Electronic drum sets are more popular than ever before. Both experienced drummers and beginners are turning to these as a way to control volume so it isn’t too loud, and for their ease of use and recording. There are so many advantages to using electronic drums, one being that they can plug into numerous audio devices. You can listen to your e-drums through headphones but a lot of the time we need to amplify them so that others can hear, for that we use the best electronic drum amplifiers, as we’ve reviewed in this article.
Full drum amplifier reviews and details can be found below, but if you wish to jump straight to our recommended model, you can head here to look at the features and price of the ddrum DA50.
Why Use a Drum Amp?
If you have an electronic drum kit, you may already be playing through headphones. Whilst this is fine for short bursts, prolonged playing and loud volumes can lead to complications such as hearing loss and tinnitus.
Another big benefit of amplifying your drums is that others can hear, and you can hear others! Even if your drums are being run straight into a mixing desk, you may want to set up an amplifier as a drum monitor. Alternatively, you may need an amp to ensure that your bandmates can hear you when you are practicing, or that you can hear other things going on around you! If you have headphones in, you won’t be able to play along with bandmates or a backing track.
What to Look For in a Drum Amp
Drum amplifiers do add the option of effects and more, but generally, we want the audio to be pretty clean. In all, the best amp for electric drums will be clean and clear rather than have lots of effects. You may wish to add a touch of compression or EQ but that is probably it.
In an ideal world, you probably want your amp to have the following features:
- Power. A little five-watt amp probably isn’t going to cut the mustard here. A 50W or even 100W is far more like what we need to project the sound of your kit. In terms of power, it is better to have and not need, than need and not have. You don’t have to have your drum kit amplifier maxed out the whole time.
- Clarity and Tone. Arguably the most important thing. A cheap drum amp may not be up to scratch and could make your drumming sound like it is coming from underwater or being played over the phone. The best amplifiers offer a clear, rounded frequency response.
- Value for Money. Price is always a consideration, drumming isn’t a cheap hobby so if you can get value for money we recommend doing so.
- Weight. One of the benefits of an electronic drum set is the fact that it is easily portable. Chain it to a heavy amp and suddenly this isn’t the case. Portable, lightweight amps are preferable where possible, especially if you’re wanting to use them as monitors.
Amps for Electronic Drum Kits
Time for the reviews. We’ve picked out the top models in terms of quality and affordability along with short reviews below.
ddrum DDA50 50W Electronic Percussion Amp
There aren’t a huge amount of amps specifically made for drums, but the ddrum DDA50 is exactly that. This gives it the advantage of having been made with drum frequencies and playing styles in mind, which really shines through in the clarity of the sound.
The inputs and outputs are impressive, so you can plug multiple things into this as well as have the audio signal running to the desk or other source of your choice. Multiple 1/4″ inputs, XLR line output, an input for MP3 players (great for playing along with your favoirite songs) and even a headphone output.
A 10-inch driver provides a nifty 50 watts of power, and with a three-band EQ you can even alter the sound to your preference or to suit the space you’re playing in. For more information on using EQ on your electronic drums, check out this video.
As well as the great EQ and all of this amps other excellent features, this amplifier weighs in at just 15 lbs, making it super portable and great for taking with you to practices and gigs.
Roland Cube Monitor / PA
Pretty much every ‘best-of’ list when it comes to amplifiers will include a Roland amp, and this is probably the best Roland drum amplifier we’ve used, especially for practice. In spite of only having 30 watts of power, this amp has a huge amount of clarity.
This is described by the manufacturers as being ultra-versatile, which I would have to agree with. Three inputs means you can rum multiple instruments and audio sources to the amp, hence it being advertised as a “mini PA system” as well as drum amplifier. Is this the best way to amplify electronic drums? Perhaps not if you want them to be on their own, but if you are at band practice and have vocals and a guitar to plug in too, or want to plug in a metronome or another audio source to play along to, this could be the answer for you.
Roland has the added benefit of the fact that they make electronic drum sets, so the brand know what they are doing when it comes to amplification for their own instruments!
Behringer Ultratone KT 108 – The Best Cheap Drum Amp?
Behringer is a brand which comes in for a lot of criticism in some audio reviews. A lot of engineers don’t like the brand, which specializes in the more affordable end of music equipment. I find their products to be hit and miss, with some offering great value, and some falling short.
The KT 108 may not be the most amazing amp you’ll ever use, but it is designed with clarity in mind. Often used for keyboards, it doesn’t add much to the sound like a blues amplifier or guitar amp from Orange amps might. It is also pretty powerful and can handle small venues and practice rooms with ease.
It probably won’t win any awards, but if you’re a beginner or are looking for a cheap option, the Behringer KT108 shouldn’t be ignored.
Forced to pick the best, the ddrum probably wins the race for us due to its clever design which definitely accounts for drummers and their needs. Of course, which amp to use for your electronic drums is a subjective choice and depends how loud and high quality you need it to be. There is no point spending thousands on a drum set only for it to be amplified by a cheap, low-quality amplifier.
If you have any experience with the products above or have another drum amp to recommend, make sure you leave us a comment or get in touch!