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For many years, Truetone has made musicians’ lives easier with the 1 SPOT, the original compact pedalboard power supply. It works so well that a lot of musicians never felt the need to get one of those brick-style power supplies, and we here at Truetone didn’t see the need for those either, even though they were quite popular. Bob Weil, the founder of Truetone, explains:
“A lot of people over the years had told us that we should make a power brick. Even some of my own staff urged me to do it, but I didn’t want to for two reasons. First, I knew the 1 SPOT could power just about every pedal out there, so I didn’t see the need. Second, I didn’t want to make just another knock-off of someone else’s power brick. If we were going to make one, we were going to do it our way and have features that nobody else could offer. As pedal designs changed and it became more common for digital pedals to require isolation and for others to need something other than 9Vdc, I finally saw a reason for us to design a power brick.”
“It took 3 years and lots of experimentation, but we were finally able to design a 1 SPOT Pro, using our own proprietary technology to give musicians all the features they need for today’s pedalboards. The original 1 SPOT still works great for most musicians, but for those who need more power and versatility, the 1 SPOT Pro fills the need perfectly.”
1 SPOT Technology… what does that mean and why should I care? Technically, it’s switching power supply technology, which is very different than what anyone has ever put inside a power brick. Normally, you would find just a big transformer and a handful of small electronic components inside a power brick… old tech that hasn’t changed in decades and has a lot of limitations. We took the same switching power supply technology found in our famous 1 SPOT and scaled it up to make the 1 SPOT Pro models. With much more space to work with, we were able to completely eliminate noise, provide total electrical isolation between outputs, create multiple voltages, and still give you the ability to use it anywhere in the world.
A major benefit of using a switching power supply is that it can handle far more current (power being pulled out of it) than any transformer-based power supply. Although we had to put power rating labels on each output to satisfy certification agencies (yes, we actually certified these, unlike most companies), the outputs can generally handle far more than the label shows. For example, you can connect a 300mA pedal to a 200mA output, without causing any problems. With a transformer-based power supply, you can’t get away with that. The important thing is to not exceed the total of all the labels. With a CS7, the output labels add up to 1900mA total. That means the total current draw of all your pedals should be less than 1900mA. That total current rating is roughly double the current load of the most common power brick, for a lot less money.
We recognize that not all guitar pedals run off 9V. That’s why all 1 SPOT Pro models have outputs that can put out 9Vdc, 12Vdc or 18Vdc. The CS12 even has a variable voltage output for old-style fuzz pedals, and a 9Vac output for certain Line6 and Digitech pedals. And if you need to change the voltage of an output, Truetone also makes inexpensive converter cables to help you. There’s the Voltage Doubler, which does exactly what its name says, and the 18V to 9V Converter... which also does what its name says. They don’t have the most clever names, but they get the job done!
Just like with the original 1 SPOT, and your laptop power supply and phone charger, the 1 SPOT Pro uses switching power supply technology which allows you to use it anywhere in the world. The CS12 has an input voltage switch on the back, which switches voltage only for the 9VAC output, since that output does use a toroidal transformer. The rest of the outputs on the CS12, and all of them on the CS6 and CS7, don’t care what the input voltage is.
If you’re a touring musician, or even if you just play at the local pub regularly, you know how important it is to have roadworthy gear. No worries with the 1 SPOT Pro. The housing is all steel, with cleverly designed vents that should keep out the accidental beer spill, should that ever happen.
Since pioneering the first switching power supply for musicians, the original 1 SPOT, we’ve gained many years of experience in creating very low noise power for pedals. When we started designing the 1 SPOT Pro, the first multiple output switching power supply, we worried a lot about how to eliminate noise completely. Isolation is part of the solution to noise elimination, but not all of it. Each output is galvanically isolated from the other to help give you pure, clean, noise-free operation of your pedals. However, we also provided an additional layer of pure analog regulation, taking advantage of the greater ability of analog circuits to provide the highest possible suppression of in-band audio noise. There is an artistry involved in these designs, and it’s come at the price of decades of hard work. But all of this put together is what we call Pure Isolation.
Prior to the 1 SPOT, musicians either used one linear power supply (a.k.a. wall wart) per pedal, or used batteries. Both solutions for powering pedals were very inefficient with energy, with batteries also contributing greatly to the toxic waste stream.
In 2000, we pioneered the use of switching power supply technology to alleviate this condition in an economically-, energy- and environmentally-conservative way. The 1 SPOT power supply was designed to replace many such external power supplies and/or batteries simultaneously. It provided plenty of power with a very low noise level to successfully meet the needs of musicians.
By offering musicians a solution that was more cost effective and energy efficient, and moving the market away from linear transformer-based power supplies to switching power supplies, Truetone has caused the saving of thousands of watt-hours per musician per year.
Utilizing a more comprehensive switching power supply solution, the 1 SPOT Pro sets a new level of efficiency for power bricks, while still meeting the needs of musicians for low noise operation, even in severe conditions where the pedals themselves may generate interfering noise.