8

I have a Roland electronic drum kit and so far mainly used it with headphones and some cheap portable hifi speakers but they sound really tinny - the mechanical noise of the kit is louder than the amplified drum sounds with those. I recently remembered that I have a spare bass guitar amplifier (Laney R2) in the house and tried plugging the drums into it. The sound quality is better than I imagined and the amplification power is way beyond anything I need for playing at home.

Just wondering if anyone here knows if its safe for me to keep using this setup or if I run the risk of damaging the bass amp (which I imagine was specifically designed for amplifying low frequency signals) if I keep using it with the drums, especially with the high frequency input from the cymbals.

11

As long as you use it at a reasonable level you should be fine (no guarantee is offered by me though!) Remember bass amps can not only handle lows but can also handle the high frequency and percussive sounds of slapping and popping too.

Here is an article with some good tips and precautions for using a bass amp with electronic drums:

https://musicianshq.com/can-a-bass-amp-be-used-for-electronic-drums/

8

It'll be fine. It's actually a better bet than a guitar amp - the sound spectrum is far wider. It's the choce of several electronic drummers I know. The obvious is that you'll wreck any amp (specifically the speaker) by playing it way too loud.

I used a Carlsboro Viper (15" speaker, no tweeter) 100w in the studio for a good few years with electronic drums, with no problems, and it sounded good.

3

In a nutshell, no. The principal danger of blowing an amp is blowing tweeters with more high-frequency energy than expected. For one thing, bass amps tend to not even have tweeters. For another, they are frequently played using heavy distortion, and distortion adds a lot of high-frequency energy. So they should be able to deal with it (in contrast, it's comparatively easy to blow the tweeters of HiFi speakers misused as guitar or bass amp speakers, using distortion).

The rub is a different one: bass amps are supposed to make distortion sound good and that involves a graceful roll-off of high-frequency energy. That kind of puts a damper on snares and particularly cymbals (and hi-hat), making them carry less well than they could in the mix. Particularly if you have one or more singers, it may force you to play louder in order to be discernible, stepping more on the others' toes.

If you use brushes with some frequency, that may point to a bass amp not necessarily being the best allround option.

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  • 7
    Several of my bass amps/speakers have tweeters. Those will have crossovers, which are designed to minimise their being blown. If they're piezzos, they don't need crossovers. Looking at pics of this amp, there appears to be a tweeter. 'Bass amps are supposed to make distortion sound good'? That's guitar amps, mainly.
    – Tim
    Jul 19 at 9:29
  • 1
    Right, tweeters are actually a necessity for a bright slap bass sound. Most bass amps that aren't specifically “vintage” have tweeters. Not all these amps actually sound good when overdriven, though at any rate they can generally handle this, unlike hifi equipment, even with the tweeters turned on. Many bassists only slightly overdrive the amp (if at all), and if they want a really distorted sound use a pedal. Bass distortion often involves a crossover that sorts out the spectrum, or fuzz has a simple lowpass in the output that ensures it also works with a trebly speaker. Jul 19 at 22:25

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