How to Amplify Electronic Drums (2022 Guide)

playing-drums

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

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 from 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 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 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 on your computer, then make sure to check out our guide on this topic.

Connect to a speaker

A speaker can also get the job done in amplifying your electronic drum set. The sound quality of regular speakers like this can vary wildly, and it’s better to use a proper PA system when playing gigs.

You need to use a speaker that has the correct audio connections, or alternatively you can get an adapter or use an audio mixer.

Summary

Amplifying your electronic drum set can be done in several ways and you’ll often need to make use of the right equipment.

Overall, the best way to amplify your electronic drum set would be to have it connected directly to a PA system or mixer. This is also something that requires little effort and will sound amazing with almost no hassle involved at all.

Using headphones can also get the job done and it’s a very easy task for anyone to achieve, you could even connect them directly into the headphone jack of your drum module.

Using an amplifier can get the job done but you will likely need to mess around with settings and it probably won’t be as good quality compared to the other two options available. You should also use an amplifier that is designed for use with electronic drum sets.

Using your speaker can also get the job done but it should not be used unless there are no other options available (you may need to make changes to the output volume of your speaker if you do).

Photo of author

Mike O'Connor

Drumming has been my passion for over 18 years. I play quite a few different genres and I really enjoy experimenting with hybrid kits that blend acoustic and electronic drums. I love all things drumming!

4 thoughts on “How to Amplify Electronic Drums (2022 Guide)”

  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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