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Best electronic drum amps and monitors 2022: play your e-kit out loud!

Best electronic drum amps and monitors 2022: play your e-kit out loud!
(Image credit: Roland)

Electronic drum sets have become the go-to choice for those wanting to save space and stay friendly with the neighbours throughout their drumming journey. With ever improving technology and falling prices, there are more and more plus sides to owning an e-kit. One consideration we do need to make though is how we choose to hear the kit.

Unlike an acoustic drum kit we need some method of monitoring the sound. In the situations where a pair of headphones just won’t cut the mustard, a dedicated e-drum monitoring system is the way to go. In this guide we’ll take a look at the best options on the market right now.

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Our top picks

While there are many strong contenders among entries from Roland, Laney and Carlsbro, we’re choosing the Alesis Strike Amp 12 as our top pick. The massive 2000w of powered speaker is crammed into a compact and sleek package and it really packs a wallop. It can be positioned in a multitude of ways, has multiple inputs and a direct output.

If you’re enjoying the sound of your e-kit through a pair of drum-specific headphones but pine for the physical feedback of an acoustic drum kit then try out a Porter & Davies BC-X tactile monitoring system. It delivers the feel of a subwoofer without any of the volume.

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Product guide

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Alesis Strike Amp 12

(Image credit: Alesis)

1. Alesis Strike Amp 12

A powerful and versatile wedge monitor

Launch price: $349/£305/€349
Power: 2000w
Speaker size: 12”
Weight: 16.3 kg
Reasons to buy
+Extremely powerful +Versatile setup options 
Reasons to avoid
-2000W is a lot of power!

This PA speaker-style wedge speaker shares its name with Alesis’ flagship electronic drum set range - the Strike Pro. Its massive 2000 watt power is smuggled into a surprisingly small package which delivers a maximum of 131dB.

In addition to a 12” woofer and high-frequency compression driver, the Strike Amp features an EQ contouring setting (boosting high and low frequencies +3dB) and ground noise reduction.

The PA style speaker can be pole mounted, laid horizontally or stood vertically (in which it can also be tipped back for a more convenient listening angle) so you can place where you need around your kit. Two separate inputs allow for multiple sources and an output allows for daisy chaining of multiple speakers.

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Roland PM-200

(Image credit: Roland)

2. Roland PM-200

A punchy 180w amp with strong bass

Launch price: $529/£449/€499
Power: 180w
Speaker size: 12”
Weight: 21kg
Reasons to buy
+Great connectivity+Inbuilt mixer and EQ controls+A great amount of power
Reasons to avoid
-A fairly large footprint 

The PM-200 is currently Roland’s flagship V-Drums monitor. This large wedge-style speaker cabinet has an angled design to offer the optimum sound for seated players. 

An inbuilt mixer includes a dedicated drum input and a separate line input for a second instrument or a device for music playback. Bass and treble dials allow for fine tuning frequency response.

Direct XLR outputs can be found on the back of the unit for sending the signal elsewhere. This makes the PM-200 ideal for using on stage. For lesser requirements also check out the smaller Roland PM-100.

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Alesis Strike Amp 8

(Image credit: Alesis)

3. Alesis Strike Amp 8

A small but mighty monitoring solution

Price: $219/£215/€249
Power: 2000w
Speaker size: 8”
Weight: 9.2kg
Reasons to buy
+Powerful amplifier+Compact size 
Reasons to avoid
-8” speaker doesn’t pack tons of bass-Could upgrade to the Strike Amp 12  

A more portable version of the Strike Amp 12 at number one in this best electronic drum amps guide, this one uses a smaller 8” woofer rather than 12”. It does however feature the same powerful 2000-watt amplifier as its big brother.

Connectivity is identical to the Strike Amp 12 which includes two separate volume controlled inputs and an XLR output for linking multiple speakers. There are also controls for EQ contour and eliminating ground noise.

Investing in a pair of these small and lightweight speakers could be just the ticket for immersive stereo sound.

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Laney DH80

(Image credit: Laney)

4. Laney DH80 DrumHUB

Go wireless with the Bluetooth aux input

Launch price: $339/£195/€219
Power: 80w
Speaker size: 10”
Weight: 9.75kg
Reasons to buy
+Well priced considering the features+Great connectivity options 
Reasons to avoid
-Only uses mini-jack inputs 

From a big name in guitar amplification, Laney’s DrumHUB offers 80 watts of power delivered through a 10” custom woofer and 3” coaxial tweeter. The cabinet itself has been designed to enhance bass frequencies for harder hitting low-end.

For such a small amp the DrumHUB boasts an impressive amount of inputs and outputs. Most impressive of all is the Bluetooth auxiliary input which memorises the pairing of your favourite device. 

Two mini-jack inputs allow for two kits (or other instruments) to be connected in addition to the wired or Bluetooth aux input. There’s even two band EQ, a direct XLR output and a headphone output.

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Porter and Davies BC-X Drum Throne Monitoring System

(Image credit: Porter and Davies BC-X)

5. Porter & Davies BC-X Monitor

Produce thunderous bass without making a peep

Launch price: $1,099/£795/€795
Power: 130w
Speaker size: N/A
Weight: 4kg
Reasons to buy
+Great for quiet practice+Enhances the feel of the kit 
Reasons to avoid
-They don’t come cheap -Headphones or speakers are still required 

This wildcard entry is a monitoring system with a twist. Porter & Davies thrones use bone conduction technology to allow low frequencies to be felt and even heard without causing any external noise. 

These ‘tactile monitoring systems’ work best in addition to an existing speaker setup or headphones/in-ear monitors. Using a special drum throne top powered by a separate amplification unit called the ‘engine’, the system delivers physical feedback from an electronic kit that would otherwise be lacking through a small speaker.

The BC-X is the most affordable P&D option and features a round 13” all-vinyl throne and compact 8″x7″x4″ engine. The dual input also allows for a bass drum mic to be used if playing an acoustic kit.

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: SubZero DR-60 Drum / Keyboard Amp

(Image credit: SubZero)

6. SubZero DR-60 Drum/Keyboard Amp

Not one, not two, but three separate inputs

Launch price: $165/£139
Power: 60w
Speaker size: 12”
Weight: 20kg
Reasons to buy
+XLR input+Rugged build and versatile positioning+Great for group practice
Reasons to avoid
-Quite a heavy unit

This rugged 60-watt amp from SubZero boasts a large 12” speaker along with 3-band EQ and a host of separately controlled inputs.

In addition to a dedicated 1/4” jack e-drums input, there is also another one for a separate line input (ideal for bass guitar or keyboard) and an XLR microphone input - all mixed independently.

The ability to run three sound sources independently makes the DR-60 ideal for practicing with other musicians and is a particularly welcome addition at such a low price point.

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Roland PM-03 2.1

(Image credit: Roland)

7. Roland PM-03 2.1

A compact speaker with stereo sound

Launch price: $199/£179/€245
Power: 30w
Speaker size: 5”
Weight: 6kg
Reasons to buy
+Space saving+Stereo sound 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most powerful-Limited connectivity 

This sleek 2.1 unit features a 5” woofer and two 3” full range speakers for a stereo sound. With a combined output of 30 watts it’s not the most powerful option out there but would be well suited to a small setup such as the Roland TD-1.

The compact tower design of the PM-03 results in a small footprint and takes up less than 10 inches of floor space, making it easy to place anywhere within the kit. Connections are limited to a stereo mini-jack or separate left and right 1/4” jack inputs. There is also an auto standby feature which saves power after 30 minutes of non-use.

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Carlsbro EDA30

(Image credit: Carlsbro EDA30)

8. Carlsbro EDA30

A small and affordable monitor with some great features

Launch price: $149/£139
Power: 30w
Speaker size: 10”
Weight: 13.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Reasonably priced+3-band EQ controls 
Reasons to avoid
-Low power rating 

This 30-watt amplifier from Carlsbro is designed to best reproduce the frequencies from an electronic drum kit. It uses a 10” coaxial loudspeaker which means that the woofer and tweeters are combined into one structure.

Three band EQ allows control over bass, mid and treble frequencies and a mini-jack line input allows connection of a separate device for playing music. There are also separate 1/4” jack inputs for left and right channels.

The EDA30 is the smallest amp of the Carlsbro EDA family with the next available option being the 50-watt EDA50.

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Millenium DM-30

(Image credit: Millenium)

9. Millenium DM-30

A small and affordable e-drum amp

Price: $139/£125/€149
Power: 30w
Speaker size: 10”
Weight: 15 kg
Reasons to buy
+Separate volume for drum and aux inputs+Affordable price point 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most powerful amp 

The DM-30 is a relatively simplistic yet sleek e-drum amp with an inbuilt 30-watt amplifier and 10” coaxial loudspeaker. Three band EQ allows control over low, mid and high frequencies customising your overall drum sound.

1/4” jack inputs allow the connection of drums (left and right) and a separate auxiliary input. Both of these channels can be mixed separately which is perfect for playing along to music.

The DM-30’s small stature and ease of use makes it perfect for beginners looking to break free of headphones during quiet practice.

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Buying advice

Best electronic drum amps and monitors: Roland PM200 monitor set up next to V-Drums electronic drum set

(Image credit: Roland)

 Choosing the best electronic drum amp for you 

Headphones are the go-to option for convenience and quiet e-drum practice, but where does that leave us when we want to jam with other musicians or show off our new chops to whoever may care to listen? Sometimes it just feels better to move some air and feel the punch of the drums as nature intended. Monitors which have been designed specifically for e-drums will more faithfully reproduce these desired frequencies. 

How much power does my e-kit amp need?

Do you know your woofers from your tweeters? The fundamental factors that set these amps apart from each other are how much power they can produce (measured in watts), connectivity options in terms of inputs and outputs and whether the system delivers mono or stereo sound. E-drum brands such as Roland and Alesis produce their own speaker systems but it’s not necessary to match brands unless you really want to. Any kit will connect with any amp so keep your options open.

Consider when you might use the monitor and in what situations. If it’s just for quiet practice at home then a smaller, less powerful (and usually cheaper) amp will do the trick. If you plan to take it on stage then a bigger speaker (such as a 12”) would be a wiser plan. If having a good spread of sound is a priority then consider a stereo speaker or even buying a pair of mono speakers if budget allows.

Tom is a professional drummer with a long history of performing live anywhere from local venues to 200,000 capacity festivals. Tom is a private drum tutor, in addition to teaching at the BIMM Institute in Birmingham. He is also a regular contributor to MusicRadar, with a particular passion for all things electronic and hybrid drumming.