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What is the Best Amplifier for a Moog Synth?

So you want the best amplifier for your Moog synth? This question has been debated by Moog synth players and engineers alike.

The answer, however, is not as simple as you might think.

More important than just finding the right amp for your Moog synth though is understanding how it works and what to look for in an amplifier.

Of course, different Moog synths have different needs from an amp as well.

In this article, we will discuss some of the different types of keyboard amps available - including tube amps, solid-state amps, and digital modeling amps - so that you can decide which one is best for you!

Best Buy!
QSC KW122 2-Way Powered Loudspeaker - 1000 Watts, 1x12"
Roland KC-200 4 Channel Mixing Keyboard Amplifier, 100-Watt
Best Value!
Vox VX50KB 50W Keyboard Amplifier w/Nutube
Behringer Ultratone KXD12-600W 12 Inches Keyboard Amp
COOLMUSIC DK35S 50W Bluetooth Electric Drum Amplifier Keyboard Speaker with USB Input Record Function, Drum/Keyboard/MIC 3 in 1 Amplifier with Reverb Effect and DI Out
QSC KW122 2-Way Powered Loudspeaker - 1000 Watts, 1x12"
Roland KC-200 4 Channel Mixing Keyboard Amplifier, 100-Watt
Vox VX50KB 50W Keyboard Amplifier w/Nutube
Behringer Ultratone KXD12-600W 12 Inches Keyboard Amp
COOLMUSIC DK35S 50W Bluetooth Electric Drum Amplifier Keyboard Speaker with USB Input Record Function, Drum/Keyboard/MIC 3 in 1 Amplifier with Reverb Effect and DI Out
Dimensions:
29 x 20 x 21 inches
11.63 x 19 x 17.13 inches
8.19 x 12.32 x 13.94 inches
18.39 x 11.81 x 16.54 inches
21.73 x 19.9 x 15.91 inches
Weight:
65 pounds
41.8 pounds
10.49 pounds
40.3 pounds
33.3 pounds
Power Output (Watts)
2 x 500 Watts
100 Watts
50 Watts
600 Watts
50 Watts
Channels:
2
4 Channels
3
4
2
FX Section:
Build Quality (Out of 10):
10
8
9
7
7
Sound Quality (Out of 10):
9
8
7
9
7
Bass Response (Out of 10):
9
7
7
9
6
EQ Section (Out of 10):
7
5
7
9
6
Features:
Amazing sound quality
Very portable and great sound quality
Beautiful styling and clean punchy sound
Superb FX section and 600 watts of power
Great value for a practice amp
Price:
$1,349.99
$589.99
$299.99
$349.00
$169.99
Best Buy!
QSC KW122 2-Way Powered Loudspeaker - 1000 Watts, 1x12"
QSC KW122 2-Way Powered Loudspeaker - 1000 Watts, 1x12"
Dimensions:
29 x 20 x 21 inches
Weight:
65 pounds
Power Output (Watts)
2 x 500 Watts
Channels:
2
FX Section:
Build Quality (Out of 10):
10
Sound Quality (Out of 10):
9
Bass Response (Out of 10):
9
EQ Section (Out of 10):
7
Features:
Amazing sound quality
Price:
$1,349.99
Roland KC-200 4 Channel Mixing Keyboard Amplifier, 100-Watt
Roland KC-200 4 Channel Mixing Keyboard Amplifier, 100-Watt
Dimensions:
11.63 x 19 x 17.13 inches
Weight:
41.8 pounds
Power Output (Watts)
100 Watts
Channels:
4 Channels
FX Section:
Build Quality (Out of 10):
8
Sound Quality (Out of 10):
8
Bass Response (Out of 10):
7
EQ Section (Out of 10):
5
Features:
Very portable and great sound quality
Price:
$589.99
Best Value!
Vox VX50KB 50W Keyboard Amplifier w/Nutube
Vox VX50KB 50W Keyboard Amplifier w/Nutube
Dimensions:
8.19 x 12.32 x 13.94 inches
Weight:
10.49 pounds
Power Output (Watts)
50 Watts
Channels:
3
FX Section:
Build Quality (Out of 10):
9
Sound Quality (Out of 10):
7
Bass Response (Out of 10):
7
EQ Section (Out of 10):
7
Features:
Beautiful styling and clean punchy sound
Price:
$299.99
Behringer Ultratone KXD12-600W 12 Inches Keyboard Amp
Behringer Ultratone KXD12-600W 12 Inches Keyboard Amp
Dimensions:
18.39 x 11.81 x 16.54 inches
Weight:
40.3 pounds
Power Output (Watts)
600 Watts
Channels:
4
FX Section:
Build Quality (Out of 10):
7
Sound Quality (Out of 10):
9
Bass Response (Out of 10):
9
EQ Section (Out of 10):
9
Features:
Superb FX section and 600 watts of power
Price:
$349.00
COOLMUSIC DK35S 50W Bluetooth Electric Drum Amplifier Keyboard Speaker with USB Input Record Function, Drum/Keyboard/MIC 3 in 1 Amplifier with Reverb Effect and DI Out
COOLMUSIC DK35S 50W Bluetooth Electric Drum Amplifier Keyboard Speaker with USB Input Record Function, Drum/Keyboard/MIC 3 in 1 Amplifier with Reverb Effect and DI Out
Dimensions:
21.73 x 19.9 x 15.91 inches
Weight:
33.3 pounds
Power Output (Watts)
50 Watts
Channels:
2
FX Section:
Build Quality (Out of 10):
7
Sound Quality (Out of 10):
7
Bass Response (Out of 10):
6
EQ Section (Out of 10):
6
Features:
Great value for a practice amp
Price:
$169.99

How do You Know Which Amplifier To Buy?

Moog synths are as unique as the person playing them. The range of Moog synths is vast and deep from modular through to the MiniMoog and Phatty. While there are some general rules of thumb to follow, like not plugging your synth into a guitar amp (we'll get to why in a minute), you need to know what kind of sound and power output your Moog synth needs before picking out the perfect amplifier.

I don't recommend a guitar amp because they are designed to produce a different tone than what you need for your Moog synth. Guitar and bass amps are great for lots of distortion and bite, and are great for guitar, but not so much for the pure sonic prowess of a Moog synth. The idea is not to color the sound of the synth too much with an amplifier - but to let it shine.

The other reason is that it is the easiest way to blow a guitar amp by pounding it with a Phatty bass! Moogs are line level and guitar amps are pretty much all instrument-level without a preamp. You might be thinking bass guitar amps would be a good option? Once again, a bass amp is not the best because bass amps are designed to produce a heavy, deep distorted sound. You need something that will give you lots of power and clarity without getting muddy.

So if guitar amps are not the best option you are probably wondering if a keyboard amp is? While a keyboard amplifier would be fine for some types of synths, it may not suit others because they are designed to produce more bass than treble and might therefore change your tone too much.

The thing about Moog synths is that the sound is at its best when it's in a live setting - You are looking for an amplifier that can power the synth to deliver a punchy but pure sound. All Moog synths have that unique sonic beauty that should be allowed to shine unadulterated or colored by poor amplifier circuits.

This article is born from my quest to find the best keyboard amplifier that will do justice to the full range sound of the Moog.

Tube amps, Solid-State Amps, and Digital Modeling Amps

So what are the best amplifier types for a Moog synth? Different amplifiers suit different instruments. Tube amps work well with keyboards and some synths, while solid-state or digital modeling amps will power your synthesizer without changing the sound too much.

Tube Amps:

Tubes produce natural distortion when pushed to their limits - this is great if you want that overdriven sound on demand but not so good if you need an amp for live performance. If you're looking for something more mellow then tube amps might be right up your alley because they don't have the wide volume range offered by other amps. Be careful though! You might start getting into trouble with feedback from Moog's powerful filters!

Tube amp

Solid-State Amplifiers:

Solid State amps are good for a live setting because they won't get too distorted even if the volume is turned up. Keep in mind that these types of amplifiers will not produce any natural distortion like tube amps and might sound more digital or sterile depending on your needs.

Digital Modeling Amps:

If you're looking for a keyboard amp to replicate the sounds from other instruments, then this might be right up your alley! Digital modeling amps can reproduce authentic amplifier circuits with just one knob turn, making it easy to find a tone similar to that of another instrument. This is more for someone with an experimental bent though. They also have lots of built-in effects so you won't need lots of pedals lying around either. Just make sure that when buying a digital modeling amp that you get one with a wide range of sounds.

The Best Amp Depends On The Type Of Sound You Are Looking For

Part of your decision-making process should include:

  • What and where will you be using your keyboard amp? Live, recording, etc...
  • What is the sound you are looking for?
  • Do you want separate speakers, wedge monitors or horns or even a combo amp box?

So, if the type of sound you are looking for is that gritty, overdriven sound then a tube amp will be right up your alley. If you want something that suits the full range of sounds from Moog synths then I recommends looking at keyboard amplifiers with their own speakers or horns. Ultimately, if it sounds good to your own ears then that should be the main factor.

If you are looking for something like small venue pa systems then you should be perhaps looking at some active pa speakers. These would equally be good if you are looking for some stage monitors as well. So if powered speakers is the way to go then there are some great options on the market.

What is a Keyboard Amplifier?

When I talk about a keyboard amplifier, I mean it is a type of amplifier that is designed to be used with keyboards. Keyboard amps are often designed as either rackmount units or combo amplifiers with a built-in speaker enclosure. They typically have an integrated mixer, effects unit, and preamplifier in one integrated unit. A keyboard amp is usually connected to the sound system via a 1/4 inch connector or XLR mic input connector using quarter inch TRS connectors on professional models.

What is a Powered Active PA Speaker?

A powered active PA speaker is a type of loudspeaker that can be connected to an amplifier. A PA speaker system will typically have one or more amplifiers, one or more power amps, and multiple speakers which are arranged in special patterns.

Do Moog Synths Actually Need Amps?

The question still remains though, whether a Moog Synth needs an amplifier or not?

If you want the best possible sound quality with your Moog synth, then absolutely invest in a good amp that is designed specifically for this type of synthesizer because these amps are made with specific attention paid to sonic detail which translates into better sounding music overall. It is true that if recording synth tracks you don't necessarily need an amplifier as plugging straight into the mixer console is all you need to do, but this doesn't mean that a good amplifier won't make your music sound better.

As always, it is down to your own preference and needs as to whether you want the best possible sound quality with your Moog synth or not.

QSC KW122 Powered Speakers

QSC KW122 2-Way Powered Loudspeaker - 1000 Watts, 1x12"
  • Bi-amped 1000-watt powered speaker with 12" woofer and 1.75" tweeter
  • 75-degree coverage angle with square pattern lends itself to cluster applications
  • Simultaneous mic, line, and stereo RCA inputs
  • DEEP processing extends your system's bass response
  • Four-position mic/line gain knobs

QSC KW122 Pros & Cons

QSC KW122 Design & Specification

QSC KW122 Powered Speakers are a 2-way, full-range loudspeaker that has 1000 watts of power. It is designed for live sound reinforcement applications where superior fidelity and maximum SPL are important. The speaker consists of a 12-inch low-frequency driver and dual 1-inch high-frequency drivers. The QSC KW122 has an amplifier that is cooled with passive convection to provide distortion-free performance in extreme conditions. The KW122 has a frequency response of 50Hz-20kHz, excellent bass extension, and no distortion even when pushed hard for hours on end.

The QSC KW122 is not really the best option if you're looking for something small though because it's quite large at 57 inches high by 18 inches wide by 17.25 deep with a weight of 48.75 lbs each, but it's perfect to use in a wide-open space like an auditorium or large studio setting where a lot of sounds is needed with high fidelity.

The QSC KW122 has two separate inputs; one for mics (XLR and ¼"), the other for line-level signals through stereo RCA jacks.

QSC KW122 Powered Speakers Performance

The QSC KW122 Performance when used with a Moog synth is outstanding. The amplifier included with the speakers is capable of delivering 1000 watts to each speaker. The power comes in handy when you need to amplify low frequencies that you might not be able to fit into a smaller speaker.

The sound is rich and full. We were impressed with the power behind these speakers, especially for being so compact. QSC KW122 Performance does an excellent job of combining high frequencies with low-frequency sounds to give your music a well-rounded feel.

These speakers are also very easy to use and transport from location to location. They have a built-in digital mixer that is easy to use and set up. These speakers are also very versatile in their application.

Roland KC-200 

Roland KC-200 4 Channel Mixing Keyboard Amplifier, 100-Watt
  • Compact and affordable keyboard amplifier with 100 watts of power
  • Redesigned power amp and power supply sections provide increased stability and improved bass reproduction
  • Custom two-way speaker system with newly developed 12-inch woofer and tweeter
  • Onboard mixing with four 1/4-inch line input channels, dedicated auxiliary input with 1/8-inch and RCA jacks, and master EQ
  • Channel 4 provides dedicated monitor functionality for click and guide tracks

Roland KC-200 Pros & Cons

Roland KC-200 Design & Specification

The Roland KC-200 keyboard amplifier is a compact size desktop amp. The amp weighs in at a weighty 42 pounds in a diminutive size of 11.63 x 19 x 17.13 inches.

This amp is compatible with all Moog synthesizers and can be used as a 4-way mixer for use with sound sources such as microphones, keyboards, and other instruments.

The Roland KC-200 keyboard amplifier includes an integrated XLR microphone input, USB MIDI output, AUX in/out (phono) jacks, and headphone jack. The Roland KC-200 keyboard amplifier has a power rating of 100 watts. The top panel includes the amp's volume knob, headphone jack, 4 channel mixer section, and a basic equalizer control (high and low). The rear panel has an AUX in RCA and phono jacks, and XLR/jack microphone input with built-in phantom power for microphones. A sub output and line-out jack.

Roland KC-200 Performance

The Roland KC-200 Keyboard Amp is a very good amp for Moog synthesizers because of the perfect sound quality and its easy-to-use interface. I'm able to connect my keyboard and microphone with ease, as well as hook up all sorts of auxiliary devices through the AUX-in jack. The Roland KC-200 Keyboard Amplifier has a power rating of 100 watts, which is more than enough to fully function in any setting. Another pro is that this amp sounds AMAZING when used with a Moog synth because it delivers high-fidelity audio that really brings out all of the nuances in each note especially in the bass sound frequencies.

Vox VX50KB

Vox VX50KB 50W Keyboard Amplifier w/Nutube
  • 50W Keyboard Amp with Nutube Circuitry
  • Bass-reflex Cabinet
  • Coaxial Speaker
  • 3-channel

Vox VX50KB Pros & Cons

Vox VX50KB Design & Specification

The VOX VX50KB is a 50-watt, three-channel keyboard amplifier, with 50 watts of high-powered clean sound and robust power. The design features a basic low, mid and high EQ and a simple 3 channel mixer for the line inputs. The third input is switchable between line or mic level which is handy if you want to add vocals into the mix.

One of the best things about this product is the stylish retro design. You can tell Vox has taken their time to make this amp look as classy as it sounds with a stylish metal grille and curvy retro styling around the body of the amplifier, not forgetting that classic VOX logo on the front!

Vox VX50KB Performance

If you are a synth player, then you know how important a keyboard amp is to your performance. The Vox VX50KB has tons of power, so it will work well for any style of music from jazz to metal. It also has the three-channel EQ that keyboard players will love. The "bright" channel allows for some more funky sounds with the Moog synthesizers as well.

One of the best features is the 50 watts of clean sound and ample headroom that helps keep things sounding punchy but not too distorted. When playing live or in-studio settings, it's good to have an amp that can handle a variety of musical styles without breaking a sweat. The Vox VX50KB can do just that!

BEHRINGER KXD12 Keyboard Amplifier

Behringer Ultratone KXD12-600W 12 Inches Keyboard Amp
  • 1 x 12" Keyboard Amplifier with 4-channel Mixer
  • a Klark Teknik Effects Process with 100 Presets
  • FBQ Feedback Detection System
  • 7-b Graphic EQ
  • 600W

BEHRINGER KXD12 Keyboard Amplifier Pros & Cons

BEHRINGER KXD12 Keyboard Amplifier Design & Specification

Recently, Behringer introduced to the market a new amplifier with the model KXD12. There are many great features that are found in the amplifier, but also many flaws.

The first thing that should be addressed is the noise level and interference. There are reports from some users that the KXD12 comes with a noise issue which is disconcerting. We didn't see this problem ourselves but due diligence should be taken by all purchasers.

Apart from this, the BEHRINGER KXD12 has some incredible features for an amplifier in this price range. 4 inputs at line level with a mic input switchable on input 4. It includes an amazing effects section and a superb parametric EQ section. All effects and sound levels are adjusted in the simple mixer section and even has a sub out and stereo link feature.

The design of the KXD12 is a bit dull and boring looking but this is more than compensated for by the incredible 600 watts of power! Certainly an example of not judging a book by its cover.

BEHRINGER KXD12 Keyboard Amplifier Performance

This is an amplifier for Moog synth players! The parametric EQ section is a dream and the effects section will blow your mind. You won't find any other amplifier on the market that comes with so many features at this price level. If you need your keyboard amplified, you're going to want to get your hands on a KXD12 as soon as possible.

The biggest selling point for me is the 600 watts of power. The BEHRINGER KXD12 is a powerhouse of an amplifier that will easily fill any room with sound. Anything else you need to know about the performance, I'll let you discover for yourself!

My other favorite feature on this amp is by far its EQ section. With so many different bands and frequencies being offered up in one place, it's never been easier to find the perfect sound for any occasion. And, of course, there are a ton of effects available as well. Whether you're looking for distortion, phasing, chorus or reverb, it's all here and waiting for you to use it!

Coolmusic DK-35

Sale
COOLMUSIC DK35S 50W Bluetooth Electric Drum Amplifier Keyboard Speaker with USB Input Record Function, Drum/Keyboard/MIC 3 in 1 Amplifier with Reverb Effect and DI Out
  • 【Equipped with two speakers】50W Multi-function Amplifier with TWO Speakers( 10-inch woofer and 3.0-inch tweeter) provides rich tone with intuitive controls.
  • 【Multi-function Amplifier】Coolmusic DK35S is a multi-instrument amp, it is not only an acoustic guitar amp, a keyboard amp, a bass amp and an electronic drum amp, it satisfies your use of a variety of musical instruments.
  • 【Two-Input and XRL Mic Input】Two 1/4" instrument input, 3-band EQ, Tone and Gain control. XRL Mic input with Reverb control.
  • 【Bluetooth, USB and Record Functions】Built-in Bluetooth and MP3 functions, It can connected with your Phone or PC to play background music. And add One-key Record knob, you can Record what you played, then play with it.
  • 【Earphone and D.I Outputs】Set a earphone socket for private listening and a D.I output allowing you to connect to a PA or another amps.

Coolmusic DK-35 Pros & Cons

Coolmusic DK-35 Design & Specification

The Coolmusic DK-35 is a keyboard amplifier with an integrated Bluetooth interface and audio in/out. The Coolmusic DK-35 has a 50-watt power capacity, and its output can be adjusted to suit the venue or PA system. The device also includes DI connections for connecting it to both PA systems and other amplifiers.

Combining the advantages of both a keyboard amplifier and an audio interface, the Coolmusic DK-35 is designed for live music performers.

The key features have to be a Built in Bluetooth connection, Audio input/output connections (XLR) and 50 watts power capacity with adjustable output range to suit PA systems or venues.

The design features a top panel with a volume knob, 2 input sections with a basic reverb and tone adjustment, and separate volume knobs. It also has an XLR mic input, a USB interface socket, and a headphone socket.

The back panel includes DI line-out connection for connecting to PA systems or other amplifiers as well as an IEC power input and on/off switch.

The DK-35 is also Bluetooth enabled which allows it to be connected wirelessly with computers or tablets. It is small enough that it can serve as a wedge speaker, which allows it to be positioned in close proximity for a more natural sound.

Coolmusic DK-35 Performance

The Coolmusic DK-35 amplifier is ideal for small venue live performers or studio players who need an amplifier with a Bluetooth interface, as well as a keyboard amp (which is what it is designed to do).

The power capacity is 50 watts and to be fair is a little too thin sounding for my ears. The volume knob has a range of 30-50 watts, which means that it can be used with venues or PA systems. The design is a bit old-fashioned, like something from the eighties. Overall, I like the amp as a practice amp but it doesn't quite do it for me in live performances.

Best Affordable Amplifier For Moog Synths

If your budget is tight and you are looking for the best bang for your Moog bucks, then the best buy for you would be the Vox VX50KB. It is full-featured, sounds pretty good, and even looks great as well. In second place for affordable prowess is the Roland KC-200.

Best Overall Moog Synth Amplifier

It is the most expensive but there is a reason for that, it is simply a sonic god when it comes to playing Moog synths in a live situation. The QSC KW122 is head and shoulders above everything else on test here and that is why it wins the best overall award.

If you can't stretch to the price of the QSC, then you should be looking at the excellent BEHRINGER KXD12 as it is both very good and also more affordable.

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