We often see people asking how to daisy chain guitar pedals and despite our first reaction being unless there is absolutely no other option, then DON’T, there are some very good guidelines to follow.
Firstly it’s worth clarifying what “Daisy Chaining ” is, just like the common mains electricity wall plug extensions which share the power from one outlet into multiple devices it is possible to share a single power source between several pedals.
This can be in the form of a one-spot style wall wart with a daisy chain added or pre-attached:
And sometimes pedals have a power output such as found on the BOSS TU tuners.
This can work very well if your pedals are all analog, simply make sure that each pedal is plugged in and receiving power.
HOWEVER, it’s more than likely you will hear some strange sounds coming through, if not straight away then later down the road especially when you begin adding more pedals.
If this is the case you may find that one or more pedals on your board are digital. In today’s world, even something which seems analog can be digital or contain digital parts of the overall circuit. There are indeed many digital drive pedals on the market today that traditionally have normally been analog.
Importantly you should know that even if the interference you hear only happens when you step on a certain pedal, it does not mean that pedal is the problem. Often circuits that increase gain such as a drive pedal boost interference coming from other digital pedals.
If this is the case you have a few options.
- Use a battery to power the digital pedal, however, digital pedals eat through batteries much faster than a traditional analog pedal.
- Use a different power source for a digital pedal, a different output of a cheap power supply often will not solve this issue as inside the power supply it’s just a daisy chain … I know, it’s very annoying!
- Get a power supply with “truly” isolated outputs. This means that the power supply manufacturer has gone to the lengths of using specific conditioning to make each output completely isolated against interference from outside sources.
With this approach, you can still daisy chain your analog pedals if you wish however for the best reliability we would recommend you use an isolated output for every pedal on your board.
If you can afford a decent power supply (and there are many out there at great prices from companies such as Fender and MXR among many others) then this is the best way to go. If you must daisy chain then the interference you hear may not be coming from the most obvious place.