Back in the ‘old days,’ we would turn up to a gig and plug our keyboard/electric piano into a guitar amp and away we’d go. But, we did wonder why it didn’t sound quite right.
You can do this today of course, but the sound achieved from an amp designed for guitar will not come close to that of a specialized keyboard amp. They need a wider range of frequencies to produce the sounds required by today’s sophisticated keyboards, and guitar amps just do not have the frequency range.
But choosing one of these is difficult and we are here to help. So let us have a look at some of the best Keyboard Amplifiers on the market today, and see which one is the best for you…
- Top 10 Best Keyboard Amplifiers In 2019 Reviews
- 1 Roland KC-110 3-Channel 30-Watt Stereo Mixing Keyboard Amplifier
- 2 BEHRINGER Keyboard Amplifier
- 3 Alto Professional Kick 12 Professional
- 4 Peavey KB 1 20W Keyboard Amp
- 5 Roland Mobile Cube Battery-Powered Stereo Amplifier
- 6 BEHRINGER ULTRATONE K900FX
- 7 Behringer Ultratone KT108 Ultra-Compact 15-Watt Keyboard Amplifier
- 8 Coolmusic DK-35
- 9 Roland 4-Channel Stereo Mixing Keyboard Amplifier
- 10 Roland Cube Monitor / PA
- Best Keyboard Amplifier Buyers Guide
Top 10 Best Keyboard Amplifiers In 2019 Reviews
1 Roland KC-110 3-Channel 30-Watt Stereo Mixing Keyboard Amplifier
The Roland KC-110 is a neat and efficient 30w (15w+15w) stereo amplifier. It has two 6.5 inch speakers and two tweeters. Roland knows all about digital effects and those included in the KC110 are built in across three channels, incorporating reverb, chorus, and EQ. There is an optional footswitch.
There are two stereo inputs, a stereo AUX input, and an XLR Mic/Instrument input. Also incorporated are stereo line inputs and a headphone output.
It comes with a tilt-back stand but can also be used with an optional speaker stand.
A unique feature of this amplifier is that it can either use AC power or if you prefer, you can use 8 AA batteries or 8 AA rechargeable batteries. They will last for approximately 9 hours.
How efficient is this amplifier?
In a word – Very. It will handle vocals as well as keyboard sounds. Treble and bass can be applied to the channels, although it must be said you can’t drive it too hard. But that applies to any 30w amplifier. The reverb and chorus work well and add a warmth to all channels.
It weighs just 20 pounds and its dimensions of 19″ x 12″ x 12″, make it easy to carry.
This amplifier will be a useful tool for those that perform at smaller venues or even on the street. It is light and easily transported, and the battery feature solves any power problem. While it is primarily designed for keyboard, it will also handle a guitar.
It does deliver a stereo sound, but there are no pan controls.
For the musician looking for an amplifier for the smaller venues, or even for home use, it works well though it is not particularly cheap. The tonal qualities produce a good sound from the instrument, but it is not possible to crank up the volume to the max without muddying the sound.
2 BEHRINGER Keyboard Amplifier
The KXD12 Ultratone is a 600w amplifier for keyboards that may also be used as a PA. The design gives power to both High and Low-frequency drivers, those ensuring a good, balanced sound spread.
It utilizes a 12” Turbosound speaker and 1” driver to handle the power. Designed in the UK, they allow you to drive the amplifier without distorting or muddying the sound and provide quality sound reproduction. With power, you need quality and the Turbosound
A 4 channel stereo mixer and 7 band EQ offers full functionality, and the effects processor includes 100 presets with reverb, delay, flanger, chorus, etc. Behringer has utilized quality for the speaker systems and has done the same with the effects.
Klark Teknik has been producing world-class effects for many years, and they are incorporated within the effects processor on this amp. This allows the user to really build a unique sound.
The EQ system is very good and covers a wide frequency range and optimizes the sound from 63hz to 16khz.
A further quality addition is the Feedback detection system which allows you to drive the amp without the possibility of sudden feedback.
Is it a powerful amplifier?
This is a powerful system with many quality features. Designed for keyboards, it will also handle vocals and guitar adequately and at 600w is loud enough for most mid-size venues.
Physically it is not too large at approximately 18” by 17” and weighing in at 40lbs. Some, however, may find such a small size rather disconcerting
With the use of quality speakers and effects, this amplifier represents a very good option. It is well manufactured and solid. It has a variety of uses and while it was designed for keyboard use it will handle most instruments including voice.
3 Alto Professional Kick 12 Professional
Designed for keyboards, the Alto comes with a 12-inch speaker and has a 4 channel mixer with line inputs on each channel. Channel 1 benefits from an XLR input.
A powerful amplifier it puts out 400w. The top and bottom end assisted with high and low-end drivers,
It has an effective and impressive effects platform with over 250 presets. It has 16 separate effects with 16 variations on each. The effects are by Alesis.
Effects and volume controls operate on all four channels, and there is a footswitch that allows bypass of effects if desired.
This is a powerful little amplifier with its Class ‘D’ design giving you some raw power.
While it is essentially designed for keyboards, it will operate comfortably with other instruments, drum machines, etc. It will give you an array of sound potential courtesy of the Alesis effects that are impressive.
The 400w potential makes it suitable for small to mid-size venues, but that will be all.
What about the effects?
While it may lack a little in volume potential, it certainly ticks the boxes for the sound options. Alesis, of course, is well known for producing quality effects, and on this little amp, they are there in plenty across all channels.
For those willing to sacrifice a little in absolute volume to achieve great sounds, this amp will do the job.
It is made of solid construction and will take a few transportation knocks. The size of the amplifier may surprise some in that it is 19” by 18” and only weighs 39lbs.
Some may find that a disadvantage if you are looking for a visual effect as well as an impressive sound.
A folding stand allows you to adjust the angle of sound projection.
4 Peavey KB 1 20W Keyboard Amp
Smaller sized keyboard amplifier by Peavey. This puts out a modest 20w, though there are more powerful versions. It has two channels with a 2 band Equalizer on each channel. As well as, a headphone socket.
It incorporates an 8-inch extended range speaker that will give some depth to the bottom end,
It must be emphasized that this is not an amp to be used anywhere except at home, for band practices or in a small venue. If you are expecting a big Peavey sound, this is not the amp for you.
Trying to use too much volume will distort the bottom end. Essentially it is for home use, or maybe at a small venue where volume is not required.
It delivers its sound in an economic way using its modest equalizer options, but of course, these will not be as varied as those other amps provide. The amp was designed primarily for keyboards, and it is in this environment that it will perform at its best.
Attempting to use it for drum machines, it will function, but it may not produce the sounds you may require. Whereas for the keyboard, given the cost, the sound is reasonable.
An indication as to its best operational environment is that it sounds very good when used with headphones. From this, we can make the assumption that home use may be the best option or a very small room in a club.
To add a little bit of volume and variance at home with your keyboard, it does a good job. The Equalizer is basic but functional, and the sound balanced when not too much volume is required.
This little Peavey is what it is. A tidy, well-constructed amplifier that will serve you well. Its 20w loud enough to create a decent sound and the tonal range offers options. Peavey has a reputation for producing good kit and this little amp when used in its correct environment works well.
Dimensions are convenient at 19” by 13” and it weighs just 16lbs.
5 Roland Mobile Cube Battery-Powered Stereo Amplifier
With their Mobile Cube battery powered stereo amp, Roland has produced a small amp for many purposes. It resembles at first glance an older style radio, which we think may not be an accident. It certainly applies itself across a spectrum of amplification possibilities.
Of course, it goes without saying that the venue possibilities might be somewhat limited. Principally designed for home use, it will work adequately at a small gathering or in a small room and for an amp of such size that is very impressive.
It runs on 6 x AA batteries and will easily fit into a briefcase or bag. The batteries last 12-15 hours which is a reasonable return. A power supply is available as an extra, but is not supplied.
What about the sound?
It comes with overdrive, chorus, delay and reverb effects which enhance the stereo sound. Two small speakers project the sound at a surprising level for such a small amp.
From a practical point of view, it will handle microphones, keyboards, guitars and even MP3 players.
For users who are looking for an amplifier that will give quality sound, volume and a full range of effects, this is probably not the piece of equipment for you. It is designed to be a basic, low output amp to be used at home or in small gatherings.
It will provide a decent sound for a keyboard but will not compete with the more powerful amps. But then it was never meant to. Some might say it is a bit of fun, but that does not do justice to what is a small but serious piece of kit.
It carries a good spec., produced by a renowned manufacturer and is capable of producing a good sound.
As an amplifier for home use, it is excellent.
6 BEHRINGER ULTRATONE K900FX
Another example from the Behringer catalog, this three channel, 90w amp carries a 12’’ woofer and 1’’ tweeter.
Primarily it is a keyboard amplifier and will run multiple keyboards if required, but it can also serve as small PA.
It boasts over 100 presets from the FX processor including reverb, chorus, delay, flanger and pitch shifter, and various other effects as well as a feedback detection system. For direct connection to a mixing desk a Line Out, and a dedicated headphone socket for practice. As an addition, there is a CD/mp3 input. It is fitted with a 35mm socket for mounting on a pole stand.
The three channels come with separate volume controls, and channel one has an XLR connection. There is a 5-band equalizer that allows you to create your own sound.
A powerful package…
It certainly is a powerful package and proves that big sounds do not have to come from big boxes. The sound is sharp and impressive, and the woofer speaker deals admirably with a powerful bottom end. It measures just 19” x 17” and weighs 40lbs so is easily transportable.
Keyboards sound very good through this amplifier and are enhanced by the excellent reverb and delay units. Like many amplifiers, you have to drive it a little bit to start to get the best from it. For this reason, it may not be suitable for home use unless with headphones. It will deal with mid-size venues for live playing.
The effects platform offer a wide range of sound structures to suit every scenario and work exceptionally well with keyboards.
It is an impressive amp and at a very realistic price.
7 Behringer Ultratone KT108 Ultra-Compact 15-Watt Keyboard Amplifier
Another from this German manufacturer of quality amplification systems, but this model at the other end of the requirement model. This 15w keyboard amplifier with its 8” dual cone speaker, is a powerful little amp given its 15w rating.
It has two channels with a volume control for each and a three-band EQ, an input for CD/mp3 and a headphone output.
It uses what Behringer call VTC or Virtual Tube Circuitry, to try to create the sound of a tube amp, which many people prefer.
Sounding like a tube amp?
The sound it creates using the VTC system is interesting, and with the addition of the three band EQ allows different sounds to be produced. It is not going to fill a larger venue, but in smaller places, it will perform very well. Despite its modest output rating, it is loud, and the sound does not distort until you reach the top end of the volume.
At 12” x 14” and weighing just 12lbs, there will be no issues with regard to transportation. For such a small amp it certainly can deliver a punch.
It is suitable for home practice or rehearsals but would be comfortable in smaller venues. Whereas some other keyboard amplifiers can be used for guitars and even as PA, the KT108 is best used for keyboards.
For an amplifier that will deliver so much with some good options built-in, the price is more than realistic.
8 Coolmusic DK-35
This is a multi-purpose system that has been designed to work in most environments.
Rated at 35w it has a 10” speaker and two input channels. It has a rather limited effects platform, incorporating a main 2 band EQ with treble and bass controls and a reverb control.
It has a headphone socket and a DI output that will allow you to plug into PA or for use it in a studio environment and an input for CD or mp3 player.
As an amplifier, it has an emphasis on the variety of options for its use.
It can be used to work with just about anything musically, but appears to have as its central theme the ability to work with drum machines.
Guitars and keyboards can also be used through the system. If you have a very sophisticated effects platform onboard then this might produce outstanding results, but given that the effects available are rather limited, it might be fair to say that this amplifier may not produce keyboard sounds particularly accurately.
As a PA workstation, it may suffer a little, again due to the effects platform, but also with its 35w rating. For use at home or in a small rehearsal environment then the DK-35 will suffice.
It will produce enough volume for this purpose and will allow two instruments to pass through it. However, it will not be suitable for a midsize venue, especially if a keyboard amp is what is required.
It must be said that it will produce a good and powerful drum sound and if that is at the center of your requirements, then it is a good buy. It is not expensive and will do a good job for home use or rehearsals.
9 Roland 4-Channel Stereo Mixing Keyboard Amplifier
Roland has produced in this keyboard amplifier a piece of quality. Essentially it is an upgrade of their successful 500 series and offers some new design features.
After decades of manufacturing iconic keyboards, you would expect the company to know precisely what is required to produce an amplifier capable of doing them justice. They know exactly what is needed and the KC range of amplification systems have long been an industry standard.
This is a powerful amp rated at 200w. It carries a large 15-inch woofer and a horn tweeter that deliver power and quality of sound.
It has 4 stereo input channels and a stereo auxiliary input. There is an onboard mixer with master EQ and sound shaping. Also included is an XLR microphone input and output for headphones. Connectivity is functional, and inputs allow you to utilize other sound sources.
It carries a wide frequency range and the bottom, and top ends are reproduced with clarity and depth. The bass sound is especially vibrant and as the volume increases the 15” woofer comes into its own.
Is it suitable for live work?
If you are looking for an amplification system for keyboard, or keyboards, for live shows, then this is worth serious consideration. It is powerful enough to handle larger venues, and the quality of sound will not decrease. Distortion levels are low, and with the EQ and sound shaping features, sound creation is impressive.
The cabinet is well made and sturdy and can handle the rigors of transportation, and it has useful detachable castors.
It is at the top end, cost-wise of the amps covered in this review, but for what you are getting is still realistically priced.
It measures 23” x 17” and weighs 64 lbs.
10 Roland Cube Monitor / PA
A 30w output monitor that can be used in the home, in the studio or on stage. A two-way coaxial 5.5” speaker handles the volume and included is a stereo preamp.
It is a small lightweight speaker capable of delivering a good sound at a decent volume. It is a functional piece of kit, it is easy to carry and provides a variety of functions.
As a keyboard amplifier it excels, despite its comparatively small output.
It has 3 input channels, one with XLR and two auxiliary channels. It has a two-band EQ.
Will it handle volume from your keyboard?
This might seem at first glance as a small amplifier, come monitor, but it is far more than that. The sound, despite being rated at only 30w, is loud and punchy and the sound it delivers is powerful. It may struggle with the bass notes when it is really being driven hard, but that is a problem that many amplifiers have.
This unit is ideal for working at home or for rehearsals and even smaller venues. It excels when used to amplify piano sounds, allowing a powerful bottom end to resonate.
It is well constructed and rugged to allow for transport. A metal grill on the front adds more protection to the unit. However, it still only weighs in at 11lbs, so carrying it is not a problem.
As a small size unit with plenty of power and tonal range, it ticks all the boxes and fulfills a variety of functions. The cost of the unit is more than competitive and makes this one of the best options on the market for those wanting the kind of performance it will deliver.
Best Keyboard Amplifier Buyers Guide
The purchase of amplification is as personal to the user as buying the instrument itself. What is it you want from your amp? Do you need to transport it around? Are you using it at home or is it for live stage work in mid-size venues? And the sounds, what are you expecting?
Our review covers the options from the smaller amplifiers designed for home use, through to the more powerful setups.
So What Will You Use The Amplifier For?
If it is for home use or maybe rehearsals there are many options we have looked at. They provide a quality sound and do have some useful effects. Volume isn’t an issue, so they are modest in their output ratings. Physical dimensions are small which is an asset, and if you are planning to use it at rehearsals, or even in a small venue, then the smaller amplifiers are easily transportable.
Amplifiers that are used at home rarely allow you to use them on stage unless the venue is very small so this should be considered when purchasing an amplifier that is really only for practice. It probably won’t be possible to take it out on the road.
Using Your Amplifier On Stage
The first question to be asked is how large the venue is likely to be. If you require it to perform well at smaller venues, then there are lots of choices. Most of the amplifiers we looked at will handle that.
If you are looking at medium-sized venues, then you will need an amplifier with a higher power rating. If you take a smaller amp and drive it beyond its reasonable limits, it will perform badly, distort and corrupt the sound and eventually do actual damage that will need repair.
When making your purchase consider the size of the potential venues you intend to use it in. If you are planning to use it in larger venues
then you will need a powerful amplifier that retains its clarity and tone at volume.
One further consideration when choosing the amplifier is the line up in which you will be using it.
Even in mid-size venues. If you are playing in a band with four or five other instruments all playing away at the same time. Then you will need an element of power at your disposal so that you will not get swallowed up. Whereas if it is a mid-size venue, with maybe just yourself and
a bassist and a drummer, the power requirement will be somewhat less.
Let’s Give Some Thought To The Effects…
You want to sound good on stage. We all do. Today’s modern sophisticated keyboards carry a wealth of options to make the sounds great. So do the amplifiers.
Using the amplifier at home or maybe at rehearsals, you may feel you do not need an array of sound options.
Stage use though, in whatever size venue, is a different matter. You want to sound good and you’ll wou want the keyboard to add something to the overall sound performance. You will, therefore, need to give some thought to the effects platform you will require.
All of the amplifiers we reviewed come with some effects, some more sophisticated than others. You need to consider precisely what you want from your amplifier and how it will fit with the options you already possess on your keyboard.
Some amplifiers include feedback warnings that will be useful if you are playing at mid to large size venues, but not necessary at home or probably at rehearsals.
Keyboards have a more extensive frequency range requirement than guitars so you will need to consider speaker size and whether the amplifier can comfortably handle the lower frequencies.
Considering the options carefully, looking at the various options available is half the fun of choosing amplification, and we hope we have given you some food for thought as you make your choice.