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how does power supply affect tone?


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  • how does power supply affect tone?

    let's consider visual sound 1 spot daisy chain, mxr DC brick, voodoo lab pedal power. do these affect overall tone? which power supply sounds the best?  i find that i prefer batteries over my 1spot daisy chain to power my distortion pedals. would upgrading to dc brick or voodoo lab affect tone?  

  • #2

    Daisychains make ground loops the end. Batteries solve that but have diminishing voltage which will affect tone either by circuits reacting differently to lower voltage or ceasing to function altogether. Brick type isolated power supplies make stable low noise current at a variety of voltages, and eliminate ground loops.

    So yes.

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    • mbengs1
      mbengs1 commented
      Editing a comment

      I dunno, i seem satisfied with my 1spot. cheap stuff but doesnt sound bad to me. i notice more brittle sound but more sustain to make up for that. 

  • #3
    I don't typically prefer the one spot. The noise I get from it has less to do with ground loops than it does with ac ripple due to the fact that it is a switching type power supply. What that means is if your pedal doesn't have very good power filtering built in (a decoupling resistor and large value capacitor filter) you get nasty noise from the supply. Most of the pedals I make don't mind a onespot since they have heavy power filtering but one of them does not sound right with a power filter because of its self oscillating nature and consequently doesn't pair so well with a one spot. I'm sure plenty of other pedals out there also will suffer from a similar issue.

    Also a one spot runs at about 9.5v typically while something like a voodoolabs PS is typically 9v. Not a huge difference but it can cause certain pedals to sound slightly different dependingnon their biasing schemes.

    My preference is:

    1. Voodoolabs isolated outout supplies (4x4 is what I use)

    2. Transformer type wall warts +(regulated)

    3. Switching type supply


    • cryptosonic
      cryptosonic commented
      Editing a comment

      As usual V is right on the money. Switching PSU's tend to give trouble with multiple digital/LFO based pedals, but one might run a thousand dirt boxes off a one spot with no trouble. A good PSU isn't always necssary, and it is definitely expensive and unsexy, but I don't have to consider power issues or ground loops at all since buying one.

  • #4

    i used a 1 spot for years and i thought there was nothing wrong with it, really there isnt for what it is. i got an isolated powersupply fuel tank jr and the small amt of noise was lessened.

    im always the first to call bull**************** on spending money on snake oil but, for my rig, it made a positive difference.

    using a onespot made me feel like hitler told me my grandma had just died.


    • #5

      Beyond what V and some others said, it also depends a lot on the quality of the power coming out of the wall outlet, and what can be creating interference in the room you are playing in.  If the circuit in the wall isn't very well grounded like in a lot of older buildings you may have more trouble with something like a one-spot.  Likewise if you have a lot of fluorescent lights in the room.  Those things will tend to create the dreaded 60 Hz hum prevalent with single coil pickups in whatever circuit is running.