Best Power Supply For A Small Pedalboard
This is a review of the best small pedal power supplies that you can buy for your pedalboard. So, you've got yourself a mini-pedalboard or perhaps you're planning on building or putting together a nice portable/mini board.
If this sounds familiar you've probably found yourself in a situation where it has come time to decide how to power the pedals on your small pedalboard.
Batteries are not a good choice as they require regular replacing.
The best thing is to get a power supply. This article, I'll be discussing the power supply as well as reviewing the best guitar pedalboard power supplies that are available to buy.
|Mooer MPW1||T-Rex Junior||MXR DC Brick||Pedaltrain PT-VT2||EX Power Factory|
|My Top Choice||Best Quality & Isolated Outputs||Most Popular and Relaible||Rechargeable & Portable||Very Small Power Supply|
**Scroll Down For Full Small Power Supply Reviews**
What Are Effects Pedal Power Supplies?
Essentially it is a small and compact power source that provides power to multiple pedals. Power supplies for pedals are usually in the form of a brick. They've been known to be quite big, heavy and bulky.
Especially the older pedal power supplies. However, there are now many small power supplies which have been designed to suit those looking to power pedals on a small pedalboard.
Why would you need One?
The most obvious reason for needing a small power supply is to save space on your pedalboard. Especially for those guitarists who are looking to create a portable pedalboard, space is absolutely everything.
The last thing you want to do is take up half your space just from a device that powers your pedals (even though it is vital). Another reason to get a small power supply is to reduce the weight of your pedalboard.
For guitarists like myself, traveling with your gear can be expensive and you'll know every lbs count. Perhaps the small power supply is an upgrade for you from a daisy chain or batteries. Whatever the case might be, there's a compact pedal power supply to suit your needs.
1) Mooer Mini Pedal Power Supply
This is the best small power supply I use for my mini pedalboard. It is the smallest one I've managed to find and I can safely say that it is the ultimate space saver and a great unit for the price. This mooer mini power supply can power up to 8 effects pedals simultaneously.
The Mooer does say that the power outputs are isolated however this is not true isolation. Nonetheless, it still delivers a noise-free sound at least to my ears.
Overall, the Mooer mini pedals power supply is great for your small pedalboard when you take into account the price, the size, and its fantastic performance. For now, this is my best power supply for small pedalboards.
2) T-Rex Junior Small Pedal Power Supply
The T-rex range of power supplies is somewhat on the higher end of the spectrum. This includes their smallest power supply which is this T-rex Junior. T-rex are a trusted brand and are most well known for the quality effects and power supplies that they make. This small power supply has properly isolated outputs however, only powers 5 pedals.
The fact that it only powers 5 pedals may be a downside for some guitarists whilst for others, this might be the perfect amount for a mini-pedalboard.
The biggest problem that I have with the T-rex junior for a mini-pedalboard is that it is quite big when compared to other supplies on this list. But having said that, it does feature a selector for voltage so it can be used anywhere in the world. If quality is what you're after and can sacrifice some space on your pedalboard, this is a great choice.
3) MXR DC Brick
When it comes to pedal power supplies, this MXR unit has become one of the industry standards. Like the T-rex junior above, the MXR might be quite big for a small pedalboard but, it does come packed with a lot of features and a reputation that is hard to beat.
I'll mention some features of the MXR power brick. Firstly, it protects the overloading of voltage so your precious pedals will always be safe. The brick also has a green or red light from each power output to let you know if the output is good or if there is a short. This power supply can juice up to 8 pedals at once. Another downside to the MXR is that it does not have isolated outputs.
The Mini-Iso Brick
Since the first writing this review, a brand new MXR power supply has come out. It is the little brother to the Iso-Brick. This time, it is the Iso Bick Mini. The mini is basically half of the bigger version. With 4 outputs instead of 8. With that in mind, it is a lot more compact and delivers the exact same quality of power. Only in a much smaller package. Furthermore, the mini brick has the ability for you to be able to change one of the outputs from 9v to 18v. So if you have a pedal that requires more headroom, this will deliver the power you need. For those space-savers out there, I can't say enough good things about this power supply.
4) PedalTrain Volto USB Power Supply
The PedalTrain Volto is a good choice for mini pedalboards but also great for those traveling or busking guitar players. The reason is that this power supply is portable and rechargeable by USB. This means that you don't have to have to be plugged into the wall or mains in order to power your pedals.
You just gotta make sure that the Volto is charged (and can be done just like charging your cellular device). A green light indicated the charge status so you'll know when to recharge it. The problem with the device is that it only has two power outputs and the idea is to daisy chain from these two outputs.
Whilst I don't own this power supply, I know guitarists that do and they have not complained about noise from this unit. It is said that this PedalTrain Volto won't power digital pedals.
5) Mini Power Factory Pedal Power Supply
This power supply is similar to the number one unit on this list however the difference is that the power outputs are on the top of the device instead of on the side. This might be an advantage depending on the design of your small pedalboard.
This is a very small power supply and great for the price, although I have not used it personally so I can't account for the longevity of the power supply but it looks sturdy to me and also looks like it would hold up. This used to be my best small pedal power supply for all my pedalboards until I discovered the Mooer.
6) Truetone 1 Spot Combo
The 1 Spot power supply by Truetone is essentially a proper daisy chain. Therefore, you won't expect any isolated outputs. Having said that, this is one of the best daisy chains on the market. Many of its competitors are cheaper and reflects in the build quality. However, this product is made much better. Furthermore, it comes with various attachments and converters. so that all of your pedals can be powered, no matter what brand. Another great thing about the 1 Spot is that it can power up to 8 pedals at once.
Which is more than most of the power bricks featured here. Taking it one spot further, this is by far the most compact of all the pedal power supplies you can choose. That is because it does not take up the same space a power brick would. And, if that wasn't enough. I'd have to say that it is one of the quietest daisy chains I have used. Thus, making it a massive contender if you need to save space.
7) Strymon Ojai
The Strymon pedal company are very well known for making some great digital effects. Also, their pedals are known for needing stable power for them to run at an optimal level. If you have Strymon pedals on your board. Or other similar digital effects. Then you might want to consider the Ojai. It is definitely one of the most advanced power supplies on this list. But, it comes at a price. With 5 ultra-quiet isolated outputs. The Ojai costs quite a bit more than say, the Trex above. Which ultimately, performs the same job at the same level.
Having said that, the Ojai does have some features which others on this list do not. Firstly, whilst it only has 5 outputs. You can get another Ojai and connect them together using a thru jack. Also, it has been designed to work on in any country with a multi filtering stage system. So, if you are a touring musician, this could be a very good option for you. Especially if noisy stages with unpredictable power is a regular occurrence for you.
8) USB Power Supply 529 By Mission Engineering
The 529 USB power supply for pedals takes the concept of saving space and combines it with portability for a unit that really deserves some attention. When this came out, I jumped on it and ordered one as soon as I could. Basically, it is a small, rectangular power strip. With 5 outputs to power your pedals. The first four will power regular pedals. And the last can power your high-out pedals like digital units.
The only difference is that it is powered via USB. So think of the same USB cable that a cell phone would use. The downside to this is that there is no rechargeable battery. But, you can simply buy a power bank (same one again for cell phones) and use it to power the 529 for ultra portability. In theory, this is a fantastic concept, but I have heard some complaints and murmurs going around that these can provide a lot of unwanted noise. I've yet to experience this. But then again, I have only tested this unit at home.
9) PedalTrain Spark
I've already featured a power supply by Pedaltrain above. However, that one was more of a portable unit. Not necessarily a supply worthy enough for the professional guitarist. That is why the Pedaltrain company makes a wide array of power supplies to accompany their pedalboards. Pedaltrains spark is a small unit, with five isolated outputs. Capable of powering even the most energy-sapping digitals pedals around. Two of the outputs provide five hundred milliamps (500ma). Whilst the other three give one hundred milliamps (100ma).
Furthermore, the spark does not lack in features. no, it has the ability to switch for different countries. As well as a fuse built internally. To prevent any surges that may occur. Lastly, if you have a Pedaltrain Nano or Tera, then the Spark comes with bracks which allows you to attach it to the bottom of your board. Even if you don't own a Pedaltrain. This is a great option for professionals. With all these features, it does however come at quite a high price when compared to some others. But, you certainly get what you're paying for with the Spark.
10) Voodoo Lab Pedal Power X4
This is one of my favorite power supplies. It takes the same technology that we know and loves from the bigger Voodoo labs units. And, packs it into this compact and pedalboard-friendly box. Capable of powering any 4 pedals of your choice. with its 9v isolated outputs. It is also super quiet, can switch depending on where you are in the world. And provides high quality as well as clean power that you'd expect from a unit that is made in the USA.
What To Look For When Providing Power To Your Pedals
When buying the best power supply for small pedalboard, it is essential to look for certain characteristics. A good unit will provide you with stable and constant power.
This is important as the last thing you need is a drop in the signal during practice or a gig. Decent power supplies give you a clean and quiet signal and sound free from as little noise and hum as possible.
Whilst some rooms and venues are inherently noisier than others, a good power supply will be as quiet as possible. The last characteristic to look as is the number of pedals the supply can power.
Any supply that powers 5 or more pedals are a good choice. Unless of course, you need to power less than 5 pedals. We can summarise the characteristics of a power supply for small pedalboards with the following:
How Many Pedals Need Power
A very important factor to consider is how many pedals need power. If your pedal set up has less than 5 stompboxes, then you'll find that most supplies will suffice. However, when you start going above 5 pedals, you have to start considering a bigger power supply in general. It is also important to consider the future. What I mean by this is, think about if you are interested in growing your board. If so, perhaps think about getting a unit that will have the ability to power your possible future endeavors. On the contrary, if you know that you only will require a certain number of pedals, then, by all means, go for the lesser outputs. Especially when it comes to compact and space saving pedalboards, which is essentially the whole point of this review.
What Space Do You Have
Considering the amount of space your pedalboard has is crucial when deciding to buy one of these units. Most guitar players assemble their boards and forget that the power supply needs to fit. Most of the time, the supply itself is the same size, if not bigger, than the actual effects pedals. Therefore, think about where on your board the power supply can go. A lot of pedalboard manufacturers, such as Pedaltrain, have designed their products in such a way that allows the pedal power supply to be mounted underneath the actual board. As you would imagine, this saves a lot of space and essentially frees up a place for another stompbox.
Do All Your Pedals Require The Same Power?
I've mentioned quite a few considerations that a lot of us forget when compiling our effects. But something that is very often overlooked is to think about if all your stompboxes run off the same power. It is true that most pedals run off 9 volts. However, some digital pedals, and even analog pedals. Such as the King of tone overdrive. Or the Strymon pedals, Runoff 18 volts. Furthermore, the voltage has an impact on the overall sound. For example, if the analog man King Of Tone pedal is run at 18v, then it will have more headroom and sound different than if it were run at 9v. A lot of power supplies offer different power outputs. But just make sure you check this out before going ahead and making your purchase.
Have you ever stacked a bunch of pedals together, plugged your guitar in. And wondered why on earth there is so much noise coming from your signal. Even when there is no gain or distortion added. Well, most of the time, noise from pedals can be attributed from irregular power. Or, bad power supplies. In order to get the most out of your pedals. And, to enjoy the best sound from your gear. I highly recommend looking at units with isolated outputs. As this creates the cleanest and purest power possible. Which brings us onto the next point.
Non-Isolated vs Isolated Pedal Power
In the reviews below, you'll see the words isolated pedal power or non-isolated power supply. This refers to the power output of the supply as each compact pedal power brick will be different.
The simplest way to understand isolated power is that each power outlet of the brick is an isolated source of power and independence of the other outputs on the power supply.
A non-isolated power supply is where each power output of the brick is linked to one another. Isolated power is definitely better as it provides the quietest and cleanest sound. But, with this advantage comes a higher price. There is nothing wrong with a non-isolated power supply as I've been using one (see number 1 below) for years now and it's been reliable and I haven't noticed any unwanted noise.
What About Batteries?
Also, think about the days when we used to use batteries to power our pedals. Sure, most effects are still capable of being powered this way. But, think about how much money it will cost for the rest of your life to keep replacing the batteries. And, they will most likely die at different types. And thus, we need to be replaced at different times. Whilst expensive at first, going the power supply route will actually save you in the long term.
Unfortunately, when it comes to all types of guitar gear. At some point, we all have to consider the budget and the price we are willing to spend on certain items. If there's one piece of advice I can give, it is that investing in decent power supply will be one of the best things you can do for your tone. I know it is not a fancy pedal that makes any sounds etc. But, by doing so you can even make cheap pedals sound good. Simply by providing g them with the best possible power.