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Roland KC-550 - 180W 15" Keyboard Amp Reviews

4.5 stars based on 28 customer reviews
Questions about the Roland KC-550 - 180W 15" Keyboard Amp?

Questions about the Roland KC-550 - 180W 15" Keyboard Amp?

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Sweetwater Advice

  • Nick Church

    The power to handle your left hand, and the clarity to handle your right hand! This amp is ambidextrous! The flexibilty of the EQ and signal routing only add to the desirability of this amp!

  • Jeff Hollman

    Roland has long been making the clearest, loudest, and most useful keyboard amps in the industry. It's rare that I sell any other keyboard amp in this price range.

  • from NY January 12, 2017

    KC550

    Great deep end rich sound with this amp! Great purchase from Sweetwater again!

  • from Wilmington, NC July 26, 2016Music Background:
    Music composer, piano trainy and collrge student majoring in music and fine arts.

    Roland KC-550

    I have a Roland KC-350, and the sound is truly outstanding, with the sound of my keyboard and bass guitar, quality performance!,...my next move is getting a nice lead guitar, but directly after is the KC-550, to make my combinations and performance strong!

  • from Stoneville, NC July 11, 2016Music Background:
    Multi-Keyboardist

    Powerhouse Amp

    Great Amp, I already had one KC-550, this is my second one and I have linked the two amps together to
    run my keyboards in stereo as on stage monitors. This is quite a lot of power for monitors but they sound great and the amps just idle along doing their job with no strain. I do recommend a good power source for these amps. Tnxs to Arend Raby and his technical support @ ext 1276...

  • from OAKLEY, CA. June 17, 2016Music Background:
    DRUMMER

    ROLAND KC550

    I USED THIS AMP WITH A YAMAHA DRUM SET PLAYING IN A WEDDING BAND FOR ABOUT 5 YEARS AND IT SOUNDS GREAT. THE GUY THAT RUNS THE BAND OWNS IT AND THE DRUMS I PLAYED, SO I AM GOING TO BUY ONE FOR MY SELF TO USE AT HOME IN MY GARAGE

  • from July 9, 2015Music Background:
    Multi-Instrumental

    My New KC550

    This Keyboard Amp is truly the highest in its class. Not only is it a great keyboard amp, it's also a great monitor, substitute bass amp, and secondary speaker for any musical instrument including mic'd instruments such as horns. I am very happy with this amp and I would recommend anyone whos looking for a great multi-purpose amp to try the Roland KC550 Amp Out. Thank You Sweetwater! You all are the best when it comes to helping people make music.

  • from June 24, 2015

    The standard

    Yep, it's heavy and loud but if you're gigging you can't go wrong with amp. Crisp, clean and versatile. Perfect for small/med/large stages. Did I mention it is heavy? Worth every pound.

    And as always, it's a pleasure doing business with Sweetwater.

  • from Peabody, MA February 18, 2013Music Background:
    Keyboardist, songwriter, live musician

    The best

    I had the older KC-500 for years. It was the only amp I had ever used for keyboards. The drawback was the weight, and after years of lugging this thing around to gigs I sold it thinking I could get a similar sound in something with less overall weight. So I bought a powered PA monitor. Boy was I wrong! The KC amp moves air and retains a perfectly balanced tone. Nothing else punches through a like the KC amps. Keyboards have such a variety of tones and shapes and these amps have the best clarity and balance across the entire spectrum. You "feel" the sound, and it cuts through a live sound mix perfectly. The tonal balance is great whether you play piano, organs, synths, strings, etc. the amp delivers the sounds with a clarity and drive that is above all else. There is more than meets the eye here, it's not just a high powered speaker with a ton of wattage. Don't fool yourself, when you want the real fat tone you need a big heavy well-constructed box like this to project your sound - a lightweight plastic PA speaker is not going to project the sound in this way, it takes mass and air movement to push sound. If you want the best sounding keyboard amp, buy this now.

  • from Cleveland OH November 5, 2012Music Background:
    Pro musician

    This amp is a monster!

    In the past 3 weeks that I have had this amp, I have used for as diverse gigs as playing a five-piece rock/blues/soul band in a club to a four-piece oldies band to solo gigs at restaurants and as background music at public libraries. This amp covers it all! The shape switch is great for playing at low, low volumes, as I did on the solo gigs. BUY THIS AMP WITHOUT DELAY!

  • from November 5, 2011

    Get This Amp!!!

    This thing is king for gigs, several stereo input channels including vocals as well as stereo/direct out. Had this thing since 97 and its still pumpin, even after getting tossed around for a thousand shows. Ive even ran this as a bass amp for small clubs and its great as a monitor, cant go wrong here.

  • from Norman OK USA June 7, 2011Music Background:
    Music Grad/Pro musician/ Music Writer

    KC-550

    Big fat delicious sound across the spectrum. Its four inputs are perfect for my 3 keyboards and vocals. I think the only thing better would be to get another one and connect them for stereo sound. The XLR out is perfect for the gigs I've been doing recently. Just run one cable to the sound guy and your golden. I would recommend this amp to anybody who plays keys. Can fill up a good size room all by itself. Great as a monitor as well!

  • from Northern California December 19, 2010Music Background:
    Pro musician

    FAB!!!

    After years of using piece meal amps and speakers I finally bought a real keyboard amp - the KC550! It took a little while to tweak it since there are tonal options but the tone is warm and full; it sounds great just as a stand-alone unit. One nice thing is that even when played soft it gives you the full spectrum of sound and if you crank it up to 5 or more it is ear splitting unless your ears are already shot. The tweeter is a little thin but something magical happens to the entire unit if you run this in stereo. In stereo the sound is beyond fab! ...It then has a huge full sound without needing tons of volume. It's new so haven't gigged with it yet but by comparing it to the JBL Eons, Yamaha PAs, Cerwin Vegas and Peaveys I've used this wins hands down.

    Another nice aspect is that it is built like a tank yet it is still manageable to move. The wheels easily come off for stacking too! The controls are smooth and have a real nice feel to them. Take a good look at the back of this because the I/O options are very flexible. If I could change anything I would give it inset side handles so one doesn't have to do a dead lift from a single point. I'm not big though and it is still doable. I am considering adding the 350 to run in stereo on stage but have a current stereo set-up at home (using a single Event Precision 6 monitor for the stereo). For the price of this you can't go wrong.

  • from Groton, CT March 16, 2010Music Background:
    Pro musician, Live sound engineer

    Excellent amp

    Not only does this amp work great as a monitor but if you use the stereo inputs it works as a stereo DI box. You'll monitor in Mono but the output is stereo. It has a very loud and clean output while not using too much stage room. I place mine on top of my Motion Sound Pro 145 and I couldn't be happier with it.

  • from Rockville Centre, N.Y. October 26, 2009Music Background:
    Best blues band, Mamafunk and the Mudcats

    Amazing keyboard amp!

    I had been playing through a 100 watt peavy with 2 12" speakers. What a piece of junk next to the KC-550. This amp has me and the whole band impressed. The quality of sound from this puppy is phenomenal.(spelling?) It is truley a keyboard's dream for live performing and recording.

  • from Houston, TX March 11, 2008Music Background:
    Hobbyist musician/producer.

    Amazing!

    I have been using this amp for about 2 years now, and am still very impressed.

    I originally bought this amp to use with my Roland V-drums. And the main reason, is that it had a 15" woofer so I knew it would reproduce the kick drum accurately, whereas the other amps I tried just sounded thin.

    Well, it sounded amazing on my V-drums, and really reproduced them very well.

    But what is really impressive about this amp is the flexibility. I have used my V-drums with it, my guitar and bass through my PODxt into the KC-550. My iPod sounds amazing through the KC-550. I have actually used it as a standalone DJ rig at a smallish party, and all I had was my iPod, a microphone and my KC-550. It did a great job.

    And of course it sounds amazing on keyboards also. I don't have an actual synthesizer, but I have used my Axiom-61 into Reason 3.0 on my PC, and output it into the KC-550 and it sounded really nice.

    I have been using it a couple years, and have nothing bad to say about it at all. It continues to impress me.

  • from Ohio February 8, 2017Music Background:
    Bluegrass,contemporary christian

    Excellant as an acoustic guitar amp

    I used one of these for years as my primary outdoor venue amp.It has a surprisingly wide range of tonal adjustment thanks to the tweeter.The ability to have powerful bottom end and still produce good midrange makes it a great acoustic amp.Mine was stolen,Im getting another.

  • from CT September 6, 2016

    Not just for keyboards!

    Good enough for stage volume for bass in most venues, awesome for keys as expected, and my primary use is to amplify my guitar modeler (Line 6 POD HD Pro) at gigs where I need stage sound. It's a perfect amp for a modeler that already simulates amps and speaker cabinets, since the Roland has a very neutral/balanced tone. Would be 5-star review if it wasn't so heavy, though wheels do pop right in if you have them. I used a set off an old Fender bass combo.

  • from Iowa August 29, 2015

    Score !!

    Yeah this thing is heavy (100 lbs) but it's also heavy on sound output. Lots of little features like headphone jacks and the ability to plug an Iood directly in as well as good control on each channel. Happy with the purchase.
    I need to mention Sweetwater's customer service. I've personally not run across such excellent service to date. My sales associate followed up and even took initiative to research several options on other future items I'm interested in purchasing. You don't get a "one and done" experience here. You build a professional, ongoing experience with a single associate so they know your past purchases, your particular needs and wants. Even if my associate was out of the office and I had to deal with another one, they always updated my regular associate with our conversation and ultimate result so that when my associate followed up, he'd be in the loop. I even get an email from Sweetwater the moment my shipment arrives at my house. I like this because it tells me they're on top of every single stage of the process, not just when they're swiping my credit card. Sweetwater will always be my first stop when I need gear. Thanks! Your attention to detail, Sweetwater ( and Bret) does not go unnoticed!

  • from December 25, 2012Music Background:
    Formally trained keyboardist

    Roland KC-550

    This is a very nice sounding amp, holding up Roland's reputation for producing quality keyboard products.

    I have used it now a few times in rehearsal competing with 2 Marshall half stacks, bass and drums and not only did it stand its ground, but sounded good as well when blending with the rest of the group.

    The quality of the sound comes through clear & clean at various levels.

    I am glad I decided to get this amp. The practice room we rent will only allow vocal mic's into the house PA & no instruments, ipods, etc.

  • from Rochester, NY June 22, 2011Music Background:
    Lifetime Working Amateur Musician

    Have used 2 of them for 10 years.

    As good as it gets without getting a Leslie 3300 for the Hammond sounds. I have had 2 of these for about a decade, played in a blues band and also my own piano jazz trio, plus vocals with a TC Helicon vocal processor. I set them up in stereo and sometimes even add a bass unit. I plug my vocals in, my bass player and my two keyboards (Yamaha CP 300 and one of several options for synth or organ.) They are very rugged and only weigh 75lbs. each, so one man can handle them easily. I get my entire rig into the back of my Pilot, with room for 3. The sound is unbelievable. They are dead silent until you start playing or singing, as long as your settings are appropriate. Keep all unused pots on zero, turn your keyboard volume up. Tons of headroom. You'll never need to go past 5. Nice upgrades would be chorus, phaser and reverb, but you can get all these with a simple board...as long as you find stereo inputs. Remember, these are fairly long-throw speakers, so they sound best about 30-50 feet away, or more. Awesome gear.

  • from Belgium June 1, 2008Music Background:
    Musician, Experienced sound engineer

    Clean sound for many purposes

    I have this amp for a few months now, and I don't regret getting this one. It's sound is just amazing and it has enough power to get me heard over my band mates (they have a nag to play somewhat loud).
    I use the KC 550 with a Yamaha NP-30 and an old PSR-220 for the moment.

    Sound:
    Great! This amp reproduces the sound as it should. It has a rich bass response, which I like very much about this amp. Though I got to be careful not to drown the bassist sometimes. (Can be solved with the EQ). Vocals sound very good as well. To prevent 'howling' when using a mic, try to lower the High range by about a fifth. In most cases it solves it for me
    I've ran a electric guitar trough it a few times, it sounds very clean and almost acoustic.

    Versatility:
    I like that the KC 550 has four (Stereo) inputs and an extra AUX input, making a total of five inputs. I use it as a monitor and mixer when we record our songs by ourself. The sound output, when all channels are mixed, is very good. A great plus to this amp.
    There are casters attached to this unit, which can be taken off. This is a good thing, since it's not that light (~27 kg) and somewhat bulky.
    The KC 550 has a Stereo Link ability; you can link it with an extra KC 550/350. Combined you can have ten inputs (eight without AUX), though on two different outputs.
    This unit features a three band EQ, which is all I need actually.

    Overall:
    This amp is great for small to medium-large sized gigs, and has enough power to be heard over the guitars. It does need some tweaking when in larger areas. (I have to give the high-mid range a small boost for better sound.) The four (or five) inputs are good for me, I only use three at the moment.
    I'd certainly buy it again if it ever should get stolen.

  • from Greensboro,AL July 14, 2006Music Background:
    Musician

    Good Clean Sound

    This amp sound clean and clear. The bass sound is full and punchy. I use the amp with my Motif6 and was blown away by it's amazing sound.

  • from June 7, 2015Music Background:
    professional keybordist

    Roland KC-550

    I had this keyboard amp for over 6 yrs now. I played all kinds of gigs with it and used it as my go to keyboard amp in all types of situations let me tell you this amp still kicks after 6 years of being put to the test. I had no issues with its performance since this amp cabinet is built very strong. You will be surprised on how crisp and fat your keyboards will sound. My only dislikes about the amp is no side handles and no power cord rung to wrap and store the cord during transportation.

  • from Texas May 29, 2015Music Background:
    Play Lead, Bass, and Steel

    Steelman

    I've been trying to find an amp that will handle my pedal steel. My Twin couldn't cut it, and Pevey was too harsh sounding. I wanted that smooth from lows to highs sound. I plugged into my buddy's KC-550 at the studio, and that was it! I'm running thru a "Budda Delay" and Sonic Stomp. I was totally amazed at the full sound I got. Full heavy bottoms and crystal clear highs without blowing your head off. I bought one the next day.

  • from United States November 9, 2013Music Background:
    56 years old - been playing all my life.

    Very Good

    You could easily use a big ol Leslie and a $5,000 mini PA as your Keyboard monitor - but who has that kind of money?

    For readily available Combo Amps - you're pretty much looking at this Roland - or the Peavey (what?) KB5?

    Either would be fine. The Roland uses a 15" woofer - and the Peavey I think uses two 10" speakers?

    We just went with the Roland - because I like the brand a little better (maybe a little more innovative - and they certainly have a broader "high end line" - which provides them with maybe some pretty good tech stuff to draw from) - AND I just thought the lows might be a little better served by the 15" woofer - a little "richer" maybe. (Although the Peavey's 2 - 10"s might be a little "poppier" that's true?) But I was looking for "rich and warm sounding".

    It "only" 180 watts of course - but it is very efficient - and will get quite "loud" for use as an actual stage monitor - as long as the overall stage volume isn't too "over the top".

    Good set of features - and well thought out design.

    It does have a balanced "line out" - to use as a "send" to the PA - so if it needs to be louder (I hope not) - the tech could send some additional level back through whatever fold back system is being used on stage?

    Hard to beat - at this price point. Next step up (?) - probably 2-3 thousand bucks - for a Leslie - and a top box. This Roland KC-550 will get you through till you start getting a "real" payday.

  • from LOUDONVILLE, OHIO March 23, 2008Music Background:
    6 YEARS SOUND REENFORCEMENT-BIG SOUND!!!

    GOOD VALUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GOOD UNIT FOR THE BUCK! NICE SOUND, THE 4 CHANNELS ARE A PLUS. VOCALS ON CHN.1 INPUT ON PAR WITH A DECENT MIXER. THE POWER CORD SHOULD BE OF THE DETACHABLE TYPE, (IEC), IF YOU PUT A COVER OVER THE UNIT, THE POWER CORD WILL MAKE IT HARD FOR A GOOD FIT. TWO TECHNICAL NOTES, THE SUB OUT IS FULL RANGE, NO INTERNAL CROSSOVER INCORPORATTED. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A PASSIVE CO ON YOUR SUB, YOU WILL NEEED AN ACTIVE CROSSOVER. THE XLR OUT ARE TOO HOT IF YOUR GOING TO A BOARD WITH ALL CHANNELS IN PLAY. HAD TO GET A COUPLE OF ATTENUATORS TO QUELL THE DISTORTION. -10DB DID THE JOB, (BTW) THIS CLIP WAS WITH THE GAIN AT IT'S LOWEST SETTING. ALA AN ALL, A DECENT UNIT, HAVE HAD MANY COMPLIMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE ON THIS UNIT IN A LIVE SETTING.

  • from Roanoke, VA May 29, 2012Music Background:
    Performance mainly

    beefier, but heavier

    The sound of the 550 is beefier than the 500, probably due to the back being enclosed. However, that being said, it is also heavier. The ground switch is great to have though as the 500 had poor design...always battling the buzz in different venues...the ground switch fixes that....otherwise, same amp...

  • from Murray, Ky June 25, 2013Music Background:
    Have been playing drums for 45 years and guitar for 36 years.

    Needs a better EQ

    I used to own a KC 500 that I didn't care for. The KC 550 has cured many of the problems that the 500 had, but some still remain. The top handle makes this amp difficult to transport. The amp would benifit from side handles. The main problem is the three band parametric eq. I am playing a set of Yamaha DTX III special drums, and they just did not sound very good. I have since added a Peavey 215 eq between the module and the amp. Guess what! BIG difference. If the amp came with at least a 9 band graphic eq. I would have given this at least 4 stars.

  • from California June 6, 2016

    Overrated

    Count on blowing the horn. It fails quite easily especially if you're playing loud B-3 type sounds. I know of several other 550 owners who've had the same problem. Against their advice I purchased a 550 and have been quite disappointed. Now I've had the power supply fail twice literally weeks out of warranty. Big thumbs down. Amazing to me the number of positive reviews here.

Questions about the Roland KC-550 - 180W 15" Keyboard Amp?

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