4 Potent Power Supply Units

November 8, 2012

BBE SUPA-CHARGER If the Hulk was charging right at me, I’d either want an anesthetic bazooka or the Supa-Charger ($215 retail/$149 street) to knock that sucker out before he smashed me to dust. The Supa-Charger is definitely heavy enough to stun a green, pissed- off mutant, and it’s sufficiently tough to withstand anything a gig might toss its way. This universal power supply offers eight isolated, regulated, and filtered out- puts; a custom-wound, “zero hum” toroidal transformer; selectable input voltage (110/220) for worldwide use; ten power cables (eight 2.1mm, and two 2.5mm); and an IEC power cable. You can con- figure outputs 5 and 6 for either 9 or 16 volts, and the rest for either 9- or 12-volt operation via DIP switches.

My torture test for the Supa-Charger was a 104-degree performance in near- direct sunlight at the San Mateo County Fair, amidst myriad wireless transmissions, lighting rigs, and under-stage power amps and subwoofers. None of the power or radiowave demons affected the super Supa-Charger, as I experienced no hum or hiss, no brown outs, and no noticeable dips in pedal performance or tone. This is a truly “fuhgeddaboudit” power source that won’t let you—or your pedals—down. — MM

KUDOS Tough. Versatile. Flawless operation under pressure.
CONTACT bbesound.com

The Hot Stone Deluxe ($250 retail/$179 street) is the flagship in Decibel Eleven’s triumverate of DC power supplies. It boasts eight isolated output sections: two that deliver 5-9 volts (continuously variable) up to 100mA, two for 9 volts at 100mA, two that are switchable between 9 and 12 volts up to 200mA, and two with separate sockets for 9 and 12 volts with a maximum total draw of 400mA. (In other words, you can connect two pedals to each section as long as the combined draw is 400mA or less.) You can also power 18- and 24-volt pedals by using optional cables that combine the outputs of two sockets. The Deluxe accomplishes its magic via a toroidal transformer and copious magnetic shielding, all residing within a 2mm steel chassis. A variety of cables and a detachable AC line cord are included.

I tested the Deluxe in the GP studio with several combinations of pedals that brought it up to maximum output, and it handled the strain admirably, with no detectable power “ripple,” artifacts, or other noise. My only concern is that at 2.6 lbs, the Deluxe is relatively heavy, as well as heavy duty. — BC

KUDOS Ruggedly built. Considerable pedal- powering flexibility.
CONTACT (661) 964-3675; decibel11.com

The Provolt9 ($TBD; for more info, email overseas1@pacifix-ltd.com) struts two very savvy features. First, it’s about the same size as a conventional stompbox, so it can sneak onto your pedalboard without crowding the joint. Secondly, it delivers a consistent 9.6 volts, which, according to the company’s claims, diminishes the minute sound-quality shifts of a new battery fluctuating between 9.4 and 9.8 volts. Perhaps less sexy, but still essential, the Provolt9 offers six 9-volt out- puts, hum suppression, short protection (as well as auto recovery should a short occur), double filtering (to ensure clean power), and six 2.1mm cables.

I used the Provolt9 to power a series of pedals throughout several rehearsal and studio sessions, and the unit never failed, or introduced hum or other artifacts into the signal chain. I can’t make a clinical evaluation of the Provolt9’s 9.6-volt output strategy, but, to my ears, the sound of my pedals was stable and dependable. Although this was the only unit tested that employs a wall wart, the jack connection was solid and caused no problems. I was a tad bummed I could only power 9-volt pedals with the Provolt9, but it definitely served those boxes well. — MM

KUDOS Compact size. Flawless operation. Very lightweight.
CONCERNS Only powers 9-volt pedals.
CONTACT providence-ltd.com

Responding to the need for a power supply capable of handling high-current stompboxes (such as popular models by Strymon, Even- tide, TC Electronic, Line 6, and others) as well as conventional 9-volt pedals, Voodoo Lab augmented its renowned Pedal Power line with this robust, yet compact new entry. Despite its name, the Pedal Power Digital ($200 retail/$139 street) is a linear/analog power supply with a toroidal transformer, designed for low-noise operation. It sports four 9-volt isolated, filtered, and regulated 400mA output sections—two of which have 12-volt options. It’s also the only high-current unit with an internal, temperature-controlled and variable-speed fan to combat excessive heat, which can cause a power supply to fail. A variety of cables and a detachable AC line cord are included.

I tested the Digital with four high-current pedals in my studio, and it performed like a champ. The real test, however, came when I used it to power four pedals (including a current-hungry Strymon El Capistan) on a gig in Eastern Europe. Besides surviving two flights, the unit was plugged into a step-down transformer to lower the volt- age from 220, which could have introduced noise—especially given the stage lights— but the Digital prevailed. — BC

KUDOS Robust. Versatile. Relatively light- weight (1.9 lbs). Internal fan. Made in USA.
CONTACT voodoolab.com

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