Looking for the perfect power supply? Finding the best solution can be tricky... It needs to fit on your board. It needs to be quiet. And it needs to have enough juice to power everything! In this video, we chat about some common issues around powering your rig properly. And we check out the new J. Rockett Juice Bar system. An innovative new approach to powering your pedals. Could this be your pedalboard's new best friend? Let's find out!
J. Rockett Juice Bar: https://rockettpedals.com/juicebar
Carl Martin DC Factory: https://www.carlmartin.com/ampster
Joyo JP-04 Power Supply: https://amzn.to/3FiuG9S
Voodoo Lab Current Doubler: https://amzn.to/45w6NGv
Hey friend, you’re here in the studio with Luke from GuitarIQ.com. In today's video, we're going to endeavor to answer that age-old question: How on earth am I supposed to power my pedal board properly? In particular, we're going to be taking a look at a relatively new, innovative solution from the folks over at J. Rockett Audio Designs. This was recently sent to me to check out. It's their new Juice Bar system. It offers some unique advantages over some of the more traditional power supply solutions you may, or may not, already be aware of. So in today's video, hopefully we're going to answer a bunch of your questions. And potentially even save you some headaches down the road.
Powering your pedals properly can be one of the hardest things to get your head around when you first start experimenting with pedalboard building. Likely, you probably started out where we all did. Which is, you pick up a 9volt power supply like this one and you daisy chain a few pedals together. And that works okay at home. But you take it to a few gigs and you realize there's a lot of noise and interference coming from your pedalboard. And then someone tells you, you should probably upgrade your power supply and you do, and that works for a little while. Until you go and buy some more pedals and then you realize that different pedals require different amounts of power. And suddenly that brand new, shiny delay or reverb pedal that you own no longer works with your current power supply. So you either have to upgrade to a new power supply. Or you end up with a Frankenstein-style rig where you have different power supplies powering different parts of your pedalboard. So how do we make sense of all this? And how do we ensure that the power supply we choose is going to work with the pedals that we're using?
Now, typically the first thing you hear is the time-honored, tried and tested advice around power supplies. Which is that, where possible, you should go for a good quality isolated power supply. What that means is that each of the outputs across the the front of that power supply are isolated from one another. Which goes a very long way to minimizing any noise and interference that you're hearing from your pedalboard. The downside of an isolated power supply is that each of the outputs are limited to whatever current draw they're rated at. So, for example, we have a relatively inexpensive option here. This is the Joyo isolated power supply. It gives you a bunch of 100mA outputs across the front with a couple of additional 250mA outputs as well.
Now, admittedly something like this is going to be perfectly fine in a lot of situations. Most of your typical analog stompbox type pedals are going to run well below 100mA and even a bunch of your digital pedals—especially your single stompbox-style pedals—are going to live somewhere between that 100mA to 200mA range. So, for example, this overdrive pedal up here which is the .45 caliber by J. Rockett will run at about 8mA which is pretty much nothing. Whereas this digital reverb pedal down here, the Oceans 11, is going to run at about 150mA. Where you're going to run into trouble with a power supply like this is when you get into the territory of more DSP intensive type pedals. In particular, I'm thinking about your bigger box, multi-algorithm modulation, delay, and reverb workstation type pedals. For example, this modulation pedal here runs at about 270mA. But it's pretty common to see these types of pedals run anywhere between 300mA to 500mA.
And that brings us to something like the DC Factory by Carl Martin. Again, this is another isolated power supply. But the design concept is a bit different with this one. Instead of isolated outputs, this gives you isolated “banks” of outputs. Each bank can run up to 500mA on this power supply. The idea being that you can run a low current analog pedal on the same bank as a high current digital pedal. And each pedal is just going to draw what it needs. Now, even though a power supply like this is going to work in more situations than a power supply like this. It's still not going to cover you for absolutely everything. In particular, I'm thinking about the latest trend of pedalboard based, real tube, preamp pedals like the Ampster pedal I have up here—again by Carl Martin. These types of pedals can run anywhere from 600mA to 800+mA. So how are you supposed to power something like this? Well, you could try using a current doubling adapter like the one I have up here from Voodoo Lab. The downside of something like this is it takes up twice as many outputs on your isolated power supply. And I'm also not convinced that something like this is 100% reliable depending on the pedal and power supply that you're using—at least from my own limited experimentation.
And that brings us finally to the J. Rockett Juice Bar. Now what is the Juice Bar? And how is it different to some of the more traditional power suppliers we've talked about? Well, the first thing is the Juice Bar actually isn't a power supply. It’s what we call a "power distributor.” And that means the Juice Bar can be powered in a number of different ways. First of all, it can run on a standard 9volt power supply like you would use with your typical daisy chain. But it can also be powered via USB. So you can run the Juice Bar with the same adapter you use to charge your smartphone, for example. Or you can even run the Juice Bar with a rechargeable USB powered battery, if you're looking for a small, ultra portable battery powered rig.
Now, unlike your typical daisy chain the Juice Bar is designed to filter out, clean up, and minimize noise as much as possible. But unlike your typical isolated power supply the outputs on the Juice Bar aren't capped at a certain mA rating. Which means your pedals are free to draw whatever they need up to a combined maximum of 2,000 milliamps. Which really is enough to pretty much power any typical pedalboard situation that has a mix of analog and digital pedals. With exception, of course, to your ultra high current modeling pedals, like your Helix or your Quad Cortex. Those types of pedals are really designed to run on their own power supplies. But for anything else, even for larger pedal boards with say 10+ pedals, the Juice Bar is going to be absolutely fine.
Now, just in case, one of the really unique features of the Juice Bar is that it actually provides realtime feedback in terms of how everything's being powered. So instead of having to scan the manuals for every pedal we own to work out the current draw for each pedal, then doing some quick mental maths to add everything together. The Juice Bar actually tells us whether or not everything is working optimally. So it has this simple LED system. If the LED is green, it means everything is being powered perfectly as it should. If the LED is yellow, it means we're getting close to the peak power allowed by the Juice Bar. And if the LED is red, it means we're overloading things and perhaps we need to rethink having all 18 pedals on at the same time in our signal chain.
The other obvious advantage of the Juice Bar, just looking at these power supplies, is that it's much slimmer and smaller than some of your more typical power supplies. So if you have a smaller rig—particularly a lower profile rig—with these types of power supplies the only way to use them is to mount them on top of your pedalboard. Which, obviously, is going to take up more pedalboard realestate. Whereas, the Juice Bar is much more likely to be mounted underneath any pedalboard.
Well, that’s pretty much all I wanted to cover in today's video. I know we've talked about a bunch of information, but to clarify there's not really a bad option here. It's just about knowing how you're going to use your pedalboard and then choosing the option which is going to suit your needs the best. Obviously, if you have a bunch of different pedals that have wildly different power requirements. Or if you're just looking for an ultra compact option. Or even if you're wanting to experiment with a battery powered pedalboard. Then, something like this is going to offer you some unique advantages. Definitely worth checking out. And that is my look at the Juice Bar system by J. Rockett Audio Designs.
Well, thank you once again for sticking around to the end of the video. For full disclosure, as I alluded to at the start, this was sent to me by J. Rockett to check out. But this wasn't a paid promotion or a sponsored advertisement. J. Rockett didn't ask me to do this video. I just thought it was an interesting alternative for powering your pedalboard. And hopefully this video helped answer some questions along the way. If you did like this video then please click on that like button to let me know. If you want to see more content like this then please consider subscribing to the channel. Feel free to leave any questions, thoughts, feedback, or comments you have in the comments section below. I’m really interested to hear what power supply you're currently using to power your pedalboard. And finally, before you go, I'd like to invite you to head over to the website GuitarIQ.com to check out some of the learning resources we have waiting for you over there. Covering everything from fretboard memorization, to warm-ups and workouts, to chord theory, and technique fundamentals, and a bunch more—that is GuitarIQ.com. Well, that’s it from me. Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video!