Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus Review
The Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus is a high-quality pedal power supply that allows you to power up your pedalboard. This review covers a lot of the technical details so don’t be put off by any electrical jargon. I’ll also provide plain-English explanations as well so you can understand whether the Pedal Power 2 Plus is right for you.
If you want to learn about pedal power requirements and the different ways you can power your pedals, read through this guide on How to Power Your Guitar Pedals.
Here are the main features the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus offers:
8 completely isolated outputs, short circuit protected and highly filtered
This means your pedals won’t interfere with each other causing hum or noise. It’s an important feature that is lacking in most cheaper power supply products. If you see a power supply and it uses a common ground, I recommend avoiding it.
4x 9V or 12V output
The first four outputs can generate either a standard 9V output at 100mA. These outputs will work with a large majority of pedals. If you use BOSS pedals that specify ‘PSA’, the first four outputs will work fine. Alternatively, the first four outputs can be switched to run at a 12V output. A 12V output is required for BOSS pedals specifying ‘ACA’ to operate.
2x outputs for Line 6 modelling pedals
These outputs deliver a higher current at 250mA which is required for current-hungry pedals such as the Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler or the BOSS DD-20 Giga Delay. A simple switch underneath these two outputs allows you to select if you need regulated power for the BOSS twin pedals or unregulated power for the Line 6 modelers. These two outputs can also power standard 9V effects so don’t feel that it’s only for Line 6 pedals.
2x variable voltage ‘SAG’ outputs to emulate dying batteries
The last two outputs deliver 100mA but also allow you to control the voltage from 4V up to 9V. This feature is only relevant for older pedals that are affected by a decrease in voltage. Most modern pedals are designed to not be affected by a dying battery. But older transistor based pedals such as a few fuzz, Octavia and distortion pedals change their characteristics when a battery is dying. This ‘SAG’ control allows you to emulate a dying battery to achieve the same result. If you don’t have any pedals that work this way, don’t worry, you can simply run your standard pedals at 9V as normal.
Ability to power 18V or 24V pedals
Due to the fact that each output is completely isolated, you can actually use custom cables to connect two outputs together to achieve a higher voltage. So for example a MXR Flanger requires 18V. To achieve this you simply connect two 9V outputs together. On the other hand if you have a pedal such as the Deluxe Memory Man which requires 24V, simply set two outputs to ACA mode and you will achieve 24V. This ability allows you to have a lot of flexibility with your pedalboard. So if you have any pedals that require 18V or 24V, you can definitely use the PP2+ with a few extra cables.
Three models for different countries
It’s important that any power supply unit you buy matches the voltage used in your country. Be aware that there are three different models of the Pedal Power 2 Plus available so make sure you get the right one for you. The model available in North America runs at 120V at 50/50Hz, the Japan model runs at 100V at 60Hz and the Europe/Australia model runs at 230V at 50/60Hz. So if you’re in the UK and see a cheap PP2+ on eBay in the US (or vice versa), don’t buy it because it won’t work after it crosses the Atlantic! The supply voltage is marked on the bottom of each unit so be sure to double check it before buying.
Aux AC output
On the back of the unit, you will see an AC output able to handle up to 200 watts. This is very handy for MIDI foot controllers, AC powered effects or anything else under 200 watts. That means you could even buy two PP2+ and run the second one from the first one’s power! You could even use it to power your amp – BUT make sure it is under 200 watts by checking the power rating on the back of your amp. It’s important you don’t confuse the amp’s RMS wattage and it’s power draw.
For example, one of my amps is 150 watts which at first sounds like it would run fine as it’s under the 200-watt limit. But on the back printed under the heading ‘Power Requirements’ it says it draws a maximum of 480 watts! So don’t be tricked into thinking you will be fine running your amp through the PP2+ AC output. If you don’t know how many watts your amp draws (not the RMS watt rating), then avoid the issue altogether by not plugging your amp into it.
Voodoo Lab know that people will make mistakes so they flat out tell you in the manual not to plug your amp into it.
Ease of use
After reading the above features you might get the impression that it’s complicated to set up. In reality that depends on what type of pedals you have. For example if you only have standard 9V pedals then it’s as simple and connecting them and double checking any BOSS pedals to see if you need to flick the DIP switches on the back or not (see image below for DIP switches).
On the other hand, if you have a collection of pedals with different power needs, it will take a bit longer to set up. But it won’t be hard. The manual clearly explains everything in detail and the only adjustable settings are the DIP switches on the back and the two SAG controls.
Before I got the PP2+ I kept hearing people say that it eliminates a lot of noise. It was only when I plugged the Pedal Power 2 Plus into my long chain of pedals when I realized how noisy my previous set up was. Before I got the PP2+ I didn’t think the low hum in my signal was caused by my power supply. I figured it was a combination of noise from pickups, pedals and the amp. The reason I mention this is that a lot of people out there don’t realize that a large portion of their noise could potentially be a result of their power supply.
With other gear you want it to affect the sound in one way or another, in this case, you don’t want it to affect the sound. Having a ‘clean’ power source will prevent any ground loops or interference and the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus is one of the ‘cleanest’ power supplies available to guitarists. That’s the real feature to consider when comparing power supplies: will it introduce hum or noise? If you daisy chain your power supply or use a cheaper power source, changing to the PP2+ would almost definitely improve your tone. That’s what I noticed when I plugged my pedals into the PP2+.
With some guitar gear, the differences between a cheap copy and the ‘real’ expensive version are so minor that the cheap copy is worthwhile. When it comes to power supplies, you really do get what you pay for. It might be tempting to buy a $50 multiple pedal power supply but it would be a huge mistake to do so. As I mentioned earlier, the number one comment you will hear people make when they first try out the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus is that it eliminated noise they didn’t even know they had in their signal. The reason why this unit is worthwhile is only obvious when you get to compare it directly to a cheap power supply unit. Only then will it become clear why the PP2+ is worth an extra $100. It’s the quality of the build that matters here. The fact that each of the eight outputs is completely isolated tells us straight away how much effort was put into creating this product. No common grounds like other cheaper units means you end up with better results.
In terms of reliability, the Pedal Power 2 Plus comes with a five-year warranty on workmanship or faulty material. They were designed for guitarists with large pedalboards so you can definitely expect them to last on the road.
This type of product seems simple enough from a guitarist’s point of view: plug your pedals into the power unit and you’re done. But from a manufacturer’s point of view, it’s difficult because different pedals require different power. Right now you might only have standard 9V pedals so all the extra flexibility of the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus might seem useless to you.
But what do you do if you get a pedal later on that requires 18V or what if you get a Line 6 DL4 (read my review on the DL4 here)? Having the extra flexibility the PP2+ offers will prevent problems in the future. The Pedal Power 2 Plus surprised me when I realized how flexible it was. Even seeing the auxiliary AC output was a nice surprise and very useful.
The other aspect to this product is the quality. This is the most highly reviewed power supply I have found so far and it’s easy to see why when you use it. The high quality of the wiring and the fact that each output is completely isolated simply means that it won’t create any noise or hum.
So while you may be tempted to buy a cheaper power supply, this is the reason why I would recommend the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus over a cheaper unit every time. I’m very impressed with this product and highly recommend it.
- Compatible with virtually any pedal
- Well built and well designed
- Introduces no noise or hum into your signal
- Each output is completely isolated
- Expensive compared to other power supplies
- Does not come with brackets to mount to a pedalboard
Who is it for?
If you have more than a few pedals – for most guitarists the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus will become useful after you have at least three pedals. At that point, you start to realize how annoying it is to have multiple power adapters lying around or you start to notice noise or issues when daisy chaining your pedals together. If you have a few pedals and are likely to buy more pedals in the future, the PP2+ is a good investment that will last you a long time.
Who isn’t it for?
If you have less than three pedals – if you’re the type of guitarist who likes a minimal rig with a basic sound, you probably don’t have a need for this type of product. You’re unlikely to notice any issues when daisy chaining two pedals together or using two separate adapters. If you have no plans on increasing the number of pedals you use then you would have very little use of a PP2+.
Multi-effect pedal users – if you mainly use a multi-effects pedal such as the Line 6 POD HD500X, then a product like this would be unnecessary unless you also use a lot of single effect pedals. Multi-effect pedals draw too much current so wouldn’t work on this type of power supply. Stick to the adapter that came with your multi-effects unit.
How to get the most out of it
- Learn what each pedal requires in terms of voltage and current
- Read the manual (there are times when you can skip reading the manual and figure things out on your own. When it comes to power supplies, I highly recommend you read the manual first because you don’t want to accidentally overload a pedal or burn anything out!)
- Make sure the DIP switches are set properly for each pedal
- Consider mounting the PP2+ to a pedalboard such as a Pedaltrain and use a hard case if you take your pedals to gigs (check out this Pedaltrain, Case & Power bundle on Amazon)
As mentioned earlier, you get what you pay for when it comes to power supply units. If you are looking for a power supply for your pedalboard, I highly recommend the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus. There are of course alternatives such as the JOYO JP-02, but don’t expect the same quality as the PP2+.
To find out about different ways you can power your guitar pedals, read through this guide. You may find that a different method suits you better than a dedicated power supply.