Hands-On Review:Pedal Pad MPS II Pedalboards
Built for guitar gods, priced for mere mortals
By Jim Gault
Musician’s Friend Staff Writer
Sooner or later, all guitarists who are into pedals quit fooling around and go for a serious, high-quality, well-designed pedalboard. When they do, their choice is often a board from Pedal Pad. It’s a company that specializes in pedalboards, makes really good ones, and keeps improving its designs. The latest examples are the MPS II and MPS XL II, two new entries in the popular MPS series.
Actually both models are identical, except that the XL II is 10" longer and holds more pedals. Both are powered and have all the ruggedness and flexibility found in the original MPS design, but with a lower onstage profile. Instead of being 7" high on the audience side, the new models are just 4-1/2" (that’s including the rubber feet). Besides a lower profile, this new design gives the pedals more room and allows you to conceal cables in the space below the pedal surface.
Built to survive a bus plunge
Even a relatively small passel of pedals can represent a substantial investment, so you want a pedalboard that will keep them safe. The MPS pedalboard is about as protective as pedalboards get. To say that it is road rugged is an understatement. The case is made of 1/2" 9-ply Baltic birch plywood, with jointed corners for strength. It has heavy-duty corner protectors, strong pull-tight latches, and a robust handle. The outside is covered with tough carpet. The cabinet will hold up to abuses that would crush most pedalboards and it seals up tight to keep out dust or smoke.
Have it your way
The MPS II pedalboard’s most significant feature is its modular design that in essence lets you customize its layout to fit your pedals and preferences. Two rows of mounting plates can be easily adjusted to create either two separate angled stairstep surfaces for smaller stompboxes or one continuous plane (a ramp surface) across both rows for wahs and volume pedals. With the pedals slanted upward, the switching is easy. You don’t have to point your toe downward to hit the switch you’re aiming for.
For setting up your mounting surfaces, an included Allen wrench is the only tool needed. Once you have the mounting plates positioned where you want them, they are held firmly in place by machine threaded set-screws. The boards come with an ample supply of tough hook-and-loop material for attaching pedals and eight sets of power cables for powering them up.
The modular nature of the MPS II allows you to add new pedals easily or mount other modules such as the optional Patch Pad routing module that adds connectivity and simplifies setup. It isn’t required, but if you use stereo setups, use rack effects along with front-end and post-pre pedals, or if you just like it simple, the Patch Pad is an option you’ll want to consider.
Power that won’t corrupt
Both the MPS II and MPS XL II come with the new Power Pad II power supply module already mounted. This unit provides filtered power and circuit protection to eight DC outlets and one AC outlet. The Power Pad II can power more pedals than the board can possibly hold with the addition of an optional daisy-chaining cable. Power and patch cables are routed underneath the mounting surfaces to keep things tidy. They reach the pedal jacks through strategically placed holes and slots in the mounting plates that accommodate any input placement. The Power Pad II’s AC input is grounded, allowing any unwanted AC voltage to be completely carried away or dumped to the earth ground by way of its filters. Ordinary two-pronged or ungrounded power supplies simply cannot do this.
The last pedalboard you’ll need to buy
The MPS II pedalboard will last virtually forever, even with heavy tour use. It allows you to customize your layout to fit your pedals and needs. It gives you plenty of room for your entire arsenal of pedals, and powers them all reliably with conditioned power that brings out their best performance. The combination of DC outputs plus an AC output means you can handle anything that needs juice. The MPS II can be plugged into international voltages and still provide the same nine-volt DC power to the pedals (the AC power output will match the voltage the unit is plugged into). And finally, the MPS II boards provide unsurpassed protection for your pedals and make setup at the gig incredibly quick and easy. That’s a lot for one pedalboard to deliver, and the reason a Pedal Pad pedalboard is the one you want.
Features & Specs
- Low-profile design
- Adjusts from a stairstep to a single plane for longer pedals
- Enclosed Baltic birch cabinet
- Heavy-duty latches, corners, and handle
- Roadworthy carpet exterior
- Modular design for easy addition of new pedals and modules
- Includes the Power Pad II regulated power supply with 8 - 9V DC outputs and one 110V AC output
- DC output capacity: 1.7 amps
- AC output capacity: 6 amps
- Fast cycling switching power supply helps to eliminates 60-cycle hum
- Includes 8 DC power cables, AC cord, and hook-and-loop mounting fabric
- International voltage compatibility
- MPS II: 28"L x 15"D x 4-1/2"H when open, 7"H with lid on
- MPS XL II: 38"L x 15"D x 4-1/2"H when open, 7"H with lid on