Depending on what reviews you read some people say greatly improves the sound, others say stay away from batteries they are the work of the devil. Whatever your belief or worry we're here to prove what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to why batteries make some pedals sound better, why others it doesn't give two hoots, and others just eat batteries.
Pedals that benefit from battery.
Older pedals that were simple transistor like the Fuzzface, cry baby waa, compression pedals.
Why do they work better?
With these pedals there is less power supply regulation and fluff in the way, the batteries in these pedals actually directly connected straight to the electronics. The battery voltage and supply voltage goes up and down depending upon the current drawn, i.e. when the unit is working at max gain it sucks more power (current) and can bring down the voltage a little on the battery. This gives it a 'sag' effect much like how a valve amp tends to compress loud sounds and you get a softer compression rather than a distortion. With these kinds of pedals running off mains power supplies means that the voltage going to the pedal is regulated. If the pedal draws more current the power supply ensures that it maintains the requirement and keeps things perfect (well electric wise, but can mean you don't get the sag you did with batteries)
Pedals worth running on Power supplies rather than batteries
Things that contain digital elements such as reverbs and processors tend to get on better with power supplies, as all the processing is digital there is little effect the 0's and 1's can have on the power supply and you'll not notice any sound different apart from a buzz mains hum if you have a bad power supply!! It's also these units that tend to draw more current overall and you'll eat more batteries than some of the older analogue effects. The last bit can be a bit misleading but that is the general rule of thumb.
What have the monkeys at sickamps come up with?
Glad you asked, we've created a 6 way battery powered pedal board. Some other brands require a mains supply to turn the batteries on and off, our unit is completely battery powered requiring no mains! ideal for where you're too far from power or busking! The battery pack features 6 independently powering 9V batteries to each output power barrel all controlled with a master switch for on/off. Being creative we are also looking to incorporate a battery condition meter in the case with a simple selector switch meaning you never need to play blind without knowing what the battery level is! Of course the pedal battery power supply will be incorporated into a steel box and will be the size of your typical pedal so it won't take up valuable space on your board but will give a great sounding convenience centralised battery power to your board.
Watch this space for updates on this project, or contact us to express an interest in owning one once built! Remember these are built by hand on our bench, not mass produced so we can ensure perfect quality and attention to details, we can also bespoke the battery quantity up and down for different pedal boards and constraints!