What’s phantom power?


#1

Is phantom power for a mic a problem?

Continuing the discussion from I am a musician who plays an acoustic instrument. I want to play electro-acoustic stuff. What should I do about a microphone?:

Some microphones need electricity to work. Often these are nicer sounding mics (such as the DPA which is mentioned above).

The most contemporary microphones get that electricity is from a mixer or mic preamp. It is called “phantom power” and runs in the same XLR cable used to send the audio signal.

Nearly all mixers that work with microphones will have phantom power. So if you’re plugging into a mixer then a phantom powered mic is no problem.

Nearly all audio interfaces for computer recording that work with microphones will have phantom power. So if you’re plugging into an audio interface then a phantom powered mic is no problem.

If you try to plug into a guitar amp, however, you’ll be out of luck. Though there are cables that convert from XLR (what the mic needs) to instrument plugs (what the guitar amp needs), the amp itself won’t provide electricity to the mic. You’ll need a little mixer or a mic that doesn’t need phantom power.