I've got the entire collection of Empress effects pedals now but my dream of an all-Empress pedalboard is being stymied by their power-hunger nature. 3 of the 5 run PICs for parameter changes and what not of the effects and the delay runs a DSP-PIC. I've got a total current draw of about 3A when all 5 are on at the same time. All run at 12 VDC but they don't have the same polarity plugs.

Short of running a power bar and a dedicated wall wart for each and every pedal, is there a way I can power all of these power-hunger effects? Ideally it'd be a low profile solution, something I can tuck away under a PedalTrain board so it's out of site. I'm a sucker for aesthetics sometimes...

Edit: I was overcautious with my current draw requirements. I've brought it down by half, so 3A. Ideally I'd like a power supply that could put out a bit more than that so I'm not running it close to the limits. But assume every pedal will pull 500 mA, which makes something like the PedalPower 2+ inadequate because only two of its outputs can handle that kind of current draw.

Edit: Yup. I really do want to run them at 12V, not 9V.

  • It is relevant to pedalboards, which are part of a guitar rig. I respectfully disagree. If we make this question off limits, then ALL amplifier, effects, and similar subject matter should also be considered off limits.
    – Jduv
    May 29, 2011 at 1:27
  • @Jduv: I agree. This is one of the potential hazards with merging -- the larger music community may not understand the specifics of the guitar world.
    – Ian C.
    May 29, 2011 at 3:25
  • Discuss here
    – Ian C.
    May 29, 2011 at 3:29
  • I've reopened, as effect pedal logistics fall within the realm of equipment for electric guitarists.
    – NReilingh
    May 29, 2011 at 3:59
  • "If we make this question off limits, then ALL amplifier, effects, and similar subject matter should also be considered off limits." This keeps coming up, and is a completely invalid argument. It's like saying that disallowing what-guitar-should-I-buy questions means that all questions about guitars should be off-topic.
    – user28
    May 29, 2011 at 4:53

2 Answers 2


There are several power supplies on the market! Many people say you need these to get the best sound out of your pedals but I think that the only reason to get one is the one you described in your question. After checking the Empress effects homepage I think this one would be enough for you:

Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus Universal Power http://www.zzounds.com/item--VDLPP2

At least on this one you can change all the outputs to 12V DC which is nice. However there are many similar ones out there with different currents and so on..

As for the polarity I think you need one of these...

Godlyke Power-All Cable-Red Reverse Polarity Jumper Cable

from here http://www.guitareffectspedals.com/power-all.html

EDIT: If its really 1000mA you need per pedal then I will withdraw my answer! (=

however the currents stated on the Empress homepage are much lower...

http://www.empresseffects.com/?page=superdelay# (under specs)

One more advice though.... If you are like me that you like to try different pedals and the your pedal board changes constantly i would consider a power supply that gives out different voltages so you dont need to change it as soon as you buy a pedal with a different voltage... Most of your Empress pedals (according to their homepage) can run on everything between 9-18 V so make sure you really want 5 12V outputs before buying.

  • With all due respect :), the poster mentions that he wants to run 5 pedals at 12v DC, the PP2 will NOT handle that. Also, I disagree with your statement " I think that the only reason to get one is the one you described in your question." I've been building boards for years now, and a good, isolated power source is required to avoid ground loops and other nasties.
    – Jduv
    Feb 24, 2011 at 13:10
  • You are correct on the polarity jumper though :)
    – Jduv
    Feb 24, 2011 at 13:12
  • The pp2+ (note plus) will most certainly run 4x12V for the other effects and leave the port 5 and 6 for the delay.
    – user399
    Feb 24, 2011 at 13:16
  • Depends on the mA draw. The pp2 only supplies only 100 mA so if any of his pedals draw more than that they will sag. I couldn't find the mA ratings on Empress's website, but if it works, I'll apologize and remove my down vote :).
    – Jduv
    Feb 24, 2011 at 13:31
  • The PP2+ cannot handle the current draw. It burns out the voltage regulators. I speak from experience. :)
    – Ian C.
    Feb 24, 2011 at 14:14

<opinion> First off, good choice on Empress. They build some high quality effects--although I dunno about running an all empress board :D--Seems a little thematic to me, but totally cool.</opinion>.

Ah the power supply question. Everyone needs them, nobody wants to pay for them--so they resort to wall warts and daisy chains. Let me be the first to say that I absolutely hate wall warts. I'm a neat freak, so my board has to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. I guess I should spend less time obsessing and more time practicing--maybe I'd get more gigs that way :D. Anyway there are two things to pay attention to here when selecting a power supply. First off, you need to know the current draw in milliamperes (mA) of the pedals you plan to power. Voltage is simply potential, whereas current is what runs a pedal. Most of the power supplies on the market will give anywhere from 100 mA to 300+ mA of current on a per port basis. Next, you need to make absolutely sure that your power supply is rated to give at least the minimum amount of current that each of your pedals require per port. Some non-isolated power supplies rate themselves as the maximum current draw across all ports, so you have pay attention to that. For example, if a PSU states that it supports 500 mA of power across 5 ports, then that means you have a maximum of a 500mA current draw on the supply and each port can support a variable amount of amperage. If your combined total current draw on all attached pedals is greater than 500 mA, you'll notice some sag, but if it's less you'll be fine. A disadvantage of supplies like this is that you don't get completely isolated power lines to each pedal, so there's a greater possibility of ground loops because it's basically a daisy chain inside a box. You won't damage a pedal with current starvation, but you will get some funky, saggy sounds. Note that this is desirable in some situations like fuzz pedals--hence the sag ports on the PP2+--but if you have sag you definitely want it to be intentional.

So for 12 volts DC you have a couple of options. I use a T-Rex Juicy Lucy to power all my 12V AC/DC pedals (I have five of them too), but unfortunately it looks like it has been discontinued. You could go with a T-Rex Chameleon instead--which would give you many more options if you ever ditched a 12 volt pedal or needed 16V or even 18V options. So far I haven't really found anyone who builds PSU's like the guys in Denmark. I use the ubiquitous Pedal Power Plus for all my 9 volt stuff (great unit), but no one on the market builds a decent isolated 12V AC/DC supply like T-Rex. The dimensions on both of those units are also very nice for tucking underneath your board with some Dual-Lock. In the event that you have a high draw pedal, you can use a current doubling cable. This will in effect double the mA that you can deliver to a pedal at the expense of taking up two ports on the supply.

To fix the polarity issue, a simple inverting cable like mrbuxley linked you to will totally fit the bill. T-Rex also sells them.

Finally, let me be the first to say that PSU's are expensive. Like, really expensive. But, as with most things you get what you pay for. It's similar to purchasing an amplifier for a home stereo system. My friend and I used to joke: "The heavier the amplifier, the better the amplifier." Although we were just kidding around, there's a bit of merit to it. A powerful and well built amplifier will be heavy, and expensive, because of the nature of the components involved in building them. The same goes for power supplies for pedals, or really anything. Although the application of powering guitar pedals may have some special problems (such as eliminating ground loops etc.) in the end, it's just a bunch of transformers. Those transformers must be made well, and up to international standards in order to work. Components designed to manipulate electricity to our pedal's whims are not cheap to build, but they are completely worth it in my experience.


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