Educate me: Old style batteries v alkaline in Ge fuzzes and similar.

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Burgs, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. Burgs

    Burgs Member

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    What's the deal?

    I'm not a great fan of batteries in stomps for the usual reasons (environment, waste, expense..) but I've heard and am told time and time again that the old carbon 9v's are much better 'sounding' than the Alkaline variety, mainly in old-school fuzzes and the like. I can't remember anyone telling me me why though.

    Truth? Reason? Actual sonic difference?

    Thanks.
     
  2. dividedsky

    dividedsky Member

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    from analogman.com:

    Battery comparison: two identical NKT 275 pedals. Starts with Alkaline Duracell (twice), Cheap General Purpose type (twice) then Duracell (twice again) on a Les Paul. Listen to the high end change.

    http://www.mikepiera.com/samples/duracell2.mp3

    In general, people like cheap carbon (dollar store 2 for a buck) batteries in fuzz pedals. I don't know the technical stuff just that most people (myself included) prefer them.
     
  3. Burgs

    Burgs Member

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    Thanks for the clip phishmarisol. :)

    I hear it. I don't understand it but I hear it. Maybe a transformer type of thing going on?
     
  4. amz-fx

    amz-fx Supporting Member

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    The internal impedance of a battery changes over its lifespan. The good thing about alkalines (for most uses) is that the voltage and internal resistance stay fairly constant until the battery runs out of juice and then it rapidly fails. That's what you want in most applications.

    The carbon-zinc GP battery has a more gradually resistance change over the life of the cell.

    In my experience, the difference is small and the sweet spot of the fading battery is rapidly lost and hard to duplicate. If you hear the difference between a new GP battery and a new alkaline, then that effect can be duplicated by inserting a small resistor in series with the battery connection.

    More info: http://www.muzique.com/lab/patent2.htm

    regards, Jack
     
  5. TweedBassman

    TweedBassman Member

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    just as a FYI/warning: not all 'dollar store' batteries will have this sweet spot. i just picked up a bunch of batteries that all put out over 10 volts!
     
  6. Curly

    Curly Member

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    I don't know if it accounts for any tonal difference, but the carbon batteries do measure a little more voltage.

    it's one of those things in life I don't question a lot, but if enough knowledgeable folks recommend it, I just do it :)
     
  7. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

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    Like Curly says, i don't know why, it just sounds better to me and i use them.
     
  8. aeonlux

    aeonlux Member

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    I prefer the sound of a carbon-zinc in my analogman Sunlion.

    Once finding a case (40 batteries) of Panasonic carbon-zinc 9v batteries mismarked for $1 total at a dollar store was a delight. :AOK


    cheers,
    Ian
     

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