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external phantom power supply question

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Gopher9000, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. Gopher9000

    Gopher9000 Guest

    I want to buy a 48V condenser mic, but my current preamp only has +36V. If I get a stand alone phantom power supply, how would i set it up? My current set up is this. Mic-->preamp-->computer. If i got a standalone phantom power supply would i need to run it through my preamp or can I just use this set up: Mic-->phantom power supply-->computer?

    Thanks so much.
  2. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    You have it right.

    Mic>Power Supply>Computer

    Why not buy a mic pre with built-in power supply? Is it a budget issue?
  3. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    That isn't right. First off, some mics will work with 36V phantom. Second, you still need the preamp in the picture.

    Mic -> Phantom PS -> Preamp -> Sound card.
  4. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    In my experience you can use a power supply to power the mic and go directly into your DAW from there. It does work that way with no problem whatsoever. 48V is 48V whether it comes from a mixer or mic pre or a simple power supply, it doesn't matter.

    And yes, condensers will run on 36V, they'll even work on 24V but undervoltage of course means a darker signal. Still works though.
  5. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Are you going into the MIC input on a standard sound card - i.e. using the onboard mic preamp? or is that going into the LINE input.

    If it's the MIC input, then you'd be way ahead using an external mic preamp and running the output into the LINE input on the computer.
  6. shivan

    shivan Guest

    I'd be inclined to buy (or borrow/rent) the condenser and try it with your 36V. It will probably work fine but the headroom may be slightly diminished. Unless you're micing very loud sources you probably won't even notice any difference.
  7. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    At 36V you'll notice the mic will distort more easily, muddy up the lows and lower mids, the high's will be a little gritty at times as well. Overall, any condenser performs at it's best levels when powered at a full 48V. Much smoother frequency response.

    Like Zem said it's best to have a mic pre between the power supply and your computer, but you can also do without. Especially with the plugins available today that can take a nicely recorded track and boost it's volume, energy, and presence levels without adding noise or distorting the original signal.

    You might want to consider though that a power supply will usually cost you around $50 just for one small power supply. A small 4 channel mixer like a Soundcraft Compact 4 is only $90 and will provide you with 2 48V pre's. And there are other manufacturers to consider in that price range that are even a little cheaper.

    Just something to consider.

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