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12V vs 9V

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by bassteban, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. I've read a few HC analog delay reviews wherein it's stated that using a 12V power supply in place of the specified 9V unit greatly improved performance(loger delay times,less distortion). Has anyone ever done this on any other pedal(other than analog delay)? Would it be possible to harm a pedal this way? Feel free to ridicule my ignorance. :)
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It is possible that it may work in some cases, but it it not possible that it will work in all cases. Most components in a typical 9V pedal can probably handle 12V without burning up, but there may be exceptions where harm could result. Also supply voltage is not utilized in identical ways among all circuits, so there will be some where there may be an audible result (for better or worse) and others with no audible result.

    IMO generally speaking it would be a safe experiment, I'd try it, but I wouldn't be 100% confident about the risk.

    One thing that's sometimes worth trying IME is using a supply rated for higher amperage. Higher available amperage can never hurt your gear (they only draw as much current as they need), and there are a few devices out there which operate better if they can draw a bit more than the stock supply is rated for. I've only seen this with rack gear though, not with typical analog pedals which draw tiny amounts of current.
  3. B.C.

    B.C. Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    Ok, Just for reference, I'm a EE major.

    That being said, never put more voltage into a device than needed. Granted, this is more dangerous with digital pedals, but putting 12V into a 9V pedal is never a good idea.

    Glad you asked before you did it. :)
  4. rcubed


    May 8, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    That's probably the best advice to give folks here. But bongomania is right about some pedals being able to handle more. It just really depends on the guts of the unit. If they're using modern ICs and the like, they can usually handle a good deal more voltage. And they can often work to as low as 7.5V depending on the circuit design.

    Just my experience with some real world circuit designs I deal with at work. But keep in mind, we're not making effect pedals. ;)
  5. B.C.

    B.C. Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    Thanks. I know when I was ignorant I fried a variety of Fx by plugging in a power supply that was incorrect.

    My biggest concern is that I have no idea what kind of IC's or Transistors etc. are in that effect and what they are rated for, so best thing to do is go with what is written. :)
  6. I sometimes think this idea comes about because of the Boss ACA/PSA power supply issue. Plug in a regulated 9V supply to the old style ACA pedals and it barely has enough voltage to work - some pedals refuse to switch on. But, plug in a regulated 12V supply and it springs to life.

    But, you should be careful doing this as it is definitely possible (and in fact likely) that you can damage something.
  7. It shouldn't hurt an analog pedal. Any that isn't direct power will have a voltage converter so the gain/loss by changing voltage won't be as aparent.

    If you think you might ruin a pedal. First open it up. Look at the ratings of all the caps. And write down the part numbers of the ICs and run a search for the data sheets. In general most the ICs we run across in our equipment have a power range 5-15vdc. Some may operate as low as 3v others as high as 18-20v(cross your fingers here,lol).

    An example my "noisy" compressor is a little less noisy @ 7v vs 9v. I've tried 12v there was a little more noise and alittle more gain.

    BTW the reason that pedal performs better. Is at higher voltages the ICs will have more bandwidth and faster slew rates. Basically they are closer to performing as benchmarked in the data sheet. There is even potential to outperform, given the right enviromental variables, and benchmarks at lower voltages.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've ruined a pedal by accidentally plugging in the wrong power supply. Wish I could remember what it was but it was a long time ago. For that reason, I don't recommend it.
  9. Doolz


    Oct 5, 2007
    so thats why i couldnt power my HM-2. sweet thats cleared up now.

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