Getting introduced to the amazing world of guitar pedals is almost an obligatory step for any guitar aficionado and striving six-string champion out there. And as soon as you buy your second pedal, a need for getting a pedal board arises. When you’re at your third stomp-box, well, a board is a must-have!
And in order for a pedalboard to properly function, you will need a power supply. This device is one of those seemingly boring, but essential pieces of gear. Can it make exciting music? No. Can it make your guitar produce sounds out of this world? No. Can you do anything people would rave about? Nope. BUT, without it, you certainly cannot do any of those things, even with the most amazing guitar and all the pedals in the world, so shut yer mouth.
And while these items might seem the same, there’s actually a string of different factors you should take into consideration before buying one. There’s the size, capacity, power options, durability, reliability, additional accessories, and several other notable tidbits, so take some time to study the differences and factors before making the big choice. We took the liberty of sifting through today’s market in an attempt to find the best pedalboard power supply. Our quest yielded five worthy champions, all of which patiently await your attention below.
The device packs a set of 10 isolated power sources fully protected from short circuits and overcurrent issues. It is crafted from aluminum alloy, which makes the device highly portable and light on one hand, but also not prone to overheating or breakage on the other.
A line of light blue LED indicators has been placed above the inputs to serve both as a status indicator and a short circuit index. We are looking at a nice package delivering AC 100v-240V power while utilizing a DC 18V input, with the capability of powering 9V, 12V and 18V devices. Note that a set of 10 link power cables has also been included in the mix, as well as a pair of polarity reversal cables and the company’s standard user manual.
An important thing you should know is that while the device delivers isolated power and appropriate amperage, it does NOT feature fully isolated power supplies. This makes a world of difference, as having actually full-on isolated supplies would be nothing short of miraculous for this price. DP-1 is still great as it is, it’s just that some sellers tend to force isolated power as isolated power supplies, and those things are simply not the same. The result of course affects your sound, as the non-fully isolated supplies have a tendency to produce occasional hiss and hums. To continue with the downers, the cord cable is a tad short and there are no mounting options. On the aesthetic side, the gizmo comes in elegant black color and is pretty sleek with those blue lights.
In total, this fella still packs an incredible bang for the buck, and the complaints we have still pale in comparison when overall quality of this price range and value for money are taken into consideration. Good stuff!
The gizmo weighs in at 1.2 pounds and features a total size of 6.5 x 6.2 x 2.4 inches. Pros and cons now!
OK, so you want the best pedal board power supply? Well, here ya go – the almighty MXR MC403! This device is aimed towards pros and comes prepared for any situation you can imagine.
We are looking at 16 fully isolated power supplies. The device comes with eight 9V DC outputs crafted for standard pedals, as well as four 18V DC outputs for effects like the wah pedal and similar items.
On the inside, we are truly looking at the finest components the market can offer. As noted, the supplies are entirely isolated, and the device further utilizes high-performance toroidal transformers to secure quiet operation with top-level sound quality. There’s not hum, there’s no hiss, there’s nothing but clear signal coming from your instrument, amp and pedals.
When it comes to durability and reliability, the device features a heavy duty casing that can withstand just about anything you encounter. It is very obvious that the manufacturer had users in pursuit of roadworthy devices in mind, as this thing is not only highly durable, but also includes a pack of mounting brackets, and can operate on both sides of the pond, rocking both US and European power. As another good factor, all cables are included in the mix.
When it comes to things that might bug you, the device is of course a bit large and slightly heavy. Additionally, if you can call this a bad thing, most included cables are really, really long, which is something that some users might find as more of a nuisance that a good thing. Needless to say, this is a high-end product, and high-end product typically come with a high-end price tag.
The product weighs in at almost 7 pounds and features a total size of 5.5 x 4.4 x 2.7 inches.
What makes this fella more well-suited for an average user is the fact that it’s so compact and convenient. With a size of just 4 x 5.5 x 3.8 inches, the device can fit the smaller pedalboards, all while maintaining the ability to power up to 8 pedals simultaneously.
Each of the outlets features a maximum current of 300mA, meaning it’s capable of meeting the majority demands most pedals bring. Each of the power supplies is bulletproof when it comes to short circuits, and even if one of them gets short-circuited, it will not affect the rest of the device as channels are completely isolated.
So this is a standard power supply, with a few outstanding features – small size, extra durability, and strong circuitry with decreased level of noise. The supply comes with all the necessary cables included in the price.
One of the crucial features that makes this item worth the price is the fact that it truly cuts out the noise more efficiently than a variety of similarly-priced items. Additionally, the small size allows you to use two of them for a large pedal-board without occupying too much space.
As far as the not so good stuff goes, some users tend to report that the device can get hot faster than some of its peers. Additionally, the price is a few bucks above the rest, and that could bug a portion of users.
The device weighs in at just over 1 pound. As noted, the total size is 4 x 5.5 x 3.8 inches.
Kicking things back into pro-level gear, we’d like to draw your attention to the Pedal Power 2 Plus from Voodoo Lab. Essentially, this fella packs everything the MXR super system has, but in a smaller package with less room and options.
Therefore, if you loved the MC403, but it just seemed too large, chunky and overwhelming to you – which is perfectly fine seeing that we are talking about an item crafted for professional touring acts – then this is your perfect match.
Overall, we are looking at a set of 8 fully isolated power outputs, securing the best sound possible with no hiss ‘n’ hum whatsoever. This is a universal, highly versatile device the manufacturer branded as the sole universal power supply capable of powering all types of guitar pedal effects from Boss.
It comes with a full set of included cables and a detachable power cord and a 5-year warranty from the company.
Versatility is another key factor with this device, as the package includes 9 V, 12.3 V, and 14.5 V power options, but can also be easily expanded with a simple purchase of an adapter cable to couple the two outputs and get 18 V or 24 V.
As expected, the pedal is fully roadworthy and maximally rugged.
Are there any downers? Sure there are. Cables are a bit too short for some users, a power switch would be a nice addition and something a high-end item deserves in our opinion, and once again, quality = price.
The product weighs in at 3.8 pounds and comes with a total size of 12.3 x 12.1 x 4.8 inches.
Note that we were extra cautious about recommending any of the low-end gizmos in this category, making sure that items with even the slightest power instability are instantly discarded.
We are looking at standard versatility, featuring a power range of 110V to 240V, as well as the ability to power 9V, 12V and 18V pedals. The device utilizes a single 18V input, as well as full power isolation and short-circuit protection. This means that while the power outputs aren’t fully isolated, which can inject bits of hiss into your audio output, the device is still 100 percent safe and easy to use.
In the aesthetic department, we like the elegant black casing combined with bright blue LED lights and the large number 5 printed on top.
As far as bad points go, we can’t really think of too many for the listed price, and that’s the main reason why this fella ended up on the list. It’s cheap, but it does the essential part of the job right, covering the needs of the vast majority of players out there. If we were to nitpick, the cord could have been longer, and the adapter tends to look a tad flimsy.
The device weighs in at 1.2 pounds and features a total size of 6.7 x 6.2 x 2.3 inches.
And that wraps up the initial rundown. Now, we decided to dedicate a few paragraphs to give you some extra info on this matter and a bit of a pedalboard power supply buying guide. Let’s do it!
Apart from the usual stuff, such as durability, reliability, the device NOT being prone to overheating, value for money, versatility and the ability to power as many types of pedals as possible, an additional feature stands out as a crucial factor – power output isolation.
While many supply devices out there feature power isolation to prevent short-circuiting, that does not equate to the device featuring fully isolated outputs. Most gizmos have one power supply within the device with zero separation, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, having entirely isolated power outputs secures a much clearer sound and gets rid of even the slightest amounts of poor sound and audio hum.
This is one of the matters that makes multi-pedal power supplies so vital – the lack of alternatives. Technically, there are two other options, and as you can probably see from the get-go, they’re a no-go. So, what you can technically also rely on is:
Using batteries is unreliable, especially if you have a bunch of pedals to watch over, and in the long run, frequent battery changes will cost you way more than a multi-pedal power supply.
Likewise, individual power supplies will take a lot of space, require a lot of power sockets, and cost you way more money. If you have, say, 6 pedals, that would mean you’d need one standard power supply for each of them, and that’s just silly when you have a multi-pedal option at your hands.
Yes, yes it can, and that’s a fine option too, no reason for you to hesitate about getting one. Of course, pedalboards with included supplies are a bit more expensive than the ones without them. And even if you buy a separate power supply for your pedalboard, there are ways to mount or attach it onto the board so it really seems like a genuine part of the device.
Sometimes it’s OK to delve into the second-hand market, but when things are power- and electricity-related, just DON’T. Get a new one, with a warranty, with a guarantee of functionality, with no ways to get electrocuted. It’s safety first, and safety is significantly lower when someone’s possibly been tampering with the electric device you’re looking to buy. Stay safe, folks!
And with that we have steadily reached the final destination of your journey. Hopefully you enjoyed the ride and learned something new, and as a final conclusion we can say that each of the listed items is a product you cannot regret purchasing within their respective price ranges. Therefore, they really all are worthy of the flattering title of the best pedalboard power supply.
If there’s one thing you should have learned from this ride, it’s that power supplies are essential AND they actually impact your guitar sound. So take a good look at what you’re about to purchase, get the best fit for tour needs and preferences, get a good one and never worry about power issues again. Rock on!