They're totally different, and serve different purposes. I will explain below.
Originally Posted by Blackbird
My genius studio tech created a balanced 2000 Volt isolation transformer for me by modifying a SOLA isolation transformer back in the 90s. He passed away recently and I miss him. He was brilliant. But the SOLA created so much mechanical noise that we had to isolate it in the HVAC room, and it also weighed about 150 pounds.
Originally Posted by ]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! ©
Enter the IT-1220 into my world about 12 years ago, and later the Equi=Tech system that does the same thing with more outlets.
Balanced power supplies and isolation transformers like the IT-1220 (I had one for years) and the Equi=Tech supply I currently use in my studio are designed to do two things:
First, isolate the incoming AC completely from the incoming power line and thereby eliminate outside noise, and;
Second, to create a Balanced Power Source that reduces hum and noise in a studio system by working like a balanced mic line or humbucking pickup: the two legs of the AC line are out-of-phase 180 degrees, thereby cancelling induced hum and noise from things like power cords on your studio gear that might otherwise be radiating into your signal wiring, etc.
All things being equal, this should reduce the noise floor of a studio by about 8-14 db, and I measured about a 10 db improvement in my system when I first installed my IT-1220 (I got a larger AC system later on, which is why I don't use the 1220 any more).
So Hans had and heard the results with a correctly wired studio operating on balanced power, and that's a good thing!
HOWEVER, balanced power has NOTHING to do with pedal or other equipment ground loops, it will not solve them, nor is it designed to, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with guitar pedals. Zero.
It does not take the place of a pedal power supply with isolated outputs for pedal power.
Understand that the thing that causes noise on most guitar pedal boards is simply the existence of ground loops, and this is because most pedals have different grounding schemes, and are inexpensive and not designed with big time power supplies built in that would require AC cords, etc.
The reduced noise floor inherent in a balanced power system is for studio gear, primarily gear equipped with 3 prong grounded plugs, and is NOT intended or designed to prevent problems caused by the typical guitar pedalboard wiring systems and various ground loops.
In fact, most studios using balanced power STILL make use of proper grounding techniques, such as star grounding and so on. I'll repeat: balanced AC power and advanced filtering do NOT solve ground loops!
In other words, these boxes do NOTHING for your pedals, in the sense that you still need to wire the pedals properly and isolate their grounds from EACH OTHER to prevent ground loops.
This is what a proper isolated pedal power supply will do.
But there is no doubt that the balanced AC boxes like the IT-1220 work and work well FOR THEIR INTENDED PURPOSE. And that purpose is not to isolate ground loops, it is to reduce the hum and noise radiated into adjacent signal cables from AC cords, etc, and to isolate the outside AC from your studio.
As for the rack mount "power conditioners." let me explain their very different purpose:
These were originally marketed because early digital gear was very, very susceptible to spikes and surges that would scramble their digital memories. A small brownout or power surge would literally crash computers, de-program synths and digital boxes like my old Eventide Ultra Harmonizer and TC M5000.
And so two kinds of "power conditioners" were used: The first and more expensive ones regulated the current to a degree so you'd get a standard 120V. The second was merely a glorified surge protector.
This was needed somewhat in the old days, if you gigged or had a studio in an area subject to AC problems, BUT modern power supplies on computers and digital gear are much better and these "power conditioners" wind up being truly unnecessary. If you have old (by this I mean 1980s or 1990s) digital gear in a studio, they might be a good idea.
Also, unless it's very well designed and manufactured, a surge protector's EMI/RFI filtering can actually add noise. My studio tech demonstrated this to me on his oscilloscope.
In any event, these boxes do absolutely NOTHING for guitar pedals. The do not isolate your pedalboard's pedal power outlets unless they are made for pedal boards AND have individually isolated outlets FOR EACH PEDAL.
I hope this explanation is clear, and helps.
Sure! It is definitely confusing is I have things laid out for memory and ease of hitting and not particularly in order.
Originally Posted by DirtyMoonsRJT
Guitar goes into the Red Analog Man Sun Bender. It's a Germanium fuzz and it HATES my buffered TU-3 in front of it. The Flashback pedal is the last stop before it hits two Blackface Fender amps.
So it goes Analog Man Sun Bender > BOSS TU-3 Tuner > Joe Bonamassa Crybaby (in true bypass mode) > MXR Script Phase 90 w/ LED > Keeley C4 Compressor > Xotic RC Booster > Xotic EP Booster > Fulltone Fulldrive II MOSFET > Mojo Hand FX Rook > ZVex Box Of Rock > JHS SuperBolt > Fulltone OCD v4 > Mojo Hand Clementine Booster > JHS Prestige Buffer > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > TC Flashback Delay
The RC Boost is always on for a basic "tone sweetening". It's set more as an EQ and tone shaping move basically. I like what it does to my cleans. The EP Boost is to match volume from single coils to my humbuckers as I play humbuckers mostly and my levels are set for humbucker pickups (set quieter for higher output pickups). The orange Clementine pedal is my solo boost. It boosts my volume a lot and adds some grit and squeeze. It's based on the old Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer. The last interesting pedal is the JHS Prestige (gold pedal). It's a buffer and is always on. I set it at unity but it pretty much ensures that I lose no high end. So with the buffered TU-3 and the Prestige at the nether ends of the chain, I lose no signal.
The rest are your average delays, phaser, compressor, and OD/Distortion choices. My new favorite is the Mojo Hand Rook pedal. It's like having a Klon and a TS808 in one box with a switch. And a killer clean boost. I use it in the Klonish setting (all the way down) as I'm using the FDII for my TS type sound. I saw it on Brad Whitford's pedalboard and had to try it out.
Thanks! Yes these are my favorites too. The Bonamassa Wah is killer - so very throaty and "smoky". Sounds like the original italian wah's to my ears.
Originally Posted by aduayer
Thats outstanding info on power supplies and cableing, guys...and something I had not even considered. Thank You!
I got my TC Polytune in the mail today and i already love it! I always considered the tuner on my GT6 a "good tuner", but after plugging in the Polytune to my SC I found my inntonation a bit flat on my low E and my B strings. Not much, but I'm completely anal about my inntonation and if the TC just helped me improve upon that, I'm very satisfied with the purchase.
I haven't pulled trigger on a distortion pedal yet, but have been trying to research as much as possible. Whoever recommended proguitarshop.com gets a thumbs up, the videos are awesome! I've noticed a few PRS's being played in some of them too ;) I've got a short list of distortion pedals that I thought sounded good, but still have a ton more to listen to. The Mad Prof Stone Grey, Mad Prof Might Red, LovePedal Red Head, Keeler Designs Shoved Distortion, Rothwell Switchblade and MXR M116 Fullbore all caught my attention so if any of you own or recomend any of those i would love to hear what you think about them.
Come on guys, we've come this far, dont leave me hangin now!
Well, it looks like you want to listen to ALL of them before deciding - good luck :) Generally I'd recommend something that gives the broadest range of tones. Some OD/Distortion pedals have only one tone knob while others have two (low/high) and others three (low/mid/high). Some more sophisticated pedals have a separate clean boost channel and a "Voice" (amp simulator) control. Have a look at the amazingly affordable line of pedals from Joyo - very positive reviews and you can buy four of them (maybe more) for the typical cost of a designer pedal.
Originally Posted by Boogeyman
TC Nova Modulator, TC Hall of Fame Reverb, TC Flashback Delay, Dunlop Volume Pedal & TC Poly Mini-Tuner