How to Connect Electric Drums to Speakers
Drums are a very important aspect of music that you can not do away with. Without them, most music will be boring. With the introduction of electric drums in recent times, many drummers seem to have jumped on the bandwagon, preferring electric drums to traditional drums. If you are a newbie to this electric drum stuff, you may encounter some challenges when you attempt to connect electric drums to your speakers for the first time.
If you find yourself in such a situation, relax and rest assured that by the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have enough tricks to help you connect the electric drums to your speakers easily. For you to connect electric drums to your speakers, you’ll need to connect the output jack of the drum module to the input jack of your speaker using an XLR or quarter-inch cable. If you use an amplifier or mixer in your audio system, you can connect one end of the XLR cable or quarter-inch cable to the output jack of the drum module while you connect the other end to the input jack of the amplifier or a channel input on the mixer.
Connecting electric drums to speakers is actually easier than you expected. You only need to ensure that your speakers, mixers, and amplifiers are turned off while you set up the speakers for the drums. If you want to learn more about the detailed steps to connect your electric drums to speakers, continue reading because I got more tricks for you.
Can I Play Electric Drums Without Speakers?
You can play electric drums without speakers. Electric drums, however, need some form of amplification before you can hear the sounds of the drum kits, so if you do not use speakers, you’ll have to use headphones.
Without speakers or headphones what you are going to hear is nothing more than the sound of drumsticks hitting some hard surfaces, which will be nothing close to the sound of drums.
If you are rehearsing some drum sessions on your own and you do not want to disturb your neighbors, you should consider using headphones. On the contrary, if you are playing for a public show, then the speaker is the best way to go for hearing your audience.
How Do I Connect Electric Drums to Speakers?
The task of connecting your electric drums to speakers may seem very complicated if you are new to speakers and audio systems. So I have put together some simple steps that you can easily follow to get the electric drums fixed to your speakers if you use a PA system. The steps are as follows:
- Set up the speakers and the audio system
- Connect the speakers and amps to the Public Address system
- Connect the drum module output jack to your speakers, amplifiers, and PA system.
- Turn on your PA system and test the drums.
Now that you have the steps, let’s discuss them in detail.
1. Set Up Audio System
First and foremost, you need to set up your audio system. Identify where you will place your speakers, amplifiers, and PA mixers.
Disconnect all the devices from their power sources and keep them unplugged as you set them up. To hear the sounds properly on the speakers, try to position them at places where you can directly hear the sounds without disruptions.
Placing the speakers on your left and right sides may be a better option. Also, keep your microphone away from the direction of the speakers in order to avoid interference.
2. Connect the Speakers and Amps to the PA System
Once your speakers are well-positioned, it is time to connect them. PA systems usually use the quarter inch cable for their operations, so just grab one or two for your connections.
A few PA systems also use the XLR cables in their operations, so you can use the XLR cable for the connections if your system allows that. Using the XLR cables has some benefits though. The cables allow you to make connections over extended distances since the XLR cable is longer than the quarter inch cable.
Plug one end of the quarter inch cable to the output of the PA mixer and connect the other end to the amplifier or speaker’s input. If you are using the amplifier, you should go ahead and connect the amplifier to the speaker via another quarter inch cable or XLR cable.
3. Connect Drum Module Output to PA System
With the speakers and amplifiers connected to your PA system, the next step is to connect the electric drum module to the PA system. If you are not using a PA mixer, you can connect the drum module to your speakers directly using cables.
Either way, you’ll need to identify the output jack of the electric drum module first before you can make any connections.
The trick here is that the output jack of the drum module is the gateway to the electric drum. Without it, you’ll have no access to the electric drums.
So taking some seconds to identify where the output jack is on your drum module is actually worth it. For most electric drums, you find it labeled as Output or Audio Out. When you identify this port, that should be your access to the electric drum. Just plug the quarter inch or XLR cable in there and plug the other end into the amplifier’s input.
You can also connect the drum module to a channel input on your PA mixer if that’s your preference.
Alternatively, plug the quarter inch cable into the output jack of the drum module and connect the other end to your speaker’s input.
You should not be surprised if your drum module has two outputs rather than one. In such a case, one will be as left while the other as right. What you should do is plug into the left port for just mono sounds.
However, if you want to have stereo sounds, plug your cables into all two ports.
4. Turn on the PA System and Test Drums
With all your cable connections intact, you are set to power up your system. Turn down the master volume on your mixer and connect your amps, speakers, and mixers to the power sources.
Turn the components on and you’ll be good to go.
After turning on the audio system and you realize that all the equipment is working, play around with the volume and amp gains to find out levels that produce good sounds to your hearing.
Setting up the volume and gains at very high may distort your drum sounds whereas lower volumes will also prevent you from hearing the sounds clearly. So, find moderate levels on your amps and mixers where you can get quality audible sounds to your listeners.
Are Bluetooth Speakers Good for Electric Drums?
You can use Bluetooth speakers for your electric drums. You can use Bluetooth speakers for the electric drum kits without any problem.
Bluetooth speakers can also be a way to cut down costs on buying mixers or amplifiers which are specific to certain drum kits.
When it comes to Bluetooth headphones, however, you try as much as possible to limit their use with the electric drums. The headphones fall short in terms of latency and this will disturb the flow of your drum sounds.
Latency, in this sense, refers to the time it takes for you to hear the sound of the drums after you strike them with your drumsticks. Generally, most drums are designed to have latencies below 10 milliseconds, meaning you should hear the sound of the drum 10 milliseconds after it is struck by the drumstick.
Bluetooth headphones, usually have latencies above 20 milliseconds, this delay in sound production can be detected with very good ears, so using Bluetooth headphones will disrupt your flow.
What Speakers are Good for Electronic Drums?
To get the most from your electric drums, you’ll have to connect to some form of amplification, either headphones or speakers. Generally, you’ll be using the speakers with drum amps.
The amps are specially designed to work on the sounds from the electric drums. There are several drum amplifiers on the market but in case you are wondering which ones are for your drums, here’s a list of some common ones which will be a good fit for your drums: Roland PM 200, Roland PM 100, KAT Percussion KA1, Alesis Strike 12 and Ddrum DDA50.
Electric Drums must be played with either headphones or speakers. Connecting electric drums to speakers for the first may seem difficult but I hope the steps in the article will make it easier for you to make your connections.
Usually, you’ll need a quarter inch cable for the connections but if your equipment supports the XLR cable, you should go ahead and use it.
The drum module’s output jack is the gateway to the electric drum so you’ll have to plug the quarter inch or XLR cable there and then connect the other end of the cable to the PA mixer, amplifier, or speaker.
You should be careful not to leave your equipment turned on as you do your cable connections since this can damage them. Only turn the equipment on after all your cable connections are done and you are ready to test your drums.
If you have a Bluetooth speaker, you can use them for the electric drums but don’t use a Bluetooth headset since the larger latencies can disrupt the flow of your drums.