If you think about the past, electronic drums only found use during quiet practice of drumming, mostly suited to residential regions. Nevertheless, we have come far from then. In the modern days, drumming technology has progressed enough to make electronic drums quite a perfect choice for performances and concerts. However, this does call for something additional- an amplifier for the set of the electronic drum.
It might sound a little complicated when we mention the amplification of electronic drums. However, it is not that difficult to actually achieve. You can amplify electronic drums in several ways. The most important ones worth mentioning are using a perfect drum amplifier, a PA system or merely, a decent set of headphones for drums.
We are here to elaborate on the aforementioned choices, and to guide you through the main steps to follow in this regard.
Using a Drum Amplifier
You need to start off by connecting the set of electronic drums to a drum amplifier using 2 most important things- a drum amplifier (as you must have already guessed) and a minimum of one 0.25 inch cable. Next, you need to follow the steps given below:
- Make sure your drum amplifier is switched off.
- Take the 0.25 inch instrument cable and connect it between your drum module’s audio output and the audio input of the amplifier for the drum. Make sure you do not confuse this with the headphone output, given the fact that those are already amplifier and must not be connected to a drum amplifier or PA system at any cost.
- Usually, your drum set will be coming with two different outputs. One comes in the left while the other in the right. You can simply connect one of the cables from the left. This will allow a single signal from the drum module to be sent to the amplifier.
- Next, you have to switch on the amplifier of the drum and turn up the volume.
- Finally, you should simply turn up the master volume of your drum set.
As you begin to play your electronic drum, you can start hearing the amplified sound at this point.
Using a PA System
This is most relevant when you need to amplify your electronic drum for performing in gigs or live concerts. This is because, simply using a drum amplifier might be too little in this regard.
If you have been consulting a mixing engineer, or just discussing with your ensemble, you must have received the advice to put the electronic drum through a sound desk or more commonly, a mixer, in the venue of the performance for this purpose. We are here to guide you through the steps that you can follow to connect to a PA system.
- Take a 0.25 inch instrument cable, (yes, same as the one we discussed in the drum amplifier part), and connect it between the audio output of the module of the drum and the audio input of the amplifier of the drums.
- In order to have superior quality of the output, you might want to use 2 different such cables if your drum comes with two different output (one in the left, and one to the right) in the back of the module. You should connect both of these instrument cables to the sound desk.
- One of these cables is then used to fix this drum module directly with the mixing desk. In some stages or locations, you will have to hook this cable to a Direct Input (DI) box. This box is like an extended version of the mixing desk.
It comes with an audio input which takes the audio line directly to the mixer. If you have a sound engineer, he or she wills advice you to put the audio cables in such a manner that it connects the electronic drum to the DI box.
- Next, the sound engineer should be able to channel the audio from the electronic drum module directly to the PA system.
- One important point to keep in mind if you end up needing to use a DI box- in order to get a mono or single signal, you should use a standard mono DI box. In this regard, you should generally be connecting the left audio output of the drum set to the DI box.
Nevertheless, if you are trying to generate a stereo signal instead, you can choose to use a stereo DI box, consisting of 2 inputs or 2 separate DI boxes, whereby the engineer must be feeding the input to the two different lines.
Now you are aware about the super simple steps to undertake to connect electronic drums to a PA system.
Using Drum Headphones
The e-drums are usually equipped with a headphone jack. You are able to connect your own headphones to this pretty simply. If you are trying to use an existing headphone, you may have to get an adapter for 1/8” to ¼” jack conversion. However, this will depend mostly on what kind of drum set you own.
When you are using headphones, be aware to always make use of the headphone output, and not the direct L/R audio output from the module of the drum. This is because the audio from the direct output will sound pretty low.
The headphone jacks usually come as pre-amplified and the module of the drum will usually have a separate volume knob to adjust the volume, as opposed to the master volume of the drum module.
Now you are well aware of the three most important ways of amplifying electronic drums. All 3 are relevant, but suited to different situations, and hence handy to review, and use according to the demand of the situation. You can use such amplification either for big concerts or for smaller practice sessions, as you prefer.