An amplifier is basically a wooden cabinet containing an amplifier and a loudspeaker. The type used for a piano or keyboard is entirely different than the ones used for guitars. The amplifier must be capable of handling the range of sound produced by keyboards, which is different than that of guitars. Keyboards and piano sounds will vary from low bass to a high pitch such as what is produced by a piccolo. The amplifier has to be able to reproduce this sound correctly. A list of 10 best amplifiers for your digital keyboard will give you a good idea of what type you need.
Choosing the Right Amplifier
If you already have a keyboard or digital piano or are shopping for one, you will need to select an amplifier that is compatible. There are several different sizes and shapes. Amps for people who play solo in a small place are generally smaller than the ones for people who play loud music in front of a large crowd.
Keyboard amplifiers are popular because they can also be used as a PA system. Most have an auxiliary input that allows you to plug in laptops or your smartphone. If you will be using the amplifier at home for a party, this is a good option for playing music or for deejays.
What Features Should You Consider?
- Watts – Consider the watts of the amplifier you choose. This is probably the most important aspect. Most of the time, more watts means the amp is capable of being louder. Larger speakers are used with amplifiers with more watts. Once again, this will depend on where you are planning to use the amp. If it is just around the home, a smaller watt amplifier is fine, but if you are a member of a band, you will want something with more watts.
- Inputs – The inputs and outputs are important as well. Some have a mixer that is built-in and allows users to plug in several instruments at the same time. This type is called a multi-channel amp, and they let you control the volume for each channel. If you play the keyboard and sing, this is a good choice.
- Outputs – Outputs are another consideration. If you are performing in a club or somewhere that has a sound system, you can use your amp for your playing by feeding the output. This will allow you to be heard better.
- Portability – If you are planning to do a lot of transporting of your amplifier to different performance venues, you will want to find one that is medium weight and durable. Most are pretty sturdy, but if you choose the most powerful one you can find, it is going to be heavy to move.
- Extra Features – There are some amplifiers that have extra features such as chorus and reverb. This type is mainly used if someone plays the keyboard and sings. A microphone can be plugged in and chorus or reverb can be used when it comes to the chorus.
Connecting the Amplifier
Now that you have an idea of the type of amplifier you need, how do you connect it to your keyboard? An instrument cable will need to be connected to a 1/8-inch adapter. This is because most instrument cables are made for input jacks that are 1/4-inch. Plug the adapter into the instrument cable and the instrument cable into the headphone jack. It is located on the front of your digital keyboard or piano.
The other end of the instrument cable should be plugged into the amplifier. Make sure the volume on the keyboard and the amplifier is on low. After turning on both, adjust the volume with the control on the keyboard and the amplifier. You will likely have to raise and lower the volume on each until you get it just right. There are also tone controls that can be adjusted to get the sound of your keyboard where you want it.
One thing many people overlook when connecting an amplifier to their keyboard is the cable. They may have one that they think is just fine. However, an expensive keyboard should have a good quality cable to connect. This will help your keyboard sound better, and it is less stress on it.
As stated, the amplifier wattage has a lot to do with how loud the amp is, and it also helps to keep the sound from distorting. The clearest sound will come from amplifiers that are higher powered. In addition, the speakers can make a difference. The size of the cabinet they are in and how many are being used has an effect on the sound as well.