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Phantom Power - A basic overview.

Phantom Power - A basic overview.

In our last blog entry we mentioned the requirement for phantom power when using condenser microphones so we thought it would be a good idea to give you a little insight into what phantom power is.

You may have seen a little button or switch on your audio mixer or amplifier marked 'Phantom Power' and wondered what it's for. Well, basically phantom power is a voltage sent down the same cable as a microphone audio feed, but it doesn't affect the audio in any way. Phantom power voltages can differ depending on the equipment but the normal voltage from professional equipment is +48V and most professional condenser microphones work with this voltage. You'll probably find that if you read the spec sheet of your microphone, that it can accept a range of voltages to allow the microphone to be used on a wide range of equipment.

The power sent down the cable is able to feed the circuits inside a condenser microphone, this in turn powers the small microphone head and allows the signal to be amplified before it is sent to the audio equipment. Without power these microphones just simply wouldn't work, and phantom power is by far the neatest and most convenient method of providing this power. You can also get dedicated phantom power supplies, so if your happy with your audio equipment but it can't supply phantom power, then an external supply could be the answer. This would be a simple box that would sit in line with your microphone signal and provide power to the microphone along with a nice clean audio signal to the amplifier. There are also microphones that can have a battery inserted to allow them to generate their own local power, whilst these work great, it can be problematic trusting a human to change the battery and make sure it works throughout that all important performance or speech.

The requirement for phantom power isn't only applicable to microphones and can also be hand for powering other devices such as DI boxes and can even be used for microphones that have halo LED's to indicate the broadcast state.

Whilst phantom power is a great facility it is still worth checking the spec of all your equipment to make sure everything is working within and limits set by the manufacturer. You should also be careful when switching on phantom power to devices that don't need it; whilst dynamic microphones are not generally affected, phantom power can occasionally cause issues with radio microphone receivers. If you're in doubt about any potential issues with your setup just get in touch and we'll give you advice on the best course of action.

Created On  22 Jan 2018 8:54  -  Permalink


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