How to Amplify Electric Drums

Three Parts:Purchasing a Sound SystemInstalling the Sound SystemImproving Your Sound

Electric drums are popularly used for quiet drum practice. However, modern advancements in electric drumming technology have made electric drums an excellent choice for performing as well. Your bassist and guitarist are probably familiar with using speakers and amplifiers, but if you’re new to electric drumming, a sound system can be intimidating. Choose a speaker and amplifier combination to get started. Next, arrange your equipment, plug everything in, and test the sound. You’ll be playing incredible electric drum solos in no time!

Part 1
Purchasing a Sound System

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    Research recommended speaker combinations. Most electronic drum kit manufacturers also make speakers and amplifiers. If possible, purchase specialized drum amplification equipment that is made by the same manufacturer. The amplification equipment will be optimized for your drum set. However, many people also use equipment from several different manufacturers with success.
    • Check the specification requirements of the sound equipment to make sure your drum kit is compatible.
    • Bass and guitar equipment may work, but drum amplification equipment is best. Specialized amps and speakers will be able to amplify low drum tones better than other equipment.
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    Choose a passive speaker and amplifier combo. Passive speakers are speakers that require an amplifier to create sound. Amplifiers are small boxes with sound settings that feed the sound signal to the speakers.[1] If you’re going to use your drum kit professionally, it may be best to purchase a passive speaker and amplifier combination so you have better control over the sound.
    • Check the specifications of your amplifier and speaker before buying them to make sure they’re compatible with one another.[2]
    • If possible, buy your amplifier and speaker from the same manufacturer. This will eliminate incompatibility problems.
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    Choose a powered speaker. Powered speakers are great options for amateur musicians because the amplifier is built-in.[3] There will there be less equipment to set up and carry and fewer cords to keep track of. Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about tweaking the amplifier settings to create a good sound.
    • These speakers are sometimes called “active” speakers. However, this term actually refers to the inner wiring and does not mean the same thing.

Part 2
Installing the Sound System

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    Arrange your equipment. Set up your equipment on stage or in your practice space before plugging anything in. Move your speakers to the left and right of the stage to avoid sound interference with any microphones.[4]
    • Don’t plug anything into a power source until all of the equipment is connected via cables.
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    Find the module output jack on your drum set. Locate the drum module. This is the “brain” of the drum kit that allows you to alter the sounds, change the settings, and turn the kit on and off. Look around the module for the word “output.” This is where you’ll connect the drum kit to the speaker.
    • Sometimes the output jack says “output/headphones.”[5]
    • Most output jacks take ¼ inch cables. However, if your output jack takes a different size, purchase a converter that will allow you to use ¼ inch cables.
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    Connect your drum module to your speakers. Use long, ¼ inch cables. First, plug one end of the cable into the output jack of your drum set and the other end into the input jack of your amplifier. Next, use another cable to connect the amplifier’s output and the speaker’s input.
    • If you’re using an active speaker, use a ¼ inch cable to connect the drum module’s output jack and the speaker’s input jack.
    • Make sure you have plenty of slack on the cable. If the cable is taut, you or another bandmate could trip over it and damage your equipment.
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    Test the sound. Turn all of the volumes to zero. Next, plug the system components into a power source and turn everything on.[6] Slowly raise the sound as you test your drums to find the perfect sound level.
    • The sound can be adjusted from the drum module, the speakers, or the amplifier.

Part 3
Improving Your Sound

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    Adjust the settings on your drum module. Most drum modules allow you to control the different tones that your drum set creates. You can alter the volume of the low and high notes or change the timbre of the notes by “changing” drum sets. Cycle through the different drum types to imitate a variety of popular higher-end acoustic drums.
    • If you purchased an inexpensive drum kit, these features may not be available.
    • If you still don’t like the sound of your drum set, consider upgrading the module. [7] Purchase a higher-quality version from the same brand to replace your old module.
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    Use a sound mixing board. Most bands have a mixing board to help them adjust the quality of their music. However, some traditional mixing boards can’t handle the low bass tones of an electric drum set. If you notice that your lower drumming notes sound dull, or if your band’s mixer runs out of input space, consider using your own specialized sound mixer.
    • If you don’t use a lot of cymbal sounds when you play, a line-level mixer will work well. Otherwise, choose a quality mike-and-line mixer. [8]
    • These mixers can be bought at specialty music stores, online, or at secondhand music shops.
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    Adjust the bass and treble knobs on your amplifier. If you notice that your lower drumming notes are flat and lifeless, try adjusting the bass and treble knobs on your amplifier. Turn them up to amplify the lower notes and turn them down to make the lower notes quieter.[9]
    • This feature is not available on every amplifier. If you don’t see any sound knobs on the front of your amplifier, you probably can’t adjust the bass or treble tones.


  • Make sure all equipment is powered off when connecting and disconnecting cables. This can help prevent damage to the equipment's internal components.

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Categories: Music Techniques | Drums