A keyboard amp is an essential piece of equipment for every keyboard player. A good amp can significantly improve your sound and allow you to expose your full potential as a musician. Keyboard players often like to carry their own amp at live gigs, instead of connecting directly into the venue’s PA system. Choosing the right amp to buy is quite important, as a keyboard amp is something that you usually have to buy once: most of the times it will take a few years until you decide to change or upgrade it.
Deciding on the right amp for you might prove to be a daunting task: hundreds of models are available on the market and sometimes it is quite hard to understand which features are responsible for the various price tags. Spotting the differences between the amps is also difficult if you are not familiar with the specifications.
In order to assist you with this task, I have gathered for you the 8 top keyboard amps on the market right now. Each one of them comes with its pros and cons listed, so that you can choose which one works best for your needs.
8 Best Keyboard AMPs 2020 Reviewed
The first entry of this list is the Behringer Ultratone K900FX, a high-quality keyboard amp with up to 90 watts of power and a low price tag. It comes with a 12-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter that deliver crystal clear sound performance across the frequency spectrum. It features 3 channels that let you connect up to three instruments and control their volume and effects separately. The first channel also incorporates an XLR input that lets you connect a dynamic microphone. Extra features of the K900FX include a 24-bit digital effects processor that lets you add effects such as delay, reverb and chorus, as well as a feedback detection system that protects you from unwanted distortion and feedback. An integrated 5-band graphic equalizer lets you customize the frequency response. The amp is very easy to use and lets you customize your sound effortlessly. All in all, the Behringer Ultratone K900FX is highly recommended for those on a tight budget who want a versatile keyboard amp to connect multiple instruments.
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The next pick comes from Roland, a brand that sounds familiar to keyboard players. It is one of their premium-quality keyboard amps: the KC-110 is a relatively small stereo amplifier that produces up to 30 watts of power. It comes with three channels and delivers crisp and clear sound performance. It features a lightweight design and its compact size makes it really easy to carry. A number of inputs is included: an XLR input for a microphone, two stereo instrument inputs, one AUX input as well as stereo outputs that let you connect to a sound system. Another cool feature of this amp is the dual option for power: it works with AC or 8 AA batteries that can last for up to 9 hours (you can also use rechargeable ones). The only downside of this amp is the price: it is true that you can find cheaper options for a 30-watt amp. However, the Roland KC-110’s sound quality is unquestionable, and makes this amp perfect for keyboard players that want to fill a small room or venue with rich keyboard sound.
3. Peavey KB 1
The Peavey KB 1 is another compact keyboard amp with high-quality sound performance. It features a large 8-inch extended-range speaker for mono sound that covers a large frequency range. The amp comes with two channels that let you connect two different instruments, and separate EQ control for each channel. As long as you have the right cables or adaptors, you can connect an audio device (such as your phone or tablet) and even a dynamic microphone. The Peavey KB 1 produces 20 watts RMS of crystal clear and loud audio performance. A headphone port lets you practice quietly even in the night hours. The great build quality of this amp incorporates heavy duty materials and a metal grill that adds to durability. The Peavey KB 1 lacks extra features such as effects or an XLR input, but it is quite an affordable option. Overall, this amp is perfect for those who are looking for a simple yet effective keyboard amp that doesn’t break the bank.
4. Vox VX50KB
The next pick comes from Vox, a brand that has high reputation manufacturing guitar amps. It seems they used their know-how to craft the Vox VX50KB, a 50 W keyboard amp with Nutube circuitry which mimics the tube-amp sound. It comes with a single 8” 2-way speaker that covers a wide frequency range, while the specially designed bass-reflex cabinet enhances the low frequencies. The sound performance of this amp is crystal clear, rich and warm. It features three channels that let you connect three different instruments and channel 3 lets you choose between line and mic (there is no XLR input). Additionally, it includes a TRS AUX input, a 1/4″ line-out, and a headphone output for quiet practice. A three-band graphic equalizer lets you tweak your sound. The design of the Vox VX50KB is lightweight and compact, making it one of the most portable keyboard amps on this list. Finally, the biggest advantage of this amp is the fact that it is quite affordable for what it offers, making it suitable for keyboard players of all budgets.
This is the second choice from Roland on this list, and probably the best fit for those who like to carry their amp around. The Roland Mobile Cube is, as the name suggests, a battery-powered stereo amplifier with compact and lightweight design as well as a lot of useful features. It is powered by 6 AA batteries that last for up to 15 hours for maximum cord-free portability. The two high-performance speakers create crisp, clear and loud sound performance that can easily fill a room. It is essentially a two-channel speaker with a microphone and an instrument input. The Roland Mobile Cube comes with built-in effects such as chorus, reverb and overdrive. It is an all-purpose speaker that can also handle other instruments besides keyboards, allowing you to plug a guitar or a microphone. The sound quality and the features of the Roland Mobile Cube are surprising for the price, that makes this amp recommended to those on a tight budget. On the whole, the Roland Mobile Cube is perfect for those who travel, as well as those who like to play in small venues.
The Alto Professional Kick 12 is a powerful amplifier that has been designed especially for keyboards. It boasts 400 Watts of power that can fill every space with quality sound performance which is produced by its bi-amp design that features both a high-end 1″ driver and a low-end 12″ driver. The incorporated custom-tuned electronic crossover ensures great frequency response across the spectrum. The Alto Professional Kick 12 comes with an impressive number of 4 channels that feature line inputs, while the first channel also has an XLR option that lets you connect a dynamic microphone. It also has a stereo RCA input and a footswitch input, along with 1/4″ jack and XLR outputs. It comes with a built-in Alesis digital effects processor with 256 effects presets: 16 effects with 16 variations each allow for full sound customization. The amp has quite a big size but it is surprisingly lightweight. The Alto Professional Kick 12 is highly recommended to keyboard players that demand from their amp top-of-the-line sound performance.
The Coolmusic DK-35 is a high-quality keyboard amp that boasts 35 Watts of power along with a low price tag. It is a mono amp that incorporates a 10-inch coaxial loudspeaker that delivers decent sound performance. It comes with two channels that let you connect two sound sources at once: the first is equipped with an XLR port for microphones and the second one has a line-in for instruments. You can also connect a CD or MP3 player to the CD in port to jam along with your favorite tracks. Besides keyboards, the Coolmusic DK-35 is also suitable for guitars and drums. Additionally, the amp includes a built-in two-band EQ that lets you tweak your sound. Some built-in effects such as reverb are also included, but there is not much variety to them. A headphone port allows for quiet practice, while a DI out lets you connect directly to an external PA system. All in all, the Coolmusic DK-35 is an affordable solution to beginner keyboard players that will certainly appreciate all of its features in a competitive price.
Last but not least, the Behringer Ultratone KT108 is another top-notch keyboard amplifier by Behringer. It comes with 2 channels for two instruments, 15 watts of power and an 8-inch dual-cone speaker for optimal sound performance. Its volume output is adequate for home practice and smaller spaces, but it won’t fill any large venues. Besides the two channels, it incorporates an aux input for external audio sources (such as your phone, CD or mp3 player) and a headphone output for silent practice. Its VTC (Virtual Tube Circuitry) technology emulates the warm sound of a tube amp. A built-in three-band EQ (low, mids and highs) lets you tweak your sound to your liking. The Behringer Ultratone KT108 has sturdy build quality that adds to durability and comes with a 3-year warranty. It also comes in a compact size with lightweight design that makes it easy to carry, To sum up, the Behringer Ultratone KT108 is highly recommended to keyboard players that are looking for a sturdy and portable amplifier with great sound performance.
Best Keyboard Amps – Buying Guide
Keyboard amps are essential for keyboard players, as they help to amplify the instrument’s sound, as well as control it through equalizers and effects. Such an amp can be quite a big investment for a musician and consequently the choice of the right product is crucial. There are many specifications that make each amp different and suitable or not for you needs. To help you choose the right amp, you can find below a buying guide that explains thoroughly all the things that you should be aware of before buying a brand new keyboard amp.
Sound quality should always be the most determining factor in choosing the right amp for you. There is no point in getting an amp that won’t give you crystal clear audio! That means that you should check whether the frequency spectrum covers your needs, as well as if the volume output is adequate for the space where you plan to use the amp. Some amps deliver mono sound, while others produce stereo sound performance. Depending on your budget, you might want to look for even more advanced sound qualities, such as amps that can emulate the sound performance of a tube amp.
Number of channels
The number of channels that each amp supports determines how many different instruments or microphones you can connect to the amp. In most cases, each channel comes with separate volume and effects controls for better personalization. This can be particularly useful if you want to sing while playing, or if you enjoy playing with other people in small spaces. Note that the more channels the more expensive the amp, so if you just need to plug in a single instrument, there is no need to get a multi-channel one.
If you need your amp only to practice at home, you can skip this category and move to the next right away. On the other hand, if you plan to carry your amp around for rehearsals and live gigs, it is crucial that you get an amp that is pretty compact and as lightweight as possible. Some keyboard amps have been designed for portability and might even include a handle for easier transportation. If you are also planning to play on the street, don’t forget that you might need a battery-powered amp.
Inputs and outputs
Not all buyers realize that besides the number of channels, the variety of inputs and outputs of an amp is also important. Other than the classic instrument inputs, XLR inputs let you connect microphones, while RCA inputs allow you to connect devices such as CD and MP3 players (even your smart device with the right adapter). The right outputs will allow you to connect the amp to an external PA system, a very useful feature for live performances. Finally, headphone outputs let you practice quietly, without disturbing everyone in the house.
It is true that keyboard amps come in a great variety of price tags. There are many budget-friendly options for beginners that will certainly do the job, but if you are an advanced keyboard player, it is better to pay a little more and get an amp that won’t be useless for you after a couple of years. A keyboard amp is something that you should buy very few times in your lifetime, so make sure that the one you will get satisfies both your current and your future needs.
Many keyboard amps nowadays come with built-in DSP (digital signal processing) and incorporated effects. This feature can save you a lot of money that you would otherwise invest in effects units and pedals. These effects usually include reverb, chorus and overdrive, but they might also incorporate more complex effects, depending on the amp. There are also amps with feedback protection system (useful for monitoring when playing live) and with built-in graphic equalizer that lets you fine-tune your sound performance. Note that these effects might increase the price of the amp, so you might want to exclude this feature if you are tight on the budget.
Speaking of power, I mean both the power to operate the amp, and its volume output. The first is quite important if you want to carry the amp in places where there are no AC outlets. There are quite a lot of battery-powered amps on the market with different options such as AA batteries or rechargeable ones. However, if you don’t plan to use this feature, it is better to get one with that connects to the usual AC power outlet. That will also give you greater volume output, a feature that you should pay attention to if you want to fill large spaces with the sound of your keyboard.
There are several other features of the keyboard amps that don’t fall in any of the previously mentioned categories. For some people, robust build quality is a must, and I would certainly advise you to pay attention at that especially if you are looking for an amp that you will carry around a lot. Don’t forget that build quality also adds to the overall durability. Finally, it is true that some amps are more elegant than others, so if the looks are important to you, you might want to check that out, too.
As you have probably already realized, there are many keyboard amps out there with very different specifications. The amp that you plan to get doesn’t have to meet all the previously mentioned criteria, but it should certainly satisfy all your present and future needs. So, before you decide on the model you wish to purchase, take a moment to think about what you are planning to use this amp for. If you think that more channels or built-in effects will be useful to you in the future, it is better to spend some extra bucks now and invest on your keyboard amp. I hope that this guide has helped you choose the right amp for you!
While all the amps that have been mentioned previously are top-of-the-line, there are many factors that can help you pick one of them to buy. Your budget is always important, as they come in a variety of price tags. However, what you plan to do with your amp is equally important to define your choice.
If you plan to carry your amp around, try looking for lightweight amps. Sometimes, those that are battery-powered can allow you to play everywhere, without worrying about power outlets. On the other hand, amps that have been designed for portability sometimes lack in sound quality. In case audio quality is a priority for you, take a look at the frequency response of the amp you intend to buy. Finally, if you are planning to connect other instruments in the amp, you should probably purchase one with an adequate number of channels (at least three, as some might require stereo inputs). Remember that microphones need XLR inputs, unless you have adapters lying around.
Whatever your choice might be, a keyboard amplifier will significantly improve your sound, allowing you to focus on your musical progress. I hope that this list helped you pick one and start playing!