No one wants to spend all day playing an electronic drum set with their headphones on. Yeah, it is excellent for practice, but eventually, you want to give your ears a break. Plus, it is essential to have a monitor if you plan to practice with other players. In this article, we will discuss the best electronic drum set amplifiers for your budget and needs.
Let’s get some terminology out of the way. An e-drum amplifier can be referred to as a monitor, amp, wedge, or speaker. In general, these terms all mean the same thing, but can have multiple purposes.
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E-Drum Amplifier Basics
Is it necessary to get a specific style amplifier for your electronic drum kit? That answer can depend on what sound you are going for and your level of patience. Of course, you can plug your set into most any form of Bluetooth speaker or guitar type amp. But your sound will be horrible!
A drum kit covers a broad range of frequencies compared to bass or guitar. Plugging your kit into a guitar amp merely is not going to sound good. Even if you want distortion, there are better ways! For the best audio quality, you want an amplifier dedicated to the drums or at least the range.
PA monitors will work wonderfully because they are used for both low and high frequencies. They are built to handle all the instruments, vocals, and sound ranges. However, these systems can cost a fortune, and many of us don’t have that much to spend!
Keyboard amps also handle a wide range of frequencies, and like PA systems, they can also work fine as an E-drum amp. In some cases, you may find a better deal on wattage or quality depending on what style of amp you get. Of course, shop around and focus on speakers that provide for the drums’ full sonic palette!
The basic entry-level amps will cost under $300 and are not going to sound that great. Yes, they will get the job done, but it is worth spending $300 or more to get an excellent sounding amp. It’s simply not that much more to save to get better quality.
The entry-level amps aren’t the greatest. They can get loud, but that doesn’t equal good. But that is the range most people want to spend in, so we will provide examples. Once you get into an intermediate level amp, it will cost around $300-500 (the budget area we are targeting).
And of course, once you start moving too high in price, you might as well be buying a PA system. Many of the higher-end drum and keyboard amps will have similar parts, just with different names. Even with a high budget, don’t overspend.
Regardless of the price you spend, nothing will matter if you don’t set the monitors up correctly. The EQ on the amp allows us to adjust our frequencies and sculpt our sound. As a beginner, you will find plenty of videos that teach you how to do this properly. Perfection isn’t essential as long as you understand what you are doing. As you get better at playing, you will also up your EQ skills.
The 7 Best Electronic Drum Set Amplifiers
1) Roland PM100 (Editor’s Choice)
Best Overall E-Drum Amp
The PM100 is ideal for home practice. It’s loud, but not loud enough for live gigs.
This Roland is very popular. You will find it on many best-of lists. As for speakers, it has a 10″ woofer and a 2″ tweeter. And with two-band EQ (bass and treble), it provides a clean and full range for your e-drums. While it is optimized for the Roland V-Drums, it can, of course, be used with other drums.
2) Alesis Strike 8 (Budget Option)
Best Budget E-Drum Amp
The Strike 8 is super affordable, compact, and loud.
The Strike 8 is our budget option for compact personal drum monitors. It has just an 8″ woofer and high-frequency compression driver. Despite its price and size, it does have a lot of power.
There are two XLR 1/4″ inputs and one output the same size. It’s not going to be the most incredible amp in the world but will make do if that is what you have.
3) KAT Percussion KA1
Budget Runner Up
Good for small gigs, basement band practices, or on your own.
This KAT percussion monitor is also another low budget option for those who cannot wait to save another $100. This amp has a 10″ woofer and 1/4″ tweeter with 50 watts of power. It has two 1/4″ main inputs with an added 1/4″ and 1/8″ aux. And it is only a floor wedge model. Nothing spectacular, but it works for the price.
4) Ddrum DDA50
Great for light gigging
The DDA50 is perfect for practice at home, or small gigs. Big sound fills a small room at just half-volume.
This 50-watt amp has a 10″ woofer and .25″ tweeter. It is roughly at the $300 range where it can work as a practice amp and maybe even for light gigging. It has two primary 1/4 “inputs and an aux of the same size. There are also extra plugins for the headphones and mp3.
5) Alesis Strike 12
Best Intermediate Pick
The big brother of the Alesis Strike 8. This monitor is much louder, boasting 2000 watts of power.
This is, of course, the next step after the Alesis 8 we mentioned above. This model has a 12″ woofer and a high-frequency driver. Like the Alesis Strike 8, it also delivers peak wattage of 2000, making it loud. It also has dual XLR 1/4″ inputs. If you like the Alesis but want a better model, the 12 is the way to go.
6) Roland PM-200
Best E-Drum Monitor for the Money
If you have the budget, this is another great model to pick up, along with most monitors in the $500 price range. The PM-200 boasts 2 channels at 180 watts with a 12″ woofer and a 1″ onboard tweeter. It has two 1/4″ inputs, one 1/8″, and 2 XLR outputs.
Many great reviews claim the sound has excellent lows and crisp highs. For half a grand, it better sound pretty good—the next step is a PA!
7) Electro-Voice ELX200
The Ultimate Solution
Powered wedge monitors are a great solution for e-drum players. While typically used for all types of musicians on stage, the ELX200 is a great option for drummers.
Suppose you have the money to start getting a decent PA system. In that case, this traditional wedge monitor will also work great as a drum amp. The Electro-Voice features a 2-way powered speaker with a 15″ woofer and high-performance tweeter. It also uses digital signal processing and Class D amplification
There you have seven great electronic drum monitors to amplify your kit. If you can’t decide, then pick the Roland PM 100. It is an excellent starter budget with many positive reviews. Otherwise, listen to videos online (with headphones!) and try other monitors out when you can. As long as you have a decent budget and find an amp with a wide frequency range, you will find a perfect monitor for your drum kit!