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Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by icecycle66, Apr 6, 2012.
Anybody try this out?
Looks cool as long as your pedals are 9V and don't require isolated grounds.
They work great, actually. I've got a couple kicking around here that I'm no longer using. I like having my pedalboard power actually on the board, so I can just plug-and-play with any old amplifier. Between that and switching to a micro head, it didn't make sense anymore. When I had a rack head, I had it all connected up on a rear panel to the furman, amp, etc. plug in the pedalsnake and BAM! everything was up. super easy, great tone, no noise.
Since the pics were taken, I had wrapped color coded electrical tape on the panel jacks so I just had to match up the colors.
I like the idea, seems implemented well. I personally prefer having the pedal power supply mounted on the board, though. One major drawback with this: if a road case, amp, something heavy rolls over the snake or otherwise damages it (you know how often this happens on stage!), you run the risk of killing the whole system. Pretty easy to swap out an extension cord and couple 1/4" cables vs. replacing a whole bundle.
The website is confusing. Hard to find actual pics of their product! Then there's some innacuracies, like: "At 500mA, SnakePOWER has the highest output in the industry (for 9VDC)"
Seems pretty expensive, too.. after you get all the adapters and whatnot.
Still, I can see this being a practical solution for some setups!
Of course, this is just a fancy "loom", which can be done pretty cheaply already! If you just want 1 "line/snake", looms are great solutions for less than $1 per foot! Flexible Split Wire Loom for Cable Organization and Protection (for example) This is what I see used by most touring pros: Snakeskin Looms DIY loom for a little over a buck a foot: Expando Sleeving, Non-Fraying, 1-1 4 diameter, 25 or 100 Feet, Black
Of course, this isn't an integrated sytem - but it's cheaper to replace and maintain & ultimately serves the same function.
This is Jody from PedalSnake. To clear up a couple of things posted here. 1) Pedals in a given audio chain don't need to be power-isolated from each other. The 1/4" cables that connect between them tie their grounds together already, and further isolation is impossible. Their ground is derived from where the last 1/4" cable plugs into on a 120VAC-powered device (usually an amp). Two pedal chains, however, like a "frontend" chain and an "FX Loop" chain, may need isolation from each other, because they plug into different places on the amp chassis. With all the currents swirling around in the metal chassis, two different connection points can have slightly different grounds. So, sometimes, to prevent hum, a 2nd isolated Class 2 Transformer (wall wart) may be needed so you can power the 2 chains with separate isolated supplies. 2) As far as we know, our SnakePOWER supply does have the highest current rating (500mA) for any "9VDC ground-isolated Class 2 Transformer" (wall wart). These are usually quieter for audio. Other 9V supplies exist with higher current ratings, but they are not true ground isolated transformers, and may exhibit a tab more noise, which is hard to know unless you play really high gain.
Jody again...cables wraps, or "looms", can improve your situation. But PedalSnake is usually more flexible than a "loomed" cable bundle, so it coils up easier and lays flatter on the floor. A cleaner appearance too. As far as expense, is you add up all the power strips and cables you use now, a PedalSnake system that replaces them about the same.
How did you find us Jody? Googling PedalSnake? Anyways, welcome to TB.
Welcome to TB!
While it's true that there will always be commonality along the audio pathway, the problems people actually encounter are due to the LOOP created by having commonality between the audio ground and the shared power ground. Potentials between dissimilar ground planes among pedals can result in hiss, hum, leakage of clock noise or LED noise, and digital shutdowns. These very real problems are usually cured by isolating the individual power supply, breaking the loop.
So true! I do repair work & pedalboard consultation and design here in Nashville. I've had 3 cases of digital delay clock noise leakage.
I'm sorry, I seem to see replies so long after they get posted. I just want to clear up the "isolation" and "ground loop" issue. "Ground loop" is a term that gets thrown around a lot whenever noise is debated, but it is rarely the problem in DC powered systems. Yes, isolation is sometimes needed for clock noise problems. But only a few digital pedals exhibit this problem, and it is not due to a ground loop, but to poor digital noise filtering. These pedals filter the digital noise out of their audio line, but neglect to also filter it out of their power line. So, if the pedal is powered on a power chain, the noise travels out via the power line and into some other pedal on the chain that has no digital noise filtering (like most any analog pedal), and BAM...you hear the high pitched digital whine. Getting a $175 power supply with many isolated outputs will fix it, but so will a second $20 power supply to power and isolate the offending digital pedal. Ground loops, or small "potential differences (in voltage)", in DC powered pedal chains are a non-issue, because it is DC and not audible. A real ground loop is most often related to AC power, and causes a low "hum". It is best (most economically) solved by using two separate isolated power supplies, one for pedals going to the amp front end, and one for pedals in the FX loop. But even makes a noticeable difference in only ther rare case. Similarly, pedals going to two separate stereo amps should be powered from two separate isolated power supplies, AND have an isolation transformer on the audio line of one of the amps to break the loop.
Can you give me your patent number for your cable? I am really interested in the benefits your product provides.
I found the patent for your cable snake US6800810. All you have done is made all of twisted pair cables in the snake have directional shielding, correct?
That statement is true if the DC power only feeds a static device, where there are no changes in the current drawn. Just because pedals use DC power does not mean that the DC remains static and not fluctuating.
Effects are amplifying and modifying audio signals, so even the 100% analog effects can have power and ground currents that fluctuate. Several pedals actually have significant resistance between the power ground and signal ground, which when daisy-chained powered, pass all/most of their power currents thru an adjacent pedal that bonds sig and pwr gnds. I don't think an effect pedal designer expects that his/her design would be the ground path for another pedal.
Yeah, DC can be surprisingly complex. Different values of "zero" volts, paths of least resistance that change with pedal order and switching, AC offset, etc.
Careful Cyrus! You are dangerously close to explaining Kirchhoff's laws and exploding unsuspecting heads.
If I recall correctly, you are referring to one claim in the patent. This is not the way we do it now. There are also a couple of trade secrets involved that are not in the patent.
We have never witnessed a problem due to what you are describing. Of course current fluctuations in DC happen, like may happen with a few pedals when stomped on or off. But DC, or their fluctuations, are of no consequence most, if not all, of the time. We have never heard any audible evidence of such a problem. Millions of players power chain with no problems. To our knowledge, there are only 2 problems that can occur that require isolation: 1) pedals in different chains, like a chain to the amp input, and another chain to the FX loop, sometimes need isolating by using a separate power supply for each chain (good practice in general), and 2) isolating noisy digital pedals, like we discussed before. Both of these can be solved by adding a single $20 isolated transformer. Bottom Line: Most folks never have isolation problems. You can get a $175 power supply and make sure you never have any, or you can wait and see if you have any, and solve them by adding an additional $20 supply to isolate the problem. We prefer the smart application of discrete transformers. It can be just as quiet, and saves money for other gear. Every player has a budget! See PedalSnake's Guitar Noise Manual.
Guitar Noise Manual – PedalSnake Blog
"Millions chain power with no problem" does not = "problem does not exist" nor does it mean there is a binary condition of obvious or critical problems versus zero problems.
That is the only thing I saw in the patent that describes the shield connections in the snake. If I remember correctly, the bulk of the patent claims are to cover any conceivable signal transmission like MIDI, audio signals (balanced and unbalanced), DC power and AC power. So, if you are not using that directional shield connection method of the patent now, then what other claims in the patent makes your cables different/better than the others? You have trade secrets for cable terminations?
You have never heard of someone with strange ‘ticking’ noises with daisy-chained powered pedals? Or ghost effect sounds from a bypassed pedal that was daisy-chained powered? Sometimes issues are due to a poor daisy-chain power supply, but a lot of times it is a ground loop issue between pedals that can only be remedied with isolated power.
True, a lot of people have no issues with daisy-chain power. But there are a lot of people that do have issues with daisy-chain power. Your two examples of the only times there might be an issue are but just a few scenarios in a sea of many.