If you’re looking for a compact amplifier that won’t break the bank, check out the KC-200 from Roland.
It weighs just south of 42 pounds and measures 12 by 19 by 17 inches. Its 100 watts of power comes from batteries, so it can be used anywhere. And the advanced power section has been designed to optimize battery efficiency.
The custom speaker system features a newly-developed 12-inch woofer and tweeter. The result is high-fidelity sound that’s loud enough for small to medium-sized venues like church halls.
And the amp will work just as well across the full range of sounds. It’s great for keyboards, but equally effective for 88-key stage pianos, organs, synths or rhythm machines.
There’s plenty of connectivity here. The amp has four ¼-inch line inputs to support different electronic instruments. (Note though, that it won’t work so well for guitars.) It also offers an auxiliary channel with RCA and 1/8-inch inputs, allowing you to connect up MP3 players or smartphones.
Channel 1 also has an XLR input, perfect for connecting a mic. And when you want to monitor during performances, use Channel 4. This will allow you to listen through the onboard speakers or headphones. And it won’t send the sound to the PA system.
Private practice is easy too. Just plug in headphones and the onboard speakers and Sub Out line will automatically be muted.
The ¼-inch line output will connect up to stage monitors, recording devices or PA systems. And if you want to connect to a powered subwoofer, there’s a Sub Out jack to do so. The volume level is matched to the master volume, giving you complete control with just one touch.
It’s important to note that whilst this is a multi-channel amp, it’s not stereophonic. If you want discreet channel separation, you’ll need to buy two of them.
Compact and portable
Clean sound for small to medium-sized venues
Can be connected to a powered subwoofer to enhance performance
Offers four channels, but if you want discreet channel separation you’ll need to buy two amps
Although great for keyboards or pianos, it won’t work as well with guitars.
Donner’s DKA-20 is the most cost-effective keyboard amp on our list. You could buy four of these for the price of Roland’s KC-200. So what does such a modest investment buy you?
Well, the first thing to note is that there’s less power. The amplifier here is 20 watts, rather than the KC-200’s 100 watts. It has two speakers – an 8-inch woofer and a 2-inch tweeter.
Together, they provide a rich tone and surprisingly loud sound. The closed back produces a fuller bass response than you might expect from a smaller amp.
This is a great bit of kit for practice, and could even be effective for performances in smaller venues. But that will depend on who else is in your band! If you need enough power to be heard over acoustic drummers or bass guitarists, you’ll need something with more oomph.
It’s nicely portable, though, measuring roughly 11 inches by 11 inches by 14 inches. It weighs in at less than 12 pounds. And it’s rugged enough to stand up to a few knocks and bumps on the road.
But note that you will need an external power supply to plug it into. The package includes a cable for a 240-volt supply. If you need something different, you’ll need to buy it separately.
The controls here are very easy to use. There’s a simple volume dial for each of the two inputs and dials to adjust the bass, mid-tones and trebles.
There’s an auxiliary input, allowing you to plug in your smartphone or MP3 player and play along to your favorite tracks. And when you want to practice quietly, you can. There’s a 1/8-inch headphones jack that automatically mutes the speakers when in use.
There’s also a DI output port, allowing you to use active external speakers. And it will support a microphone too, with a maximum gain of 48 decibels. The frequency response is between 50 hertz and 20 kilohertz.
Compact and lightweight
Simple and intuitive controls
Aux input for connection to smartphone or MP3 player
Unlikely to be loud enough for most gigs – especially if you’re playing alongside an acoustic drummer
At a slightly higher price than the Donner, Peavey’s KB 1 amp also offers 20 watts of power. It’s a clean and simple design, with a more upright speaker configuration than the Donner.
Here, you’ll get a versatile sound system that works effectively with keyboards, as well as guitars, bass or drum machines. With this model, there are two independent channels. Each of them has a two-band EQ to allow you to shape the sound.
That sound comes from an 8-inch extended-range speaker. It generates plenty of power for practice sessions, or for performing in smaller venues. If you’re looking for an amp for performances in a small church, for example, this will work a treat.
Alternatively, if you want to practice without being heard by anyone else, you can use the headphones jack. Depending on your microphone configuration, you may be able to plug that in too. But note that you won’t be able to use a wireless microphone, or other wireless gizmos. There’s no Wifi sensor here.
Whilst slightly larger and heavier than the Donner amp, this is still pretty compact. It weighs in at 16 pounds and measures 19.5 by 18 by 13 inches.
If you’re looking for an amp that’s easily portable, it’s a good option. But note that you will need to have a power source to plug it into. It can’t be run by batteries.
At this price, however, there is a compromise when it comes to sound quality. We’ve heard of some issues with crackling when new inputs are added. Turn it up high, and you may hear a low hiss. And the bass isn’t as rich as you’ll get with pricier amps.
But this is nevertheless good value for the money. And if you’re using it for practice – or even for playing smaller venues – it will do the job perfectly well.
Neat and portable design
Enough power for practice sessions or for playing smaller venues
Two independent channels, each with their own EQ
Can’t be powered by batteries, so needs to be used somewhere with an external power supply
The KC-220 is the second of Roland’s KC series of amps to make our list. It shares several features of the KC-200 reviewed earlier but serves a lower price point.
The main difference here is in the power and the number of channels. With the 220, you’ll get 30 watts of power, as opposed to the 100 watts of the KC-200. And there are three input channels plus an auxiliary input, rather than four.
Here, you’ll have the choice between battery or mains electrical power, making it very versatile. If you’re looking for an amp that can be used outdoors or on the road, it’s well worth considering.
If you choose the battery option, you’ll need eight AA batteries. Roland recommend Polaroid for best results. There’s a useful battery cartridge to make the process of changing them easier. Alternatively, an AC adapter is included in the package to connect it up to mains electricity.
It’s great as an amp for a keyboard or as a mini PA system. Channel 1 can be connected to an XLR vocal microphone, and there’s a dedicated auxiliary input as well as integrated DSP effects.
The dedicated auxiliary channel has both 1/8-inch and RCA inputs for connection to your smartphone or other device. If you want to be able to play alongside your favorite songs, this is a great option.
The speaker system is comprised of two 6.5-inch custom woofers and two custom tweeters. Like its big brother the KC-200, it will faithfully reproduce sounds from 88-key pianos, synthesizers or organs. And it sounds great with drum and backing machines too.
If you want to practice in silence, there’s a headphones jack. Plug in your headphones and the speakers will mute automatically.
There are also mono/stereo line outputs. That gives you the option of connecting the amp to a PA system, recording device or stage monitor.
The lower power means this is an amp for practice sessions or smaller gigs. It offers plenty of volume for those environments, but won’t suit performances in medium or larger venues.
Compact and easily portable
Dedicated auxiliary channel with RCA and 1/8-inch inputs for connecting your smartphone
Powered by batteries or mains electricity
Not the right choice for medium or larger venues
One fewer input channel than Roland’s KC-200 – but this is significantly cheaper.
Behringer’s KXD15 is one of the most expensive amplifiers on our list. But we think its clever design is well worth the investment.
It’s a powerful beast, with 600 watts delivering very strong performance. And the bi-amping construction feeds dedicated power to the low and high frequency drivers. That means rich, powerful sound across bass, mid-tones and trebles.
The Turbosound speaker is made in Britain and is 15 inches across. It’s accompanied by a 1-inch driver.
There are four different input channels, and a graphic equalizer with FBQ feedback detection. And the Klark Teknik FX processor offers a whole host of pre-set effects. Choose from 100 different options including chorus, reverb, delay, flanger and pitch shifter.
There’s a range of multi-effects too. If you want to get creative with your sound, this is a great choice. You will, however, have to scroll through all those different pre-sets to get to the one you want. That makes it a challenge to switch between them quickly.
One option is to pick a pre-set for each channel, then move between them. That will, of course, limit your choices – and the number of instruments you can plug in at once.
There are loads of options when it comes to connectivity. In addition to the four input channels, there’s a port to hook up a powered subwoofer. There are also left and right aux in ports, and a connection for a microphone.
It’s not the lightest weight amplifier out there, with a weight of just under 50 pounds. If you want something to take from place to place, there are far more portable options. On the plus side, this does have comfortable carrying handles to make moving it that bit easier.
It’s also robust enough to be used outdoors, making it a great choice for open air gigs.
All in all, this is a powerful and versatile amp. If you have deep pockets, it’s well worth considering.
600 watts of power
100 different pre-sets, including chorus, reverb and multi-effect settings
Robust enough for outdoor use
Heavy – although it does have comfortable carrying handles to offset the weight
The need to scroll through the pre-sets means you won’t be able to change them quickly.
Roland’s top-of-the-range amp is the most expensive on our list. But it’s a great choice for those looking for enough power for medium-sized venues.
It’s an update of the well-loved KC-550, delivered with a boost to 200 watts of power. The speaker system has been upgraded too, with a freshly designed 15-inch woofer. And an improved power section offers greater stability, better bass sounds, and lighter weight.
There’s loads of scope to connect up different instruments. Four different channels will handle keyboards plus percussion pads or backing machines, allowing on-board sound mixing.
If you want to play a backing track from an MP3 player or smartphone, there’s a dedicated auxiliary input. And both the aux and line inputs are able to handle stereo connections. That means you’ll be able to transmit stereo sound directly to a recorder or PA system.
There’s an XLR input, allowing you to use a vocal microphone on Channel 1. Vocals don’t however, come through with the excellent sound quality you’ll get from a keyboard input. Channel 4 offers a handy output select function, making it easy to monitor click and guide tracks in real-time.
There are stereo line outputs on both the ¼-inch and XLR jacks. That means you can connect up to PA and recording systems at the same time.
There’s a Sub Out jack too, enabling you to connect up a powered subwoofer. As with the other KC series amps, you’ll be able to control it using the master volume dial.
And for true stereo sound, a Stereo Link function enables you to get excellent results from two amps used together. When you connect to a second KC-600, you’ll of course get twice as many inputs.
But that’s not all. When you connect up your different instruments, their left and right signals are divided between the two amps. The result is an authentic studio experience.
One thing this doesn’t have is effects. If you want to play around with reverb, chorus or other settings, you’ll need to invest in a separate mixer.
At 64 pounds, this is a heavy beast. The good news is that it comes with removable casters that make it easy to move around.
200 watts of power
Stereo Link delivers great stereo sound when you connect up two KC-600s
Able to simultaneously connect to PA and recording systems
The sound quality isn’t as good for vocals as it is for keyboards
At the other end of the price spectrum from the KC-600 is the VX50 KB from Vox. This attractive little amp offers 50 watts of power. If you’re looking for an amp for practice or performances at small venues, it should make your shortlist.
The chassis is made of ABS, and at just 10.5 pounds, it’s ultra-lightweight. The modest dimensions are 14 inches long by 12 inches wide and 8 inches deep. If you’re looking for something that won’t require loads of storage space, it’s well worth considering.
But its diminutive size doesn’t mean you’ll need to compromise on versatility. The VX50 KB offers three different channels to connect up your keyboard and other electronic instruments.
There’s an equalizer to adjust the bass, mid tones and treble. You’ll also be able to set the volume of each channel independently from the others. And Channel 3 can also be used to support a microphone, allowing this amp to double as a PA system.
If you prefer to connect it to a separate PA system, that’s possible too. There’s a line out jack for this purpose. There’s also an aux in jack, and a headphones jack for monitoring or silent practice.
The sound quality is pretty nifty too. High-frequency sounds are clear and bright through the 8-inch coaxial speaker. Low-frequency tones get plenty of power through the bass reflex structure.
This one doesn’t take batteries, so you’ll need a power supply to give it juice. You won’t be able to use it with wireless gadgets and there’s no MIDI or USB interface. And if you want pre-sets, you’ll need to choose a different amp.
But as a simple, lightweight option with great sound for smaller settings, this is a solid buy.
Ultra-lightweight ABS chassis makes this easily portable
Three channels with independent volume control
Can be used with a microphone and headphones
Doesn’t take batteries, so you’ll need to connect it to a power supply
That brings us to the end of our reviews of the seven best keyboard amplifiers! But if you’re still scratching your head over all those different features, don’t despair. Here are some straightforward issues to think about before you make your choice.
How much power do you need?
Start by considering how much power you need from your amp. Power is measured in watts, but there’s no simple formula for coming up with your ideal number.
Broadly speaking, the higher the watts for any particular amp, the louder it will go without distorting the sound. And the more expensive the amp will be.
If you want an amp for practice sessions, you won’t need lots of power. There are some great 20 and 30-watt amps on our list, and many are keenly priced. Some are surprisingly loud, and will work just as well for performances in more intimate venues.
But if you want to use your amp for performances in larger spaces, or even outside, you’ll need more power. Consider options of at least 100 watts.
How much control do you need over your sound?
If your keyboard already allows you to fine-tune your sound, you won’t need complex controls on your amp. The same goes for pre-sets.
But if you’re playing lots of gigs, an amp with a three or five-band equalizer can have major benefits. It will enable you to adjust your sound to take account of the acoustics in the space.
Another valuable feature to look out for is line outputs. These will allow you to use your keyboard amp as a monitor as you play. At the same time, you’ll be able to split your signal to the main sound system for bigger sound. Just connect the line outs to the main system, and you’re ready to go.
Where will you be using your amp?
Finally, think about where you’re going to be using your amp. That will, of course, affect the amount of power you need. But it’s also important to match your amp’s physical dimensions to the space.
If you’re going to be using it in smaller venues or studios, a compact model will be a godsend. It will also make storage that bit easier.
And if you’re going to be taking it from place to place, consider portability. Lightweight options will be far easier to move around. But if you need a heavier amp with more power, look for models with comfortable carrying handles or removable casters.
Last but not least, think about where you’ll get your power. Will you be able to guarantee a power supply to connect your amp to? Or would it be helpful to have the option of using batteries?
Time to go shopping!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our reviews of seven of the best keyboard amplifiers on the market right now. Think about how and where you’ll use yours, and you’ll be well on the way to choosing the perfect option.
Our top pick is the Peavey KB 1. We love its compact design, which still packs enough power for performing in smaller venues. And the ability to shape the sounds on each channel independently is a real bonus.
But whether or not the Peavey is right for you, we hope you’ve found your ideal amplifier amongst our selection. Good luck with your purchase!