Review: Strymon Zuma & Ojai Power Supplies


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Rating:
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Last modified:March 5, 2019

Summary:

 

Strymon is known for being one of the premier boutique guitar effects pedal builders of the modern era, commanding a strong reputation due to the success of pedals including the TimeLine, BigSky, Mobius, El Capistan, Riverside, and many others. But there’s something that’s essential to modern pedalboard-ready guitar pedals that few builders make: power supplies. Of course, every Strymon pedal ships with its own dedicated power supply (a rarity among pedals these days), but even so, it’s worth pointing out that most guitarists power the pedals on their ‘boards with a dedicated power supply capable of powering multiple pedals. Strymon have sought to bring guitarists an ideal solution for powering their pedals and your whole pedalboard; their first forays into the power supply arena are the Zuma & Ojai.

 

Maximum Power

The Zuma & Ojai are similar in that both are dual isolated, internationally compatible power supples, and every power outlet jack on each unit is capable of powering pedals at up to 500mA at 9 volts. That’s a lot of power. Few pedals really need that high of a milliamp rating, but what that ultra high rating essentially means is that these units can handle just about anything you can throw at them. So what are the differences?

 

Zuma Details

The Zuma has 9 outlets for connecting to pedals. Two of Zuma’s outlets can also be set to power pedals at either 12 volts (@ 375mA) or 18 volts (@250mA). Zuma’s power transformer is internal, so you just need to plug in the included IEC mains cable, and your Zuma will be fired up and ready to go. There’s even a 24V extension jack for connecting Zuma to one or more Ojai units (or the new Ojai R30) to expand the number of pedals you can power.

 

Ojai Details

Ojai has 5 outlets for powering pedals. This unit is much smaller seems to add negligible weight to a pedalboard. Be aware though that this unit doesn’t have an internal transformer, so if you want to use only this unit for a very small pedalboard, you’ll need to mount it’s power brick beneath your pedalboard. Of course, the real advantage and benefit of Ojai is that you can use it as an add-on unit to your Zuma, connecting as many as 6 Ojai units to a setup with Zuma as your pedalboard’s central powering hub.

Visit Strymon for more info about the Zuma & Ojai.

 

 

Zuma & Ojai In Action

Both units come with plenty of 5.5mm x 2.1mm barrel cables needed to power your pedals requiring a center-negative DC power source. As expected both units could easily power up all the Strymon pedals I had on hand to test, and even when connecting both units with the Ojai plugged into Zuma’s expansion output, my pedals all powered up no problem. I never experienced any noise or power disruptions during my testing.

 

 

Now I’ve experienced the horror of having a power supply die literally moments before I was about to perform. (Short version of that story: it sucked.) So I’m very cautious about writing a by-the-numbers review for a product as critical as a power supply. I wouldn’t say I necessarily went to great lengths to push these units (by that I mean attempting to purposely max out their available amperage), but I did leave a full ‘board’s worth of random pedals running for about 48 hours and both units still kept chugging along and thankfully didn’t burn down my studio or anything crazy like that. In most cases you’re probably just going to have them running long enough to get through a few hours in rehearsal, in the studio, or on stage either in a club or outside. While extreme external temperatures are something to still be mindful of if you play outdoor summer gigs, both the Zuma & Ojai seem to inspire confidence in me that they’ll be forerunners to be reliable in most situations.

I really like that Strymon included a couple multi-voltage outputs on the Zuma. I have a few pedals that have different tonal characteristics when powered at different voltages, so it’s nice to be able to quickly audition the differences. And of course, some pedals require 12v or 18v, so that makes these jacks very handy.

There are only a few points of concern to be aware of. The Zuma is a little tall, so if that’s an issue the new lower profile Zuma R300 might be worth investigating. Also, some power supplies come with adapter cables for certain legacy Line 6 pedals or pedals like the Eventide H9. I can see why Strymon wouldn’t throw in cables to easily power certain competing products, but if you do happen to need these extra cables, you’ll need to buy them separately from a 3rd party. Also, I’ve found a few incompatible pedals such as the Electro Harmonix Mel9 and WMD Gieger Counter Pro, both of which I couldn’t power from the Zuma or Ojai, thus ensuring I’ll need to keep at least one power supply on hand from a rival company. And of course, the lack of a so-called “courtesy outlet” is a drawback if you do happen to have some piece of gear on your pedalboard that requires a funky power supply or is incompatible with Strymon power supplies.

 

 

Summary:

The Strymon Zuma & Ojai are compelling solutions for powering pedalboards of any size. While either the Ojai or Zuma could easily power a small or medium ‘board, respectively, the ability to add Ojai units to a Zuma based setup as your pedalboard expands is the biggest draw of these units. Most importantly, both units seem to exhibit a stage-worthy build quality that seems to indicate that these units will reliably power compatible pedals for years to come.

That concludes our Strymon Zuma & Ojai review. Thanks for reading.

 
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