is 18v really necessary?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by screwyloot, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. screwyloot

    screwyloot Member

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    something I've been pondering for a while.. recently got an ISO-5, and had a Pigtronix overdrive to fill the 18v spot on it. ended up selling the Pigtronix, thus leaving a blank spot on the ISO-5. i spent way too much time trying to fill that spot, perusing just about every 18v available.

    my conclusion? i don't really see the allure of 18v. i want my overdrives to compress a bit. everyone swears by the OCD/FD2 at 18v, but i actually prefer them both at 9v. i know Bearfoot regulates almost all of their pedals up to 18v, but if i got a Candy Apple Fuzz i think i'd actually prefer it at lower voltage. anything higher than 9v on a fuzz seems completely asinine.

    the one usage I could see being worthwhile is on a compressor pedal, maybe an EQ, where you want a low noise floor. I haven't tried it out yet because I'm not trying to take a punt on a subtle ass comp pedal for $150.

    i dunno, thoughts? i ended up upgrading to a PP2+ so I'm out of the market for any 18v pedals.
     
  2. captaincoconut

    captaincoconut Member

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    There are several pedals that need the 18 volts. Univibes run typically on 18V, many digital pedals...
     
  3. critter74

    critter74 Supporting Member

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    Well obvioisly many people donsee the need in one. Some like their OF oedals to have higher headroom and "clarity" 18v can provide. Others like you (and me, FWIW) like them with more sag and compression. But if I use a clean boost I want maximum headroom and clarity. So I use 18v with many straight clean boosts I have as I don't want sat or compression. I want what's there- just louder.

    Muchless there are many pedals that require 18v. Many analog Flanders do (like my A/DA) or even digital pedals (like my Pigtronix Echolution 2 Deluxe). Or many vibes.

    So again there are many reasons other than what you listed why 18v is desired or needed. Again with all of this it's preference.
     
  4. MilwMark

    MilwMark Member

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    OP - I assume you are talking about pedals that can run from 9v-18v, rather than ones that require 18v.

    If so, I have tried a bunch and always preferred them at 9v rather than 18 (or 12 or 15, for that matter). I prefer amps that get dirty at 4 on the dial over 8 on the dial, too.

    Kind of the same principle to me. Some folks want a cleaner platform and that's what 18v seems to supply.

    Along with more noise every time I've tried (regardless of how nice the PS is).
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
  5. screwyloot

    screwyloot Member

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    thanks for the input all. i was ignorant to the fact most UniVibe's require the added voltage, as well as some of the digital pedals you've mentioned. for that reason alone, 18v definitely has a place in the grand scheme of things.
     
  6. StormJH1

    StormJH1 Member

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    I always wondered this, as well. I assumed that the when phrases like "additional clean headroom" get thrown around in favor of 18V, that was mostly in reference to playing larger rigs, or gigging amps that are running all out. In other words, if you are playing a combo amp and only turning it up to 4, 18V for your pedals may be different, but perhaps not "necessary".
     
  7. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    I think it's a preference issue...I recently got an Xotic Voltage doubler so I was able to directly compare how I liked my Fulldrive 2 Mosfet at 9v and 18v in a matter of seconds. Frankly I was surprised that I preferred the 18v - I tend to like my OD pedals to compress the signal, and not be overly bright so I didn't expect to prefer it.

    I'd describe the FD 18v sound as "clearer" vs. "cleaner". I don't recall it changing the amount of OD/compression/dirt in the signal - more like it "took a blanket off the amp" type of change. At 9v it still has the same characteristics I like about the FD - but is just more muffled - and tweaking of the tone control brightens the tone but doesn't give that same 18v clarity.

    All that said it was just a quick test and I left it at the 18v and moved on. I didn't concentrate all that much on whether there truly was more or less dirt. It took a pedal I already liked and improved it in this case. I haven't tried it yet on the 15v setting with my BB Preamp (15v) simply because it's not on my pedalboard at the moment.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
  8. Flatscan

    Flatscan Supporting Member

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    Where the pedal can survive the higher voltage, and I try to be extremely careful here, I consistently find that I like the pedal much more at higher voltage.
     
  9. Coldacre

    Coldacre Supporting Member

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    gotta run that Ibanez AD-80 at 18v
     
  10. Alchemy Audio

    Alchemy Audio Silver Supporting Member

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    Not necessarily. Voodoo Labs sells a "voltage doubler" cable in case you ever decided you wanted to go 18 volts.
     
  11. guitarman3001

    guitarman3001 Member

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    I've tried 18v on one pedal, a Catalinbread Fn5, and didn't like it at all. I can't see why anyone would want more "headroom" on a dirt pedal. For me it kind of defeated the purpose of a dirt pedal. I want more clean headroom for my clean sound, not for my dirt sounds.

    To each his own though.
     
  12. mmolteratx

    mmolteratx Member

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    Something to note is that not all pedals react the same to higher voltage supplies. JFETs for example, don't get more headroom. The input signal is limited by the device properties itself. The only thing that will change is that you get more output swing, which will drive the next stage harder and result in more clipping.

    The headroom thing typically applies to op amps, which have wider input/output voltage ranges before clipping with higher supply voltages. Sometimes this matters, sometimes it doesn't. In most Tubescreamer-ish pedals, for example, there's no real op amp clipping to begin with (the signal swing is limited by the diodes in the feedback loop, rather than the supply rails), so the difference is minimal. In something like an op amp boost with no limiting circuit, you will gain usable headroom if the device itself is clipping with a lower voltage. However, your amp usually starts clipping before an op amp will, so the difference still isn't terribly important.

    Changes in supply voltage will not result in appreciable differences in frequency response with any device.
     
  13. Flatscan

    Flatscan Supporting Member

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    PP2+ plus a charge pump = muy bueno where safe
     
  14. screwyloot

    screwyloot Member

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    my sentiments exactly.


    wow, fantastic knowledge, thanks for chiming in!
     
  15. Madsen

    Madsen Member

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    +1
    Neve stuff runs at 24v. For some it's part of their design, for others it's just another option to monkey with. No matter what box it's stuffed in.
     
  16. slave

    slave Member

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    Relative to dirt pedals;
    To me it's not about whether it's clean or dirty, it's how the dirt pedal compresses the signal. When I turn up the gain, I expect dirt, but not a woolly mushy tone I can't fix.
    In this respect, guitarists have it easy...
    I play both bass & guitar, so having a pedalboard that'll do both justice has been a long and frustrating exercise.

    I've found a few pedals that just seem to work better at 18v due to the way they compress. My early-version MI Audio Tubezone is pretty damn excellent for both bass and guitar @ 18v, but at 9v it tends to compress a little too early leaving you with a muffled/woolly tone at certain settings.
    That said, I generally do prefer Fuzz pedals at 9v.

    I have found that quite a few non-drive pedals just can't take a hot output bass guitar without clipping. Raising the voltage to 18v (where possible) helps to fix this problem to a degree.
     
  17. gigs

    gigs Member

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    18V on my Fulltone OCD and FullDrive II. Makes a huge difference. I don't use these for much dirt, just a really nice boost. 18V makes it so much nicer.
     
  18. OverdriveLover

    OverdriveLover Supporting Member

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    I recently ran my Timmy at 18v versus 9v. I don't think it changed the amount of gain or volume per say, but i noticed a lot more response to my playing, especially in regards to picking dynamics and initial note attack. Just depends on if you like that kind of sound.
     
  19. Kid Casseroli

    Kid Casseroli Member

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    From my experience, a benefit to more headroom and hence, 18 volts...is to add amp drive to the pedal drive without the pedal dominating the gain.
     

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