Amps, Monitors and BFD?

Hi folks,

I’ve been solely using headphones and am looking to get a drum monitor/amp - solely for home use, in a small room, and it has to be low-ish volume to not fall out with the neighbours.

I’ve noticed a strange thing with reviews of Amps and Monitors - they rarely focus on sound. It’s all about the power - “this will fill a small venue, that will fill a medium sized hall” (or for monitors, “this will cut through the rest of the band”). Very different from e.g. reviews of hifi or studio monitors, which obsess on sound.

Given that I love the sounds in BFD, I’d like something that would do it some justice. I know my small room/volume consideration creates a conundrum here: within any range of amps, the bigger speakers may give better bass response, but need a minimum volume to be effective.

The best information I’ve found so far is on the rather wonderful bonedo site (thank goodness for automatic translation of web pages), which has some comparisons, and a companion video

and it’s clear just how different the sound is between the different monitors.

Other good sources of info include

In terms of what I’ve been considering, I’m taking my usual starting point of a naievely low budget, fully expecting to grudgingly realize that the the minimum floor for acceptable quality is higher.

There are a few amps on the more affordable side - Laney DH80, Coolmusic 100W - but little available in terms of reviews, or to compare them to something like the Roland PM-100 (which unlike Simmons, I can buy in Europe, and tends to score highly on sound). Additionally there are a number of keyboard amps that are available second hand (e.g. Behringer K450FX, Laney AH80) - opinions vary on whether to use a keyboard amp or a specialised drum amp.

Anyway, that’s my journey so far. I’d like to hear what people here have found, are there any particular good pairings between BFD3 and a drum amp/monitor?

hi John

i’ve been exploring using BFD live for over 12 months. ive made progress though am still learning

At home, i bypassed drum speakers = i never bought one because what id seen and heard didnt cut it (for me) .
So basically i use a small PA set up …two 10” speakers (Opera 110W lyric) ~1.5m off ground and 1m to left and right of my drum stool, these are fed from a Eurolive B1200D-pro sub woofer…
Why?…this gives me directional sound (tom/cymbal placement) and punch … and allows me to jam with friends… it is allowing me to work on live sounds at home and not annoy neighbours ( no complaints after many years)

i feed the sub from a Mackie DL32S so i can USB direct from computer (2019 macbook) and split out kit in various ways (so mixers receive kick, snare etc in a way they know how to mix live = separate channels in Mackie Masterfader 5)…. but you can feed sub etc direct from BFD stereo mix from your computer… i make use of the subs filter to separate the high freqs from low freqs… protect small speakers and enable quick tonal balance… i find i tweak drum pitch and especially decay to get usable live sounds ( watch out for resonant tones on toms)

i have also used edrums with friends in quiet-ish rehearsals through a SRM-Flex | Portable PA Systems | MACKIE … it doesnt give u directionality but these systems (some <$1000) may give you best overall sound outcome for price

in passing, i have created a new tech for super easy converting acoustic kits to electronic… i think its better than anything on market (obviously im biased ) and it allows me to switch quick n easy from acoustic to electronic… … more on this some other time maybe


ps i also use an Eleven rack for guitar through this set up too… set up basically does everything!.. future = no amps… in attach pic the sub is hiding in the mixer rack

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Thanks @Rik77

there’s a lot of great stuff to digest in your response, thanks for such a detailed breakdown.

I’ve been doing further digging too, and seeing more and more moving away from single-purpose amps towards the PA approach (or PA/Keyboard amp with Subwoofer). I found this “once and for all” vdrums forum post from 2008 on the vdrums forum to be a useful journey through the options

It’s perhaps not surprising that the Alesis Strike 12 and 8 were inferred to be tweaked versions of Alto TS PAs in the Bonedo review. Also this vdrums post has a nearly hidden PA Comparison Sheet with a listing of PAs, speaker sizes, frequency ranges etc. So handy if anyone else is on this journey.

Your own setup looks great. I’m guessing the subwoofer is very satisfying. And as for your new tech to convert kits, I’m sure there’d be a lot of folks in this forum who’d be very interested…


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thx John001
i forgot to mention that speaker to ear distance (and digital system latency) is crucial to a satisfying set up… speaker placement is actually my biggest challenge live…as every venue and stage is different and presents its own challenges (i play cafes to pubs to festivals)…and theres always set up time constraints. im Also trying to minimise gear (havent achieved that yet)… being able to revert to acoustics quickly is handy… im flipping between set ups across gigs at present

thx again for your post, i think its something modern drummers are wrestling with


ps digital system latency is largely solved… i find USB midi into computer is best