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do battery types affect the sound of your effects

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by solutionbassist, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. solutionbassist


    Apr 19, 2010
    this is probably a stupid question but i was at a local music store and they had some special type of bateries that r soposed to enhance your sound. what do you think????:bassist:
  2. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Demons run when a good man goes to war

    Jan 18, 2010
    Commercial FREE!
    A good name-brand alkaline is fine. Energizer or Duracell. Ultralife Lithium's are best saved for long-term storage before using, IMO. Stay away from rechargables. They don't have the milliamp-hour (mAh) capacity for an evening of pedal use. Plus, they self-discharge when not in use, even the ni-mh (nickel metal hydride) type.

  3. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    Speaking as an engineer - there may be some super cheap batteries that might not be able to deliver a large enough current surge to allow the device to follow large peaks. However, if you use any decent battery - Duracell, Energizer, etc. - don't worry about it. The amount of current used by effects units is so small!

    It's another scam like Monster cable. If they charge you enough, you will convince yourself that there is a difference.
  4. guroove


    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    The short answer is no, as long as it works properly. I once had a battery in a pedal effect my sound. It turned out it was loose and the vibrations were making it lose and regain contact. I use lithium batteries now. They cost something like $30 but they last for many years.
  5. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Banned

    Mar 19, 2008
    Some old fuzz pedals, like Fuzz Faces, sound different with Alkaline batteries vs. older style non-alkaline batteries. I have observed this myself, it's true.

    For most effects regular alkaline batteries work best though.
  6. rcubed


    May 8, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Were the voltage levels of the batteries the same? Plenty of current being supplied?
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It has been claimed, by Analogman and a few other fuzz "gurus", that the current drawn from "heavy duty" (non-alkaline) batteries is nonlinear, and "sags" when drawn more, in a way that the old fuzzes seem to respond well to; while modern alkalines don't have that sag in current draw.

    I'm not saying it's true, but that's the story.
  8. do you wear velcro shoes?
  9. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Banned

    Mar 19, 2008
    Fresh battery vs. fresh battery, there's a difference I noticed with the Fuzz Face pedals I've tried.

    Analogman has a soundclip of it, I hear a change in this clip too. Twice with a Duracell alkaline, twice with a cheap general purpose battery, and twice with alkaline again.


    Pretty noticeable difference.
  10. guroove


    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    interesting stuff here. consider my previous words eaten.
  11. Silent Fly

    Silent Fly Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 8, 2006
    London - UK
    Owner/designer [sfx]
    Batteries can have an effect on the sound of the pedal.

    If the battery is old or at the end of its life, the internal resistance increase. So even if you measure 9V, the voltage drops when used attached to a pedal. This creates a non-linear response on the pedals.

    Regarding the claim that some batteries can enhance the sound of some pedals, I can’t see how a battery can perform better than a power supply adaptor.

    On a personal level I don't like batteries. They are unreliable, the behaviour changes between model/brand/type and they are ecological bombs. Moreover, to make pedals battery-friendly the design needs to limit the current used. This requires components that use less current but that are inevitably noisier and less linear. (This is why almost every [sfx] product doesn’t use batteries)
  12. Azalin


    Mar 9, 2010
    Agree with pretty much everything especially the ecology part.
    On the other hand, i heard quite a few people strongly insisting that everything that has to do with distortion needs battery.
    All fine with modulation etc.
    From my experience, beeing a fan of older/analogue pedals i witnessed quite the hiss/hum/noise with adapters.
    So, what to do =\
  13. Tomass


    Nov 1, 2005
    I agree with this, not quite an engineer, but technician :ninja:
    All the battery is doing is supplying a supply voltage for the effect, if the dc voltage is having an effect on your effect, you might want to get that unit checked out :bag:
  14. Silent Fly

    Silent Fly Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 8, 2006
    London - UK
    Owner/designer [sfx]
    I can’t understand why everything that has to do with distortion needs battery. Until I actually see a technical explanation or the result of a blind test I find difficult to believe it.

    Having said that, if there was a difference, the behaviour of a battery can be simulated. A 9V Alkaline battery has an internal resistance of around 2ohms, Lithium batteries 18ohm, other batteries up to 35ohm. With a 2k-5k pot in series to the power supply it should be possible to simulate any battery from brand new to almost dead. The behaviour will also be consistent. Every time the unit it turned on, the “simulate battery” will behave the same way.

    The problem with hiss/hum/noise with adapters is related to the poor quality of the power supply adapter. With a good quality PSA the problem should disappear.
  15. fightthepower


    Jan 7, 2008
    San Diego

    I have a huge chain consisting of two boards, 20-some pedals, majority analog pedals and many of them with a reputation for being noisy (ie 5 'foogers,etc). I never daisy chained, but occasionally had some noise when running a ridiculous number of wallwarts.

    Since updating my rig with isolated power supplies (a PP2+ for each board), noise has been a non-existent problem, even in my old underpowered house with shoddy 1930's wiring.
  16. I've read articles featuring Eric Johnson,and he states that he can tell a distinct difference in the tone of.......um,lets say,Duracell vs. Energizer in his pedals.

    Someone has waaaay too much time on their hands,imo.
  17. solutionbassist


    Apr 19, 2010
    Answer to ? about power adaptors. I have a power adaptor, but am having a power strip/ under board power configuration set up for me. I have to have batteries until then.=]
  18. ^ The Gospel spoken here! :D
  19. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I believe the Eric Johnson quote was alkaline vs. non-alkaline batteries and that he preferred the latter
  20. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    I agree, and would say that the opposite is true in some cases. My Rat pedal has a noticable, and to my ears annoying, sag when used with a battery to the point that it's unusable for me if it's not plugged in. The first part of every note disappears otherwise.

    My SKB pedal board has a couple of power supply outputs that do exactly what you describe. I don't bother using them except in the "all the way on" position, though.

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