Customer Reviews

28
4.4 out of 5 stars
Behringer MA400 Monitor Headphone Amplifier
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2014
This unit allows you to pass through a microphone XLR connection (on its way to an amp or mixing desk) and mix this with a monitor feed from the desk (via a quarter inch jack socket). The mixed signal is passed to the headphone output so that the user can select their personal mix in order to monitor the things that matter to them - or just get more of themselves in their headphone mix. You don't need to explain to a musician or singer all the possible uses that this has. Potentially it's a really useful device.

It has some really nice features for which the designers should get some credit:
- it has both sizes of headphone socket - though you can only use one at a time (according to the instructions - I've only used one)
- it has a mono/stereo switch - so you should hear things in both ears regardless of your setup.
- it has a ground lift in case you need to cure a ground problem.
- it allows you to adjust the mix input and mic level independently - these only affect the level that goes in to your headphones.

All in all a well thought-out and useful device at a very good price. What's not to like?

Well, there is/was an issue with phantom power. First, some people seem confused about this. Behringer never claimed that this unit could be powered by phantom power - the unit comes with a 12v mains adapter to serve its own power needs. The Behringer website claimed that the mic output [to the mixer or mic preamp] would pass phantom power through the device to the mic, provided the unit was plugged in to a mixer that provides phantom power. The problem, according to other reviews, is that it doesn't pass through the phantom power.

I did a lot of research on this problem and the truth seems to be that the earlier versions of this device were either wrongly designed or used the wrong components during manufacture. This gets a bit technical so bear with me. The problem is that two of the internal capacitors should have been 'non-polar' types (sometimes called bi-polar) rather than regular polarised capacitors. If you replace the relevant capacitors with the correct type then the unit will pass through phantom power properly. If you have a unit that doesn't properly pass phantom power, and you're confident of your soldering skills, then you can replace the capacitors marked C5 & C6 with equivalent non-polar types - they're 10uF 50v jobs. You obviously do this entirely at your own risk.

Having said all that...I've just bought one of these and it has the correct capacitors already installed! So, if you have a recent version of this unit then it should pass through phantom power correctly - mine does. Mine has a date code of 1311 on the back [possibly meaning 11th week of 2013?]. So it looks like Behringer has sorted out the problem with phantom power.

I'm very happy with the unit. I actually use it for a headphone feed in a vocal booth and it does the job well. Hopefully this clarifies the phantom power issue for everyone.

Bottom line is: earlier units didn't properly pass phantom power, but current units seem to be OK.

Edit: Just a comment to address some other reviewers who state that this isn't an amplifier. It most definitely IS an amplifier, it's not simply a passive device. If you take it apart (which I don't recommend) then you'll see that the 12v power input actually feeds two dual op-amp ICs on the main circuit board - that's an amplifier! However, the level of amplification is good but not huge. If you're in a studio, or you want a bit of extra juice from your laptop output then this is probably going to be OK. If you're a DJ in a very loud club, it may not be sufficient - in which case you may also need to look at getting better hearing protection...

Edit 2: Another review elsewhere on web suggests that there's a slight drop in phantom power as it passes through. I've just measured the phantom power on mine and it gets passed through with no drop at all (measured to the nearest 0.1v). Looking at the circuit, there's no reason for any phantom power to be consumed by it.

Edit 3: In a recording setup you may be worried about passing a signal from a really good mic through such a cheap piece of kit. I know I was. I've now done a careful noise and signal comparison - it doesn't seem to affect the mic signal to any measurable extent. Looking at the circuit, there's no reason why it should, but it's nice to know.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2014
I use a TC-Helicon vocal effect processor when singing with my band, and I wanted a way to take a headphone feed from this and combine it with an XLR monitor feed from our mixing desk.

I use a -20dB attenuator to drop the monitor feed from line level to something a little closer to mic level, send this to the "Mic Input" on the MA400 and send the "Mic Output" to the other singer for their monitor feed. I then connect the TC-Helicon stereo headphone output to the "Monitor Input" on the MA400. This allows me to control "more me" in my earphones, over and above the standard monitor mix.

I opened up the MA400 and the build quality inspires confidence that this unit will last, but even if it does fail, the price (£18.99) means that I can put it in the same category as my gig consumables (batteries, gaffa tape etc.).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2011
After scoping out some other units I decided to buy this even with the negative reviews, as the band I'm in has had no problems with Behringer gear before.
After some experimenting with the unit, I discovered that the best way to use it is to switch it directly to mono - otherwise if you use a mono guitar lead like I do all you'll get is sound from one earphone. Another tip is not to use the monitor output from you desk/amp, just go straight for a direct signal from the PA (I run my lead straight from the back of a spare jack port on the back of the sub).
From a drummers point of view, this is a great tool. To protect my hearing I usually use earplugs, but these can muddy the sounds and block important things such as the vocals. With the headphone amp however, I use some sound isolating earbud phones and control the volume directly. I also use the XLR input for the mic with a short XLR lead attached to a mic and pointed outwards so I can hear some clarity from the rest of the band. My hearing is protected and I can still understand everything that is going on!

The build quality is robust and the instructions are clear.

It loses one star however as professional musicians and/or those that use powered mics will not be able to use this due to the imcompatibility with phantom power.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2011
I have used this for about six gigs now, and for the price I have no complaints at all. The Mic input might not work with a phantom powered mic, but the fact it has a Mic Input and a Mic Thru is a bonus! If you're looking for a basic preamp with a good amount of headroom this is very reasonable, for similar features you could easily spend double.

As already stated in another review, I found taking a monitor out from a desk/pod to be the best approach, as you can adjust each vocal/instrument monitor mix independently. Also, I've found the mono/stereo function to work. But this is entirely dependent on whether your desk/pod is stereo and you use a stereo lead. As a drummer, I personally find having the mix in mono is preferable especially if you have two guitars in a band.

Conclusion: For the money and the features it's a very small price to pay!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2014
I sing in a covers rock/pop band as well as sing jazz, swing and show tunes as a soloist event singer, using pro backing tracks.
The problem I was experiencing was that in the band, the drummer was so loud, I couldn't hear myself even with a 300watt wedge monitor under my nose, and with the solo stuff, I need to sing as background and couldn't always be near my PA system to hear well and the monitor was too heavy to lug around. I opted for in ear monitors, but my mixing desk has pre-amps for mic only, so my in ears needed a boost.
This bit of kit is excellent, gives you complete control because of the separate volume knobs for mix and mic only, so if you want 'more me', you can have it. The only down side is that there are a lot of cables in and out, which if you are a presentation neat freak like me, can be messy and difficult to contain and hide, but the box itself is lightweight, small and compact.
I would recommend this product if you are looking for a little more control and flexibility over your personal reception of sound, especially if this settles your confidence when performing.
The item arrived promptly, was well packaged and the manual is easy peasey to understand (I'm a non technical girlie - even I coped !)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2013
As a drummer who uses IEM's for live performance, it greatly assists me in managing my own volume levels. Study little piece of kit which certainly could take a knock or two.
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on 5 March 2015
Ok Drummers! Read this, this unit has changed my life.
I have had all sorts of monitors but came across this £18 wow! I have a mic from my bass drum going into this then out to the PA I then have a line I. From the the PA what I get is a complete mix through my headphones I use the ones I got with my I phone but bought an extension cable just to give more room to move. They work perfectly I get the mix from the PA which I have a volume control for and I get my kick drum which I can also control from that's volume. Live it is amazing I have a perfect mix of everything in my ears the headphones dull the rest of the drums and cymbals but it makes you play better IMO and when the gig has finished no ringing ears it's amazing and hearing the kick drum cut through the mix so well makes you play tighter. Don't mess around buy it it's £18 you get the power control all you need is a jack for the mixer and 2 mic leads our keyboard player has one and does the same with his vocals so he can control the volume of his singing also having a perfect mix of what's going out front.
EPIC!
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on 28 August 2014
Magic! I always struggled with hearing my dulcet tones on stage, over the racket of heavy guitars, bass and drums. Those days are now gone.

With in-ear buds, I just connect a (long) headphone extension cable, and take a monitor mix from the desk. I can adjust the monitor mix up or down, and my own voice up or down, without affecting anything out front. It's great for "more me", and keeping stage levels from blowing my ears off. The hardest bit is cable management lol.

The MA400 is solid and seems reliable so far. It could benefit from rubber feet, but no big deal. I can also confirm it does pass power through to my condenser mic (phantom power). Can't recommend highly enough. Dunno why I didn't get one sooner.
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on 23 September 2014
Just sick of sound engineers that think my wireless in-ears are gonna be a radio mike, then they mess me level up, or the mix up, so I end up with nothing but guitar.

Using it in line - with no monitor in, it gives a 40db amplification, this is more than enough to split the 1/4 stereo out jack between 2 mono jack inputs on my in-ears transmitter. More than enough of 'me' for a change. Have only turned up to about 6.

If I get a co-operative and less flustered engineer, then I can put some monitor in too, using a f/xlr to stereo 1/4 jack adaptor.

Oh - I Velcro it to the top of me in-ears, and have had no need for the 'ground' button, or interference with the transmission.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2014
Has more gain than the version with 4 headphones which is good for volume, but I find I get some minor distortion at higher volumes from the monitor input.
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