How to Connect Electric Drums to Speakers

By Scott Shpak

Things Needed

  • 1/4-inch mono phone plug instrument cable(s)
  • XLR audio cable(s) (optional)
  • Direct injection box(es) (optional)
Electronic drums are volume-controlled, reducing the impact on roommates and family.

Electronic drums are a wonderful addition to a home project studio. Offering compact size and volume control, electronic kits incorporate contemporary triggers and samples, which provide astonishingly realistic results. Sound modules provide audio flexibility as well. Mono or stereo audio feeds are output for recording or live sound use. Musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) data can drive sound modules or supply sequencing software.

Connect one or two quarter-inch instrument cables to the electronic drums' sound module. Use one cable if mono sound is desired and two for stereo. Most modules will have one output marked for use as a mono feed.

Connect the other end of your instrument cables to an amplifier or PA system if the cable run is comparatively short, under 25 feet. Connect the drum module as you would a keyboard or other line level sound module. If your PA is equipped with stereo channels, these are ideal for use with stereo feeds from the drum module.

Use a direct input (DI) box if cable runs will exceed 25 feet. Two DI boxes or a special stereo DI box will be needed for stereo operation. Connect your quarter-inch cables to the input of the DI boxes, and connect XLR cables between the outputs and the PA or amplifier that can accept XLR input.

Tip

Most electronic drum sound modules have headphone jacks available. While this incorporates an amplifier suitable for driving headphones, it will not have enough power to run speakers. An amplifier, or an active speakers which incorporates an amp, is required.

About the Author

As an operations and technical projects manager in the photofinishing industry, Scott Shpak is also an experienced audio engineer and musician, as well as Editor-in-chief, feature writer and photographer for Your Magazines Canada.