Power Supplies, good, bad, ugly

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by deff, Sep 22, 2022.

  1. deff


    Oct 15, 2018
    Gloucester, MA
    I ran out of space on my power supply on my bass pedalboard and was looking to move the current one to my guitar board and then replace the one on my bass board. The price differential between isolated power supplies with 7 or more spots is somewhat surprising. I figured this would be a commodity thing and in general pricing would be around the same.

    Is a Strymon or a Cioks power supply really that much better than an MXR Iso Brick? Why the disparity in pricing? Why do ya'll pick what you use on your board?
    31HZ and Zak TMD like this.
  2. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    I use a Godlyke Power-All (9 V @ 2000 mA) and a daisy chain. Most people do not need isolated power supplies, and a lot of people don't realize this, because there has been so much hype put out by power supply makers. I've been using daisy chain power for 30 years and never once had an issue. Of course, I use only well-designed pedals that don't bleed noise all over the power chain.
  3. joel the bass player

    joel the bass player Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2000
    Omaha, NE
    Cioks has been worth it to me. DC7 and a 4 expander. If you have pedals that require more mA or have multiple different voltage requirements it is a no brainer. Spend the dough once and be done with it.
  4. gh0st42


    Oct 25, 2019
    For me, Cioks was definitely worth it for DC7 and CIOKS 8 and 4 Expanders.

    Lots of isolated power outputs with LOTS of available power on each if you do want to Daisy chain off of them, and every output having selectable 9v, 12v, 15v, and 18v Power is a game changer.

    Plus it's tiny and lightweight for the horsepower.

    CIOKS 4 is pretty sweet standalone for smaller boards or as an expansion on the DC7. It can even be run off of a rechargable USB Battery Pack instead of AC power via USB C power input.
  5. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    I'm using the Strymon system and I've really benefitted from it's expandability. I use a Zuma as the main unit and a pair of Ojai expansion units. It's more than capable of delivering a hefty wattage that a modern and large digital board requires...plus the number of isolated feeds that I need.
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  6. deff


    Oct 15, 2018
    Gloucester, MA
    I do like the idea of a modular system that can be expanded, but I really don't use that many pedals. In fact in my years of playing I've never had more than 5 on a board. I'm pretty much a head down, full speed ahead on one sound player with sometimes a sprinkle or two of something weird.
  7. Dr. Gonzo82

    Dr. Gonzo82

    Jul 19, 2008
    What pedals are you using ?
    You change them often ?

    Before covid I had five pedals, no pedalboard and powered them with batteries.

    Now I own... more pedals, a pedalboard and an isolated power supply. I cried once and bought a Cioks DC7.

    Power hungry digital pedals? No problem

    9,12,15,18 Volts? No problem

    Let’s try a Hx stomp? No problem

    A month ago I was gifted a Chinese les Paul copy, so I bought a one spot and daisy chained 5 pedals I don’t have on my board mixing analog and digital... also dead quiet.

    good luck finding what works best for you.
    deff and Adagietto like this.
  8. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I think part of the reason for the price disparity is that you're skipping straight from "lower end" to "higher end" products without exploring the middle ground. The Walrus Audio Aetos power supply (which is what I use), for example, has eight spots and comes in at a price point that is around halfway between the MXR and similar Strymon/Cioks products.
  9. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Cioks. Selectable V and standard and high mA outputs. Scalable! You can add an expansion using the same wall cord. Narrow! Fits under any board. Solid mounting hardware. Runs cool.
  10. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    A plus for the Aetos is the convenience 120V outlet on the side. I have one on one on my guitar board.
  11. Zak TMD

    Zak TMD

    Apr 22, 2016
    Outside of the heart of darkness, Washington, DC
    Breaking even is the new making money.
    I've got a cioks DC7. It's small and awesome, very versatile, and you can expand it with the cioks 4.

    OK, so truth be told, I'm definitely under utilizing this thing as all my pedals currently in rotation need only 9v, and I don't have any fancy digital ones that require the 660mVAs, but it's nice to know I have them.

    Full disclosure, I mainly got this because of how small it is, since my board is pretty low/small, but ended up putting it on top anyway cuz I wasn't comfortable with the clearance underneath.

    Upon switching from a cheaper supply, I found my signal way cleaner/less noisy.

    So the real question is: The MXR iso-brick - $150 / dc7 $229 - worth the cost?

    I think so, and I'm not even fully utilizing it. I like knowing it will suit my needs regardless of what I do to change the board around.
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  12. deff


    Oct 15, 2018
    Gloucester, MA
    Thanks for the heads up. I wasn't even sure what all of the players were. Also you get bonus points for having the world's greatest actor ever as your avatar.
    MCS4 likes this.
  13. 6-3-2


    Sep 20, 2003
    The advantage of a Cioks, and similar power supplies, is that they have A LOT of power in each output, selectable voltage and they're super small. The Eventide PowerMini I have (made by Cioks) can comfortably power 7 pedals off 4 outputs. Some people poo poo daisychaining, but I have yet to see a pro pedalboard builder or power supply maker say it's an inherently bad thing. As long as you have enough power and you don't hear noise, you should be fine. Even The Rig Dr, who is a stickler, has said daisychaining isn't inherently bad.

    In an ideal world we all have 7 output power supplies with all isolated outputs, but you can still get amazing sound and power 7 pedals without it. Thankfully there's a lot of good isolated 4 output power supplies around $100. I like my Eventide/Cioks a lot, since it's so small and has so much power, but the Ernie Ball Volt also looks great and is cheaper. While it doesn't have as much power as the Cioks, you can run power through one Volt into another, so it's great for expanding your board in the future.
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  14. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Does your current Power supply put out enough mA where you can daisy chain a few pedals out of one port?

    When updated my main board, I kept thinking I needed one port per pedal but turned out not to be the case at all. As long as I was under the total output the manufacturer said I could daisy chain 3-4 pedals out of one port, so I did.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022
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  15. I use the mxr dc brick and really like it. The only negative I can see is that it has a wall-wart power supply. Doesn’t affect function afaik, but its a little annoying when trying to create a neat cable run on stage. Guessing that’s part of why it’s cheaper? But besides that, it’s aces. I run 7-8 pedals that require 9-18 volts each, and it suits my needs. I don’t tend to run anything that requires tons of milliamps.

    I also like the form factor. It’s taller but less wide than many supplies which works great on top of the board where I prefer to keep it.

    Attached Files:

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  16. deff


    Oct 15, 2018
    Gloucester, MA
    My current power supply an older Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 doesn't even provide the 300mA for the Rusty Box I have. The other pedals are 100mA pedals, tuner, oceans 11, DA Curmudgeon, and an HPF. Actually the Damnation Audio pedal might require more I never looked. In any case I need to update it.
    6-3-2 and mikeswals like this.
  17. Cioks has variable voltage that is easy to switch. I even double-up two 12V to power my 24V Deluxe Memory Man. I got it right the first time around so I can't compare to other supplies. I will recommend Cioks all day long.
  18. I agree, because if a device is supposed to be directly compatible with most others for the same context, it's going to be simple, a 9VDC line with negative ground, that ground shared by the ground of an unbalanced audio line intended to feed an amp input designed with very high resistance intended to accept a guitar that probably has a high output resistance.

    The TLDR version of what follows is: if it can be done without isolation, using one big PSU, do it, and spread the load to maintain an even strain. It will make life easier. I don't care what the brand name is, context is everything, and has the context really changed that much in all the years past? I doubt it.


    One beefy 9VDC PSU, preferrably regulated, should be enough, and any really exotic power need would likely be met by the device maker supplying their own design of PSU with it. I'd try to avoid such devices if I could not modify them to take a more standard single rail supply.

    I run a 1KWh offgrid solar panel system, and will modify stuff if I can to get it on a 12VDC supply because once done, life is easier that way! 6 parallel lead acid batteries can source tens of thousands of amps, but this is why I use fuses. :) It beats sitting by a bomb. No device is going to draw more than it needs, unless faulty. This is why I use fuses... The same method can be applied to powering pedals, if the system gets big enough to need it.

    If I was connecting a lot of devices I'd want a few outlets, maybe 4, and try to balance the loads roughly evenly across them, because that way it's unlikely to fail, and probably less likely to cause extensive unrest if it did. With small devices close together this way, I'd consider them as one big one, and manage grounding accordingly, I'd not worry about hum loops between local devices on a board, the distance is too small to make them strong enough to be audible. Likewise, power ground problems will be minimised by the short leads and close proximity.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022
  19. ColdEye

    ColdEye Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    I use the cioks 4 (Eventide is just a rebadged one with less features, go for the ciosk). I run it with an anker usb power. Awesome, zero complaints and compact.
  20. Mayo Fan

    Mayo Fan

    Apr 7, 2009
    I went with the Cioks DC7 because I wanted to power a 1000ma 12v c+ pedal (takes 2 ports combined on the DC7), a 12v c- pedal, some 18v pedals and a bunch of 9v pedals. As far as I'm aware no other PSU on the market can do this. In practice though most of the 9v pedals are daisy chained off of 2 outputs and even with everything engaged the 40% load light doesn't come on. So with 10 pedals connected and 3 tubes lighting up, I'm nowhere close to the maximum output it can deliver.

    Long story short: very few pedals require fancy power supplies. If you have one or more, it's nice to have the flexibility and simplicity of only 1 power supply on your board. If not, any of the big brands can serve your needs. There's no shaming daisy chaining. ;)
    kentiki, deff and 6-3-2 like this.