The Digitech Polara is an amazing reverb pedal. I really enjoy working with guitar pedals on synths and drum machines (inspired to some extent by sonicstate’s wonderful clip), and I like the fact that many pedals today seem to be designed towards use with a wider range of instruments than “just” guitar and bass. Certainly the necessary audio quality for recording is present these days, and there’s something to be said about pedals having physical controls with big sweet spot settings that can make them almost an extension to your other analog gear.
There’s a thing with the Polara though, that I haven’t seen mentioned too often. I don’t know whether this applies to the other range of Digitech pedals as well, as I haven’t had the opportunity to test them out. But as it turns out, it may not work as advertised with your standard pedal power supply, and it may appear broken when it doesn’t.
When I received my Polara in the mail, I immediately plugged it into my pedal board, consisting of a Boss MO-2 and TE-2 powered by a Roland 9V/1000mA dedicated supply and a chained connector.
Things were strange, though. The Polara seemed unresponsive, and often on/off clicks would not register. Also, what’s worse, was that out of the 7 programs, only one seemed to work. The others just passed the signal through, or added an audible rhythmic clip to it. This was confusing. Did I just get a pedal that was DOA? Googling things like “Digitech Polara problem” did not turn up anything suspicious, if anything, people seemed to laud its sturdiness and reliability. Really?
Finally, among Amazon reviews, I found someone raising a warning finger that “it is power-hungry”. But surely 1A would be sufficient for a guitar pedal? So, I tried powering just the Polara from the power supply – but the end result was the same. Broken pedal – or broken power?
As it turns out, I needed my Roland supply for other, greater things (such as powering a TR-606) so I went to my local electronics store and bought a switched power supply with multiple connectors that could be set to various voltages between 5-15V. And, to be safe, I got one that managed to deliver 5A (5000mA) when set to 9V. Remember that high current will not damage your equipment, as they draw as many amps (current) they need. Low current may cause your power supply to overheat though.
Got it home, plugged it in, and guess what? The Polara worked as a charm.
So, moral of the story: If you think your Digitech pedal is broken, get a bigger power supply. You may not need as much as 5A (Digitech themselves specify 1,2A in the manual) but if you need to power multiple things, it may be a good investment. Also, after learning this, I sincerely question the marketing material for the Polara, which from almost every resellers states “can be used with your standard power supply for your pedal board”.
No, it can’t!