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Does power source effect sound?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Sundance, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. Sundance


    Jul 24, 2004
    Will an effect sound different if it has a battery in it as opposed to an adaptor? If it does, I'd guess it would sound better on a full battery than on a regular adaptor power supply; is this true?
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Depends on the effect.
    Some are affected, some aren't.
    Also some will sound better with a battery, some others with a PS.
    Vintage effect wizzes swear that 60s pedals sound better with a saline battery than an alkaline.
  3. wingnutkj


    Mar 27, 2003
    What Jazz Ad said^

    I've got a vintage MXR Distortion+ which I use for guitar, and my guitarist has one of the reissues. We A/B-ed them one day, and discovered that the vintage one sounded a lot better. We swapped the batteries over, and the reissue one sounded better. I imagine that some other pedals will be similarly affected.

    (the good-sounding battery was a Panasonic "Special" Zinc-Carbon - I can remember that because I cheap deal on them and bought a load)
  4. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    Yes, they do
    You should really only use zinc carbon type batts. in older "vintage" fx.
    The discharge characteristics are different from Alkaline types.
    I custom build analogue fx units using germanium type transistors,they are very sensitive devices indeed.
    You can clearly hear the difference between battery types.
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    some power supplies like the voodoo labs let you simulate the voltage sag of a dying battery.
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Zinc-carbon batteries don't last as long and your overall battery cost is higher than alkaline because of this. However, as Paul A wrote, for "vinatge" sounds they can work better...that's all there was back in the 60s before Duracells came along.

    Basically the zinc batteries "sag" (drop in voltage) more under heavy current draw so for distortions and fuzzes they give dirtier sounds that respond more to your playing.

    For effects like chorus/flange/delay, preamps, EQs and ANYTHING digital alklaines are mandatory and for digital AC supplies are even better in obtaining consistent results.
  7. wingnutkj


    Mar 27, 2003
    Thanks for the information - I'd never really thought about it much until I did the experiment. I'll have to try different batteries in my Big Muff to see what kind of difference it makes.