While on a surface level, power supply units might not be the most exciting genre of studio gear, they certainly remains one of the most crucial. Many budding musicians haven’t paid heed to their power needs and have quickly found out the weakest link in their (daisy) chain, often to disastrous effect. Eventually, one gets to a point in their life where they realise they are done playing Tetris with wallwarts and AC adapters, and that searching for RC interference and static is far from the best use of one’s creative time.
Those who have found temporary relief plugging powerboard into powerboard have quickly learned why live sound engineers often refer to them as ‘Show Stoppers’ the hard way. The solution to these problems is a dedicated power supply unit - such as CIOKS’ latest offering, the DC7, perhaps their most comprehensive supply unit to date.
The DC7 provides seven isolated DC outlets, all of which can be individually switched between 9, 12, 15 and 18 volts on the fly using the indented dip-switches on the top of the unit. The unit also provides a USB port which the increasing number of musicians who use a tablet computer in their loadout will appreciate. Should seven ports of DC power not be sufficient, the DC7 can be expanded by plugging in a separate CIOKS 4 or 8 unit, which provide an extra four or eight ports of DC power respectively. The DC7 has a built in power meter, which lets you know how much juice you’re using, glowing red when you’re drawing 90% of the maximum power load, up to a total output limit of 48W.
The location of each port and its voltage switch is indicated by a small red LED status indicator, crucial for those who play regularly in dark environments. These LED status indicators glow at increasing intensity with higher voltage settings, and will turn off if an outlet is overloaded or short circuited. An additional status LED atop the unit acts as a global status indicator, which switches itself off to let the user know when the unit is globally overloaded. The DC7 supports input voltage from 90 to 265V AC mains power, 50 or 60 Hz, meaning you can run it off of any mains power in the world.
The DC7 comes in a matte black, with a textured metal exterior that looks like it would survive a nuclear fallout. The dimensions are 16cm x 88cm x 25 cm, almost exactly the size of a Betamax cassette (or approximately the size of a Lonely Planet pocket phrasebook for those of you in the VHS timeline). The dipswitches used to change each port’s voltage are indented into the chassis, allowing stacking of the unit without any issue. This allows for gaffer tape over the switches to keep everything in place once you’ve finished your sound check, which gets a huge tick from me.
The unit also features threaded holes on its side and base, allowing for simple pedalboard mounting. The time-conscious folks at CIOKS have included suitable screws and an Allen key with the unit, saving your drawers from an exasperated trawling for one that you swear you saw in there recently. Also included are 12 different iterations of CIOKS’ proprietary Flex cables, with double and triple daisy chain cables included, which let you power up to three pedals from a single port. The longest cable included is about 75 cm long, so those with sprawling setups may need additional cables.
DC power supply units’ usefulness can range from mere convenience for the bedroom musician's clutter to utterly crucial for a touring musician’s international power supply woes, but the time and space saving ability of them is of benefit to anyone. CIOKS’ DC7 is a feature packed DC power supply that will add peace of mind to your power needs and make sure that you aren’t a power board failure away from an abrupt end to a show.
Hits and Misses
Built like a tank
Variable input voltage is nifty
Pedalboard fiends might need to find an extra cable or two