Identifying the best pedalboard power supply for your effects setup might not be the sexiest aspect of assembling your guitar rig, but choose the right one and it'll go a long way toward facilitating one of the greatest joys in gear acquisition – namely, adding new stompboxes to your pedalboard.
As you amass more pedals, you’ll find that a good power supply becomes a necessity rather than a nice-to-have. The more effects pedals feature in your rig, the more likely you are to experience the dreaded hum or buzz that can come with daisy-chaining them together from a cheap supply. A good power supply – and in particular a supply with isolated outputs – results in noise reduction in your signal chain and a cleaner, more intuitive pedalboard operation overall.
What's the big deal about isolated outputs? In essence, having isolated outputs on a power supply gives each pedal its own individual power source. That ensures the current delivered to a guitar pedal is consistent, which helps when dealing with the different requirements you'll find between lower-draw effects and more powerful digital stompboxes and multi-effects pedal units. It also helps to overcome hum problems with pedals that simply don't like to be daisy-chained (such as Strymon units).
Right now, there's a lot of choice vying for your hard-earned dollars, delivering a range of outputs and configurations at wide-ranging price points. With that in mind, we've explored the market to devise this list of 10 of the best pedalboard power supplies available today. What's more, our price comparison software has uncovered the best prices online right now.
With Black Friday and Cyber Weekend sales flooding in, now is a great chance to get a killer deal on a power supply for your 'board. We'll be covering the best Black Friday guitar deals and Cyber Monday guitar deals, here on Guitar World.
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How to choose the best pedalboard power supply
The most important decision you need to make when buying a pedalboard power supply is whether you need isolated outputs. Essentially, isolated outputs supply each pedal with its own individual power source, which removes hum from the equation – something you may experience when running digital and analog pedals from the same daisy chain. Unless you’re only running a handful of analog units, we’d always recommend an isolated power supply wherever possible.
You also need to assess your pedals’ power requirements: do they all require 9V, or are some running at 12, 15 or 18V? It's worth noting that some overdrive pedals offer the ability to run at higher voltages for increased headroom, too.
Many of the power supplies in this guide offer switchable voltages, and some can even ‘sag’ below 9V to yield dying battery sounds from fuzz pedals.
Then there are mA requirements: while some fuzz and overdrive pedals might only draw 10mA, contemporary digital and multi-effects can draw anywhere from 100-1,000mA. In these instances, you’ll need to look at power supplies that can output higher mA from each output.
DC vs AC power
Most effects these days are DC, but some older pedals, most notably the now-discontinued DigiTech Whammy IV, run on AC. And finally, if you’re a touring musician, you’ll want to make sure you can use your chosen power supply around the world – in that case, switchable input voltage is a must-have.
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The best pedalboard power supplies you can buy
A true powerhouse, the Truetone 1 Spot Pro CS12 boasts 12 fully isolated outputs – six 9V outputs from 100mA - 250mA, one 4-9V variable output, two high-draw 9V outputs and two 18V outputs. Additionally, there’s a 9V AC output, which can be used to power older Whammy and DigiTech pedals.
Furthermore, outlets three through six are switchable between 9-volt and 12-volt operation, and individual toggle switches on the bottom of the power brick allow the user to set up any combination of power values.
You also get a variety of cables in lengths from 21” to 26,” three adapters for pedals with reversed polarity or different jack types and a 9-volt battery adapter cable. A power supply that should cover all your needs.
The Iso-Brick boasts 10 outputs, making it possible to run a wide range of pedals with noise-free DC power. The outputs are fully isolated and extremely quiet, and accommodate a variety of voltage and current requirements – two 9V outputs at 100mA, two 9V outputs at 300mA, two 9V outputs at 450mA, two 18V outputs at 250mA and two 6-15V variable voltage outputs that can emulate voltage “sag”.
Beyond just doing its job – and rather well, we might add – the Iso-Brick offers additional thoughtful touches, including a recessed, right-angled power cable for easy pedalboard placement and glowing LED indicators on each output to keep the user up to speed on the status of the connected pedal. It all adds up to a pedalboard power supply that will quickly become an essential part of your 'board's operation.
The Strymon Ojai is a powerful, compact box offering five high-current outputs that offer a massive 500mA on each output. The five outputs are also individually isolated, ultra-low-noise and have their own dedicated regulators and custom transformers. And if five isn’t enough, additional Ojai units can be added on via a 24V Thru jack, without the need to plug into a wall outlet.
There’s also two stages of isolation, eliminating ground loop and AC line noise issues, as well as automatic worldwide power compatibility for ease of use on stages anywhere in the world. What’s more, the Ojai comes in a low-profile R30 version for smaller boards, as well as a larger, nine-output Zuma model (the Zuma, meanwhile, also comes in its own low-profile iteration, the R300).
The Macro Power S8 boasts a combination of eight isolated and non-isolated outputs – one switchable 9V, 12V, 15V and 18V at 200mA, three independent 9Vs at 200mA and four parallel 9Vs that share a total of 400mA.
While the non-isolated 400mA isn’t a huge amount, it’s substantial enough to handle most digital pedals. If not, there’s a handy LED that switches off when a pedal requires more power than the output has available. There’s also overcurrent protection and voltage switching for worldwide use, making the Macro Power a versatile and extremely handy unit – especially at its price point.
The Voodoo Lab Pedal Power boasts four 9V isolated 400mA outputs designed for high-current, DSP-based pedals. Two of the outputs also feature a 12V option. Other features include linear regulation and a toroidal transformer, switchable voltage and a temperature-controlled fan.
Straightforward, well-built and easy-to-use, the unit is an ideal option for dealing with power-soaking, high-output digital effects.
Mission Engineering’s 529 power converter makes it possible to power a pedalboard via USB. You can power up to four standard and one high-powered pedal (via four 150mA and one 500mA outputs) using a phone charger, laptop or any USB port. There’s also an included USB dual wall power supply.
Conveniently, the 529 can be connected to a portable battery pack, and you can also daisy chain two units together to power up to 10 pedals. Even two 529s don’t take up a lot of space – the box stands just an inch tall and weighs a quarter pound.
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If you’re tired of being tethered to a wall outlet and would rather not throw money away on 9V batteries, Pedaltrain has the solution for you. The Volto is a rechargeable pedalboard power supply that outputs a whopping 6,200mA of power.
The Volto’s outputs aren’t isolated, but for guitarists who only use a handful of analog pedals, it will provide hours of play before a recharge. This latest version is more durable, with up to 25% more battery life and fits underneath any Pedaltrain pedalboard, making it easy to integrate into your rig.
The Walrus Audio Phoenix is an absolute beast, giving you isolated power that can handle 9, 12 and 18V power in a total of 15 different pedals. Four 300mA outlets are available and made to handle larger pedals while keeping your signal clean and noise-free. Toroidal transformers assist in this process by providing noise filtering and clean power.
Additionally, the unit comes with 15 – 2.1mm barrel black power cables, 2 – 2.1mm barrel red (center positive) cables and a detachable IEC cable.
A small and simple power solution, the Fuel Tank Junior (the most compact of T-Rex’s four Fuel Tank units) boasts five isolated 9V DC outputs, with all necessary cables included. Each output puts out up to 120mA, and you can also use two of the outputs to power an 18V pedal - or even power five pedals from one output - with a max of 24mA each. There’s also switchable 115V/230V operation for international use.
Overall, a great - and affordable - unit, especially if don’t need to power more than a few pedals at once.
The Joyo JP-02 boasts 10 filtered outputs, with power options for 9V, 12V and 18V effects. Each output is at 100mA, with one 9V output at 500mA. Each output also has an isolated short circuit and overcurrent protection. Additionally, there are bright blue LEDs that serve as handy short circuit warning indicators.
However, it should be noted that while the outputs have their own isolated short circuit, they are not fully isolated, so if you need a separate output for your high-current Strymon device, for example, you may want to look elsewhere.
Still, the unit does come in a slim-design rugged steel casing and features a low, low price tag.