Gear Review: 1 Spot Visual Sound Combo Pack

We've all been there. We have a nice collection of pedals and we finally decide to construct/put together a pedal board. This prevents a mess, and it makes it a heck of a lot easier to go to a rehearsal or a gig without having to comb the house for all of your pedals, adapters, etc.

I decided to mount my pedals on a PedalTrain 2. I love the streamlined look, and it's not too heavy. This is important for someone who routinely carries her Les Paul to rehearsal. Light weight = good. I put everything down on my board the way I wanted to (there will be a separate article about that!) and plugged everything in. Sound was great, no noticeable noise, and my pedals were finally off the floor.

I wanted to get a power supply for my board, and the go-to one in the industry seems to be the Voodoo Labs one. However, having just installed some new pickups in my Les Paul and purchased my dream Telecaster, I wanted to stay away from spending $200 on a glorified electrical socket. I know the Voodoo Labs products are great. I know they don't create any additional noise in the effects chain (from reviews I've read anyway). But bottom line: I wanted to see if I could find a cheaper solution.

Off to Google to search for the Holy Grail of pedal board power supplies: economical, functional, and noise-free.

I came across one particular product: the 1 Spot Combo Pack from Visual Sound. It retails for approximately $30-$40. I purchased mine for $38.50 plus tax from Long & McQuade in Toronto. You can easily order this kit from Musician's Friend, Sweetwater, etc.etc.

Image Courtesy of Visual Sound, LLC

The combo pack includes the following:
  • 1 Spot 9V DC Power Adapter
  • Multi-Plug 8 Cable (Enough to power 8 pedals on your board)
  • 2xBattery Clip Converters
  • 2x3.5mm (1/8 ") Converters
  • 1xL6 Converter for Line 6 modeling pedals
The instructions are pretty straight forward, so I cracked the box open and intuitively put together my power supply/pedals in about 10 minutes. The rest of the time I was re-arranging things and ensuring that I tucked all cables under the chasis of the PedalTrain.

Simple: I plugged it in. Everything works. Sounds great. No additional noise that I noticed.

Hello?!?!? Did you read that? I plugged it in, it works, and it sounds great! No special equipment necessary, no extra adapters that you have to buy that they didn't tell you about. Nada. 

Here is what my board looks like after "installation". Note the ONE cord that leads to the wall outlet circled in red.

The 1 Spot is compatible with all of the major power adapters out there and therefore replaces them without you having to worry about frying your pedals. Your Boss, Danelectro, Morley, DOD, Dunlop, Ibanez, and Zoom adapters can be put away, because this one cable is compatible with all of those adapters and a whole bunch more. In fact, Visual Sound lists an entire chart of compatibility for the pedals supported by this kit. You can check the chart out here.

The converter plugs it comes with allow the 1 Spot to work with all kinds of other types of DC jacks and opposite polarity. The great news is if you need more of these converters, you can buy them separately without having to re-purchase the entire kit. In today's marketplace, that alone is worth the investment in this Visual Sound product.

Are there any shortcomings? Sure. One kit is good for 8 pedals. If you have more than that, you'll have to buy an additional Multi-Plug 8 Cable. You can still route all of these back to the one adapter, that plugs straight into a powerstrip or wall outlet. If you're a professional gigging musician, you may still want to spring for a product like the Voodoo labs brick, just for it's heavy duty construction I suppose, but the 1 Spot kit will do you just fine even if you're just doing local gigs on a regular basis and/or rehearsing with your band.

Now, for those of you that do international gigs, etc. fear not. Visual Sound thought of you, and this adapter automatically converts voltage worldwide, so that you don't have to worry about frying your favourite fuzz pedal.

I was super impressed with this small kit. For the price of a few packages of 9 volt batteries,  I have a streamlined power supply that won't have me crossing my fingers every time I step on a pedal: will that little blue/red light go on? No more worries about batteries OR about where I'm going to get the money for a $200 power supply. AND it took me longer to write this review than it did to set up my pedal board and test it all out. 

So, to summarize:

Pros: Economical, easy to set up, negligible noise added to effect chain, compatible with most pedals, well-built components, allows for addition of more pedals to the initial combo kit by adding another Multi-Cable, lots of different adapters for those pedals that use different polarity, etc.

Cons:  only 8 pedals can be chained together with the combo pack - if you've got more pedals, you'll have to add another Multi-Cable (you can still plug into the one adapter at the end of the chain); wear and tear may be an issue for pro musicians. 

Verdict: Love it, buy it, use it, be happy.

If you'd like to check out some of Visual Sound's other products, or find out where you can get your hands on a 1 Spot Combo Pack, visit their website: 
Visual Sound, LLC