You may have looked on a stage and seen large stacks of amplifiers. We usually associate these with guitars or bass guitars. In reality, if there is a keyboard on stage, they also need an amplifier so that they can be heard over the other musical instruments. This guide will help you find the best keyboard amplifiers to suit your needs.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
About Keyboard Amplifiers
An amplifier for your keyboard is not going to be as fancy as a regular guitar amp. The whole job of the keyboard amp is to raise the volume of the keyboard so that it can be heard over the other instruments. Digital keyboards come with their own speakers, but they don’t have enough wattage most of the time to be heard in a larger venue such as a club. This is why you need a keyboard amplifier. The right amp will help improve your sound and tone.
What do You Need the Amp For?
Where you buy your amplifier, you have to determine what you’re going to use it for. If you’re playing at home most of the time, you can use the speakers through your keyboard itself, and there is no need for an amplifier. This is different from a regular electric guitar where you need an amplifier to hear yourself play. If you plan on playing on stage, then you will need an amplifier so people in the venue can hear you. In some cases, you can also use the system at the venue to be heard. There is no real reason to use an amp at home unless you are looking for more volume out of your musical instrument. Your keyboard should give you enough volume out of the speakers as it is.
Keyboard Amp Not Guitar Amp
You can’t use a regular guitar amp for your keyboard. It is not going to sound the same. In fact, in many cases, it might not work at all. The knobs and switches on a guitar amp are designed to enhance the sound of an electric guitar and not other instruments. This is why the sound is not going to be the same. You need an amplifier dedicated to the keyboard itself. Your instrument needs a broader frequency range. There are different tones and synthesized sounds that guitar amplifiers can’t recreate properly. Some amps allow you to use both electric guitars and keyboards, but check to ensure that this is possible as not all of them are going to allow this. An amp that can only accommodate guitars won’t help you.
Features and Specs for your Keyboard Amplifier
There are several specifications and features that you should be looking for when purchasing an amplifier dedicated to your instrument. Here is what you need to know.
The number of watts you buy for your amplifier is going to be determined by what you want to do with it. If you’re just playing at home, you probably don’t even need an amp your instrument will be loud enough for you to hear it. If you’re going to be playing in a gig situation such as a club, then you’re going to need an amp. You will need enough wattage so that it can be heard throughout the venue. If you play in large venues, you’re going to need more wattage. If you play with a loud drummer, you will want to increase the wattage of the amp so that the keyboard can be heard over the loud drum set. In some venues, your keyboard will be put through the system as well to increase the overall volume.EQ, Channels, and other features. PA systems will have more wattage as they need to cover more instruments.
You will probably want to get an amplifier that has more than one channel. This will allow you to connect other instruments, keyboards, microphones, or other output devices such as a drum machine or a computer. You will find quite a few 2-channel amplifiers as well as 4-channel models among the higher-powered products on the market. Your keyboard amplifier will probably have some mixing features churches adjustments for each channel, and you may also have EQ controls to cut or boost some of the frequencies. You may also find them with effects such as chorus or reverb. There may also be settings for effects, which can help you change the tone.
Inputs and Outputs
Have a look at the other gear you are using now. You’re going to want an amplifier that is compatible with that gear. This means you’re going to have to have the required inputs and outputs on the amp you buy so you can use your other gear. Not all amplifiers will have the input and outputs that you are looking for. You will have to analyze the various models to ensure you get one that is going to be compatible with the gear that you are currently using. Newer amps have USB ports and Bluetooth functionality so they work with today’s technology.
Another thing you have to keep in mind is how portable the amp is going to be. You don’t want one that is too heavy if you were taking it back and forth to a gig all the time. You can also get ones that have both speaker cabinets and amp combinations that are easier to carry around. Try to buy equipment that is going to match the gigs that you are playing. If you buy something that is too large, then it’s going to be overkill. You may want to have several amplifiers at your disposal if you play different sized gigs all of the time.
There are several amp types that you may want to look at prior to buying your keyboard amplifier. Here are the main types.
A combo amp is probably your best bet. These come in a wide variety of wattages and they are easy to take with you to a gig. They tend to have effects and a wide range of inputs and outputs for things like microphones, headphones, or other audio equipment. A low wattage combo is fine for practice, but if you plan to play on stage, add some more watts. You will probably want 40 watts and above for the stage especially if you play with a loud drummer.
Unless you’re going to play a large arena, you won’t need a stack amplifier. These are typical offer 100 watts and come with several cabinets as well as an amp head. If you play in a professional band in large arenas, then these amps are common, but not so much for clubs and other closed-in places. In this case, a good combo amp would probably be better for you.
Technology has come a long way when it comes to practice amplifiers. There is a wide range of different models on the market. These amps are usually quite small and portable so you can take them with you to your lessons. They typically have around 5-15 watts of power which is perfect for practice sessions. These products often come with headphones jacks for quiet practice as well as built-in effects. Some allow you to use other instruments as well as our keyboard.
Can I Use a PA System?
A public address system or PA system is often used on stage with instruments such as a keyboard. On professional stages, you will find these units. One advantage when you use a keyboard amplifier dedicated to your instrument is that it is portable and there is less setup, but the sound will suffer if you don’t use the right equipment which the PA provides.
They often come with plugins for your microphone and other instruments so you can sing and play at the same time. When you use an amp, you have a bit better control over your tone and volume, and you will have consistent sound out of your keyboard no matter where you are playing. You will get to know the sound of your amplifier. You won’t have to rely on PA systems that might not work the way you expect them to. Another thing to keep in mind is that these systems can be quite expensive. If you’re just starting out, an amplifier might be the better solution as it’s going to cost you less.
As you get better at keyboards this type of system can be a solid option for the stage as they have a lot of mixing features that you can cause to shape your sound. You can also plug in other instruments to the system. You should experiment with both a PA system amplifier and a regular keyboard amplifier to find out what works the best for your needs. You will need other equipment such as monitors to use a PA effectively on stage.
Caring for Your Keyboard Amp
Get a Cover
You should have a cover for your amp. You don’t want to get dust inside the delicate electronics which is easy to do if you leave the amp out. Make sure it’s not around dusty areas such as a shop or other areas where there is a lot of dust. Keep it away from open windows as well. Your product will last a long time if you keep it covered when you’re not using it.
Hardshell Travel Case
If you travel a long way to gigs get a proper case for the amp. You can buy hard shell cases for the transportation of your amplifier. It can be worth it as you don’t want the delicate components banged around when you’re traveling long distances. You’ll find a wide assortment of carrying cases for amps to keep them safe during travels.
Keep Drinks Off of It
It can be tempting to place drinks on our amps while performing, but this can cause a spill and ruin your expensive equipment. Keep drinks and food off the amplifiers and use a small table or stand for the drinks. It only takes sone small error to send drinks flying and for that liquid to ruin your equipment.
Make sure the area is well ventilated and that the openings in your amp aren’t obstructed. This will prevent the unit from overheating and possibly burning pout if it gets too hot. Airflow around your musical equipment is critical to extending its life.
Make sure you take your amp in for periodic maintenance to extend its life. If you notice a problem with your amp or it doesn’t sound right get it checked to ensure that there isn’t a larger issue. Don’t try to do the repair yourself, leave it to a qualified technician. You may void the warranty if you try to repair it on your own.
Watch the Volume Level
Make sure you turn the unit on with the volume at zero, you may damage the speakers if you switch the system on and everything is up to 10. Turn the volume up gradually until you get a level that is comfortable for your needs. More power is sometimes not needed.
Best Keyboard Amplifiers Reviews
1. Roland Mobile Cube Battery-Powered Stereo Amplifier – Best Compact Amp for Keyboards
You don’t want to lug around a large amplifier if you’re playing small gigs where not a lot of power is required from your amplifier. If you want something small and portable for your keyboard you may want to check out the Roland Mobile Cube.
The best part about this amp is that it works for guitars as well as keyboards, so it’s perfect if you have more than one instrument. It provides 5 watts of portable power so you can take it with you wherever you go, and it runs on battery power. You get great stereo sound, and it comes with built-in effects. It uses Roland’s FX engine to create high-quality digital effects. The effects included are reverb, delay, chorus, and overdrive. It can also be used as a small PA or a monitor speaker. It also takes headphones so you can enjoy quiet practicing. If you’re looking for portable power for your instruments, The Roland Mobile Cube has you covered.
2. Peavey KB 2 40-Watt 1x10 – Best Mid-Range Keyboard Amplifier
The Peavey KT 2 is the perfect mid-range amp for your keyboards. You can get it in several different wattage settings. We will look a the midrange 40-watt model here.
The Peavey KT2 is a 40-watt 4-channel amp. Channels one and two have ¼ inputs, while channel 3 has an XLR and ¼ input. Channel four has a ¼ monitor input which features level control. On channels one and two, you also get an equalizer. The amp takes drum machines, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, voice, and keyboards. The controls are easy to access on the top of the amp. It comes complete with a heavy handle and feet for added stability. You get great audio from this amp, and it has enough inputs for all of your instruments. For those that need a good midrange amp for their keyboards, the peavey KT2 is a solid winner.
3. Behringer Ultratone K450FX – Best Keyboard Amp with Effects
If you’re looking for an amplifier that has plenty of effects, you might want to check out the Behringer Ultratone K450FX. This amp is flexible and has a lot to offer today’s keyboard player.
The Behringer Ultratone K450FX is a 45-watt 3-channel amplifier/PA for your keyboard. It comes with a 10” Bugera speaker, which produces plenty of volume. It has good tone and reliability. There is an integrated digital effects processor, and this produces sounds such as chorus, reverb, pitch shifter, delay, flanger, and multi-effects as well. There are 100 presets in total, so you’ll have a wide range of tones at your disposal.
The three channels have separate volume controls so you can sculpt your sound just the way you want. Channel 1 has an XLR input for a microphone if you need it. There is a dedicated 5-band equalizer to help you enhance your tone just the way you want it. Use the line input to connect to your mixer or other audio equipment. Use the CD input to jam along to your favorite songs while you practice your keyboard skills. Use the headphone output for some quiet practicing. You get 45 watts, so this amp is just right for the stage.
4. Roland KC-350 120W Stereo – Professional Amp with High Wattage
The Roland KC-350 has 120 watts of power so it’s well suited for the stage or the studio environment. Here is everything that this amp provides for you.
It provides you with 120 watts of power so it can hand larger gigs than just the average club. You get a 3-band equalizer and there is a subwoofer to enhance the low end. The speaker itself is a large 12 inch for plenty of tone and volume. Use the select and shape function to sculpt and refine your tone. Use the ¼ line output to connect to a mixer or a recording device.
The amp has a stereo function so you can chain two of them together for an even better tone while on the stage. Each amp can be controlled by the one nearest your location. This gives you a true stereo tone. Connect a microphone and sing along while you play your keyboard. This amp has everything that you need to start sounding great with your instrument.
5. Rockville Package PA/Mixer – Best Low-Cost PA
The Rockville RPG2X10 is a complete PA/Mixer/Amp and it comes with microphones to ensure that all of your music including your keyboards sounds great on the stage.
You get two speakers, two stands, Bluetooth connectivity, microphones, and a mixer with this system. The mixer includes a remote control and it comes complete with all the cables you need for setup. The mixer includes four channels and the entire unit is lightweight for easy portability.
The system provides you with 800 watts of power so it’s ready for any setting that you throw at it. It has 200 watts of RMS and 400 watts of program power with a max of 800 watts. You’ll get distortion-free sound at any volume with the unit. There are tape and line put settings on the mixer so you can connect it to other equipment. Input connections include two ¼ jacks for your equipment. For anyone that wants to take their music to the next level, this system has everything you need.
6. Monoprice 130 Watt 8 Channel PA – Best For PA Beginners
If you’re looking to amplify your keyboard and are new to PA systems, you may want to have a look at the Monoprice 130 Watt 8 Channel PA . This has everything you need to get started.
The system is all in one. You get two speakers and an eight-channel mixer. It has a 100-watt RMS stereo amplifier. There are 100 watts per RMS channel sand 200 watts peak per channel. The mixer has plenty of inputs for all of your gear including ¼ and XLR inputs. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack for quiet practicing or monitoring. This system is all set for your next gig or event. Each speaker has a 10” woofer and a 1-inch compression driver. It is easy to take with you and simple to setup. It’s great for beginners who are just getting into PA systems.
7. LyxPro SPA-8 Portable PA – Best Bluetooth Powered PA
For those looking for a PA system that embraces modern technology such as Bluetooth, you may want to have a look at the LyxPro SPA-8 Compact PA System. It has all you need to sound great.
The system is 100 watts with an eight-inch speaker. You will great performance and sound out of the unit. It uses the latest technology and is equipped with Bluetooth so it works with your other modern devices so there are no additional cables required. It’s perfect for school, churches, concerts, or anywhere that you need to amplify your keyboard. The unit is compact and lightweight at only 14 pounds so you can take it with you. It has XLR microphone input, USB, SD card slot, 3.5 mm, ¼, and AUX inputs for all of your devices. You can link multiple speakers if you want this unit. For those that want a simple system that doesn’t cost a whole lot, the LyxPro SPA-8 Compact PA System is the way to go.
8. Behringer Eurolive B205D – Best Compact PA/Monitor for Keyboard
The Behringer Eurolive B205D is the right pick if you want a small, compact PA system for your musical instruments. It has all you need to get started today.
This system gives you 150 watts of power so it’s right for almost any application. It can be use don the stage, fo home recording, and other applications. It used class-D amplifier technology, has a lot of power, and provides superior sound. It’s lightweight so you can take it with you wherever you go. The three-channel mixer has a 3 band EQ to enhance the sound of your music. The speaker drivers are cutting edge so you get the superior sound that you crave. The speakers are built from scratch and handmade. This improves the quality and the components are better overall when compared to other systems. All the settings are easy to use without a lot of complicated buttons to understand. The Behringer Eurolive B205D is the ultimate compact PA system for your instrument.
9. Alto Professional PA – Best Tower PA
The Alto Professional Trouper is a compact tower-stye PA system. If you need room on a cramped stage, this is the system you want to own.
The PA is lightweight at just 23 pounds, so it’s easy to take with you. It has rubber feet, a built-in handle, and it’s easy to set up no matter where your music takes you. The controls are easy to access on the back of the unit. Use the Bluetooth feature to link up other music devices. You have XLR outputs for other speaker setups. The mixer is three channels with volume controls. You get a wide variety of inputs such as XLR, ¼ ⅛, and TRS so all of your devices are covered. The system produces 200 watts of power with one frequency driver and three 6.5 woofers for superior sound out of the unit. For those that have space limitations, but still need a high-quality PA system for their instruments, the Alto Professional Trouper is a good option.
10. Behringer PPA200 PA System – Best Pro PA
For those that need a compact and powerful professional PA system, have a look at the BEHRINGER PA PPA200 System. It’s a solid system for today’s working musician.
The system spots 5 channels and 200 watts of power. It’s compact and lightweight so you can take it no matter where your music takes you. The system is easy to work with and you’ll be making music in no time. The processor handles 100 presets such as multi-effects, phase shifter, chorus, reverb, and flanger. You have plenty of inputs for all your gear and it comes with cables and a microphone. The speakers are compact 4” woofers with 1-inch tweeters for superior sound and clarity. The unit has a storage compartment for cables and your accessories. The unit features a “Planet Earth” power-saving feature so you’ll consume less power when you use the system. The unit folds up into a handy carry case.
There are numerous options when it comes to keyboard amplifiers and PA systems. You want your keyboard to sound great when on stage or recording. A good amplifier will give you the power you need and enhances the small speakers that your instrument has. If you play more professionally I would invest in a good PA system as well as an amplifier for the stage.
For those just starting out and looking to jam with their keyboard try the Roland Mobile Cube. It works with both guitars as well as keyboards and it gives you enough power or a jam session. For those that want a full-featured unit with plenty of effects, the Behringer Ultratone K450FX is a wise choice.
For those just getting into using PA systems, try the Monoprice 130 Watt 8 Channel PA System. professionals might wan tot look at units such as the Behringer Eurolive B205D which has a lot of advanced features for today’s player.