power supplies

Isolated power supplies like this 1 SPOT Pro from Truetone helped silence the groans, whines, and ticks once common to pedalboards.

All 9V blocks are not created equal. Here's what to look for to avoid hiss, hum, and crackle.

(Originally published April 22, 2020)

At the dawn of the guitar-effects age, powering pedals was relatively simple. If an effects pedal didn't take a standard 9V battery like your AM transistor radio, it plugged into the wall like your avocado-green toaster. Forever dissatisfied, guitar players eventually grew weary of changing batteries, and plugging stuff into the wall was kind of a drag, too.

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To coincide with this month’s smorgasbord of stompbox reviews, we look at options for efficiently powering your pedalboard.

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There are three major issues to consider when thinking about powering your pedalboard: voltage, current, and isolation.

With so many cool and interesting pedals readily available to the modern musician, you will inevitably come to the point where you need to build a pedalboard (especially if you’re a gear junkie like me). You’ll need to decide which kind of board to buy or build, which pedals will actually make it on your board, the optimum order of the effects, cable lengths, and whether or not you will buy pre-made cabling or wire your own. But probably the single most critical decision you’ll make is how to power all of the pedals on your new board. There are three major issues to consider when thinking about powering your pedalboard: voltage, current, and isolation.

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