Pedals and Batteries!!

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Lonely Raven, Oct 3, 2004.


  1. Lonely Raven

    Lonely Raven Member

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    So I've been sitting back thinking deep thoughts about
    this pile of pedals (and the batteries I've burned through them),
    and I'm recalling reading somewhere, like Analogman or
    Keeley or one of the other mod gurus saying that power source
    can vastly effect the tone of the pedal.

    So I'm wondering, has anyone done any extensive testing of
    different batteries and how they effect tone? Any articles of
    such? Any comments or thoughts from the Peanut Gallery?

    I can say, without a doubt, that I can hear a difference in quality
    of output with Duracell and cheaper batteries when using my
    early 80's DOD American Metal pedal. I've not done the battery
    test since the late 80's, and pedals have come a long way since
    then.

    So is it just me and Eric Johnson that are this nutty? LOL
     
  2. DerekMinnich

    DerekMinnich Member

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    Actually, I find the cheaper Carbon Zinc batteries to sound better than your average Alkelines. More warmth. But then again, certain pedals need different stuff. Fuzzface type pedals sound much better with Carbon Zinc's in my opinion. I'm not really using any of that stuff though at the moment and I use 9 volt adapters. When the new Juice Box LE comes out(if it ever does) I will get one of those.
     
  3. cuz/karl

    cuz/karl Supporting Member

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    Zink batteries deffinetly sound better in all (well most) drive type pedals.(OD,FUZZ,DISTORTION,BOOSTERS)
    I found no sound benefits in modulation pedals w/ the use of zinks.



    WALLMARTS .99 CENTS FOR 2.:dude
     
  4. Dr Rico

    Dr Rico Member

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    Ditto. In fact, delays work better with good alkalines.
     
  5. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

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    I've never bothered with batteries so I cant tell you if they sound better, I prefer DC supply for reliability.
     
  6. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    if you can tell the diff, you must be eric johnson.

    i've recently been using rechargable Energizers, and they've suited me fine. i spend less on really expensive 9 volts, and my conscience rests easier for not adding poison to ground waters.

    and yes, my DD-6 sounds the same, and i dont have to worry about spending for a new battery every gig.
     
  7. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I can certainly tell the difference, and I'm not Eric Johnson :). When I first read what he said about it, I thought he was nuts too... but he's not. The differences aren't huge IMO, but they are there.

    With the pedals I've tried, I found it to be very pedal-specific though, and not even possible to generalise into classes (eg "fuzzes sound better with zince-carbon").

    jokerjkny - I'm not surprised you don't hear a difference with the DD-6. Most or all the digital pedals I've tried are virtually immune from power supply variations, especially those that digitize the whole signal (not sure whether the DD-6 does this or not - the DD-3 and DD-5 don't though). This is one of the major advantages of anything digital in many normal applications.

    The variations with different batteries are IMO almost all caused by minor differences in the voltage - not all types of chemical cells produce exactly the same. The internal resistance may be a factor, but most pedals draw small currents and are usually constant-draw too, so the only difference this resistance should make is to vary the voltage further, not to actually introduce 'sag' in the way that a tube rec does in an amp.

    And whether zinc-carbon or alkaline sounds 'better' is probably down to taste anyway. IMO, my Fulltone '69 (classic Germanium fuzz) does sound slightly different... it sounds better with an alkaline, to me. My ZVex Fuzz Factory sounds better with a z-c though.

    Even among Boss pedals they vary... my PH-1r Phaser and DM-2 delay both appear to sound slightly better with fresh batteries, but my OC-2 Octaver sounds noticably better with a worn one.

    After all that I've gone to using a straightforward power supply for my stage pedals... just more convenient. I'm not worried about minor tone differences in that context. I still use batteries for recording though.


    BTW, the biggest difference I've ever heard was with a Bartolini on-board preamp in a guitar. A zinc-carbon sounded so harsh and scratchy I almost thought there was something wrong with the system. A Duracell cured it totally.
     
  8. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    well, to be honest, once the drain begins in my rechargables, i do get a tone drop. but with the batt's at full strength, they sound fine for me. i just make sure they're fully trickle charged each day.

    again, when i'm recording, my PP2 is a must. but on gig, i just wanna make sure i'm squeezing out the right notes.
     
  9. rh

    rh Robo Sapien Noise Maker Gold Supporting Member

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    I like C/Z in overdrives and distortions -- no question.

    Anybody got a good source for bulk of the Ever-Ready 9V "Cat" Classic C/Zs ?
     
  10. prakashananda

    prakashananda Member

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  11. Cybercat

    Cybercat Member

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    Hehe, welcome to the nutty club. :D

    Here's a short extract on batteries which I remember reading in Guitar Player's "Stompbox Stampede" back in '95 : -

    Assault and battery. Some players and stompbox makers swear that battery type affects the sound of their pedals. Highly possible -- a 9-volt battery is actually a stack of six 1.5-volt cells, and the quality of the connections between those cells can make a difference in the source impedance of the voltage, which may affect the sound of a device. Also, the two most popular battery types -- alkaline and carbon/zinc -- have unique qualities. Alkalines last longer and their output remains steadier under load, whereas carbon batteries sag noticeably under load but often yield superior stompbox tone. We tested a small control group of Ibanez Tube Screamers with various brands of 9-volt batteries and found that they did indeed sound louder and crisper when administered higher doses of carbon-generated electrons. People practically go into convulsions over Eric Johnson's reported ability to hear battery-induced differences in his pedals, but it's not that far out. Batteries do differ: Duracells pump out 9.5 volts, but they're not the strongest cells in town. Among the hottest batteries we found were the Taiwanese Magicell (William Electric & Battery Co.) and Ray-O-Vac Heavy Duty Maximum (carbon) at 9.7 volts and the Hong Kong-made Hi-Watt Super Heavy Duty and Panasonic Heavy Duty (carbon) at a tongue-zappin' 9.8 volts. The Maxon carbon battery that Ibanez issues with their new effects measures 9.6 volts, a Radio Shack Enercell carbon battery is good for 9.3 volts, the Eveready Super Heavy Duty delivered 9.4 volts, and an alkaline Eveready Energizer yielded 9.3 volts. Experiment and listen.

    (Full article can be found HERE).

    I'm guess I'm lucky to have been living in Hong Kong for the last 14 years, & the Hi-watt batteries mentioned are fairly common in markets & small shops here (@ around US$0.30 each), as are Matsushita's "National Hyper" (aka "Panasonic Heavy Duty")

    [​IMG]

    I prefer the Hi-watt Heavy Duty in my fuzzes, espescially once the 'newness" has worn off a tad, but with many stalls & shops carrying old stock here, they're often good virtually from the get go... :rolleyes:

    What I've found is that they seem IMHO to make definite difference in older design pedals, espescially those with germanium transistors - like my NKT Sunface, Bennett Brown Sound, anything bought off Scotty at ProAnalog, MJM London (Michael @ MJM stuck Hiwatt batteries in everything I've got off him) & most other Fuzz Face clones etc. (I understand the battery actually becomes part of the audio circuit in the original fuzzface design) , whereas the difference in modern pedals is rather more iimperceptible to me. YMMV.

    I save as many of these Hi-watts as I can for the Analogman NKT Sunface, but power my Klon Centaur, Cornish Duplex & Strobostomp from a Godlyke Power-all.

    Hope some of that was useful...
    - Good luck!
     
  12. Lonely Raven

    Lonely Raven Member

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    I'm revisiting this thread because I totally forgot I posted it,
    and the forums E-mail Notification didn't tell me that anyone
    posted here.

    I'm working on doing some tests with my fleet of BOSS DS-1
    pedals, and an analogman Sunface Fuzz.

    I bought a ton of batteries from three different $1 stores
    to play with, I found that (As you would expect) the voltages
    coming from the cheaper batteries varies greatly.

    Any Z/C battery (brand) you guys stick with? I want to make
    sure I test them out with all the other odd ones I have for
    my little experiment.
     
  13. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    On my wonderful Austone fuzz, which was a vintage style piece, I found first of all that it sounded much better with batteries, and a tiny, tiny bit better with c-z batteries. Oddly enough, the guys at Austone felt that the sound was pretty much the same with power supply or batteries, so maybe it was just my pedal.

    I also found that I liked my Picture wah better with batteries.
     
  14. Martyk

    Martyk Member

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    Cybercat, hope those aren't your undies as the background!
    :eek:
     
  15. prakashananda

    prakashananda Member

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    I found these on ebay:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=5730435276&ssPageName=STRK:MEWN:IT

    They can be found in some web stores as well, but are easier to find on eBay nowadays. I got a 2 pack of these at a Target once for $1, but that was their last package.

    I saw some of the old silver eveready's on the net for sale at one point, but I just looked for it and couldn't them again.
     
  16. Lonely Raven

    Lonely Raven Member

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    A girlfriend of mine dropped off a handfull of batteries she found
    at dollar stores, including a korean brand and a bunch of
    those Eveready C/Zs. She got the Eveready at Walmart.

    It is the holiday season, and now is when you'll find all the
    stores unloading the old stock batteries!
     
  17. BFC

    BFC Supporting Member

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  18. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    any bouteek batteries ? :D
     
  19. dm4501

    dm4501 Member

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    The new lithium batteries haven't been mentioned. They might qualify as boutique!;)
     

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