 already mentioned, Apogee One / Duet versions, iK Multimedia iRig versions.

But also consider that the software side will cost something unless you already have or are ok with the limited included amps and effects.

A different route is to go with an amp that has bluetooth audio inputs and headphone out & will let you stream the background audio & output the complete mix. A bunch of companies make those.



A little more sophisticated, but I run my guitars (electric) through an old Line 6 Pod XT, which is a decent amp modeler, then output the signal (stereo) to two channels of a Fostex MR-8 digital recorder. The Fostex can record 4 channels at a time, so I output a CD player to the other two channels, plug in a good set of headphones (Sennheiser 280 HD), and the result is pure heaven, blending CD music with my own guitar playing. The Line 6 has a bunch of different amps and effects, and after ten years, I’ve never felt the need to upgrade.

Granted, all of this is pretty old technology (CD’s, POD XT, MR-8) but I imagine I could duplicate this rig with modern gear for less than I paid for all of that. When it comes to equipment, I find spending more for decent gear is so worth it. My new Les Paul sounds miles better than my old ESP LTD, that it has increased my skills by years.


Sure looks like it!


Ive used the backing band function in Rocksmith along with headphones. Google tells me you can play mp3s too using console version, so guess you can on PC but ive not tried.


I used to stick my bass or guitar straight into the “mic” port of my sound-card and just play along. You need to set the microphone port as “always play to output” or whatever. It required no amp or external equipment what-so-ever, and people were always surprised I was doing it.

It worked fine, though there was a delay and it was a bit quiet, even with the ‘mic boost’ option on, but on Windows I solved the lag problem with ASIO drivers and just turned down the volume on the music a little bit.


I do this quite a bit.

I have found the Rocksmith guitar cable to be the least fiddly of the interfaces I have used, and the cheapest. I use Amplitube as my amp, and bought a handful of amps and pedals over the years.

I then just use iTunes or whatever streaming service you want to queue up the song. You will have to fiddle with volume settings in the two apps a little bit.


Yeah, it works. I wonder if I can do the same with the laptop with a USB to 3.5mm cable.

I thought about doing that but the RS cable won’t fit in my guitar socket. It did fit my previous guitar.

The edge of the RS jack (black) is slightly longer than the ‘normal’ jack.


Weird. My '62 reissue has a finicky jack and doesn’t mind the rocksmith.

I have also had decent luck with the iRig USB adapter.


Now that I learned that the 2nd jack on the amp was an input, I just used a simple 3.5mm cable to connect the laptop’s sound output and it works great.