To hear your electronic drums you will need either an amp or a pair of headphones. Most drummers use headphones, but you can also buy amplifiers specifically designed for electronic drums. You can buy an amp for personal use (known as a monitor) or a larger amp for performing live to an audience.
If you’re looking for an affordable way to listen to yourself playing – headphones are normally the correct choice over amplifiers.
You can often get headphones included as part of a bundle when you buy your electronic drum set.
I actually wrote an article that explains everything you’ll need for some of the most popular electronic drum sets, find out more in our best electronic drum set round up.
Do I need a special amp for electronic drums?
It’s generally not a good idea to use guitar amps or amps designed for other instruments when playing electronic drums.
This can often wear out the amp very quickly and most instrument amps will produce a very low-quality drum sound.
If you do decide you want to hear your drums out loud without wearing headphones – you’ll need to get yourself a drum amp.
For personal use in the home, a small amp or a personal drum monitor is normally the best option.
This will allow you to practice out loud by yourself and perform for family and friends.
Many drum manufacturers make drum amps or monitors which pair extremely well with their electronic drum sets.
For example, for my Roland TD-1DMK drum set, I use a Roland PM-03 Drum Monitor which produces a very high-quality drum sound at a low volume, ideal for practice.
Not all amps are made the same and cheaper amps do tend to have the inferior sound quality to the amplifiers made by the more expensive and established brands.
Do electronic drums need an amp when performing live to an audience?
If you’re looking to perform live to an audience, you will need a bigger drum amp for your electronic drums.
The same applies if you’re practicing with an amplified band, as your drums will have to compete with other instrument amps that can often get pretty loud.
Occasionally in a small venue, there will be a PA system that you can plug your drum set directly into but most of the time, you’ll have to bring your own drum amp.
Whether your drum set requires a set of headphones, a small amp or a large amp depends on which musical situations you’re likely to find yourself in and how loud you need to go.
If you’re not sure where to start, just go for a pair of headphones – they’ll remain useful whether or not you decide to buy an amp in the future.