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Best Power Supply for Your Pedal Board

Published: Fri April 04, 2014  News Feed

The Best Pedal Power Supply Options

Best FX Pedal Power Supply options today

It is hard deciding which power supply is the best for your pedal board. Whether you are looking for a cheap PSU to power one or more guitar effects, or a power bank that powers your whole pedalboard, we can help you decide.

Pedaltrain Pedal Board Guitar Effects Pedals

WHY USE POWER SUPPLY INSTEAD OF BATTERIES?

Guitar Pedal Effects Power Supply Pedalpower Pedalboard Pedal BoardWhen you have a pedal board full of effects, changing batteries regularly can be expensive over time. It might be more cost effective to invest that money into a power supply that has many benefits over using batteries.

Some pedals do not perform at their best if they do not have enough power being supplied. It is highly recommended to use power supplies if you're using multi-fx pedals, delay, reverb pedals or loop pedals. They're known for cunsuming 9v batteries pretty quickly.

If your battery is starting to get low, your pedal might start to sound a bit dull. The right power supply will consistently deliver the optimal amount of power, so that you are always sounding as best as possible.

Batteries can be unreliable - imagine running out mid-song and having to find your spare. Or even worse - not having a spare!

BUT... YOU SHOULD STILL USE 9v BATTERIES, TOO!

Electro-Harmonix 9V batteries

Even though in most cases using a power supply does indeed provide an advantage for the guitarist, in some cases a 9v battery will do just fine, if not be actually better than a power supply!

For instance, wah pedals take batteries rather well - there's no need to plug one to a power supply, as battery can last ages on a wah. It'll also free one output of teh power supply, for a pedal that may need it more!

And Fuzz pedals are widely believed to sound better when using batteries rather than power supplies! They actually interact with the battery, which can change the tonal quality of the fuzz. This is especially true of vintage-style fuzz pedals, such as Tone Benders or Fuzz Face models.

Fuzz Face

Most guitarists agree that carbon zync batteries make a fuzz pedal sound better than an alkaline battery, and some guitarists will tell they can even tell the difference when using different brands of alkaline battery, which can give more, or less, high-end definition.

But that's not all: there's tonal differences generated across the life span of a battery, affecting and ever changing the sound of your fuzz pedal. Some guitarists actually prefer the tone of a fuzz pedal with a nearly flat battery, such as Duane Allman, who was said to use a nearly-dead battery on his Fuzz Face, for a "voltage sag" tone, providing a lighter, "creamier" fuzz.

CHEAP PEDAL POWER: THE "DAISY CHAIN"


Stagg Power Supply PSU Daisy Chain Cable Pedals

If you are using a few standard 9v guitar pedals such as Boss, Ibanez, EHX or MXR then the daisy chain method will safely power your pedals without breaking the bank.
  • Find a cheap 9v guitar pedal power supply such as our Code PSU.
  • Connect a Daisy Chain cable to your PSU - you will now end up with enough plugs to power 5 guitar effects.
  • Double check the back of your pedal and make sure it is compatible with the power supply. If so, plug and play!
If you daisy chain too many pedals from one power supply then it might not power some pedals correctly. Ensure that your power supply has enough mA (milliamps) to exceed the total mA of all your pedals added together. If you are unsure, feel free to drop us a question at the bottom of the page.

Pros: Cheap, compact, easy to setup.
Cons: Can't use non-standard pedals, power drain throughout the chain.

WARNING: you can easily find  multi-voltage power supplies on the high-street, but you must avoid those - they were not made for fx pedals and can often cause unwanted hum.

POWER BANKS - THE WAY OF THE PROS

If you want to power more than 5 pedals or use pedals that demand special requirements, then a power bank is the best way to go. Pretty much 9 out of 10 (if not 10 out of 10!!!) professional artists can be seen using power banks on their pedalboards.

 Voodoo Labs Pedal Power Bank DC 2 Plus + 4x4

Most pedal banks have at least 5, and often more than that, of outputs to power different pedals. Usually, the outputs are for fx pedals that require 9v (the standard, as featured on Boss pedals). However, as pedals that require different voltages become more popular (usually by "boutique" brands) some power banks now feature extra voltage outputs.

For example, the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 4x4 offers different popular milliamp combinations with 9v & 12v. Perfect for powering demanding effects such as some Strymon, Eventide, Line 6 and TC Electronic pedals. The MXR DC Brick is always a very popular and reliable choice for many guitarists.

All of the outputs are isolated, meaning any unwanted noise creating by chaining different effects together is removed completely.

If you want the best performance out of your pedals with no extra noises, a multiple output power supply is definitely the way to go.

They can be quite bulky, but many pedal boards such as Pedaltrain have brackets to fit them underneath your pedalboard, completely out of sight. 

Pros: Isolated Outputs, Versatile, Best Performance, Reliable.
Cons: Expensive, Large.

WHICH MULTI-POWER SUPPLY IS BEST FOR ME?

After a quick look at the two different methods, it all comes down to your own needs.

Daisy Chain -style: If you are powering less than 5 pedals and want to save money, go for a daisy chain.

Power Bank -style: If you have any non-standard pedals, use more than 5, or want optimal performance out of your pedals then an all-in-one power supply is the best. There is no doubt that they are superior compared to daisy chaining your pedals, and are an essential for professionals.

Please check our selection of POWER SUPPLY FOR FX PEDALS, to see all the best power supplies available, including for non-standard pedals.

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