How to Amplify Electronic Drums

playing-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

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

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

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.

4 thoughts on “How to Amplify Electronic Drums”

  1. What about the the delay of sound from hitting the pad until it makes a sound from amp there is this delay is there a way around that my cheesy 19 dollar digital drum set yamaha lump of pads on a block do not do that my 700 dollar Roland drum set does why the delay makes it impossible to play along with pre recorded music or live practice with a band what’s the deal do I need a actual drum amp I am using a fender R25 frontman right now

    Reply
    • Hi Jim, are you just connecting the drum set audio output directly to the amp? In that case, you really shouldn’t be getting much latency from this. Might be an issue with the drum module you’re using. In general, it should be fairly instant (you can expect a few milliseconds, but nothing major).

      Reply
  2. When I hook up my phone to my module I play to songs in my headphones. My question is if I hookup a drum amp will the music and drums be heard in BOTH the headphones and the drum amp at the same time? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Yes they will be heard on both. Generally it’s the exact same audio feed going out to the headphones and the amp.

      Reply

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