What Is the Difference Between a Guitar Amp and a Keyboard Amp?

Understanding the difference between a guitar and keyboard amp is crucial, especially if you’re looking to deliver the very best sounds from your keyboard. This is because each type has varying amounts of effects, distortion levels, and inputs.

Amp selection should never be overlooked by any keyboard player. You should always take time to learn the best keyboard amps by Muzic Tribe and similar compilations by other experts, so you’ll sound amazing whether in the studio or on stage.

Today, we’ll be discussing the differences between the keyboard amp and the guitar amp, so you won’t make the mistake many amateur keyboard players make and choose the latter.

Keyboard Amplifier

Aptly named, a keyboard amplifier is a tool that amplifies the sound of the said instrument. It minimizes distortions in order to deliver the cleanest sounds from your keyboard as you harmonize with other instruments.

Typically, keyboard amplifiers come with the following fundamental design features:

  • Electronic amp
  • Loudspeaker
  • A cabinet for storing the amplifier and loudspeaker

In some models, mixers also come into play. These tools help when you’re playing in a prog-rock band and require the use of several different keyboards like synths, semi-electric keyboards, and electric keyboards.

How a Keyboard Amp Functions

A keyboard amplifier has to be capable of producing a more varied frequency range than a guitar amp.

Playing a keyboard, as soon as you hit those high-frequency notes, you know they’re going to sound crystal clear. However, your amp should also be able to deliver just as well for those low rumbling notes on the lower end of the frequency range.

That’s why when putting together a keyboard amplifier, there should be a low-frequency bass port and high-frequency tweeter. These parts ensure that sounds failing within the lower and higher end of the frequency band are covered.

Another primary function of the keyboard amp is to reduce distortion levels so that your keyboard produces clear sounds at any frequency. These amps are also made as combination amplifiers to put together your controls, speakers, and circuitry.

With a keyboard amp, you can work with several different inputs, which allow you to plug in more than one keyboard. This means you can be more flexible and use multiple synths, keyboards, and microphones.

Keyboard amps designed for stage performances are of a different level. Aside from typically being larger, pricier, and of higher quality, these amps also use compressors to keep the speakers from blowing out when the volume gets too high.

Sizes and Prices

Basically, the rule is: the bigger the keyboard amplifier, the higher its price. While all amplifiers use semiconductors to deliver amplification, keyboard amps are set apart from the lot in terms of output power, quality, and size.

When deciding on a budget for your amp, you’ll need to focus on your purpose for it. Is it limited to your garage band practice sessions? If so, then you should be able to get away with a smaller, more affordable model. Some practice amps come with a 10-inch speaker and have an output power of about 30 Watts.

What about for larger venues? If you’re planning to use an amp for stage performances, then going for a larger and typically more expensive model would be ideal. For smaller venues, a 12-inch speaker and 75 Watts should just about carry you through. On the other hand, for really large places, nothing less than a 15-inch speaker and 300 Watts would do if you really want to deliver the best keyboard sounds.

Guitar Amplifier

A guitar amplifier is, obviously, a tool made for amplifying the sounds of a guitar. One of the most common types of guitar amps is the single amplifier circuit. With this guitar amp, the speaker itself needs to be housed inside an individual cabinet.

How Guitar Amps Differ from Keyboard Amps

Unlike keyboard amps, guitar amps only come with a single input. There generally isn’t a need for multiple inputs where these instruments are concerned.

Furthermore, guitar amps don’t have as much frequency range compared to the keyboard amplifier. These tools are also designed to deliver more distortion and roll off the majority of the frequencies on the higher-end of the spectrum, both of which aren’t ideal for keyboard players. This is the main reason why you can never substitute a keyboard amp with a guitar amp.

Lastly, guitar amps aren’t available in combo units like keyboard amplifiers. In most cases, you’ll need a speaker cabinet for a guitar amplifier.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, no other tool really allows you to produce the best keyboard sounds than a keyboard amplifier. This device functions exactly how a keyboard player needs it to function, covering all the high- and low-frequency sounds and reducing distortions that typically occur in keyboard performances.

A guitar amp operates just about the opposite, rolling off many high-end frequencies and producing more distortions that keyboard sounds simply won’t sound good coming out of it.