While headphones are great for private practice sessions, nothing beats the feeling of playing your electronic drum kit through a drum amp. Hearing a drum amp deliver the weight of your bass drum, the thump of your toms, and the crack of your snare drum creates an immersive experience that will propel your drumming to a new level, no matter what style of electronic drum kit you play. And if you plan to play with a band and perform live, a drum amp is a necessity if you want to hear your electronic drum kit over guitars, bass, and keyboards. We will show you how to choose an electronic drum amp, and look at some things to consider when choosing a drum amp for your electronic drum kit, and follow up with some of the best drum amps for different applications.
Why Choose a Drum Amp Instead of a PA Speaker
Drum amps and powered PA speakers have a lot in common, but they also have some important differences that make a PA speaker a poor substitute for a drum amp. Electronic drum amps are designed for convenient placement on the floor near your kit, and are angled up to aim the tweeters at your ears to put you in the sonic sweet spot. PA speakers disperse their high frequencies in a pattern that is effective for covering a wide audience, but not very effective at providing you a focused beam of sound at close range like a drum amp will. Most electronic drum amps will also provide an aux input specifically for your smartphone or other portable device, making it extremely efficient to jam along with your favorite songs or practice rudiments with a metronome.
• Drum amps are designed for focused close-range listening, allowing you to hear the full range of your kit from your throne
• Drum amps are angled to aim sound at your ears when placed on the floor, making them easier to hear without cranking the volume up
• Drum amps usually offer an aux input for a metronome or external music player to jam along with
What to Look For in an Electronic Drum Amp
Just like with any type of powered speaker, a drum amp’s bass output is going to be directly related to the size of its low frequency driver. If you want to hear maximum thump and weight from your kick drum and toms, choose a drum amp with a larger driver (think 12-inch instead of 8-inch or 10-inch). Also consider that you can easily add a separate subwoofer to any drum amplifier for maximum bass response. If you’re going to be performing live on stage, consider a drum amp that can be pole mounted to raise it up to the level of your ears. This will allow you and your band to hear your drumming clearly, without creating excessive volume on stage. Most drum amps will be equipped with basic EQ to shape your sound, and usually at least one aux input for a music player or metronome, but double-check to make sure the drum amp you’re choosing has these so you don’t get caught by surprise.
• Drum amps with a 12-inch speaker will deliver more bass than an 8-inch or 10-inch speaker
• For maximum bass impact, add a separate powered subwoofer to handle low frequencies
• Pole-mountable drum amps can be raised to ear-height for easier monitoring on stage
A Compact Drum Amp for Home Practice
For practicing rudiments at home and jamming along to your favorite tunes, a compact drum amp with an 8-inch speaker like the Roland PM-100 V-Drum Speaker System is a smart choice. Designed specifically to reproduce the full-range sound of your electronic drum kit, and offering a homeappropriate 80 watts of power, the PM-100 will reproduce the thump of your kit and the nuances of your stickwork even when played at low volumes. The PM-100’s compact size makes it an easy addition to any music room, and the angled design focuses the sound at your ears while you’re seated at your kit. Additional inputs allow you to connect a music player, metronome, or additional percussion pad, while a simple 2-band EQ allows for basic sound shaping. If you want to break free from your headphones when you play at home, but don’t want to cause trouble with your neighbors, a compact drum amp like the Roland PM-100 is a great solution.
Roland PM-100 V-Drum Speaker System:
• 8-inch LF and 2-inch HF speakers driven by 80 watts of power, ideal for home practice and jamming with your favorite songs
• Angled design allows you to hear your drums clearly even at low volume
• 2-band EQ allows basic sound shaping
A Powerful Drum Amp for Band Rehearsal
While a compact drum amp can sound impressively big when playing alone at home, it can quickly become overwhelmed when competing with guitars, bass, and keyboards in a band rehearsal. And if you have to crank your practice amp to the max just to hear yourself, the amp definitely isn’t going to sound its best. A more powerful drum amp like the Simmons DA2112 Advanced Drum Amp delivers the extra punch and volume you need to keep up in a band rehearsal. In addition to being angled for clear monitoring when
placed on the floor, you can also pole-mount the Simmons DA2112 on a speaker pole to bring it up to your (and your band’s) ear level, reducing the need to crank the volume to be heard clearly. And the onboard 4-band EQ gives you plenty of control to fine-tune your sound, especially important for compensating for the resonances of whatever room you may be rehearsing in.
Simmons DA2112 Advanced Drum Amp:
• 12-inch LF driver and 1-inch HF speakers driven by 350 watts of power, perfect for keeping up in band rehearsal
• Can be pole-mounted and raised to ear level so the whole band can hear you clearly
• 4-band EQ gives you greater control over your sound, allowing you to fine-tune your drum tone for any room
• Smart Stereo output makes it easy to add another drum amp for stereo monitoring
• Bluetooth audio input allows you to stream audio wirelessly from your smartphone
A Complete Solution for Practice, Rehearsal, and Performance
For maximum versatility, it’s hard to beat the value of the Simmons DA2108 Drum Amp and DA12S Subwoofer Bundle. Complete with two Simmons DA2108 drum amps, two speaker stands, a Simmons DA12S powered subwoofer, and necessary cables, you’re covered for every application from practice and rehearsal to live performance. At home, a single DA2108 drum
amp can be positioned on the floor next to your kit for full, clear monitoring at low volumes.
Raise it up on a speaker stand and add the subwoofer, and you’ll have no problem being heard clearly at band rehearsal. And when you’re performing live on stage, set up both drum amps on speaker stands behind your kit — the stereo configuration will deliver consistent sound to you and your band no matter where they are on stage. You could piece together a similar system one component at a time, but you’d end up spending much more than you will with the Simmons DA2108 Drum Amp and DA12S Subwoofer Bundle.
Simmons DA2108 Drum Amp and DA12S Subwoofer Bundle:
• Comprehensive electronic drum amp system for practice, rehearsal, and live performance
• Dual DA2108 drum amplifiers deliver studio-monitor-style sound quality and stage-ready power
• DA12S powered subwoofer lets you experience the kick of your bass drum and thump of your toms like never before
• Quality speaker stands allow you to elevate drum amps for easier monitoring
• Aux inputs and Bluetooth wireless connectivity allow you to connect external percussion pads and stream audio from portable devices
Simplify Your Setup and Protect Your Gear with a Power Block
As you add drum amps and subwoofers to your electronic drum kit, make sure you’re plugging everything into an appropriate power block like the Furman SS-6B Surge Block. The SS-6B offers six well-spaced outlets for your drums, amps, and other music gear, a generous 15-foot power cable (longer than most
cheap power strips provide), a built-in circuit breaker to protect your gear, and Furman’s acclaimed EMI/RFI noise attenuation. You’ve invested plenty in your drum rig — make sure you’re not plugging everything into an inferior power strip!
With an Electronic Drum Amp, You Won’t Want to Go Back to Headphones
Once you experience the way a drum amplifier fills your room with the weight of your bass drum, the thump of your toms, and the wash of your cymbals, you’re definitely going to feel more inspired than you ever did playing through headphones. And if you choose the right style of drum amp for your needs — solo practice, band rehearsal, or live performance — you’ll be able to enjoy the full impact of your kit without excessive volume or having to crank your drum amp to the max. So get yourself an electronic drum amp, plug in your kit, and experience it like you’ve never heard it before!
Check out these great articles about drums and drumming:
Beginners Guide to Buying Hand Drums and Percussion Instruments
Best Drum Machines 2022 | 5 Machines Beatmakers Love
How To Mic Drums: Kicks, Snares, Hi-Hats and Toms