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best pedalboard power supplies

Best pedalboard power supplies: clean pedal power

When it comes to providing juice to a pedalboard clean, reliable power is everything. Guitar and bass players find themselves in all sorts of venues. From professionally wired theaters to dirty dive bars to meticulously planned out recording studios, quality of power is essential.

“Dirty” power refers to outlets and power sources that are prone to under or fluctuating voltage levels and interference. If these kind of sources are powering your pedals noise and other concerns will translate into how guitar pedals function.

This is where an isolated power supply comes in. Just like with power conditioners, a fully isolated power supply is a key element in a guitar player’s setup. Isolated power supplies ensure pedals in the chain are getting clean power at a consistent level. But just like gear like loop switchers, power supplies are often overlooked.

Let’s dive into our top picks for isolated power supplies for pedalboards

Best pedalboard power supply overall: Strymon Zuma

Strymon Zuma
Best pedalboard power supply overall
Strymon Zuma
The expandable Zuma features nine dual-isolated outputs at varying voltage levels to handle any type of pedal.
Pros
Dual isolated circuit design
Nine outputs at multiple voltage levels
Extremely well made
Expandable
Cons
Expensive

Strymon has some of the best DSP engines in the guitar pedal world. And they make some of the best creative guitar pedals on the market. Their Zuma power supply lives up to the quality of all their other gear.

The Zuma offers nine fully isolated, high current outputs. Seven of them are rated for 9v and two offer selectable output of 9v, 12v, or 18v. And if and when you need more than nine outputs the Zuma is expandable through a 24v Thru jack that lets you connect additional Zuma 5-output power supplies as needed.

A dual isolation circuit design means you’ll always have the cleanest power. Switching power is another element of the isolated topology. This means it can be used with different power standards all over the world without worry about running too much voltage into your pedals.

At just under $300 it’s not cheap, but the versatility, build quality, and dual isolation design means with proper care you’ll never need to upgrade unless you need more than nine outputs.

Best mini pedalboard power supply: MXR Mini Iso-Brick

MXR Mini Iso-Brick
Best mini pedalboard power supply
MXR Mini Iso-Brick
If you’re looking for a small, ergonomic isolated power supply the ISO-Brick is one of the most well made and affordable.
Pros
Small form factor
5 9v outputs, one switchable between 9v and 18v
Splitter cable lets you connect two 9v pedals to one power output
Cons
Only enough outputs for a small pedalboard

Pedalboard real estate is always at a premium, no matter how your rig is set up. Isolated power supplies tend to be large, which is why they’re colloquially referred to as “bricks”. And the more outputs a power supply has, the larger it will be.

Perfect for more reserved pedalboard signal chains, MXR’s Mini Iso-Brick offers five outputs. Four of them are rated at 9v and the fifth can be switched between 9v or 18v. The entire unit is fully isolated to provide clean power no matter what outlet it’s plugged into. It also comes with a splitter cable that can connect two pedals with the same voltage to a single output.

The metal casing can withstand the rigors of the road, and the small form factor lets it integrate nicely into even the most crowded pedalboard.

Best pedalboard power supply for large pedal counts: Gator Power-12

Gator Power-12
Best pedalboard power supply for large pedal counts
Gator Power-12
The Power-12 is one of the most versatile pedalboard power supplies. It has 12 outputs to accommodate all kinds of pedals and sag controls for voltage starving.
Pros
12 outputs at varying voltage levels
Sag controls provide voltage starving for two outputs
Durable
Cons
Designed for pedalboards with a high pedal count

Let’s face it, building out a pedalboard isn’t a point in time event – it’s an ongoing process. And before a lot of guitar players realize their effects pedal count has grown to the point where an isolated power supply with a higher output count is necessary. And the Power-12 from Gator is up to the challenge.

No matter what power your pedals run at, the Power-12 has things covered. There are four 9v outputs, three that run at 9v or 12v, and two at 18v. Two of the outputs feature a Sag control for dialing 9v down to 4v and everything in between. This is perfect for voltage starving for pedals like fuzzes to simulate a dying battery sound. There’s even a USB-C that runs at 5v.

With such a versatile output setup you could find yourself chasing the right cables and adapters. Luckily, if you buy it new it comes with everything you’ll need. This includes more esoteric items like a 9v battery clip, mini jack, USB-C male to USB-A female, current doubler, and polarity inverter cables.

All in all the Power-12 is one of the most versatile pedalboard power supplies. The metal enclosure is pretty much bullet proof and is pretty slim considering how much it offers.

Best pedal board power supply under $200: Truetone CS12

Truetone CS12
Best pedal board power supply under $200
Truetone CS12
This affordable isolated power supply offers multiple output voltages, switchable input voltage, and overall great value for the price.
Pros
Great value for the money
Output voltages to power all kinds of pedals
Switchable input voltage
Reasonable size considering capabilities
Cons
None

A 12-output isolated power supply under $200 is a good deal, and the CS12 is one of the best from the milliamp maestros at Truetone. It offers a range of voltage outputs including a 9v, four switchable between 9v and 12v, two that run at 18v, and a variable output that ranges from 4v to 9v.

Everything you need to get your pedals powered up right away is included like power cables and converters to adapt to different types of pedals and mounting brackets to attach it to a pedalboard.

The input voltage is switchable to compensate for the different power standards in different countries. Pedalboard power supplies with an output count this high usually earn the term “brick”, but the CS12 is an ergonomic size. You’ll still need to consider pedalboard space to integrate it, but it’s not as big as other models with this many outputs.

Best budget pedalboard power supply: Truetone 1 Spot Pro CS7

Truetone 1 Spot Pro CS7
Best budget pedalboard power supply
Truetone 1 Spot Pro CS7
This great budget option offers seven outputs at different voltage ratings and switchable input voltage in a convenient size enclosure.
Pros
Ideal for players on a budget
7 outputs at multiple voltage levels
Switchable input voltage
Cons
None

1 Spot models first made a splash in the guitar pedal world by creating an affordable daisy chain design. It wasn’t isolated power and it only worked with 9v pedals, but it was useful and worked well. Truetone now offers multiple variations of  the 1 Spot, and the Pro CS7 is a great step into isolated power supplies while still remaining affordable for the average guitar player.

It’s great for small to medium sized pedal chains and offers seven outputs. Two run at 9v, four can run at 9v or 12v, and the last output operates at 18v. This allows a good variation of connectivity and works with pedals that utilize different operating voltages.

Truetone’s 1 Spot Pro CS7 is a great first step into isolated pedalboard power supplies. At just over $100 it’s affordable for any budget without sacrificing quality. Everything you’ll need is included like connectors, cables, even brackets for mounting it to a pedalboard. And switchable input voltage means no matter what country you’re in you won’t run across any issues with different power standards.

FAQ

What is the best pedal board power supply?

Our choice of the best pedalboard power supplies is the Strymon Zuma. It’s versatile, built like a tank, and runs on a dual isolated circuit design to ensure your pedals are getting the cleanest possible power regardless of how dirty the power feed is.

Does pedal board power supply matter?

Absolutely! The main reason to use an isolated pedalboard power supply for guitar pedals is to provide clean, consistent power.

What kind of power supply do I need for my pedal board?

This depends on what type of pedals you’re using. Some features to look for are to make sure it’s an isolated power supply and offers the kind of outputs your pedals require. Most pedals run at 9v, but some can run at higher voltages without damage. 

A lot of newer digital pedals need more voltage to power the DSP they operate on, so having a power supply with higher output voltages comes in handy. You also want to keep your options open for future expansion, so the number of outputs should be considered as well.

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