Like an electric guitar or bass, a keyboard is one of the most widely used electronic instruments for gigging. Whether it’s on a big stage or in a coffee shop, it is important that your levels are loud enough, which in most cases require amplification.
While most are familiar with guitar or bass amps, a keyboard amplifier also has a key role to play. Many would assume that you are simply plugging the keyboard into a PA system or powered speaker, and while that can be done, an amplifier designed specifically for keyboards is typically your best option.
Table Of Contents
These two pieces of gear are actually quite similar. A powered speaker is different from the more common active speaker because a powered speaker has built-in amplification and does not need a preamp. A powered speaker can essentially be viewed as a general amplifier.A keyboard amplifier also does not need a preamp and is usually slightly smaller than a powered speaker. Also, you want a keyboard amp vs. a guitar amplifier because a keyboard has a lower frequency than guitars and a keyboard amp is specifically designed to cover all the frequencies of a keyboard without any disruptions in music.
The most important factors when looking for a keyboard amplifier are size, wattage, and price. More often than not, size and wattage will correlate. As wattage increases, typically so does size. An amplifier with 400W is going to be more powerful and capable of higher volumes than a 200W one.These two don’t always correlate with price, however. A 200W amplifier could cost hundreds of dollars more than a 400W or 600W amp because it is made with higher quality components or assembled by hand. The main driver of your decision will be your usage. If you are playing small bar or coffee shop gigs, then you don’t need an amp with a high wattage, and the more compact the better. If you are playing larger venues, then you will likely need to up the amp’s wattage and power to properly fill the room.
1. Best Under $500: Behringer Ultratone K900FX
The K900FX from Behringer is a compact and versatile keyboard amplifier that offers so much bang for your buck. It is 90W and easy to maneuver, making it perfect for small shows and gigs. It has a 12 inch woofer and a 1 inch tweeter speaker, as well as built-in effects and EQ. This amp also sounds great with vocals and contains an XLR input.
|Speaker Size:||1 x 12”, 1 x 1”|
|Inputs:||3 x ¼”, 1 x XLR, RCA (stereo)|
|Outputs:||2 x ¼”|
|Dimensions:||17.74 in x 16.88 in x 11.75 in (450.6 mm x 428.75 mm x 298.45 mm)|
|Weight:||41.45 lb (18.8 kg)|
2. Best Under $500 Runner-Up: Roland KC-80
The Roland KC-80 is an amazing amplifier that is under $500 and even more compact than the Behringer K900FX. It is 50W, but the high-end Roland sound quality more than compensates for what the amp lacks in power. It is only 25 pounds, making it shockingly portable, and a steller pair of speakers that are known for their strong low-end.
|Speaker Size:||1 x 10”, 1 x 1 horn tweeter|
|Inputs:||3 x ¼”, 1 x ¼” (headphones), 1 x XLR, 2 x RCA, 1 x ⅛” aux,|
|Outputs:||2 x ¼”|
|Dimensions:||16.56 in x 16.18 in x 11.81 in (420.62 mm x 410.97 mm x 299.97 mm)|
|Weight:||27.56 lb (12.5 kg)|
3. Best For Home Use: Peavey KB 1
The Peavey KB 1 is the perfect amplifier for your home keyboard setup. As you are using it for individual practice or songwriting, it does not require much power. This 20W amp is more than enough and is as compact as it is affordable, costing just under $200.
|Speaker Size:||1 x 8”|
|Inputs:||2 x ¼”|
|Outputs:||1 TRS (headphones)|
|Dimensions:||14.6 in x 13.9 in x 9 in (370.84 mm x 353.06 mm x 228.6 mm)|
|Weight:||18.6 lb (8.44 kg)|
4. Best Lightweight Option: Vox VX50KB
The Vox VX50KB is a wonderful option for a keyboardist who wants a lightweight amplifier. It is only 9 pounds, yet still packs 50W of power inside its beautiful, vintage body. It has a convenient handle built into the top, and offers a wonderful, tube-style tone that will help your keyboard sound excellent.
|Speaker Size:||1 x 8”|
|Inputs:||2 x ¼” (keyboard in), 1 x ¼” (line/mic), 1 x ⅛” aux|
|Outputs:||1 x ¼” (line out), 1 x ⅛” (headphones)|
|Dimensions:||13.94 in x 12.32 in x 8.19 in (354.08 mm x 312.93 mm x 208.03 mm)|
|Weight:||9.04 lb (4.1 kg)|
5. Best Under $1,000: Roland KC-400
The Roland KC-400 is a beefy, powerful amplifier that can handle low-end frequencies such as synth basses with beautiful sound quality. The design is comprehensive, with three different EQ knobs (low, middle and high). The stereo link connection also lets you connect a second amplifier to it if you are in need of extra volume.
|Speaker Size:||1 x 12”, 1 x horn tweeter|
|Inputs:||8 x ¼” (keyboard in), 1 x ¼” (stereo link), 2 x RCA, 1 x ⅛” aux|
|Outputs:||2 x ¼”, 1 x ¼” (headphones), 1 x ¼” (stereo link), 1 x ¼” (sub out)|
|Dimensions:||19.31 in x 18.56 in x 15.18 in (490.74 mm x 471.42 mm x 385.57 mm)|
|Weight:||48.56 lb (22.03 kg)|
6. Best Under $1,000 Runner-Up: Motion Sound KeyPro KP-100S
This gorgeous amplifier by Motion Sound has two sets of speakers, with each having 50W in power. The cabinet has a unique angled design that helps create optimal sound dispersion while playing. Like the previous Roland model, this amplifier is several hundred dollars below $1,000.
|Speaker Size:||2 x 8”, 2 x 3.5”|
|Inputs:||2 x TS, 1 x TRS, 1 x XLR|
|Outputs:||1 x TS, 2 x XLR|
|Dimensions:||19 in x 15 in x 13 in (482.6 mm x 381 mm x 330.2 mm)|
|Weight:||38 lb (17.24 kg)|
7. Best For Gigging: Roland KC-600
Roland has an amazing, professional quality amplifier that is perfect for any gig. It has 200W of power, with a 15” subwoofer providing plenty of depth in its low-end. It is quite heavy, which makes transportation slightly more challenging, but the wheels provided help immensely and makes the amp much more mobile.
|Speaker Size:||1 x 15”, 1 x 1” horn tweeter|
|Inputs:||8 x ¼”, 1 x ¼” (headphones), 1 x ¼” (stereo link), 2 x RCA, 1 x ⅛” aux, 1 x XLR|
|Outputs:||2 x ¼”, 2 x XLR, 1 x ¼” (stereo link), 1 x ¼” (sub out)|
|Dimensions:||23.25 in x 23.25 in x 17.56 in (590.55 mm x 590.55 mm x 446.02 mm)|
|Weight:||69.63 lb (17.24 kg)|
8. Best For Gigging Runner-Up: Behringer Ultratone KXD12
The Behringer Ultratone KXD12 is another great option for gigging keyboardists. The amp has 600W of power and will have no problem filling a room. It also has an effects processor with 100 presets including reverb, chorus, flanger and delay. Additionally, this bundle comes with a microphone, mic stand and cables, which are useful for any gigging musician.
|Speaker Size:||1 x 12”, 1 x 1” horn tweeter|
|Inputs:||8 x ¼”, 1 x ¼” (footswitch), 1 x ¼” (stereo link), 1 x RCA, 1 x XLR|
|Outputs:||2 x ¼”, 2 x XLR, 1 x ¼” (stereo link), 1 x ¼” (sub out), 1 x ¼” (headphones)|
|Dimensions:||18.5 in x 17.4 in x 11.7 in (469.9 mm x 441.96 mm x 297.18 mm)|
|Weight:||40.3 lb (18.28 kg)|
9. Best Overall: Motion Sound KP-500S
The KP-500S is another stellar keyboard amplifier from Motion Sound. It boasts 500W and is known for its ability to fill a stage with sound. It comes with two built-in preamps as well, with bass, mid and treble controls. It costs over $1,000, but if you are looking for a foolproof amp to perform with or jam with friends, the KP-500S can handle any scenario. It even comes with wheels for added mobility.
|Speaker Size:||2 x 12”, 2 x 3.5” horn tweeters|
|Inputs:||8 x ¼”, 1 x XLR|
|Outputs:||1 x ¼”, 2 x XLR, 1 x ¼” TRS, 1 x ¼” (sub)|
|Dimensions:||26.25 in x 18.75 in x 16.75 in (666.75 mm x 476.25 mm x 425.45 mm)|
|Weight:||49 lb (22.23 kg)|
10. Best Overall Runner-Up: Roland KC-990
The KC-990 is Roland’s premier keyboard amplifier. You will pay for the pleasure, with it costing well over $1,000, but the sound quality makes it worth the steep price. It has 10 line inputs, 2 amazing subwoofers, and built-in effects with low/mid/high EQ controls. It is very heavy, which is surprising given that it is 320W, but it comes with wheels and is far more portable than you might expect. This Roland amp will not let you, or your keyboard down.
|Speaker Size:||2 x 12”, 2 x horn tweeters|
|Inputs:||10 x ¼”, 1 x XLR, 1 x ¼” (stereo link), 2 x RCA, 1 x ¼” (headphones), 1 x ¼” TRS|
|Outputs:||2 x ¼”, 2 x XLR, 2 x ¼” (stereo link)|
|Dimensions:||29.93 in x 23.06 in x 18.56 in (760.22 mm x 585.72 mm x 471.42 mm)|
|Weight:||92.62 lb (42.01 kg)|