How to Connect Electric Drums to Amp Properly
Amplifiers play a crucial role in electric drumming. You can hear the sounds from electric drums only after you amplify the drum. Although headphones provide some form of amplification, they only limit the sounds of the drums to the user, that is the drummer in this case. If you are playing the electric drums for an audience, you need to use a PA system which includes an amplifier.
So, how do you connect electric drums to an amplifier? You can connect the electric drums to an amplifier by plugging the ends of a quarter inch cable into the electric drum’s module output jack and the amplifier’s input jack. You can then connect the amp to a mixer or speakers for a better audio experience.
In some cases, the amps may be installed in the mixers or speakers. In such cases, you will not need to use an external amplifier, you’ll only have to connect the electric drum to the mixer or speakers directly and it will work just fine. In this article, I’m going to discuss whether or not you need an amp for your electric drums, the type of amp that you’ll be needing, and some steps that you can use to connect electric drums to your amplifier or the PA system.
Why Should I Use Amplifiers for Electric Drums?
You need amplifiers in order for you and the audience to hear the sound of your electric drum kits.
The majority of electric drum kits do not have in-built speakers or amps, so if you use them without external amplification, what you will hear is merely drum sticks hitting your drum pads.
Depending on who’s listening to your drums, you may choose to amplify your electric drum sounds either by headphones or speakers.
If you are practicing the drum on your own in your room, you should use headphones in order not to disturb your neighbors.
However, if you have an audience listening to you, then you should use an amplifier and speakers.
What Kind of Amp Do You Need for an Electric Drum Set?
Ideally, you should use a drum amp for your electric drums. The drum amp
is specially designed to cover the possible frequencies of sounds that your drum kits are likely to produce.
The frequencies of a typical electric drum set vary from anything between 20 Hertz to 20 kilo Hertz. Most amps besides the drum amp do not cover this range of frequencies so the drum amp is your best bet in case you want to use the electric amp.
The drum amps come in different sizes, smaller and bigger ones. You can use the smaller amps for your personal drumming rehearsal while you use the bigger amps for public events where louder sounds are needed.
Some drum amps that you will find out there include Roland PM 100, Alesis Strike 12, and ElectroVoice ELX200.
Can You Play Electronic Drums Through a Guitar Amp?
Guitar Amps are not designed to be used for electric drums. When you compare the frequency range of the electric drum sounds and the capacity of guitar amps, you’ll realize the drums’ frequency is too wide for the guitar amp to accommodate.
However, if you are low on budget, you can play the electric drum on a guitar amp. You should however be careful with the volume of the guitar amp since higher volumes may damage the amp.
A bass guitar amp is a suitable option for the electric drum. The amp can accommodate the drum sounds to some extent, giving you a moderate drum sound quality, unlike the lead guitar amp.
You may also try the electric drum on a piano or keyboard amp. Again, be mindful of the volume levels and try to reduce it as much as possible.
How Do You Connect an Electric Drum Kit to an Amp
After you get your drum amp and electric drum set in place and ready for use, the next thing for you to do is to connect your electric drums to the amp.
Connecting the electric drum to the amplifier is really simple and it can be done in a matter of seconds.
What’s important is that you get your quarter inch cable ready and you locate the input and output jacks of the amplifier and the drum module respectively.
When you look around the electric drum module, you will find several ports. Look out for the port that is labeled Audio Out or Output depending on the module.
The Audio Out port is where all the sounds of the electric drums produce exit from the drum set.
Now get a quarter inch cable and plug one end of it into the output jack of the drum module. Plug the other end of the same cable into the input of the amp and that’s it, the electric drum is now connected to the amp.
Can I Use Speakers With the Electric Drums Amp?
You can use passive speakers with the drum amp after you hook up the electric drum module to it. This is one good way to get the drum sounds to other parts of your event venue.
To do this, you will have to connect the amp to the passive speaker’s input jacks via cables.
One thing you should be particular about when you want to use passive speakers is that the power rating of your speakers should match that of the amplifier, otherwise you will damage the speakers.
If your amplifiers happen to have speakers in them, those active speakers in this case, then there will be no need to connect them to some other external speakers.
Can I Connect the Drum Amp to a PA System?
If you are playing your drum with a band, you’ll most likely be using a PA mixer in order to get the sounds of the other instruments through the mixer.
Besides hooking up the electric drum to the drum amp independently, you can also connect the amp to the band’s PA system, so that a sound engineer can control the band’s volume from the master volume.
The good thing about using the amp is that you adjust the amp equalizer to get your preferred tunes before channeling them to the mixer.
How to Connect the Amp to the PA System
First of all, position all your equipment at the desired locations and turn off the equipment. You should set up the drum set and place your speakers at vantage points.
Next, connect the electric drums to the amp and then hook up the amp to the mixer.
If you want to use the speakers, connect the amp to the speakers via the cables and your PA system will almost be ready.
After connecting the equipment to the PA system with cables, plug your equipment and turn them on with their volumes at lower levels.
Test your drum kits by playing the different components and then adjust the volume and frequencies from the amp.
You can still work further on the sound output on your mixer for a better music experience.
What Size Amp Do I Need to Play With Electric Drums?
When it comes to selecting which amp size to use for your electric drums, you should consider your audience.
Your audience size will determine how much power your amp needs to have. If you are playing in your little room for yourself, you do not so much high powered amps.
However, if you playing outdoors with a band for a crowd, your amp size should be high-powered.
For amps, the higher the wattage the more electrical signals it can convert to sound, so the louder the sound will be.
This also means you should consider the power rating of your speakers, not just the amps, because if a low-rated speaker is used with a high-rated amp, the sounds will be distorted and can damage the speakers.
So, when you are connecting the amps to speakers you should take a look at the Sound Pressure Level.
For systems with let’s say 100 dB, you should use amps that are rated 100 Watts and above.
If your system has an SPL of 112 dB, you should consider using amps that are rated 1,600 W or higher to prevent your sounds from distorting.
You will definitely need to amplify the sounds from your electric drums before you can them clearly. Since you can always use headphones for the electric drums, you’ll need to connect the drums to an amplifier at one point in time.
Connecting the electricity to the drum amplifier should not be much of a big deal after reading this article. The trick is to locate the output jack of the electric drum module and plug in a quarter inch cable to that port.
Plug the other end of the cable into the amplifier’s input jack and you’ll be good to have the drum sounds in your amplifier.