As brilliant and nice as the thought of owning an electronic kit to enable silent practise at any hour of the day, as that is the greatest perk of it, there are times where you would not need that silence. Your homeboy brings his bass guitar over and wants to practice with you. How are you going to enjoy your session if your kit is quiet and it is just your friend’s guitar giving off the wholesome complete sound? I bet you would not like that.
So do electronic drums need an amp? As the name implies, the drum amp is used to amplify the sound of the electronic drum kit, depending on its configuration and setting to bring forth wholesome complete sound and give the feel of playing on a conventional acoustic drum kit.
No matter how fantastic your electronic drum kit is, if you do not have an electronic drum amplifier to showcase and maximize its awesome ability, then you are not doing something right. You probably should have just gone for an acoustic kit.
Before any drummer hits the market to purchase an amp for their electronic drum kit, he needs to know what to look for in a quality amp and have the right information before he goes to splash his money on one.
Do Electronic Drums Need An Amp Or PA System?
The choices for a drummer when it comes to amplifying his electronic drum kit are limited to the electronic drum amp or a PA system. Electronic drum amps are usually cheaper than PA systems. Asides the affordable price, you get the benefit of a subwoofer in a nice dense and compact unit. Moreover, electronic drum amps need to cover a wider spectrum of frequencies as compared to a regular guitar amp.
There are usually knobs for sound equalizing and the extra option of input to accommodate another instrument of your choice. Hence you get optimum value for your money when you purchase a drum amp for your electronic drum kit. Another reason to get the electronic drum amp is that they are perfect for amplifying lower drum tones than any other type of amplifier.
Types of Drum Amplifiers
There are two main types of drum amplifiers. We have the powered speakers and, the passive speaker and amplifier combos.
These types of speakers come with built-in amplifiers. It is very suitable for beginners and drummers who just want to play for the fun of it. The fact that it has in-built amplifiers means you have a limited number of cords to deal with, alongside the fact that you can easily set it up and have less equipment to move around. Also, the modification of amp settings for maximization of sound is one less thing to worry about when using powered speakers. Other advantages of the powered speakers include:
- A drummer does not require technical experience to set up or use a powered speaker.
- Most powered speakers have the option of battery power, making it very easy to move around.
- The best sound is obtained without necessarily having to make a ton of knob adjustments, as the amplifier is already tuned to the speaker.
Powered speakers as brilliant and awesome as they are, have some disadvantages of their own. Some of these disadvantages are:
- The construct makes it heavier, as it has its amplifier built-in.
- In the case of a break-down or technical fault, the whole speaker has to be out of service as both the amplifier and speaker are coexistent.
- In the event of the amplifier developing a fault, you cannot just swap it for a new one. The technician has to open up the entire unit to get it fixed.
Passive Speaker and Amplifier Combos
Unlike powered speakers, passive speakers require the use of an amplifier in order to produce sounds. The passive speakers come with sound settings, considering the fact that the main job of an amplifier is to send sound waves and signals to the speakers. These sound settings enable the drummer to be able to adjust the sound emanating from the drum kit to his taste.
It is recommended, if you are going for the passive speaker and amplifier combo, to purchase both of the equipment from the same manufacturer to ensure compatibility and ease of use. It might pose a problem if the passive speaker is not compatible with the amplifier. Some of the advantages of Passive speakers and amplifier combo include:
- The amplifier and speakers can be upgraded independently without having to replace the entire PA system unlike the powered speakers
- Passive speakers most times have a lighter weight as compared to powered speakers. This in view of the fact that powered speakers have in-built amplifiers that add to its weight.
The only major disadvantage is that you have more cords and knobs to deal with. Hence, if you are not a professional, its usage might pose a problem.
If you are looking to hit the market for an electronic drum amp, here are a few reliable products you can check out.
Alesis Transactive 400.
This speaker runs on 200 watts of steady power with a peak ability of 400 watts. It has a fantastic and pure sound production output. It is fitted with a standard set of controls and adjustments for tonal quality to tweak the output to your taste. This drum amp also delivers optimum power with a great frequency response.
Drum Monitor (PM-100) by Roland
This drum amp was originally designed to work with the Roland V-drums. However, it works extremely well with other electronic drum kits. It comes with an output rating of 80 Watts, which means you are going to enjoy a decent amount of volume. It comes with two outputs- One for drums, and the other output for another instrument or extra accessories. Also, there are two volume knobs for separately controlling the volume of each output. It is very suitable for personal and band practice, and for use at medium-small gatherings or medium capacity venues.
Simmons DA 50 Electronic Drum Kit Monitor
This electronic drum kit amp like the Roland PM-100, is a very suitable amp for personal drum practice and performance in small gatherings. It has 50 Watts output rating, translating to the production of a clean decent volume. It comes with 10-inch heavy-duty woofers which enhances its delivery of thicker and deeper, low-end frequencies. The Simmons DA 50 also comes fitted with a headphone and MP3 input alongside a 3 band equalizer. It has a light-weight, making it easy to move around. It is also very durable as it comes fitted with a protective metal grille, ensuring it stays in perfect condition no matter how much it is moved around.
Asides these three drum monitors, there are a ton of other electronic drum kit amplifiers from other manufacturers you can check out at your drum accessories retailer or sound store if you are looking to purchase one for your electronic kit subject to your budget.