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Batteries Vs Power Supply For Guitar Pedals
Old 3rd October 2006
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Batteries Vs Power Supply For Guitar Pedals

I've always been told that batteries are quieter than 9v power supplys and i always assumed it was something to with a potential diffrence issue. Now i'm no techie, but i was just wondering if something like this (see bellow) would actually be as quiet as batteries and if not why not?

cheers

danna

____________________________________________________

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Old 3rd October 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Batteries will usually win out because they are a pure DC power source.
A power supply has to take the AC sinewave, flip the negative going portion of the wave over to positive going (the rectifier does this) and then smooth the wave out into DC with caps. Smoothing the peaks and valleys of the "modified" AC wave is the hard part and some supplies do it better than others.

I have had a couple of AC power supplies built by MXR in the early '80s that re the size of their boxes (D +, DynaComp, etc..) and they are VERY quiet. I have not opened one up in years, but I recall very few components and none were out of the ordinary. I don't know what the "magic" is, but they are quiet!

Generally, there isn't a huge difference in batteries and I was always wary of claims that some types of batteries sound "better" in some devices. However, a CARBON BATTERY does sound different than an alkaline battery in a FuzzFace type circuit. I think it is a better sounding fuzz. I have switched back and forth in an A/B situation and there is a a difference.

Danny Brown
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #3
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max cooper's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I would suppose that since batteries aren't connected to the wall, it's once less place to introduce a ground loop. Any sense to this?
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #4
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Pasta4lnch's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
FWIW also heard somewhere that a dying batteries can produce a different sound . . .
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #5
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Chris Parsons's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
I would suppose that since batteries aren't connected to the wall, it's once less place to introduce a ground loop. Any sense to this?
eh, not really wall-warts rarely have a ground prong.

I think the power suplys are just about as good as useing a battery. The "pure-dc" argument does make sense, however think of all the gear in your control room with simple AC-DC power suplies. You run audio through that stuff all the time without even thinking about it.

Which makes me think...would my preamps sound better if I had an array of submariene batteries provideing +/- 24 VDC to them?
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #6
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max cooper's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Parsons ➑️
eh, not really wall-warts rarely have a ground prong.
Outlets without a dedicated ground receptacle still go to ground.

But I don't know if that's the issue, that's why I'm asking. I know from experience that using batteries can be a way to avoid some noise.
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
on balance...i always go with AC.

as far as i can usually hear (depends on the room/wiring etc) it does not contribute much more noise, even if theoretically it could. granted in some of the funkier clubs the lights will get into the power, but it seems to have a bad effect even if the amp is the only thing plugged into it....

the REAL reason i plug in the pedals is consistancy. batteries are always in various stages of running out and with many pedals this is just not acceptable or even practical. my DD-6 sucks up batteries like crazy.

also my number ONE indispensable pedal does not even accept batteries so....i don't really have a choice with that. 99% of the noise is just the typical single coil pick up stuff and is unrelated to pedals. goes away in out of phase and humbucking settings.
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #8
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Tone Laborer's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I prefer to skip the emergency stop on the way to the gig at the 7-11 for $5 to $25 bucks worth of batteries. That gets old.
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #9
C/G
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C/G's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone Laborer ➑️
I prefer to skip the emergency stop on the way to the gig at the 7-11 for $5 to $25 bucks worth of batteries. That gets old.
"I thought you brought the batteries?"

"No, I thought you brought them."

Been there, done that.
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Gaucher ➑️
"I thought you brought the batteries?"

"No, I thought you brought them."

Been there, done that.
better yet is when you step on the wah for that first climactic solo and get this weak ass tinny sound because you left the input cable plugged in at the pre gig rehearsal which drained the battery you thought was totally fresh.

with AC powered pedals that never happens.


that said everyone who uses any batteries in their rig should just have some new ones in the box with all the pedals always....and check all pedals at soundcheck.
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
i prefer batteries--they seem to have a bit of a "sag" to them, which helps distortion and chorus pedals, IMO. AC seems to make em sound a little more "hard" (or "brittle") sounding.

at gigtime, i always replace the batteries in everything right before the gig. i save the old ones for practices (and clients who come in that have dead batteries heh).

of course, i don't play a lot of gigs, so the $$ isn't all that bad. if i played a lot of gigs, i'm sure i'd sacrifice a little bit of tone for free AC.


cheers,
wade
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 20 years
Live, I use AC adaptors (a Godlyke adaptor takes care of the whole board). I can expect a battery to run out at the wrong time.

Recording, I do believe that batteries usually allow most of my pedals (original DynaComp, original Ibanez delay, and especially an original ProCo Rat) to sound better.

Eric Johnson is generally the guy pushing partially used carbon over other kinds of batteries or AC supplies.
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I'll tell you.... carbons DO sound better than alkalyn batteries in FuzzFace type circuits.
Then again, Eric Johnson was talking about a TubeScreamer (TS-9) when he was refering to battery sag. They are not even remotely close to a FF circuit!
It is about the same as the power supply in a tube amp sagging because it wasn't designed to go full blast.

For recording I use batteries in stomp boxes and I always have plenty on hand (see below.) Live? AC adapter, but I don know people who are purists. I guess they figure that if you cut a corner here you'll cut another there. It adds up!


You guys would S H I T if you knew how many 9V batteries we use per year!
Eight wireles mics per show, each show runs two days, three shows per weekend.
That is 16 per show times three.... 48 per weekend!
We buy Duracells by the case!

Danny Brown
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
i have heard about this "sag" factor as being a good thing in certain distortion pedals (this does not apply to delay or other pedals) but when i tried an A/B (fresh battery to AC adaptor) with my barber DD SS pedal i really did not have a problem with the sound going from one to the other...

and my new OD sounds amazing with the adaptor! not sure if sag would really help the sound...the clarity is what i like and that might suffer if you introduce "sag".
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
It depends on the circuit design and type of distortion.
Fuzzfaces and it's clones are VERY simple eight or nine component circuits.
The battery is one of those few components and is not "isolated" from the gain stages.
This why the type of battery comes into play.
MXR Distortion Pluses and their variants use over saturated diodes.
the weak or carbon battery don't effect these.
The TS9 TubeScreamers use a more sophisticated gain stage feeding another gainstage like a highly refined Fuzzface.

Danny Brown
Old 3rd October 2006 | Show parent
  #16
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feyshay's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If I recall correctly, three pedal that I have mentioned potential superiority of carbon battery over AC converted power supply. I am sure this was mentioned with my Fulltone FullDrive 2, my Diamond Fireburst, and the Analogman Bichorus (which I ended up gettting rid of). I noticed no significant difference when A/Bing.
When recording, I'll disengage the rest of the pedals and sometimes use battery with these distortion pedals, but some pedals require you to do some unscrewing. I'd like it if you could just always leave the input jack engaged and not have the battery deplete.
I always thought it was stupid that some pedals would run the battery even when not engaged (if they had a line in).
Old 4th October 2006 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
http://www.voodoolab.com/pedalpower_2.htm

I use the Pedal Power. It has "low battery" voltage mode on a couple of the outlets (does make a difference on the TS-9). I hear no difference in noise when using the PP or batteries (simple test...when you unplug the barrel connector, the pedal reverts to battery). There is one pedal that it does add a little noise to: my clyde wah.

I only use it live and in practice. In the studio, I don't really use the pedal board, and just have lots of battery powered pedals around.
Old 4th October 2006 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba ➑️
Batteries will usually win out because they are a pure DC power source.
A power supply has to take the AC sinewave, flip the negative going portion of the wave over to positive going (the rectifier does this) and then smooth the wave out into DC with caps. Smoothing the peaks and valleys of the "modified" AC wave is the hard part and some supplies do it better than others.
Just to clarify, the rectifier (a simple diode) simply blocks the negative cycles. It's a one way valve so to speak. This leaves you with 60Hz "ripple" which is fed to the caps. It's the same 60Hz hum you hear when a tube amp is ready for a cap job.
Old 10th October 2006 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
cheers

thanks for all the responses guys. guess if no one can tell the difference live i'll get some form of power supply and use the batteries for recording.
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