Many people ask what the big deal is about separate outputs on a pedal board. Basically, having separate outputs on a pedal board allows each individual pedal to have its own power source, guaranteeing that the current sent to a particular guitar pedal is uniform. In addition, separate outputs also allow you to control the volume from a variety of different controls on each pedal. This feature is useful for multi-effects units that require variable levels of gain reduction, such as the fuzz and wah modules in your pedal board.
You can separate the different sources of power with a switchable input type. There are three types of switchable inputs on a pedal-power supply: direct connectors, dual-use connectors, and battery connectors. A direct connector allows you to use one outlet for both AC and DC sources. Dual-use connectors allow you to connect two or more devices that require the use of two separate outlets. Finally, a battery connector allows you to connect an electric lead from your guitar into your pedal board. The advantage of having these options on your board is that you are guaranteed that the separate devices are treated equally when the power goes out.
There are some advantages to using separate sources of power. It allows you to use more than one amp in your signal chain, since one amp can supply all the necessary power supply requirements for multiple effects and pedals. If you want to mix your signal, you can run all the amp sources through one switching or control panel and monitor the effects through a separate control knob. This is also a good option for pedal boards with onboard mixers or equalizers, because you can use the same power supply to run both the equalizer and the amp control at the same time.
There are some disadvantages to separate power sources as well. If you decide to use a separate mains source for your guitar effects pedal, then you need to be sure that the power socket you choose can cope with the larger amp load. Some sockets can only handle a small amp load and may become unstable and suffer from voltage fluctuations if the amp gets too hot. You might also have to move the socket further away from your amplifier if you want to use it in a location where the signal can still be transmitted to your music interface or sound card.
A better option for a pedal power supply is to use a battery and solar power supply. Batteries are available in many sizes and voltages and can be used for both audio and power applications. They are also quite affordable and can easily be replaced in the event of failure. Battery power is also compatible with most stomp box styles of processors and will work even when the power cord is not available.
When choosing a battery power supply, make sure that it has nine outlets. This is a good choice if you are using multiple pedals. It is a much simpler setup than using several different outlet devices. The larger the pedal system the more potential power hungry the outlets will have to handle. If you are using multiple devices, such as a wah, tremolo, mono way, cabinet has, cabinet-style tremolo wah, a few channels of chorus, etc.
Other things to keep in mind about your guitar pedal power supplies is the number of outputs that it has. Some devices will only support one or two outputs, while others will need up to nine. The larger the number of outputs, the higher the wattage you can safely use for each channel. You might also need to think about connecting it to an outlet that is separate from the main power cord. It might make sense to run all the necessary wires to your separate power points.
Pedal power supplies with isolated outputs are very useful for recording purposes. They allow you to record one channel at full volume and place the other unconnected for another member of the band to use without worrying about damaging the separate units. Walrus Audio makes several different models of isolated pedal power supplies. Make sure to choose a model that has at least three different outputs for different types of pedals and channels you will need.