The Best Keyboard Amps - All prices up to $1500

The Highest Rated Keyboard Amps

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Keyboards can produce a plethora of sounds that cover wide range of frequencies, as such they require specialized amplifiers that can handle their versatility. Here we look at the amplifiers that keyboardists like the most, based on their feedback, reviews and ratings.

Keyboard amps are generally versatile, they can often double as a mini-PA system and can be used by non-keyboardists or multi-instrumentalists for amplifying vocals, electronic drums, guitars and more.

For this October 2020 update, we decided to expand the price range of amps investigated from under $1000 to all models under $1500.

The Best Keyboard Amps

Best Keyboard Amp Under $200

Peavey KB 1

87
GEARANK

87 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$150
Peavey KB 1 20W 2-Channel Keyboard Amp

This is Peavey's entry level keyboard amp which can also be used for electronic drums, drum machines and backing machines.

Peavey build tough to withstand the rigors of regular transport and gigging - our editor used a Peavey keyboard amp for a couple of years and can personally attest to their build quality.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 20 Watts.
  • Number of Channels: 2.
  • Inputs: 2 x 1/4".
  • Outputs: 1 x TRS for Headphones.
  • Speakers: 8" speaker.
  • Tone Control: 2-band EQ per channel.
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz to 10kHz.
  • Size: 13.75 x 9.00 x 14.25" (349.00 x 229.00 x 362.00 mm).
  • Weight: 17.40 lb (7.89 kg).
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 years.

Pros

Most of the positive customer reviews talk about it being a good practice amp or for very small venues and most said it has good quality sound for the price.

Cons

Some people complained that it doesn't sound good with low frequency drum sounds and that it lacks the volume for playing at anything other than small venues, but that is to be expected from a 20W amp.

Overall

It's very well rated as a practice amp or as a stage monitor - if that's what you need and you want Peavey ruggedness then it's a good low cost option for you.

Roland Mobile Cube

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 500+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$180
Roland Mobile Cube

The Roland Mobile Cube is a portable amp that works well with a variety of instruments, keyboards being one of them. This is popular with keyboardists who play other instruments, those who need something battery powered, and it even has a mic input for those who sing and play keys.

And while many of the features are aimed towards guitars, it does offer what keyboardists are looking for in a portable amp, two keyboard dedicated voicings called fat and normal, and more importantly - it has Roland's renowned clean sound in a small and low volume package.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 5 Watts.
  • Number of Channels: 1.
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4" (Mic), 2 x Instrument, 1 x 1/8" (Aux), 2 x RCA.
  • Outputs: 1 x 1/8".
  • Speakers: 2 x 4"
  • Effects: Built-in Stereo Reverb/Chorus, Distortion, and more
  • Battery: Runs on 6 x AA batteries
  • Size: 7" x 11" x 4.25"
  • Weight: 5.51 lb (7.89 kg).
  • Manufacturer Warranty: Not Specified.

Pros

Its combination of portability and versatility is often commended in reviews, and rightly so because there are many musicians who play multiple instruments recommending it. It helps that the Mobile Cube is made by Roland, renowned for manufacturing reliable and durable products.

Cons

There are a few who are irked by the need to buy an AC adapter separately. And note that since this is a compact 5W 2x4" amplifier, it's not meant to go loud.

Overall

The Roland Mobile Cube is a great pick for keyboardists and multi-instrumentalists who are looking for a versatile portable amp.

Best Keyboard Amps Under $300

Behringer Ultratone K900FX

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$299
Behringer Ultratone K900FX 90W 3-channel Mixing Keyboard Amp

The Ultratone K900FX is yet another example of Behringer providing an amp with a higher power rating than their competition deliver at the same price level.

This one is a 3-channel amp delivering 90 Watts of power via a 12" woofer and a 1" tweeter which also comes with onboard effects and Behringer's FBQ Feedback Protection System.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 90 Watts.
  • Number of Channels: 3.
  • Inputs: 3 x 1/4", 1 x XLR, 1 x RCA (Stereo).
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4".
  • Speakers: 1 x 12" Woofer + 1 x 1" tweeter.
  • Tone Control: 5-band EQ.
  • Frequency Response: Not specified.
  • Size: 17.375" x 16.875" x 11.75".
  • Weight: 41.45 lbs.
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 3 years.

Pros

A common comment in positive reviews is that this amp sounds clean and crisp. Many reviewers were satisfied with the volume it produces.

Cons

A small number of people complained that it wasn't loud enough for them but they were part of a small minority of customer reviews. One reviewer pointed out that he believes this amp only has 30 Watts per channel.

Overall

If you need to sing through your amp, as well as putting your instruments through it, then this is a good budget personal PA and Keyboard Amp combination.

Peavey KB 2

86
GEARANK

86 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$300
Peavey KB 2 40W 3 Channel Keyboard Amp

Peavey bills their KB 2 as being a compact sound system which can be used with just about any type of electronic instrument. Musicians such as Peter Keys from Lynyrd Skynyrd use the Peavey KB range of amps.

It has 4 independent channels with the first 2 channels having 1/4" instrument inputs with 2-band EQ, channel 3 has both XLR and 1/4" inputs with 3-band EQ, and channel 4 is for using it as a monitor and it has it's own level control.

Finally, it has an effects send/return loop and a balanced XLR main out.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 2 output channels - internal is 45 Watts and the output channel is 12 Watts into 8 Ohms.
  • Number of Inputs Channels: 4.
  • Inputs: 2 x 1/4" on first 2 channels, 1/4" & XLR on channel 3, and channel 4 is 1/4" monitor with level control.
  • Outputs: Main: XLR, Headphone: 1/4", Send: 1/4".
  • Speakers: 10" coaxial with crossover at 3.5 kHz.
  • Tone Control: 2-band EQ on channels 1 & 2 and 3-band EQ on channel 3.
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20 kHz.
  • Size: 17.75" x 17" x 12.5".
  • Weight: 34 lbs.
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 years.

Pros

A majority of owners said it is a great sounding amp. It received positive reviews from all types of musicians from keyboard players to singers, electronic drummers and even acoustic guitarists.

Cons

A few people said it has a little more hiss than expected at high volumes but those comments were from people who gave it an overall positive review.

Overall

If you're looking for a 45 Watt versatile keyboard amp that also serves as a small PA system then this is a great choice.

Best Keyboard Amp Under $500

Roland KC-80

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$400
Roland KC-80 - 3-Channel 50W 10" Keyboard Amp

Roland KC-80 is a keyboard amplifier with 3-channels and support for mic input, making it essentially a mini-PA system. This versatility allows for a wide variety of use, on top of its straightforward keyboard amplifier functions.

Controls are kept simple with each of the 3-channels having dedicated volume knobs, a master volume knob and a 2-band EQ for adjusting high and low. This amp is rated at 50 Watts, and it comes with a 10" woofer and one 1" HF driver.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 50 Watts
  • Number of Inputs Channels: 3.
  • Inputs:3 x 1/4" (Line), 1 x XLR, 2 x RCA, 1 x 1/8" (Aux), 1 x 1/4" (Headphones)
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (Line, Sub).
  • Speakers: 1 x 10", 1 x Tweeter
  • Tone Control: 2-band EQ (Low/High)
  • Size: 16.18" x 16.56" x 11.81".
  • Weight: 27.56 lbs.
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 years.

Pros

Sound quality is the most commended trait of this amp, coming from those who own keyboards from brands like Roland, Yamaha, Kurzweil and more. Its viability for both performance and practice is another important factor for those who rate the RC-80 highly, stating that it has enough volume for their gigs, while having good practice friendly features.

Cons

Controls are a bit too limited for some, while others wish that the price was a bit more accessible.

Overall

If you're looking for a keyboard amp that can handle both practice and small venue gigging duties, then check out the KC-80.

Roland KC-200

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$490
Roland KC-200 - 100W 4-Channel Keyboard Amp

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Keyboard Amp Under $500.

This is part of the revamped range of keyboard amps Roland released in late 2017, and although the new range was at first slow in gaining traction in the market, the KC-200 is now getting strong reviews and its improved ratings mean that we are happy to recommend it.

In addition to a dynamic mic input for using it as a small PA, it also has a Sub Out jack which allows you to connect it to a powered subwoofer for increased bottom end if its 12" woofer isn't enough for you.

It is suitable for use as a practice amp but has enough power to be used on stage as a monitor or your main amp at small to medium venues.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 100 Watts.
  • Number of Channels: 4.
  • Inputs: 1 x Dual XLR & 1/4", 3 x 1/4", 1 x 1/8" (aux) and a Stereo RCA input.
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (line, sub)" and 1 x 1/4" (headphones).
  • Speakers: 12" woofer and 1" Tweeter.
  • Tone Control: 2-band EQ.
  • Frequency Response: Not specified.
  • Size: 17.1" x 18.9" x 11.6".
  • Weight: 33.1 lbs.
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 years (With Sweetwater)

Pros

It gets good reviews from a range of musicians using it for keyboards from practicing to small venues as well as other musicians who using the mic input for vocals and other instruments such as saxophone.

Cons

It lacks Roland's Stereo Link feature so can't easily be used in a stereo setup.

Overall

If you want a reliable sub-$500 amp from a company known for solid builds and roadworthy amps, then put this on your shopping list.

Best Keyboard Amps Under $1000

Behringer Ultratone KXD15

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$528
Behringer Ultratone KXD15 600 Watt 4-channel Mixing Keyboard Amp

This is similar to the KXD12 but with a bigger 15" woofer to deliver a more forceful bottom-end.

It is used as an amp for keyboards, electronic drums, and as a small PA system.

It sports an onboard effects processor with 100 presets including reverb, delay, chorus, flanger and more.

It also has the FBQ feedback detection system on the XLR mic input.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 600 Watts (possibly only a Peak rating - Behringer doesn't specify but one seller says it's RMS - we think it would be best to compare this with amps rated at around 200 Watts).
  • Number of Channels: 4.
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 10 x 1/4" and a Stereo RCA input.
  • Outputs: 4 x 1/4" and 2 x XLR.
  • Speakers: 15" woofer and 1" Tweeter.
  • Tone Control: 7 band graphic EQ.
  • Frequency Response: Not specified.
  • Size: 19" x 22.4" x 14.7".
  • Weight: 49.4 lbs.
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 3 years.

Pros

The majority of confirmed purchasers who reviewed this amp gave it a perfect 5 star rating. It received praise for the sound it produces from a wide range of types such as synths, keyboard bass, electronic drums and vocals.

Cons

This isn't the lightest amp available prompting a few negative comments about its weight - one went so far as to suggest that it should come standard with casters.

Overall

This amp represents good value when compared to 200 Watt amps rather than more powerful options as implied by the headline power rating.

Roland KC-400

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$600
Roland KC-400 - 150W 12" 4-Channel Keyboard Amp

The KC-400 replaces the KC-350 from Roland's previous lineup.

It retains the 4-channel design of the previous amp but offers an increased level of output power up from 120W to 150W.

This is the smallest amp of this series that comes with Roland's Stereo Link feature which allows you to connect two amps together and heave each one assigned to separate sides of stereo. Although you can get a single stereo amp for less than two of these, some people prefer to use two amps for stereo so they can be placed at a much larger distance apart than the two speakers of a stereo amp.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 150 W.
  • Number of Channels: 4.
  • Inputs: 8 x 1/4" (L/mono, R) - 1 pair for each channel, 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/8" TRS Aux, 1 x 1/4" Stereo Link and 2 x RCA.
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (L/mono, R), 1 x 1/4" Stereo Link, 1 x 1/4" Headphone, 1 x 1/4" Subwoofer Out.
  • Speakers: 12" Woofer and 1" Tweeter.
  • Tone Control: 3-band Master EQ and Shape button that boosts high and low frequencies.
  • Frequency Response: Not Specified.
  • Size: 19-5/16" (W) x 15-3/16" (D) x 18-9/16" (H).
  • Weight: 48 lbs 9 oz.
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 Years (with Sweetwater).

Pros

This has close to perfect ratings from gigging keyboardists. The sound quality, good volume, and versatility of having 4 channels were cited favorably.

Cons

There were no consistently reported negatives having scored perfect 5 star ratings at many online retailers.

Overall

If you're looking for a keyboard amp with the volume to compete with guitars and drums, that also doubles as an effective small PA, then check out the Roland KC-400.

Roland KC-600

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$700
Roland KC-600 - 200W 4-Channel Keyboard Amp

The Roland KC series takes another spot in this guide, this time for the KC-600, a 200-Watt amplifier with 15" speaker and 1" horn tweeter.

It follows after the same design as the other KC amps, described as a mixing amplifier because of its 4-channel design, which combined with its power and speaker size, make for a viable all-in-one PA system.

Features of this amp include multiple input/output options, including mic input, the ability to stereo link two KC-600 amps, and a subwoofer out for extending your lows with a dedicated subwoofer. It also features a 3-band EQ with a shape button that boosts the highs and lows.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 200 W.
  • Number of Channels: 4.
  • Inputs: 8 x 1/4" (L/Mono, R), 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" (Stereo Link), 2 x RCA, 1 x 1/8" TRS (Aux), 1 x 1/4" (Headphones).
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (L/Mono, R), 1 x 1/4" (Stereo Link), 1 x 1/4" Headphone, 1 x 1/4" Subwoofer Out.
  • Speakers: 1 x 15" Woofer, 1 x 1" Tweeter.
  • Tone Control: 3-band Master EQ and Shape button that boosts high and low frequencies.
  • Frequency Response: Not Specified.
  • Size: 23.25" (W) x 23.25" (D) x 17.5" (H).
  • Weight: 63.93" lbs 9 oz.
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 years (with Sweetwater).

Pros

Compatibility with various instruments is an important factor in why many rate this amp highly - with reviews from musicians who use this amp with various keyboards, electronic drums, guitar processors and even acoustic guitars. And the key to its versatility is its 15" woofer, which allows for more lows that some keyboard patches and instruments are looking for. Owners appreciate its full sound, especially those that require the extra lows.

Cons

Not everyone is pleased with the extra low-end, especially those who are more into mid-range clarity.

Overall

If you're looking for a reliable 200W keyboard amplifier / mini-PA system / multi-instrument amp, then check out the Roland KC-600.

Roland KC-990

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 30+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1000
Roland KC-990 - 320W Stereo 4-Channel Keyboard Amp

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Keyboard Amp Under $1500.

When Roland updated their range of keyboard amps in late 2017 this was the one that superseded the venerable KC-880, making the KC-990 their new flagship keyboard amp.

Strangely this new line was slow to take off after the 2017 launch, but keyboardists have warmed to it and have provided good reviews lifting its ratings and now we are happy to recommend the KC-990 as we had done with its predecessor.

Although it is a stereo amp with two sets of speakers and two line outs, it also comes with Roland's Stereo Link feature which allows you to connect it to a second amp for a wider stereo sound on stage.

Note that while it does have an XLR mic input it doesn't provide phantom power. This means you can plug a dynamic mic directly into the amp, but if you want to use a condenser mic then you'll need some sort of mic preamp such as a vocal effects pedal that provides phantom power.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 320 W (160 W + 160 W)
  • Number of Channels: 4.
  • Inputs: 10 x 1/4" (L/mono, R), 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" (stereo link), 2 x RCA, 1 x 1/8" TRS (aux).
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (L/mono, R), 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4" (stereo link), 1 x 1/4" (headphones).
  • Speakers: 2 x 12" woofers, 2 x horn tweeters.
  • Tone Control: 3-band EQ.
  • Frequency Response: Not specified.
  • Size: 23.06" x 29.93" x 18.56".
  • Weight: 92.62 lbs.
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 years (with Sweetwater).

Pros

The KC-990 has a very true response right across the frequency spectrum from low to high, with a lot of volume and headroom, as attested to by experienced and professional keyboard players including one who's been playing for over 50 years. Even a bass player who uses it with a lot of effects said the same. This makes it ideal for pretty much any kind of synth / piano / keyboard sounds as well as using it as a small PA system.

Cons

Although Roland shaved a few pounds off from its predecessor, it is still a heavy amp that needs the castors it comes with, so take this into account before you buy it.

Overall

Although it had slow beginnings, over the last couple of years this amp has gained traction and owners are increasingly impressed with its performance and durability leading to its ratings continuing to climb as we predicted they would last year as keyboardists became more experienced with it. This is clearly the new market favorite keyboard amp under $1000.

Best Keyboard Amps Under $1500

Motion Sound KP-500S

87
GEARANK

87 out of 100. Incorporating 30+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1299
Motion Sound KP-500S - 500W 2x12" Keyboard Amp

The Motion Sound KP-500S is a stereo keyboard combo amplifier with two 250-Watt channels, each one having dedicated speakers that are directed at an angle to provide enhanced stereo image.

The speakers include two 12" Eminence Beta-12A speakers, and two 3.5" ferro-cooled horns.

If the stereo image brought about by its angled form factor is not enough, the KP-500S comes with an onboard 3D expander for even wider stereo sounds.

It also comes with a good variety of input and output options to meet the needs of today's keyboardists.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 500 W (250 W + 250 W)
  • Number of Channels: 2.
  • Inputs: 4 x 1/4" (Dual Stereo Ch 1), 4 x 1/4" (Dual Stereo Ch 2), 1 x XLR (Mic in).
  • Outputs:1 x 1/4" (Mono), 1 x 1/4" (Sub), 2 x XLR (Left, Right), 1 x 1/4" TRS (Slave Out).
  • Speakers: 2 x 12" Eminence Beta-12A speakers, 2 x 3.5" ferro-cooled horns.
  • Tone Control: 3-band EQ Per Channel.
  • Frequency Range: 45Hz-17kHz.
  • Size: 18.75" x 26.25" x 16.75".
  • Weight: 49 lbs.
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 Years (with Sweetwater).

Pros

Great and incredible seem to be a common description in reviews, it is also described as beefy, meaning full sounding - thanks to its wide stereo imaging capabilities. It is also praised for its pristine clean sound. Positive reviews are mostly from gigging keyboardists who use various types of instruments, including organs such as Hammonds.

Cons

There are a few who felt that this amp is not as clean sounding as some stage monitors that they have used.

Overall

If you're looking for a traditional stereo amp in this price range, then don't hesitate to check out the Motion Sound KP-500S.

Aspen Pittman Designs Center Point Stereo Spacestation XL

87
GEARANK

87 out of 100. Incorporating 10+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1499
Aspen Pittman Designs Center Point Stereo Spacestation XL Keyboard Amp

The Aspen Pittman Spacestation XL allows for expanded sound fields, thanks to its distinct configuration that features two 6.5" Eminence side speakers. The side speakers are positioned on the lower left and right side of the cabinet, working with the main speakers which include a 12" Eminence Coaxial Woofer and a 1" Titanium Mid Driver.

This expanded stereo image makes the Spacestation XL ideal for stereo sound sources like keyboards, and it can also be a great amp for listening to tracks with 3D spatial mixes.

At 700W, this amp has enough juice for medium size venues, making this a gig ready option for keyboardists who like working with expanded sound fields.

Key Features:

  • Output Power: 700W Class D
  • Number of Channels: 2.
  • Inputs: 2 x 1/4" (Hi -10dB), 2 x 1/4" (Lo +4dB).
  • Outputs: 3 x XLR (left, right, sub), 3 x 1/4" (left, right, sub).
  • Speakers: 1 x 12" Eminence Coaxial Woofer, 1 x 1" Titanium Mid Driver, 2 x 6.5" Eminence Side Speakers.
  • Tone Control: HFQ knob.
  • Frequency Range: 50Hz-20kHz.
  • Size: 29" x 17" x 16".
  • Weight: 65 lbs.
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 Years (with Sweetwater).

Pros

Korg Kronos LS and Nord Stage 3 are just some of the many keyboards that users report are working really well with the Spacestation XL. As expected, it impresses people with its wide stereo sound field, to the point that even guitarists chime in with their recommendations after pairing their digital rig with this amp. Volume and projection are often commended, with many stating that the amp can easily fill medium sized rooms while keeping sound quality pristine clean.

Cons

Some users warn that this amp can be quite awkward to carry around because of its bulk and weight, even more so when you consider its price tag.

Overall

The Aspen Pittman Designs Center Point Stereo Spacestation XL is meant to appeal for those who have the budget for premium keyboard amps with expanded sound fields.

Things to Consider When Buying a Keyboard Amplifier

  • Keyboard Amp or Powered PA Speaker?

    Before buying an amp you should decide whether you actually want a keyboard amp or if a powered PA speaker would be a better option.

    Both of these types of systems have amplifiers and speakers which are designed to provide a relatively transparent sound without unwanted tonal coloration - completely the opposite of guitar amps which are designed to create an important part of your tone.

    The advantages of a powered speaker are that you generally get much higher power output than you get spending the same amount of money on a keyboard amp - you can get good 500W RMS powered speakers for under $500 - and you gain the added versatility of being able to use them as a PA speaker.

    There are some disadvantages with powered speakers however, such as sometimes providing less tonal control (if that's something you want), you need two of them if you want stereo amplification, they don't always have multiple channels, and they don't have the same aesthetic appeal of a dedicated combo keyboard amp (in my opinion at least).

    If you are considering the powered speaker option, as many keyboard players do these days, then head on over to our Powered PA Speaker Guide.

  • Applications

    Although all keyboard amps should be good for using with keyboards, you may want to consider any other sound sources you're going to use them with such as electronic drums, bass, acoustic-electric guitar or vocals, then read through the description and Pros & Cons to see which types of applications each amp is generally regarded as being good for. If you need a lot bottom end look for ones that either have 15" woofers, or that have an output for a subwoofer.

  • Channels

    If you play multiple keyboards at the same time, or if you have multiple sound sources you want to amplify then you need an amp which provides a separate channel for each sound source unless you are running them through a sub mixer before going into the amp. If you will be singing through the amp then you'll need one with an XLR input for each mic you intend to plug in. Note that keyboard amps don't usually provide phantom power so you won't be able to use most condenser mics with one of these unless you run them through a preamp or channel strip first. Note that some amps have a separate Auxiliary channel - these can be used for backing tracks but don't always have the types of connectors needed for instruments.

  • Bi-Amped Systems

    Bi-Amped means that the keyboard amp uses 2 separate amplifiers internally where the high and low frequencies go through the crossover, where the two sets of frequencies are separated, before being separately amplified and then sent to the woofer and tweeter. The advantage of bi-amped systems is that they provide better clarity and separation for the high and low frequencies. The downside is that having 2 amplifiers tends to add weight and some cost.

  • Weight

    Try to get the lightest amp that has all the features you need and your back will thank you in the long run if you're going to be transporting it frequently to gigs or rehearsals. If you're just going to be using it a home then you don't need to worry too much about how heavy your amp is.

Best Keyboard Amp Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in May of 2016 written by Jason Horton and the latest edition was published on October 14, 2020 written by Alexander Briones with contributions from Jason Horton.

For this 2020 update, we looked at all the keyboard amps priced under $1,500 at major US based retailers and put the most promising 33 of them on our short-list for closer analysis - you can see most of them and their ratings in our Music Gear Database. Note that we only included full-range amps - we did not include keyboard subwoofer amps in this guide. Then we collected feedback on each amp from store ratings, reviews and forum discussions both in order to report on the pros and cons of each amp we've recommended as well as to feed into the Gearank Algorithm to produce the ratings out of 100 you see above - this involved processing over 2,500 sources. Finally, we selected the highest rated options in each price range above to recommend. To learn more about our methods see How Gearank Works.

Comments

IMO a powered speaker is best

IMO a powered speaker is best for amplifying the various nuances of a keyboard. Keyboard amps are generally more bulky and heavier than a similarly equipped powered speaker. Plus I like the number of angles most powered speakers can sit on stage, allowing them to project to your ears as an on-stage monitor as well as send sound out to the audience. I play keys and LH bass in a rock trio and for me a pair of Alto TS310's set apart on stage is all I need.

Hello, your recommendations

Hello, your recommendations are great. Would you help me with the next question? I play the alto saxophone with condenser microphone through a small pedal mixer, with backing tracks, impedance adapter with effects loop for guitar pedals, delay, phaser, reverb, although sometimes I leave the effects aside. Based on your recommendations in the range of 600euros I doubt between the Roland kc-600 or the Roland BA-330. Which one would you recommend me? I agree that the aesthetics of the KC is beautiful, I only fear its behavior with guitar effects. The BA I find interesting the anti feedback, I read that it is better when more "air" it is needed(I suppose they refer to the high frequencies, which is important on the alto saxophone) although I tend to believe that the KC will sound with better "acoustic" quality. One has 30v and the other 200vv, without going into technical issues, the power will be similar? the price is almost the same here in Spain. Finally, do you think I will get an important improve of the my sound experience by going up to the 888 euros of an aspen pittman designs Spacestation V.3 or the 1650 euros of a hk elements Smart Base? Thank you so much!

Today we removed an amp from

Today we removed an amp from the recommended list above due to a drop in ratings, but you can still read our analysis of it: Vox VX50KB.

Strange question maybe, but I

Strange question maybe, but I am a guitarist and have a Blackstar 40Watt. I have bought the Digitech Trio Plus band creator which is a bass and drum machine in a pedal. But the sound of the drums and specifically the cymbals and snare sound poor through the Blackstar. It is only for home usage. What would you advice as people say you need an keyboard amp....

Guitar amps (with the

Guitar amps (with the exception of some acoustic guitar amps) are unsuitable for general use because they don't faithfully reproduce the input sound - they're designed to color the sound in ways that are specifically pleasing for electric guitars.

If you want a good sound then you'll have to get an appropriate type of amp such as a Keyboard Amp, Powered PA Speaker, or even a Drum Amp.

Suggestions for Keyboard amp,

Suggestions for Keyboard amp, Powered PA Speaker or Drum Amp. What Wattage?

I have been playing my Nord 4

I have been playing my Nord 4 through a Roland KC 550. It has plenty of power but the bass is off the charts. I have the bass set to 0 except when I use my clav sound and it still too boomy. I am feeling that I need a clearer and truer sound to the quality of the Nord. Not sure if I should be looking for a mixer and powered amp so I can control my different sounds ( I play organ, piano, electric piano, and clav at all my gigs). If i do the poweres amp thing, will I really miss the stereo sound? Cost wise if I need two amps I will be at the cost of a keyboard amp. Would the Motion sound ks500 be a viable option if i choose keyboard amp?

I bought the Motion Sound

I bought the Motion Sound K500S over 2 years ago. It's still running strong after using it at well over 50 gigs. I usually run a Motif XS 8 through it. The amp perfectly captures all the nuances of the Motif's great piano, organ and synth sounds. It's plenty powerful by itself for small to medium gigs. For larger gigs, I use the stereo line-level outs on the amp and either run those through the house system or else through some of my QSC powered speakers (which are excellent keyboard amplification in their own right). What a sound! The amp also has a separate mono line-level out that can be used as needed. Yes, the amp is pricey. But you truly get what you pay for with Motion Sound. Seriously, this amp does NOT disappoint! Well worth the bread! My amp in particular has paid for itself several times over. In any case, look around on the web and you'll be able to find a new one below the street price someone previously mentioned. Good luck and good gigging!

There are a lot of good

There are a lot of good reviews for the Motion Sound KP-500S so that might be a good option for you, however I can't say much more than that because it has a street price of $1300 and we've only researched sub $1000 keyboard amps in detail.

Bring back the old Peavey KB

Bring back the old Peavey KB 300, Black Widow equiped, with the knobs, not the sliders. Mine died 5 years ago. I am please with a pair of Thumps and a Mackie Mixer, but the Roland KC-550 is really the next best thing. I found the new Peavey KB 4 and 5 to be useless unless you use the powered out with a good speaker. But that defeats the purpose of the Keyboard amp.

I'm currently playing the

I'm currently playing the Hammond XB-2. Sounds great, never played hammond before and started to play it when I got in my father's bluesband. What amp do you suggest ? I play at rehearsels through the PA together with my dad's mic. aswell in small bars where we have our gig's. I read that a stereo amp would be good for the Leslie. I've seen amp with woofers inside, but since I dont play any bass lines I really dont need that. I need something so that I can hear myself properly and not that we need to turn a speaker towards me in order to hear myself. (I had a lot of problems with my sound at our last performance). Hope you can give me a direction in what i'm looking for
PS: pardon my grammar in English. This is not my native language.
thanks!

Years ago the two of us who

Years ago the two of us who founded Gearank recorded a couple of tracks with a session keyboardist who played a Hammond through a stereo distortion pedal into rotating Leslie speakers and the sound was awesome, both on the recording and later when we performed it live.

Of course these days you can reproduce the Doppler effect electronically without the extra weight and mechanical issues of rotating speakers (they can be a bit noisy when recording), however you still want a good stereo amp to get the most out of your Hammond.

I'm not sure why you would say you don't need woofers because all combo keyboard amps have them and because a Hammond organ produces rich tones on the bottom end that benefit from woofers whether you play bass lines or not. What you probably won't need is an additional sub-woofer - perhaps that is what you meant?

I recommend you get a powerful stereo amp with 12 to 15 inch woofers, or two mono amps with stereo link if you want wide separation of the left and right channels. That would be something like 2 of the Behringer KXD12s or Roland KC-550s, or a single Roland KC-880.

I've learned it depends on

I've learned it depends on what kind of keys you are playing. A synth player may want more low-end than a Memphis-soul piano/organ player. I haven't found anything cheap that is loud and not overwhelmed with low-end. KC-550 is like a bass amp in my opinion. Gotta spend big bucks for smaller two-ways with 8" drivers that are fairly flat across the frequency spectrum. I'm looking at QSC K8.2 right now. I've been reading it will need a little sub-mixer to boost the gain from the keys.

I've been using an Acoustic

I've been using an Acoustic Image Coda R and/or a Barbetta Sona 41 Pro Combo for a wide variety of club gigs. (I also own a KC-550.) I have no idea how watts translate into SPLs when looking at the Aspen Pittman. I like the Barbettas for their flat response and SPLs in a lightweight box (I've owned three). I like the Coda R for a lightweight easy carry if the gig isn't too loud. When I put them together as a stereo set....I have PLENTY of SPLs for a big rock gig (-:on a small stage:-). I think the KC-550 has too much woofer for a keyboard amp, and it's tweeter craps out at certain high frequencies from an organ or Rhodes tone, and it's not fun to lift. I'm in the market to buy something new....maybe the Ten2 from Acoustic Image, but the Coda R is NOT flat when the EQ is set flat, gotta do drastic low and mid cuts and engage the handy notch filter, so I'm not sure about that, but the design is pretty cool. Anyway...the Aspen Pittman shown here caught my eye, but the wattage seems low compared to what I've been using to fill the stage with sound. Again, I have no idea how the 'advertised' watts translates into SPLs. If memory serves, I think the Barbettas add up their multi-amped wattage...300W to the cones + 150 to the tweeter = 450!!!

Looking for a powerful

Looking for a powerful keyboard amp for my church.

Hi Jason,

Hi Jason,

I’m using Roland keys and acoustic guitar. I’m currently looking for keyboard amps for home/practice/gig use but still bit confused with some few options under $300 price range (behringer B112D powered PA speaker and behringer k450fx/k900fx). I would also appreciate if you could give some opinion on Laney keyboard amps or PA speaker.

Thanks,
RM

Hi RM,

Hi RM,

You'll have to tell me specifically which options you are confused about before I can offer any advice that isn't already presented in our gear guides.

As for Laney - their keyboard amps and PA speakers haven't had sufficient distribution in the USA to get past our short-listing process so we haven't analyzed them in detail. You can see the few Laney products we have analyzed in our Music Gear Database.

Jason

Jason
I am looking for a small amp/whatever that will faithfully reproduce without distortion everything from flute to bass guitar from my roland gr55 guitar synthesizer. Perhaps you could suggest 2 or 3 units. Much thanks.

Guitar synths are a bit of a

Guitar synths are a bit of a tricky issue and ultimately it comes down to a combination of personal taste and what you want to sound the best.

My advice is based upon the assumption that you'll want to plug both the synth outs and guitar outs of the GR-55 into the same amp - so you need one with at least 2 channels.

If you want to optimize for synth and bass sounds then one of the keyboard amps above would be best - particularly a stereo one given that the GR-55 offers stereo out for synth sounds. Depending on the power you need either the Roland KC-110 or the Roland KC-880.

If you want regular guitar to sound good without compromising the synth sounds too much then I'd suggest the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus, it's also a stereo amp with 2 channels.

Note that if you choose a keyboard amp and you find you have impedance miss-match issues with the guitar out on the GR-55, then you'll also need to get a DI Box.

Hi Jason,

Hi Jason,
Thanks very much for this shortlist.
I'm a keyboardist/ synth player but I'm also using guitar, drum machine and singing. My intention is to busk with this act and due to the slightly unique scenario I am struggling to find the right bit of gear for my amplification- PA or amp. I'm up for using a battery and inverter, trolley if it will make for a better value and sounding system. Any advice much appreciated.
Thanks,
Tom

Hi Tom,

Hi Tom,

You didn't say what the specific problems are that are causing you trouble finding the best solution, so I'll make some assumptions about your needs and offer some advice based on that.

Assumptions:
• You'll only be using this where typical busker volume restrictions apply
• Your microphone does not require phantom power
• You don't need a stereo system - 4 mono input channels are all you need
• You've already ruled out these types of portable PA systems
• You don't want any of the 4-channel keyboard amps listed above

Battery powered option:
Roland BA-330 - $599, 30-watts, powered by 8 x AA batteries or 12V A/C adapter.

Mains powered option:
Marshall AS100D - $700, 100-watts, 16 digital effects, tons of features.

If you can provide feedback on what I got wrong in my assumptions, or why the two recommendations I made above are not suitable, then I may be able to offer more appropriate advice.

Hi Jason,

Hi Jason,

Cheers. The main problem I'm having is all the variables and alternative solutions which are just getting me confused...

whether to use a mixer or an amp with four channels, a PA or a keyboard amp. Trouble with AA batteries is with the drum machine and the Synth plus a pedal for delay/reverb on vocals if its not in the amp I will be getting through an awful lot of batteries- expensive unless I use rechargeables. If used frequently as I intend to- they can be quite poor in my experience- that may be outdated now. An internal battery as I've seen on some Pa's or my own battery might be better?

Ideally I'd like something small but if the sacrifice in sound quality is too much I will use a trolley- for something like the Marshall I would have to. I hadn't looked at acoustig guitar amps because I thought the frequency coverage was not ideal for synths/bass?
I was recommended the BA 330 but have read mixed reviews and it seems expensive compared to its competitors.

I hadn't ruled out the options above or in the portable PA article- I would love to spend a lot less on something like the Behringer MPA40. That portability is obviously a nice plus. I am going to Birmingham tomorrow to try a few but its quite a long way..

I'm playing a combination of Songwriter stuff and EDM-
Synth, Vocals(with reverb/delay- I do have a guitar pedal I think I could use with an impedance converter if necessary), Guitar, Drum machine and soon a looper. I want a nice amount of Bass and decent sound quality to rehearse at home and play in the street but yes don't need any more volume than for a small gig or busy street corner... I'm not too sure how much power I need for this and just asking what you'd recommend as a solution from your experience...

I've been recording atm but completely new to attempting to play this live and so its a big learning curve finding the best technical solutions and gear for it in a one man show!

Thanks for your help,
Tom

I'm new to purchasing amps

I'm new to purchasing amps and need one for my keyboard that will accommodate a large reception hall-type room of perhaps 1500 sq ft. I only need it for the keyboard but 1 additional channel would be a plus.

I have used Roland amps and

I have used Roland amps and keyboards for years. Keyboards are great, amps, not so great. Durable, Yes. They tend to "color" the sound and are a bit on the muddy side. Not a big issue when the band is playing at "11", but at low volumes very noticeable.
I now use Nord keyboards with the Centerpoint SS-3.
It is hands down, the best overall sound I can get.
The Centerpoint SS3 is a curious amp. I would have NEVER ordered it, based on the specs, but I happed to walk into a venue one night and the keyboard player was using one.

It was so impressive, I ordered one immediately. After gigging extensively and being very happy, I just ordered the "XL" version.

A little pricey, but considering the money I've spent on my boards, why cheap out?

I also bought a spacestation

I also bought a spacestation V3 hoping to get quality sound loud enough for gigging in bar/club venues, but still light enough to bring it up and down stairs where I have my practice music room at home. I also bought a Harbringer subwoofer to help out with the bass sounds. I also have quality keyboards (Montage 6, NORD 4, Hammond SK-1, and numerous analogue/digital synths) so I was willing to spend the money to get the quality sound. To be honest, I think I get just as good of sounds from my powered PA monitors (have both JBL and Harbringer) as the spacestation provides. I hear no replication of the stereo sounds we are supposed to hear and I think it struggles to get out the really full sounds my keyboards produce. No mention of Leslie amplifiers here (there is one under 1000 dollars). Any comments to this. I do like the larger Roland amps, but an older retired Army Officer like myself just cannot move those around. Any thoughts anyone? I live in the Wilmington NC area and would love to hear from any locals as well. atimeman@aol.com

Just a quick note on the

Just a quick note on the Leslie you mentioned. Although we haven't recommended it in this guide, we have rated it - you can see the results here: Leslie LS2215.

I am a pianist with varied

I am a pianist with varied program: ragtime, classics, songs, jokes, stories, monologs, etc. What amps would suggest for this one man performance? Higher price ok.

Hi Frank,

Hi Frank,

The short answer: Roland KC-550.

The long answer...

I'm making the assumption that your keyboard amp will also serve as your PA system and you'll be putting everything through it including vocals and backing tracks or break music, etc. I'm also assuming that you already have whatever effects units you need for your act.

In this situation the Roland KC-550 stands out as your best option in my opinion because:

  • Most Importantly: It has established a reputation among professionals as a reliable roadworthy system. I personally did the detailed product research on the 16 amps that made our short list and the KC-550 stood well above all the other amps in terms of how many professionals recommended it. In this regard it totally eclipsed its nearest rival (in terms of features), the Behringer Ultratone KXD15.
  • Its 15" woofer and 1" tweeter will easily cover the range of frequencies implied by the list of material you provided above.
  • If you need to expand you can get a second one and they link together in stereo instantly doubling your output power.
  • It comes with casters - one of the little things that can make a big difference.

I should note that the Behringer Ultratone KXD15, which is my second choice, does offer better price/performance on paper - and it has all of the features (except casters) of the Roland amp, but on top of that it also includes effects while the KC-550 does not. However, the Roland KC-550's reputation with professionals gives it the advantage.

Do you have an opinion on the

Do you have an opinion on the Roland KC-880 vs the Yamaha DXR-15 (or DXR-12)? It looks to me like the latter gets great reviews for use in gigs (like the Roland, too). But the weight is very different. Your thoughts?

Hi Bob,

Hi Bob,

We don't do research on head to head comparisons of this kind, but I can offer some personal observations which you may find helpful...

Both the DXR15 and DXR12 powered speakers cost and weigh less than the KC-880 keyboard amp ONLY if you don't need stereo, otherwise you'd have to get 2 powered speakers. The KC-880 also has 5 stereo input channels, including one which can take a dynamic mic, with a built-in mixer and effects - so you would also need to get a small mixer to go with 2 powered speakers to reproduce all the functionality of the Roland keyboard amp.

But if all you want is a mono single input amp then powered speakers offer better value and they're easier to lug around to gigs and rehearsals - as you probably noticed in the reviews, this is an option many keyboard players go for these days. Don't forget that you can have a mono monitor on stage and send a stereo output to FOH if needed.

I hope this helps,
Jason.

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