If you’ve ever taken your guitar player 1” past your house, you know all too well about power anomolies. If you’ve ever recorded electric guitars EVER, you know all too well about random noise getting into pedals. The only alternative has been chewing through 9V batteries like a pothead through bagels. (Am I the only one to notice that potheads eat a disproportionate number of bagels?)
Personally, I hate batteries. I hate throwing money down the drain when there is a long-term solution. Even if I barely use the long-term solution, the peace of mind knowing that I don’t need batteries is worth it. The idea of a power supply is ALWAYS BETTER…..until the damn things are noisy. The world’s worst in the noise departmebnt has to be my Radial X-amp guitar reamper, but that’s another story. When noise strikes, the power supply thing has to go.
What we REALLY need is an isolated way of powering our pedals without the time and money it takes to swap out 9V batteries on a regular basis.
Luckily, we live in an age where battery technology HAS to improve or 2020 is going to be a rough year. While the big time scientists are trying to make the electric car thing work, us dumb noise makers get gadgets that make our electric guitar rigs work a bit better.
Introducing The Sanyo Eneloop.
This thing looks quite a bit like a laptop power supply. Of course, it’s white. So you know what team they are playing for. After making the puke face for about three seconds (har har) I decided to make peace with my scarf-wearing comrads, temporarily, so I can test this thing. (I see now that the make a black version for us men.)
The thing couldn’t be simpler. You plug it in power supply. It charges. When you want to use it, you unplug it, push the button, a light turns green, and your pedals come on. Done.
How Long Does The Charge Last?
So far, I’ve got a Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble pedal that’s been running for 24 hours. I had to ditch our experiment to switch to a tuner for bass, which ran about five hours yesterday. As of this morning, the battery is dead. So that means we made it somewhere between 32 and 40 hours on a single 9V pedal. Not bad.
Is This Thing Gig Worthy?
I would have to say yes. I performed reliably session after session.
The eneloop guys were smart enough to toss in a few polarity flipper wire adapters. Just in case you aren’t up on this, let me explain. There are these people on Earth called “assholes”. These people do one of two things. One, they leave their blinker on when they have no intention of turning. Two, they build guitar pedals using the opposite polarity as every other guitar pedal on Earth. Luckily, the Eneloop guys solved that one.
Another problem is not all pedals are 9V. In particular, the Line 6 pedals prefer quite a bit more voltage, but there are others out there. So I’m not exactly sure what that means for people with a variety of pedals in a live setting.
The price of the Eneloop Pedal Juice is not cheap @ $150 street. So only you can decide what you blow on batteries and time changing them each year.
Other than that, I can’t think of a flaw. This is a cool gadget.
In The Studio
While I still have to rely on batteries and/or power supplies when dealing with odd ball pedals, all the usual 9V pedals are covered with the eneloop. In those dumb situations where I feel the urge to use 6 pedals at once, it’s got me covered. The noise is something I no longer have to deal with. Flying through 9V batteries is another.
Another benefit. I hate taking the time to change batteries I hate it on a Boss pedal. I deplore it on a pedal that require a screwdriver. So what happens? When I put a battery in a pedal I don’t take it out until I’m putting the next battery in. Now I’m a studio guy. Do you know how often my Dynacomp gets used? I’d say once per year. I should probably toss it on Ebay or something. What are the odds that it has a leaking 9V battery? I’d say there’s a 60-65% chance. The pedal could be ruined. So any studio guy that has a large collection of pedals that he doesn’t use on a regular basis may be able to come out ahead with the Eneloop just by avoiding leaky batteries.
If you hate noise and hate buying 9V batteries the eneloop is for you.
If you worry about 9V batteries leaking, the eneloop is for you.
If you hate wasting big bucks on continually swapping out 9V batteries, the eneloop is for you. Cool product!
elmagoo – 04-12-2011, 09:50 PM
Very cool product that solves this problem, although I would recommend another way if you can afford it. Fix the power problem as it will make all of your gear run better and you will have practically no noise issues at all. The problem is the pricing issue, getting something that can fully clean and stabilize your power is expensive…..no way around that. But after pulling the plug in my new studio, it was worth every penny. It reminds me of the articles and posts you’ve mentioned where sometimes its better to invest your money in gear that isn’t a cool new gadget, but rather a utility that will help you so much more (like room treatment or monitoring).
In this example I’m talking about the Equitech Son Of Q balanced power unit.
Balanced Power from Equi=Tech — The Son of Q for Pro Audio Applications
they’re about $1700 new for the 1.5R version (yeah….yikes!!!), but they will solve 90+% of your power related issues!! With the exception of my computer / display stuff (which goes through a UPS into the wall), everything else is run through this. My sub, monitors, pre amps, guitar amps, outboard, etc… We also rigged up an outlet in my isobooth via a cable with a plug that goes into this, so if I have to put a combo amp / mic power supply in there it will run off this. I have the quietest system I’ve ever heard. You know how when you have your speakers on and nothing playing, if you crank up the volume you hear your noise floor (i.e. all of the hiss and static)? I have no hiss in this situation (ok, there’s a barely perceivable hiss that you have to strain to listen for .
This effects everything in the chain and makes it that much better. My speakers power amps aren’t wasting energy trying to reproduce wasted frequencies, hence more power to devote to the music. No AC line noise at all unless the amp has issues (such as bad shielding or a tube in the amp). This also means hardly any power bumps from elevators / air conditioning / washer – dryer / dishwasher noise. The tracked signal is super clean, so I can track at a lower level giving me more headroom for mixing because I don’t have to worry about the noisefloor as much.
I was super skeptical as I tried many different options in our new place (which has terrible power noise issues). A gave this a shot and am a believer now. Also the owner is a fantastic guy that’s super smart about these issues. He even recommended stuff for me to try before I bought his product to see if I could save money.
Anyways, I’ll end the novel .
belleym – 04-13-2011, 10:55 AM
Great review Brandon! I nearly pissed myself laughing reading the “shortcomings” section. Looking forward to your next review!
Nanowire – 04-13-2011, 11:49 AM
It would be nice if made 9V replacements like this to fit in your IEM pack or guitar transmitter. Too bad. Only for pedals. The average rechargable is not up to snuff still.
belleym – 04-13-2011, 03:39 PM
Nanowire – Consumer grade rechargeable 9V are indeed garbage for our applications. I’ve been using iPower 9V Lithium-Polymer 500mAh batteries on stage for years in both analog and digital transmitters. They have NEVER let me down, even if I forget to recharge between shows!
Trister Keane’s Avatar
Trister Keane – 04-19-2011, 04:19 PM
[QUOTE=belleym;259131]When you want to use it, you unplug it, push the button, a light turns green, and your pedals come on. Done.
Surely there is more to it than this? How do you get the power to the pedals? Does this plug into the existing battery interface (the pad with two plugs on it)? If so, do you have to run the pedals with the battery door open? If not does it only work with pedals that except external wal wart type plugs (DC in)?
Clearly I’m not getting something here.