How Do I Know If My Mic Needs Phantom Power?

There are several different reasons why I use phantom power on my microphones. First and foremost it allows me to extend the life of my microphone by allowing me to increase its battery lifespan. These days, most electronic devices, including my digital audio workstation (DAW), my laptop and my headphones all need power to run properly. For my DAW I have four different microphones; a cardioid, a boom mic and a floor standing microphone. I also have a computer and an amplifier for my laptop and headphones. As you can see, all of these devices require phantom power in order to function properly.

It is important for me to understand that all these microphones operate in the same way. They use a magnet to pick up the sound in its diaphragm and then converts this sound into electrical signals which are then sent to the headphones and computer. Because all of these devices run on a standard PC they all need the same type of power. When I purchase my dynamic microphones, I always check each item to make sure that it is powered by a 48V phantom power adapter. If it isn’t I will be very disappointed with the quality of sound that these items deliver.

Most dynamic microphones use a pair of diaphragm horns to capture the sound. The diaphragm has two copper pads which are magnetized. One pad has the opposite polarity of the other. This creates an electric field which is why this type of microphone always requires phantom power.

There are three types of condenser microphones. These are the rotary condenser microphone, the ribbon based condenser microphone and the piezo-electric condenser microphone. The rotary condenser microphone is the one that usually takes an analog signal and converts it to an electrical signal. The ribbon based and the piezo-electric condenser microphone all work differently, but they all utilize some form of phantom power.

One last thing that you should know about how do I know if my microphone requires phantom power is that most digital microphones do not. I have microphones that actually require phantom power because they have to have an active device to send the sound through the amp. Many digital microphones only require a passive component to do the job. If you are looking to buy a new microphone make sure that you do your research first and know what kind of microphone you really need. You will want to buy a device that has the phantom power that you need in order to get the audio quality that you want.

If you ever spend any money on a dynamic microphone, I would suggest that you research everything that you can to make sure that you are not buying a fake piece of equipment. There are a lot of high end digital units that are being sold with fake phantom power supplies. This can be very dangerous because you never really know what you are getting until it gets damaged. If you ever are in doubt about the unit that you are buying, I would recommend that you look for information online as well as talking to other users on forums and social media sites such as Facebook. No one knows you better than you so it’s always a good idea to ask questions.