How To Amplify Electronic Drums
Easy Drum Beats
One thing that often gets missed when talking about electronic drums is the fact that they need to be amplified. Most electronic drum sets don’t have built-in speakers, meaning you’re going to have to buy an external amplifier to be able to hear all the sounds of the drum module.
While the concept of amplification is fairly easy to understand, there are a few different ways that you go do it for your electronic drum kit. We’re going to talk about them and explain all the pros and cons of each amplification method.
Different Ways to Amplify Electronic Drums:
There are four main ways of amplifying your electronic drums. Each of them is slightly unique from the other. Some are more expensive to set up while others are cheaper. Some are harder to set up while others are a bit easier.
The ways of amplifying the drums include plugging them into a large amp, running them through a mixer and PA system, connecting a set of headphones to the drum module, or connecting the drums to a small speaker.
While each of these methods proves very useful, some of them aren’t compatible with certain electronic drum sets. Also, there are specific details that we could get into with each one specifically. So, here it goes.
Table of Contents
How To Amplify Electronic drums
Connecting your Electronic Drum Set to an Amp
Connecting the drums to an amp is arguably the most popular way of amplifying an electronic drum set. All you need to do is run a cable from the module into the amp and you’ll be good to go. Using an amp alone is one of the easiest ways of doing things.
However, it depends on the amp you’re using. Some amps have a multitude of settings and allow more control over the sound while others just have a volume knob. If you have more settings to work with, you’ll be able to tweak the sounds to get the best mix possible from your drum set. Unfortunately, amps like that are typically more expensive to get.
You can tweak the sounds on the module if you have an amp that purely amplifies volume with no further settings. Most amps work for this, even guitar and bass amps. The best option would arguably be to get a dedicated electronic drum kit amp. The PM-100 from Roland is a great example.
The benefit of using an amp to amplify the sound is that the amp is the only thing needed, saving you on costs of buying extras. Finding a good deal on an amp will save you some money in the long game. Getting a fancy amp will cost a bit more.
Connecting your Electronic Drum Set to a PA System / Mixer
A PA system is when multiple instruments or sound sources can be connected through a single source called a mixer. A mixer is typically used for environments where there are multiple instruments being played. However, it’s very common for electronic drum kits to be connected through mixers.
You’ll still need an amp with a mixer as the drum kit goes through the mixer and then into the amp. The mixer acts as the middle ground and allows more tweaks to the sounds. Mixers will have knobs on them that let you edit frequencies of the drum sound, allowing you to get what is called a good mix.
A PA system is the best option to get if you have multiple electronic kits in a room or if you’re going to have other musicians play with you. All the instruments can connect to the mixer and be controlled from one place instead of all of them having their own individual amplifiers.
Mixers are also one of the ways that you can use headphones and amplify the electronic drums at the same time, which is what we’ll get into next.
Using Headphones and an Amp at the same timer
Another way of hearing your electronic drums is using headphones. Apart from simply connecting to an amp, using headphones is the easiest process out of all of them. You just need to take a set of headphones and plug them into the headphone port on the drum module.
A helpful process for many drummers is to wear headphones while amplifying the electronic drums at the same time. To do this, you either need to use a mixer or have an amp that supports having a dual output.
With a dual output amp, you just need to connect the drums as usual and then connect the headphones to the headphone port. It’s a similar process with a mixer. However, we feel the mixer is the better option as it offers more.
Plugging headphones into a mixer will allow you to hear every instrument through the headphones. If you have multiple drum kits running through the PA system, you’ll be able to hear all of them. If you have a few different instruments running through, you’ll hear them through the headphones as well.
Using headphones and an amp at the same time is especially useful in live performance scenarios.
Do I need an amplifier for electronic drums?
You don’t need an amplifier for electronic drums. You could just use a set of headphones to hear what you’re playing. Headphones are the cheapest option, and many sets of electronic drums even come with headphones for you to use.
However, you need an amplifier if you don’t want to use headphones and if you want the sound of the drums to be heard by more than just yourself. Using an amp is the only way to get the e-drums to replicate the atmosphere that acoustic drums produce.
If you want the drums to be loud, you need to use an amplifier. The best way to get them as loud as possible is to use a mixer as well as an amp. The mixer gives you more control, allowing you to push the volume.
Can a guitar amp be used for electronic drums?
Any amp can be used to amplify electronic drums. As long as you can plug the cable from the drums to the amp, it’ll work. However, there are certain types of amps that are better suited to the sounds from electronic drums.
The best amp to use would be a dedicated e-drum amp. These amps are designed for electronic kits, so they produce the optimal frequency ranges. The next best amp to use would be a bass amp. This is because the bass amp has strong bass frequencies, which will bring out the best sound from the bass drum of the electronic kit.
As guitar amps don’t have deep bass frequencies like bass amps do, they’re not as optimal for electronic drums. However, they’re still perfectly usable. Most people won’t even hear the difference with untrained ears. So, yes, you can use a guitar amp!
Can I use speakers for electronic drums?
It depends if the speakers have an audio port that fits a big jack connector. If they only fit a small aux cable, they won’t be compatible with the electronic drums. If they do, you’re golden.
If the speakers are very powerful, you may end up getting a great sound that can compete with an amplifier. If the speakers aren’t powerful, the drums may end up sounding quite weak and it would be better to just use headphones to get a high-quality drum sound.
Speakers aren’t the most optimal choice for amplifying electronic drums. We’d suggest investing in a dedicated amplifier instead.
How to Connect E-Drums to an Amp?
Every drum module will have an audio port somewhere on it. You just need to connect an audio cable to that port and to the amp. Once you’ve done that, you should be able to hear the drum sounds when the amp is turned on.
Some amps have mixing options, so you can fiddle around with those to get the best drum sound possible. If the amp doesn’t have mixing options, you can perhaps try tweaking the sound directly from the drum module.
The moral of the story is that it’s really easy to connect electronic drums to an amp. You just need to plug them in.
If you’re considering buying a set of electronic drums, don’t forget to factor in an amp or set of headphones with the purchase. If you don’t have something to amplify the drums, you’re going to have no way of hearing them.
You can find some reasonably priced amps on the market. I wouldn’t suggest getting an expensive one and sacrificing some costs on the electronic kit. It’s better to get the best electronic kit that you possibly can and then find a good deal on an amp that will work well.
Most amps sound pretty good, so you should look for one that has a reputation for being durable. You’re going to be using it every time you play the drums, so make sure that it will last long.