Keyboard amps, as the name suggests, are the best type of amp for keyboards. What the name doesn’t tell you is that they’re far more powerful than that.
Let’s look at a guitar amp for example.
If you try to run a microphone through one of these, you’ll quickly run into problems as it can’t handle the frequency range you would need it to.
In fact, a guitar amp is terrible for pretty much anything except a guitar.
Keyboard amps are kind of the opposite. Since keyboardists tend to run all kinds of different patches and software synths at just about any octave, the amps they use need to be able to take just about anything you can throw at them.
This makes them the perfect ‘all-in-one’ amp. As a result of their extreme versatility, the best keyboard amps tend to come equipped with XLR and combination inputs that make them great for PA systems in general.
Another key difference between keyboard amps and others is that good keyboards amps tend to have a very clean and transparent tone. In fact, keyboard amps can be thought of as not actually having any tone, as the expectation is that you will be choosing your own tone from your keyboard, DAW or effects pedals.
As a result we have provided you with a comprehensive guide on out favourite choices for the best keyboard amps, read on!
At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Keyboard Amps On The Market
Roland KC-550 (Editor's Choice)
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Buyer's Tips: What to look for when buying the best keyboard amps
- Wattage and Speaker Specs are the first thing you will need to plan out. Depending on the size of the venues you’re regularly playing, you might not need the biggest rig you can buy. A large speaker would imply more volume, but without the increase in watts needed to drive a larger speaker, it won’t actually be any more effective than a smaller one.
- Inputs for keyboard amps will generally be able to handle many different types of instruments and will have more than one channel. Individual controls that allow you to set the level for each of the channels independently. Most will often have outputs that will allow you to connect with in-house speakers and sound systems.
- Effects are often built-in to keyboard amps, and depending on the intended purpose of your amp these may be more or less useful to you. They tend to be along the lines of essentials, such as reverb, which can be useful for adding a touch of ornamentation or layering to vocals, but for keyboards tend to have minimal applications at best.
Ok let's look at each product in more detail. To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration so you can see them in action. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the best keyboard amps.
5 Best Keyboard Amps
1. Roland KC-550
One of the most popular, and in terms of sound quality, best 4-channel keyboard amps in the market right now. It’s 180 watts powers a 15” bass speaker (woofer) and 2” horn to amplify the sound even further. The only problem is that if you don’t have much in the way of strength, actually getting it to your gig can pose a bit of a challenge.
- Extremely durable metal build makes it virtually indestructible
- Has 3-band EQ controls for fine-tuning your sound
- Includes headphone output for silent practice and stereo output with ¼” and XLR jacks
- Wheels on the bottom make it easier to manage the weight, although when you get to a set of stairs it’s a different story
- At over 60 lbs the Roland KC-550 is a bit of a mammoth, especially considering the specs, making it a bit of a pain to constantly lug between venues, home and practice areas
- The high sound quality comes at a premium cost (although by no means undeserved)
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2. Behringer Ultratone K900FX
At 90 Watts with a 12” speaker, this 3-channel amp is a great fit for smaller venues and practice sessions. It’s also much lighter than the Roland KC-550 by about 20 lbs, so taking it with you is less of a struggle.
- Has a sub-woofer output to boost bass response
- Huge range of over 100 effects presets including reverb, chorus and delay
- 5-band EQ controls
- ¼” input is mono rather than stereo
- Many of the effects are average at best
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3. Peavey KB 2 50W
An ideal practice amp or for monitoring purposes in venues with their own sound systems, the Peavey KB 2 is a 50 Watt amp with a 10” speaker. It also works fairly well if you have one instrument with vocals thanks to its 3-channels, but trying to use it as the only amp for more than two sources can be a struggle. Higher and lower watt versions are also available, but for the features that are included the best value for money is with the 50W model.
- Budget friendly makes it great for practice purposes or for new musicians looking to play their first coffee-shop gigs
- Has XLR output for use as a stage monitor
- Lacks the volume needed for heavy drums and guitar
- Bass response is limited by small speaker size
- Only has 3-band EQ on one channel, the others only have 2-band EQ controls
4. Behringer Ultratone KT108
For the ultimate home-practice keyboard amp, it’s hard to beat this 15 lb entry from Behringer. It’s also one of the cheapest keyboard amps you can get, although that does come with some drawbacks.
- With two channels it has enough for practicing and small duo gigs
- Has an aux input for playing along with a backing track
- Has a headphone output for silent practice
- The channels are both mono inputs
- No XLR inputs or outputs apart from the headphones
- Not suitable for using in gigs
5. Roland KC-110
If portability is your biggest concern, the KC-110 is hard to beat, as it’s one of the only keyboard amps with the quality you would expect from Roland at this size, and has the added benefit of being either mains or battery powered.
- Has 3 channels, two of which have stereo, and the third supports XLR
- Stereo output and headphone jack, making it perfect for stage monitoring
- Has a large range of sound shaping controls, including reverb and chorus, master volume, channel specific level knob, and 2-band EQ
- Lacks the power needed to compete with loud drums and electric guitars
- Battery power reduces the wattage from 30 to 20
- EQ and effects don’t apply to each channel individually, but all three at once
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So what are the best keyboard amps?
The best keyboard amps depend on what your needs are, so we’ve broken it down by purpose to make it easier for you to choose.
For decent sized gigs (100+) the Roland KC-550 offers the best sound quality, useful inputs and outputs alongside the power needed to compete with loud volumes from other instruments in the band.
However, it’s also the most expensive, so the Behringer Ultratone K900FX is a close second which also has a more extensive range of effects if that’s something you like - the far lower weight is also helpful.
For practice sessions, the Peavey KB 2 and Behringer Ultratone KT108 offer a good solution whilst still being budget friendly.
For stage sound monitoring, the Roland KC-110 is easily the best choice if it doesn’t also need to be your primary source of amplification, and it has the necessary outputs to fulfill this purpose.
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