Is a Drum Monitor the Same as a Drum Amp? (ANSWERED!)

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  • Wondering about the differences between a drum amp vs a drum monitor?
  • Curious if you can interchangeably use both?
  • Buying tips are below to help you make a more informed decision!
  • Also, check out the 5 Best Electronic Drum Amps (All Budgets)

After months of practice and a lot of time making headphones sweaty, you have honed your skills enough to gig. Guess you are going to need some sort of amplifier, right?

Yeah, definitely. But what do you get? Is there a right kind of amp? What should you be looking for? Is there a difference between monitors and amps? Which one do you need?

That confusion has struck us all. Here is a guide breaking down the world of drum monitors and amps, so you can wrap your head around getting loud.

Is a Drum Monitor the Same as A Drum Amp?

Drum Amplifiers

You need to be able to project the thundering lows of the kick drum and the floor toms and also the really high highs of the cymbals. Drum amplifiers help you achieve that ideal and make yourself be heard.

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So, is there a difference between a drum monitor and a drum amp? 

Nope. A drum monitor and a drum amp are just two different terms referring to the same thing.

Drum amps and drum monitors are interchangeable terms for amps that are used to amplify electronic drums.

Stick around, and we will get a little more in-depth on drum amplification.

More on Monitors and Amps

So, we all know one of the best things about electronic drums is that you can practice any time you like, without the neighbors calling the authorities on you.

But what do you do if you want to take your e-drums on a gig? What about just wanting to take advantage of that one opportunity you have to rock out at a volume that would make Lemmy blush?

Well, for that, you will need an amplifier of some sort. 

When you are shopping, you will see them referred to as drum amps or drum monitors. Usually, these refer to the same thing. However, smaller amps are often used as stage monitors for live performances, though, so that is a context to keep in mind.

A drum amp or monitor will allow you to hear yourself without headphones, perform live, and play with other musicians.

Remember that not all drum amps are created equal, so there are a few things to look out for when looking for your first one.

What Does a Drum Amp do?

Drums are instruments that create a vast range of sonic frequencies. Think about the range of frequencies between the deep thud of your bass drum and the shimmering highs of a splash cymbal. That is much more range than your average guitar amp would want to deal with.

That means drum amps must be built specifically to handle that vast range. They also allow you to adjust and shape your own sound and, most importantly, be heard when playing with other musos.

What to Look for in a Drum Amp?

Making sure you get a decent sound from your drum amp can make a huge difference in how you play, your sound, and your motivation. If you don’t have to slog away to get a decent sound, then you are going to want to come back and play again and again.

So, to make sure that happens, a couple of things to take into consideration that will affect your purchase are:

  • What do you want to use the amp for?
  • The type of music you play
  • Your budget

The best advice I can give you, and will give you every time, is to use your own ears. Regardless of how cool I think a sound is, my ears won’t be making your music, so get out there and try out as many as you can.

What I found was a great way to get started to make a list of requirements and then find a couple of options within my budget.

When is an Amp a Monitor, Then?

When you are playing live, sometimes the amp you use to make yourself heard is really hard to hear on stage.

In this scenario, you will want to use a second amp pointed in your direction as the player, so you can hear what you are playing.

In this case, the second amp is a monitor because it allows you to monitor your sound. So not interchangeable in this particular context.


So, if you are finally ready to stop making headphones sweaty and rock out a little, it is time to get an amp for your kit.

Many manufacturers do combos that include an amp when buying your e-drum kit, so keep your eyes peeled, especially during the festive season.


Can I use a drum amp as a monitor?

Yes, you can. In most cases, you will use a combination of two amps. One to make yourself heard, and one to hear yourself. You can also go through the PA with a drum amp as a stage monitor.

Can you use a bass amp as a drum monitor?

Strictly speaking, yes, you can. I still wouldn’t, though. While a bass amp will have an easier time with your bass drum and toms than a guitar amp, it is still not built for the sonic range of a drum kit’s cymbals. There are some high pitches in there. While it is useable, you will not get the best out of your drums.

Can I use a keyboard amp as a drum amp?

Of all the options we have discussed, the keyboard amp is likely to be your best alternative to a dedicated drum amp. 

The range of an 88-key piano stretches across 7 ¼ octaves. So, from 27.5 Hz to approximately 4,186 Hz. That means that it can handle the highs as well as the lows. Again, I would always opt for a dedicated drum amp every time, but this is the best alternative in my opinion.