Let’s answer your main question — what’s the best amp for electronic drums? It’s the Roland Drum Monitor (PM-200). It ticks all the right boxes for every drummer since it has 180 watts of power and features a 12-inch speaker while being robust.
Now the best of the best is out of the way, the other best amps for electronic drums are:
- Roland Drum Monitor (PM-200)
- Alesis Strike Amp
- Kat Percussion 50-Watt Amp
- Fender Frontman 10G
- Peavey KB5
- Powerwerks 50-Watt Personal PA Monitor
Roland is a company known for making quality instruments and other musical necessities, so you know it’s a reputable brand.
This amp has an input specifically for drums, plus a 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch input for any electronic percussion pads, music players, and smartphones.
It’s a premium amp, equipped with 180 watts of power across its 12-inch speaker and horn tweeter. The horn tweeter creates high frequencies from 2,000 to 20,000 hertz at the top of the human hearing range.
The amp’s angled design ensures you hear the pitches—highest highs and lowest lows, even when seated. It’ll shoot the sound right up at you. The sound can also reach tall ceilings in a performance venue, to then fall, gracing the willing ears of your audience.
It’s easy to interface with devices on stage or at home, so you have absolute mastery over what your audience hears. You control your sound, whatever it may be. The amp has an integrated mixer with individual volume controls and a global two-band EQ to deliver rich and vivid sound at the twist of a knob.
If you thought 180 watts was a lot of power, think again. The Alesis amp boasts 2,000. It’ll pack a punch, and possibly shake down the building. It can deliver the entire frequency range a human can handle, plus, it boasts the “kick” of the kick drum with its 12-inch low-frequency drivers. This allows more room for the darker tones to resonate out through.
You can hook this powerful amp up via an XLR or a 1/4-inch line-in, which has volume controls. A 1/8-inch line-in would be nice, too, but you can’t have everything. This is what makes this amp the best budget, rather than best overall. Sure, there’s more power, but that doesn’t beat versatility.
Luckily, what it lacks in a 1/8-inch input, it makes up for in its purpose for drum-use. Of course, you can use it with other instruments, too, but everyone loves a drummer.
Another aspect that makes up for the lack of 1/8-inch output is the EQ switch, which allows you to control your sound. As well as that switch, take your musical creation a step further by blocking out unwanted noise with the ground-lift switch, unique to this amp in the lineup. Keep your sound clean, and deliver the tone you want, every time.
If you like an angled amp but don’t have the means for 180 watts, the KAT Percussion 50-watt amp makes for a suitable fit. It’s specially tuned for electronic drums, with a three-band EQ to fine-tune your kit’s sound.
The KAT amp boasts three 1/4-inch inputs so you can blast as many instruments through it as you like. There’s also a 1/8-inch input for your external music players or headphones. So practice quietly, or take advantage of two volume knobs and start the performance.
It shouldn’t be too hard to get this amp from practice to performance, either. It has a heavy weight of 37.2 pounds, so you know it’s durable and built to last while remaining sturdy to the ground. However, it’s still compact and portable, so it won’t take up all your trunk space or make your arms fall off. Leave those jobs to the drums.
The Fender Frontman is a great budget amp for any instrument, although it’s originally designed for guitars. It features gain, overdrive, select switch, volume, treble, and bass. Consequently, you can truly amplify the kick drum and keep the snare subtle, or vice versa.
There’s only one 1/4-inch instrument input, but there’s an EQ so you can make it sound however you like. On top of that, there are two 1/8-inch inputs. One is for headphones, and the other is to jam along to music on a smartphone, tablet, CD player, you name it. If it fits, you jam.
This amp will fit anywhere! It’s tiny and only weighs 8.5 pounds. It may not be one to rock out with, but it’s perfect for practice. Keep it in the corner of the room, on the window ledge, or chilling beside the TV — easily accessible whenever you feel a song coming on.
With the Fender Frontman safe at home, you can keep your heftier amp closer to your regular venue — another one of the amps we’ve reviewed, perhaps? If it’s in your budget, why not get a big and a small amp to cut out the need for transport if you can?
The Fender amp is compatible with violins, keyboards, karaoke, guitar, and bass, so it’s well-prepared for electronic drums, too. Yes, it’s still only an amp suited to practice with your instruments, but it’s a damn good one for it!
It’s not big or strong enough for performance, and too much of a one-off to be an accurate representation of its entire amp family (guitar and bass amps) for compatibility with drums. But if tiny is your thing and practice is your need, go for it with this one.
The Peavey KB5 comes in a variety of different watts, with the 100-watt amp being the highest. It’s a keyboard amp, but if we learned anything from our last contender, it’s that you shouldn’t judge an amp by its target instrument.
20, 50, 60, 75, or 100 watts of power is here on wheels with a handle for you to pull it along. You receive a two-band EQ per channel, headphone use, and 17 highly specific 1/4-inch inputs. This amp also includes three spots for XLR cables — one in, two out.
Your whole band could connect to this singular amp and bathe in the music. On top of that, everything is clearly marked on the back, so there’s no confusion. Just grab your reading glasses — or reading sunglasses, because you’re a cool drummer — and take a peek.
Rather than just being an amp set for use with multiple instruments at once, it’s a whole PA system in a solitary package. With this amp, you won’t need any extras to put on an amazing sounding show.
This little Powerwerks amp is a great one for practice. It’s compact, but its sound is big! You may even be able to use it for performances in smaller venues, or impromptu jam sessions.
It has a 1/4-inch output, along with lines in and out for XLR cables. One may be labeled mic, but who wants to follow the rules? If you do, rename your drums “Mic” to give them some character, plug in, and play.
At 10.5 pounds, this is an ideal option for traveling. It’s light and small, but its power outreaches its size. Sure, it’s not something to use on a huge stage, but do you really want to cart your leading performance amp in and out of your house all the time?
This amp is efficient and gets the job done effectively. It could be a great starter-amp or an old-reliable in-a-pinch friend.
Things to Look for in Electronic Drum Amps
Most amps will have a set series of features they all share. They need to bring exceptional sound quality to breathe your music to life. As well as that, there are a few things to consider before buying an amp:
- The intent.
- Input channels.
Some amps are specifically designed for drums. For example, Roland’s amp works with its range of V-Drums, and it provides headphones for the same purpose.
Other amps are purposeful with any electronic percussion instrument that isn’t brand-specific. Then, there are those made for guitar, keyboard, and generic use.
Keyboard amps are the most common alternative when there aren’t enough high-quality drum amps to be found. They can handle large frequency ranges, as keyboards tend to have high highs and low lows to handle, too.
Generic Amps/PA Systems
An amp that’s designed to boost the sound, perhaps with an EQ feature too, should work well with drums. A portable PA system has all the channels and mixers you need; perfect to use for the whole band. The Powerwerks amp is a good example of this.
A generic amp — basically a PA speaker — will work but will be managing all the sound through a single channel. There won’t be any separate volume knobs or fancy features on one of those. However, they’re versatile and usually high-powered. The Powerwerks model, for example, is more of a generic or PA system type of amp that can still work some magic.
Most of the time, we don’t recommend using a guitar amp with your electronic drums. They may color the sound rather than reproduce it authentically. It’s their emphasis on the lower and higher frequencies that does it.
However, the Fender Frontman amp has proven itself faithful and versatile. This amp is the exception, not the rule, though — take heed when it comes to using any other guitar amp with electronic drums.
This is the watts we’ve mentioned throughout the article. The higher the watts, the more powerful the amp is, yes? Well, yes and no.
A watt is a unit of power, so the maximum wattage is the maximum amount of work that your amp is capable of. The higher the watts, the more work that’s being done inside it. More work allows it to produce louder, stronger sounds and still produce a clear tone.
So How Much Power Is Needed?
That’s up to you. If you want the loudest amp, you’ll probably want the highest wattage. Although, again, this isn’t the rule since different scenarios bring about different needs.
Take a look at your situation, then decide the ideal watts you need. But remember — features and connections are more important than power in many cases. Do you really want a 200-watt amp with no EQ and only one XLR input? What if a bandmate’s amp drops out, and you need to share? And how will you play with your sound with no EQ?
Here are a few scenarios where you should think about specific wattage:
If you’re with a band and have an entire PA system, you don’t need a powerful amp as much. If this amp is in place of a PA system, you’ll need a powerful amp capable of delivering the full sound to the audience.
When performing at medium-sized venues, fancy PA systems usually come into play. Without one, it’s best to have the power of 200 watts and up in an amp here, so you can hear your sound to its full potential.
A band that’s just starting and doesn’t have a PA system will benefit from having a reliable, powerful amp or two.
When you have a PA system, only the people on stage need to hear the amp while the PA system delivers the full sound to the audience.
Or, if you’re a soloist playing along to pre-recorded music, you may need a fancy PA system too. You want your drums to be louder than the rest of the song because you’re the live performer, not the backing track. You still need the amp to hear yourself, though.
In both of these scenarios, a 50 to 100-watt amp should do you just fine. Balanced, medium power for needs that are in between.
You don’t need a hugely powerful amp when practicing, either. Any old one will do. You’re not trying to blow anyone away, just listening to yourself play.
The Fender Frontman, which has 10 watts of power, will do for practice. But if you’d prefer to crank it up with a 100-watt amp, go for it. The sky and ground are the limits in a practice session, especially when alone and/or in an enclosed space.
An amp offering versatility is always a bonus. Look for features such as using your drums and microphone through one amp, or two musicians using one amp. If you opt for the latter, make sure each input has a separate volume knob.
It’s great for an amp to have at least one of each common input — the XLR, 1/4-inch, and 1/8-inch. This way, you’re always covered, no matter what connection you need to break out, headphones included.
The amp with the most channels is Peavey’s, though it’s somewhat advanced. There are lots of L/R inputs for a player or band to utilize. This is a wonderful asset if you’re a total pro with years of amp and PA experience.
However, if you want an amp with plenty of input that won’t give a basic or beginner amp user a headache, KAT Percussion’s amp with four inputs is an excellent option. Plug in multiple instruments at once, and get playing.
EQ stands for “equalizer.” It allows you to adjust the volume level of individual frequencies. For example, boosting the bass to rumble the roof or making the treble high to give your drums a snappy sound.
If you like your sound a certain way — bass-heavy being, as an example — then an amp with EQ is a great option.
Of course, an amp with a separate EQ knob for each XLR or 1/4-inch input is even better. Imagine the rich, varying tones coming out of one little amp. Very impressive and highly desirable.
All but one of these products have an EQ, but KAT Percussion’s EQ is three-band, which is the best of this group. If you’re picking an amp based on what the EQ has to offer, this is your pick.
Two-Band VS. Three-Band EQ
In the simplest terms, three-band EQ lets you reduce/increase the treble, bass, and mid-tones. Two-band EQ eliminates this middle ground and gives you control of the treble and bass.
If you’re not too concerned with the mid-tones in your sound, any two-band EQ will do. Roland’s amp is a stunning choice for two-band EQ. You get to control the overall treble and bass of any instrument plugged into the amp — not individually, though.
Are you planning to haul the same amp back and forth from your home to the venue? Or would you rather keep it in your car for when you need it? Carrying it from backstage to onstage, and only that, is even more convenient.
The heavier the amp is, the less you’ll want to haul it around, right? So if you’re going to be dragging it to multiple locations, it’s best to have a handle or wheels. Or ideally, a lightweight amp.
There are some insanely hefty ones reviewed above, such as the Peavey’s immense 87 pounds. This is an amp designed to stay put!
A light amp between 10 and 20 pounds, like Fender’s, would suffice around the house and for practicing in different homes and venues. A chunky amp between 20 and 50 pounds, like KAT Percussion’s, is still mobile, but you may prefer to leave it in one place.
The Best Amplifier for Electronic Drums
Roland’s PM-200 Drum Monitor has got to be the best amp for electronic drums if you have a decent budget. It has all the inputs and features you’ll desire, and it’s a hefty weight, so it remains heavy-duty. It’s the kind of amp you’d want backstage at your regular venue or stationary in your studio.
Exterior aside, it’s reliable with a clean, excellent sound that leaves you appreciating your instrument all the more.
For tighter budgets, the Alesis Strike Amp will do you just as well. Sure, it lacks a 1/8-inch line-in, but that’s not one of the most vital elements your amp needs.