Fender Music Australia | fender.com.au | RRP: $269.00
As guitarists, it’s completely acceptable to spend an inordinate amount of time stressing over what the outside world would generally consider a relatively minor component in the grand scheme of things.
String action, pick gauge, whether or not something is or isn’t true bypass – even something as seemingly perfunctory as cable length and proper earthing takes on a weight that most civilians would struggle to understand, let alone relate to.
To be a guitarist is to intensely analyse all stops in the signal chain, fixating on the cleanest, least adulterated path from A to Amp, so it makes sense to scrutinise everything between hand and speaker, even if the intent is to destroy it further down the line.
One area of particular importance to the tone quest (and an area in which normal, sane people might not always sympathise) is in the need for stable, clean power – especially for anyone running multiple pedals or gain heavy pedals in their chain. As the reigning kings of clean, it’s no surprise that Fender would turn their hand to something like the new Engine Room LVL 5: a five output, premium power option with the ability to extract as much pure tone as possible out of the components in your current setup.
With five isolated outputs, two-colour LED indicators, all encased in a rugged anodised aluminium chassis with thin slots for ventilation the Fender Engine Room LVL 5 Power Supply is an investment in tone and is the perfect ‘controlled variable’ for your tonal endeavours, providing a ‘best case scenario’ option for your pedalboard, simultaneously allowing for ideal signal flow, while imparting little in the way of artefacts or degradation.
It’s lightweight, compact and comes with all cables necessary, making it perfect option for smaller pedal boards or bedroom setups. Weighing in at 375 grams, its 85mm wide, 42mm high, 131.3mm chassis almost feels like the guitar equivalent of the modern charging brick, packing all kinds of features and genuine upside into a super portable and condensed little package.
The aesthetic of unit itself falls directly in line with Fender’s current crop of high quality, premium pedal offerings such as the Compugilist, Reflecting Pool and Marine Layer reverb. The theme of rugged anodised aluminium and compact, lightweight, pedalboard additions continue with the Engine Room LVL 5 leaving as small as possible of a physical footprint whilst also being a minimum fifty times better looking than a traditional wall wart option.
We all know the pains of pre-determining pedalboards’ size and power, but Fender have you covered as it can also be daisy-chained to the Fender LVL12 power supply if you decide you need more juice for further tonal exploration. Underneath the DC 9v 500mA fixed ground isolated outputs, there’s an LED light that serves two functions, it turns green to indicate current within specifications and red means that there is a current overload.
Its mains inlet voltage is a convenient 100-240v so you can use it anywhere in the world, using a simple IEC cable to power up your pedal board. This is a super handy and forward thinking feature, as it can save you from a number of voltage mishaps, or at the very least, allow for quick and easy diagnosis if things go awry and you need to visit the tech.
Fender have certainly considered convenience and quality when designing this power supply. It can be powered anywhere with and IEC cable, the LED lights indicate the status of your currents, you can slave it out to more power if need be, and it fits neatly and discreetly into your pedalboard.
To translate the sound of their pickups in the cleanest way possible, some use multiple unsightly wall wart power supplies simultaneously, but this is never the best or cleanest option. Daisy chains are also out of the question if you’re wanting the height of clean transmission.
The Engine Room LVL 5 is an affordable, and user friendly way to never have to worry about either of those things ever again. Simply put really is one of the best power options in the market, and when you take into account the pricepoint and physical footprint, is sure to emerge as a go to for small to medium rigs, moving forward.
Find out more about the Engine Room via Fender Music Australia.