How to amplify electric drums

\n Hi, i just bought an electric drumkit and im confused on what i would need for a amplifier.

Heres the front

Sorry they’re large but its easier to see whats written underneath the inputs

Im wondering if its just a 1/4inch plug from the \”phones\” on the front to a generic p.a sytem, or do i need to buy a drum monitor that accepts two (L&R) 1/4inch plugs coming from \”main output\” on the back.

I’d like to know as it would pretty save me alot of money knowing i can use a p.a which has alot of uses over a drum monitor which is pretty limited

Thanks for reading

\n Dont use the headphone output.You will loose fidelity through the 1/8\” output. You actually have a few options. You can either use two channels on the mixer and EQ them equally keeping a stereo output, or you can pick up a 1/4\” 2 to 1 converter and take the stereo outputs into a mono input. This will be easier as you will only need to work with one channel.

The option that will be the most expensive, but probibly the best, is to pickup a keyboard amp with stereo inputs. Roland makes some very good ones. This way you can use the amp as a monitor, and direct out from the mono output of the amp into the PA.

Unless you have a mixer that will allow you to put more drums specifically into your monitor, you will only hear as much drums as the rest of the band want in their mix. That is the advantage of having your owndedicated drum amp.

\n Thanks for the replies guys, really in depth and answer a hell of a load of questions.

One problem is sooner or later i will need a p.a system and if i do buy a keyboard amp, it will certainly drain my funds (cant find many amps under £100) i know this is relatively cheap but spare cash to spend on music is far and few between.

Also im not really in a band yet and i’ll be playing with my brother on bass and he has his own amp so if i did buy a p.a system it would solely be used for the drumkit until i decide we form a band and get a vocalist ect.

So far the cheapest way i’ve read is to buy a p.a system and use a 1/4\” 2 to 1 converter from the \”main output\” of the electric drum module into a channel on the p.a system.

But still i’d like to hear more voices on the subject as i dont want to end up shelling out £100 on something i didnt really need.

\n If you don’t mind a loss in sound quality, use an 1/8 to 1/4 adapter and plug that into the headphones out and connect the adaptor to you brothers bass amp with a stereo cable(if he has an aux input on his amp).

Wait for someone smarter to give a better option because ^that^ probably isnt the best.

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don’t think so.

How can I persuade her?

If you don’t mind a loss in sound quality, use an 1/8 to 1/4 adapter and plug that into the headphones out and connect the adaptor to you brothers bass amp with a stereo cable(if he has an aux input on his amp).

Wait for someone smarter to give a better option because ^that^ probably isnt the best.

Not a great plan. A bass amp will have a preamp designed to amplify the minute signal coming from the guitar, not the larger signal coming out of a e-kit processor. Thats why you need a keyboard amp, they usually dont have preamps, or if they do they are designed to handle the conditioned signal from a keyboard (or e-kit). A PA will also not have a preamp, just a power amp.

I meant to plug it into the auxiliary input which is what you plug your iPod/MP3 into. not the instrument input. That wound not be good. So its like having the amp act as a speaker(which it is) for the drums which will be acting like an MP3 player.

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don’t think so.

How can I persuade her?

\n I have an electric kit just for bedroom practice and such and I just play it through my home theater system when I’m jamming with a friend and not using headphones. Sounds way better than any kind of amp in my opinion. If its just for playing with other people in your room and you already have something like a home theater just rig it up with that. I have an acoustic kit for actual band practices and such

I have a simmons sd7pk

headphone out into a 1/4in to 1/8in adapter>AUX cable>AUX in to my Sony Bravia 1000w system. Sounds amazing.

I hope you went dyslexic there.
The Mixer does not have a power amp in it(Unless it’s powered.). Each individual channel on a mixer has a pre-amp. These pre-amps are designed to take as much signal and be pushed the loudest before distorting.
The power amp is completely seperate of the channels. All the channels get mixed down to one(At the mains.) and are sent out to the power amp. There’s a whole lot of stuff with auxillary sends and sub outs but I’ll leave that out for now.

TS, I changed my mind on my first post. Get a powered monitor rather than a keyboard amp. Many powered speakers have a mixer built into as well. It’s usually only a one to two channel mixer and should not be used in a stage situation(One monitor cannot cover any gigs, trust me on that one. It could but it’d be shitty.).

You’d be much better off with the powered monitor in the long run as you can use it for your PA when you get it.
If you’re looking for a decent PA be ready to invest at least 600 dollars. That is providing you are buying almost everything used.

Good call. You caught me.

My point was more along the lines that you dont need to worry about a pre-amp that will distort in the signal chain. Thanks for making my point better than I could.

\n I’d just go mains out into a channel or two channels, depends on how you want to pan it, and have the aux output going to a keyboard amp so the drummer can hear himself.

The only problem with this is if the PA system doesn’t have 1/4 inputs on their snake, you’re going to be running alot of cables.

That’s how I’d run it personally.

That’s about the cheapest you’re going to find those adapters. Those are Neutrik so they are more expensive than the cheap Chinese made pieces of crap.
I have yet to find that particular adapter under ten dollars.
With that adapter, the 1/4\” cable actually stays in there untill you pull on the red tab.

I’ve never actually saw a snake with 1/4\”. They are mostly XLR as that is the most universal as far as Pro-audio goes.
I just Googled it and now I’ve saw a snake with 1/4\” but most of them had the 1/4\” jacks as returns, not channels.

TS, if you are getting a PA system be prepared to spend around 100 dollars on adapters. I’m not even joking. At first you’d only need to spend about 50 dollars and approximately 100 on cables(Discluding snake, that’s in the area of 300 dollars.).

How to amplify electric drums

It’s very easy to amplify electronic drums. You can either use a drum amplifier, a PA system, or simply just use a set of drum headphones.

To use a drum amp, simply connect the audio output from the drum module to the amplifier using a 1/4″ audio cable.

This article includes a step-by-step guide for each method. If you have any questions then be sure to ask a question in the comment section!

How to Use a Drum Amplifier

How to amplify electric drums

Here is how to connect your electronic drum set to a drum amplifier

What you will need: A drum amp and at least one 1/4″ instrument cable.

  • Turn the drum amp off.
  • Connect a 1/4″ cable from the audio output of your drum module to the audio input of the drum amp (not the headphone output, these come pre-amplified, and should not be used with a drum amp or PA system).
  • If you have if there are two outputs on your drum module (Left and Right) then you can simply collect connect one instrument cable from the LEFT which will send a mono signal from your drum module to the amplifier.
  • Turn on the drum amp and increase the volume.
  • Increase the master volume on your drum module (this may be different to the headphone volume knob)

Start playing your e-drums. You should now hear them play.

How to Amplify Electronic Drums Using a PA system

How to amplify electric drums

If you’re playing live performances, then using a drum amp might be too quiet. The sound engineer or your band might want to put your electronic drums through a mixer or through the sound desk in the venue.

  • Connect a 1/4″ cable from the audio output of your drum module to the audio input of the drum amp
  • For better sound quality, if your drum module has a left and a right output in the back, then you may want to use two instrument cables and to connect both of those to the sound desk.
  • Either use an instrument cable to hook the drum module directly to the mixing desk, in many venues a DI Box will be used (a direct input box).
    • What is a DI Box? It’s like an extension box for the mixing desk. It’s an audio input box that will feed the line directly into the mixer. The sound engineer will ask you to connect the audio cable(s) from your e-drum set into the DI box.
  • The sound engineer will then feed the audio from your electronic drum set to the PA system.
  • If using a DI Box: If you want to get a mono signal then you can use a regular mono DI box (usually connect the LEFT audio output of your drum module to the DI box). If you want to get a stereo signal, you will either need to use a stereo DI box with two inputs, alternatively you can use two separate DI boxes and the mixing engineer will then feed these into two lines.

Therefore it’s very easy to connect e-drums to a PA system.

Drum Amp AND Headphones at the Same Time

You can connect most electronic drum sets to a drum amp (or PA) AND headphones at the same time.

This can be useful when playing gigs. It might be useful for the drummer to be able to listen to their beats more closely. You could also even route this signal to an in-ear monitor setup (which is more advanced).

Using Headphones with Electronic Drum Sets

How to amplify electric drums

You do not need to use an amplifier if you simply just want to practice at home yourself.

Most electronic drum sets have a headphone jack headphone sockets.

You can hook in your own set of headphones very easily. If you’re trying to use a set of headphones that you currently own, then you need to get a 1/8″ to 1/4″ jack connector, depending on the type of drum module that is on your electronic drum kit.

If using headphones then always use the headphone output instead of the direct L/R audio output from the drum module (as the volume of the direct output will likely be too low). These headphone jacks are already pre-amplified and the drum module will often have a separate headphone volume knob compared to the master volume.

If you do not hear anything from the drum module, then make sure that the headphone knob is increased enough.

If you want to record electronic drums to your computer, then make sure to check out our guide on this topic.

Summary

That’s our brief overview of how to amplify electronic drums.

You can use an amplifier which can be used for smaller gigs for practice, or as your own personal drum monitor while you’re on stage.

You can hook up the electronic drum set directly to a PA system via the mixer or using a DI box.

Finally, you can simply just use a set of drum headphones.

If you have any questions, make sure to ask in the comment section below.

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How to amplify electric drums

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Modern technology has gotten to a point where electronic drums can function and operate, with no discernable difference from traditional setups. Electric drums only suited quiet drum practice sessions in no distant past, but you can deliver sounds like a conventional setup nowadays. However, it still requires some add-ons and technical workarounds to achieve the desired output. Below are the two best methods to amplify your electronic drum outputs, their peculiarities, and drawbacks.

1. Drum Amps

You can get an AMP for electronic drum set units to amplify your setup on a broad range of frequencies. Sub-woofer amps are more commonly-used units and often have a quick plug-and-play operation.

  • Cost: The primary advantage drum amps have cost. Amp units are relatively cheaper than alternative options and would often deliver value for money.
  • Flexibility: Drum amps are compact and give extended frequency ranges. Unlike other amps for guitars, drum amplifiers transcend mid-range frequencies, allowing you to change EQ values quickly.
  • Extra Input: One bugbear to drum amplifiers is the limited input support. You can only plug in one additional instrument, which is either not adequate for a full band setup, or means more units and bulk.

Application

Drum amplifiers are pretty much plug-and-play, and you would only need a piece of ¼” instrument cable. Connect the wire to your electronic drum. Then, pay attention not to use the headphone output, as they have amps pre-applied.

Upon connection, your drum module sends mono sound to the amp, and you can increase the volume on the amplifier. Finally, you can tweak the master volume on your electronic drum as you continue playing sessions.

2. PA (Public Address) Systems/Mixer

The PA system is a more elaborate method to amplify electronic drums, with multiple instruments, typically in a band setup. It requires a substantial amount of add-ons, thereby costing more in the long run.

  • Flexibility: Where AMP for electronic drum set boxes would only accept one extra instrument to amplify, a PA system supports several instrument connections. It is suitable for outdoor performances and practice sessions.
  • Output: Comparatively, public address systems deliver fuller, richer sounds than regular amplifiers, which would come in handy if you would be playing in a medium to large-sized room or space.
  • Lack of Bass: Public address systems are not versatile in bass delivery. If your primary concern is bass, you would need to spend extra for a proper sub-woofer.
  • Cost: You will have to spend more on a decent-sized PA system, and when you consider the other peripherals, the setup is relatively expensive.

Application

  • The first method of connecting a PA system to your electronic drums setup is to use a ¼” inch cable on the L/R audio output. You can join the wire into the L alone, in which case you get mono output. Connecting to both L and R outputs gives a panned surround sound. Generally, the panning takes the default position of the individual drums, but you can customize it.
  • The second method requires an XLR (External Line Return) cable and a DI (Direct Input) box. The DI box allows for extension without loss of sound. Connect the box to the drums through the XLR cable, and link the DI box to a mixer afterward. However, you may need to get multiple DI boxes to achieve stereo outputs.

Add-ons

A PA system typically wouldn’t work standalone and requires add-ons to improve the experience. Some of the essential add-ons are active and passive speakers.

  • Active Speakers: Active speaker units typically pair up with mixers for a more resonant, broader sound. It works in a straightforward plug-and-play fashion.
  • Passive Speakers: Passive speakers go into amplifiers first before the connection links into a mixer. Usage is dependent on the wattage of the amplifiers, so it helps to pay attention to how much watts your drum amplifiers can handle.

Wrapping Up

If you plan on taking your electronic drum for practice sessions or small gigs, you have to amplify its sounds. As listed above, AMP for electronic drum set units would deliver sound outputs on the cheap while PA systems proffer more flexibility. Pay attention to the dedicated mixers and cables in order not to distort the performance.

How to amplify electric drumsJust playing your electronic drums won’t always suffice your drummer needs. Once you get up to speed you will start looking for various ways to connect your drum kit to your computer and maybe even try to record the drums themselves. For all these features we know a solution, and that is what we are going to be talking about now.

If you still haven’t made up your mind on which electronic drum set to get, we’ve covered this topic in our article. There, we’ve handpicked a few of each class to help you make a better choice. Once you get the drums, all that’s left for you is to figure out a way to connect them to your device and start messing around.

In case you simply want to amplify your drums, check our out article on the topic. Either way, let’s get started.

How To Connect Your Electronic Drums To A Computer

There are a few things that you need to do before you start configuring anything. First, you will need to install the driver that comes from the manufacturer of your e-kit. This can be Alesis, Roland, or any other brand that makes electronic drums. These drums come with a driver so that they can talk to your PC. After you install the driver, you’ll want to install your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), may it be Reaper, Cubase, Studio One, or another.

After that, you can install your drumming software (Addictive Drums, EZDrummer, etc). Last but not least, you will need to install a low latency audio driver. If you don’t you will have a noticeable delay between when you play your drums and hear the sound of it. Everybody seems to be using ASIO4ALL. It gets the job done and most importantly – it’s free.

So, to summarize, you need to do the following:

    Install the driver from the drum module of your e-kit Install your Digital Audio Workstation Install the drumming software of your choice Install the low latency driver

The actual installing of your drum module onto the computer happens via a USB cable (or wireless/Bluetooth on some more advanced drums). Some manufacturers give you a disk to put into the pc, others – a flash drive.

Once you get all this done, you can move on to actually configuring the computer and all its options. Another thing you might want to do after you’ve successfully connected your electronic drums to your computer would be to record them. Let’s get into that.

How To Record Electronic Drums

How to amplify electric drums

Before we continue, we wanted to quickly point out a few of the benefits of recording with e-drums, as they often seem really unappreciated.

    You won’t need mics The size of the room and it’s acoustic do not matter All you need is a single channel MIDI interface to your PC. (you can even get a MIDI-to-USB cable which has this interface built into it) When you are done with the recording it is easy to play around with the MIDI notes in your DAW You will have a high quality of professionally-recorded drums and cymbals which can cost as much as a car and are available only in studios which you can’t afford.

All you need to have to record your drums are your drum kit, a DAW program, a MIDI interface and that’s it.

First, you need to connect your e-kit to your computer. We recommend getting a MIDI-to-USB cable, which has MIDI interface built straight into it. They are cheap and get the job done. Insert the “IN” plug into the OUT port of your e-kit. The USB plug goes into a USB port on your computer/laptop.

The next thing you need to do is open your DAW and create a new project. Once this is done, create a new MIDI track and set the track input to your MIDI adapter.

Once this is done you can open up your drum synth of choice and use it with the specific track in the DAW.

Configure the sound levels and hit “Record”. It is really that simple. Have in mind that the process may vary from DAW to DAW, as some like Logic Pro and Studio One are a bit more complicated than others. Let’s check how this is all done on Garageband.

How To Record Electronic Drums On Garageband

For this action, you will need a ¼” to mini jack cable. All you have to do is connect from your line out on the drum module to your line in on the Mac.

With Garageband being a Macintosh exclusive app, it is as simple as any other Mac product. You just need to plug in your MIDI device to the Mac and open up Garageband. To check if your device has been detected, click on the top left drop-down menu and then “Preferences”. Go to “Audio/MIDI” and it should say “1 MIDI input detected”.

If this is your case, create a new track (software instrument). Whenever the track is selected you should be able to start playing and recording immediately.

There are cases when Garageband doesn’t detect your electronic drum kit, though. In these particular cases, you will need to contact the manufacturer of the kit and see if they have any solution for that. It might be rare, but it happens. You can use your e-kit as a trigger for a drumming VST plugin.

Conclusion

Electronic drums are an amazing creation which makes the everyday drummer’s life way easier, as it eliminates all the noise and space issues. Even so, that isn’t enough for most people and they want to connect their e-kits to a computer. That opens doors to a whole new world of possibilities ranging from being able to modify the sound of your e-drums to being able to record them properly and play them back on top of a track or a video.