When is 9V not 9V?

Measuring Korg 9V power supplyAnswer:  when it’s 13V! 

As I mentioned previously, my pedal board’s power supply died, so I’ve been temporarily using an old Korg 9V power supply.

I’ve been getting some hum from Ryan’s Fulltone Fat-Boost, and finally decided to do some sleuthing to figure out why.

Fortunately, before I even cracked open the Fat-Boost, I hooked up a multimeter to measure the voltage output of the Korg supply, and it turns out that this little guy is really putting out 13V, not 9V.    Well, that’s annoying.   Is it mislabeled, or just over-compensating for something?

Measuring 1 Spot 9V power supplySo, I decided to pick up the relatively inexpensive and well-reviewed Visual Sound 1 Spot.    Quoting from the FAQ:   “The voltage output is fully regulated.  It’s at least as quiet as the PedalPower, maybe even quieter.”

Measuring the 1 Spot with the multimeter, I see this one is putting out 9.5V.  I’m guessing 5.7% over is within normal tolerance for a 9V supply.

Better yet, no more hum on that Fat-Boost.

Note to future self, don’t trust power supply labels!

Update: Several people asked how the power supplies behaved under load, so…

Read the rest of this entry

Pedal Power Fiasco

Drop Daddies Rehearsal at Annex 2013-03-15 The night before my St Patrick’s Day gig with the Drop Daddies, we were setting up at a rehearsal space for a last minute practice.  I powered up my gear, and none of my pedals were working!

After a bit of trial and error, it was clear that my ancient SKB PS-25 pedalboard power supply had finally keeled over.  I never use batteries, but fortunately a couple of the pedals had old 9V batteries still in them, so it was enough to scrape by for the rehearsal.

Pedals want DC negative-polarityThe following morning, just a few hours before the gig, I went through my box of old guitar gear to try to find a replacement 9V DC negative-tip power supply.  

Hey, here’s the power supply for my Digitech Jamman Delay which I’m not currently using in my live rig.   It says 9V, 1.3A.  Strange, it doesn’t show a polarity, but it’s a power supply for a guitar pedal, and the plug barrel fits, so it must be good, right?  What could possibly go wrong?

Read the rest of this entry

Current Pedalboard Rig

Setting up for the gig

My pedalboard for the recent Summer Music Project gig was a a bit of a compromise.  I couldn’t fit the JamMan Delay on the pedal board so it was hanging off to one side, and I had no space for my fuzz and chorus.

I’ve been planning to build a new larger PedalTrain-inspired pedalboard, and make some new correct-length cables.

Meanwhile, some of this pedal order is dependent on the short cables I had on hand. I would prefer to wire the tuner before the volume pedal, and the compressor before the wah, but that will have to wait for the redo.

The pedal chain I settled on for the gig was:

I received the VOX Ice 9 just before the gig, so I haven’t fully explored its voicing yet, but it sounds really nice.  It has an overall darker sound that my Speed Racer, so I’m initially using it as a very mellow overdrive/boost, and using my Speed Racer for more bright aggressive drive.   I wasn’t doing any live looping with the JamMan Delay- I was just using the delays, and loving that tap tempo switch.

Read the rest of this entry