Voodoo Lab vs Strymon Power Supplies

PSUs are a vital part of your rig, sending power to all your guitar pedals. We’re pitting the iconic Voodoo Lab up against boutique pedal designers Strymon with their own range of power supplies.

Cian Hodge

Cian Hodge

There’s an abundance of power supplies in the guitar world, but we’ve picked out two of the biggest and most respected names in Strymon and Voodoo Lab to dig into what makes them great. Here’s what we’ll be analysing:

  • Number of outputs
  • Quality of electronic components
  • Pedalboard compatibility
  • Potential expansion
  • Price

What makes a good power supply?

Depending on the size of your pedalboard, you’ll need the appropriate amount of outputs. These determine how many pedals you can provide with power. Most companies have a range varying from four up to 15 and even more on occasion.

The price of the PSU not only depends on the number of outputs but also the quality of the components. Isolated outputs are ideal because a magnetic barrier protects them from dangerous levels of voltage, meaning the amount of power is regulated. These won’t interfere with your effects or cause your pedals damage like non-isolated PSUs could.

Most guitar pedals require 9V of power, but some need more. If you plan on getting pedals that run on either 12V or 18V, your PSU needs to support them. Having outputs with either of these voltages or a selectable voltage is extremely handy.

Strymon & voodoo lab

Where are you going to put your power supply? It’ll probably end up on your pedalboard, but on top? Underneath? PSUs vary in size and need the appropriate space. Some pedalboard manufacturers plan for certain popular PSUs and make brackets to screw them in on the underside of the board. Luckily, the excellent Pedaltrain make mounting kits suitable for both our contestants.

And finally, some pedals won’t perform well on less than a certain amount of current flow. The most common current requirements are 250mA to 500mA; Larger Strymon pedals need a minimum of 300mA and 500mA for optimal use. Again, having a PSU that can power these pedals is a bonus. If you’d like to learn more about guitar-related electrical terms, read our article on volts, watts, ohms and amps.

Voodoo Lab Power Supplies

These guys have been producing power supplies since the mid-80s so know everything about the field. They’ve been the go-to brand for professional musicians for ages. If you take a look at your favourite guitarist’s pedalboard, it’s more than likely they’ll have one.

Most boards are made to suit Voodoo Lab PSUs because they’ve been working with pedalboard companies over such a long period of time. The accompanying brackets provided by major pedalboard companies fit all the models in the Voodoo Lab line-up, so you know you won’t have any problems adjusting your rig to accommodate one.

The Range

Voodoo Lab have a broad line-up of PSUs designed for varying sized boards. On the smallest model, you’ve got just the four isolated outputs but they’re all equipped with unique DC transformers to provide silent switching between pedals and multi-pole filtering to eliminate unwanted hum. As you’d expect, the X4 is perfect for small pedalboards from the likes of Tourtech or Gator. You could add an expander PSU to bump it up to medium-sized pedalboard suitability.

Moving up in capacity you have the likes of the 4X4 with eight outputs. Two of these are switchable between 9V or 12V, and two 9V outputs provide 400mA. You can field a more versatile setup using the 4×4. This is a standard-to-large PSU that could easily serve you throughout the majority of your guitar career.

Lastly, The Mondo is the pro-level 12 output PSU. This big boy can power all your favourite Strymon, Eventide, Line 6 and Boss digital pedals with super low noise and consistent electrical flow. It can handle your fuzz effects too, thanks to a ‘sag’ option to simulate low battery. Most fuzz pedals run best on batteries and sound great with low battery power, so the Mondo goes even as far as to improve the sound of your effects.

Strymon Power Supplies

California-based Strymon are best known for their studio-quality, all-encompassing effects pedals like the Timeline, BigSky, Volante and Mobius. But you need something to power them, right? Well, Strymon have that covered, too.

Just like their stompboxes, these PSUs benefit from the same excellent design and electronic hardware. They’re new boys on the block compared to Voodoo Lab, but they already have the pedigree and worldwide renown to back themselves up.

The Range

The smallest Ojai PSU has five 9V outputs all providing 500mA. It’s got your back whatever 9V-friendly pedal you plug in. Like the Voodoo Lab X4, you can expand using another of the same PSU if you want to run more pedals in your chain.

Strymon make two low profile PSUs you can fit underneath a pedalboard to save on space. Great for open-design pedalboards from Rockboard, Mono, or Pedaldeck. Both have an adjustable 9V, 12V and 18V, so there is some flexibility despite having only five outputs.

The best equipped in the range is the Zuma, a nine output high-end power supply with two adjustable voltage outputs. It’s comparable to the Voodoo Lab 4X4 or Pedal Power 2 Plus in capacity, however serves up a higher current like the Ojai – optimal for boutique pedals.

Strymon’s approach is to get you to buy one PSU and later expand, which isn’t the most cost-friendly approach. Especially considering the units are expensive to start off. But they are made with exceptional electrical components, utilising dual isolation, advanced filtering and an extremely rugged chassis.

strymon

Should I buy a Voodoo Lab or Strymon PSU?

On quality alone, it’s difficult to top Strymon. Their PSUs are built to last and you can always add to the chain. They also offer an optimal amount of current suited to any guitar pedal, so there’s flexibility (to an extent) if you buy just the one unit. But there’s a high price to pay for their products. If money is no object, this should be your pick.

Voodoo Lab, however, also make exceptional PSUs, cost less and on the whole provide more outputs for the money of a single unit. You also have the option to expand with the X4 PSU. Is there a sound difference between the two companies? Maybe, but it’ll be minimal. Pros have been using Voodoo Lab for decades and it’s worked for them so far.

Wanna do some shopping? Head over to our site for the full pedal PSU range. And if you enjoyed this read, check out more of our Labs articles!

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Cian Hodge
Cian Hodge
Cian is a copywriter for the Andertons web team. He shares his birthday with Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and believes he will one day reach the same level of stardom. Cian is a big prog/modern metal fan so naturally loves Bare Knuckle pickups and headless or pointy guitars.

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