Phantom power on splitter snake .... a problem

Discussion in 'Live Sound' started by Barkingdogstudios, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. Barkingdogstudios

    Barkingdogstudios Active Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    I reccently rented a splitter snake from a local music store to do some live recording of a band. For some reason, I wasn't getting any phantom power at either end of the snake (split or main trunk). Is there something special required in a splitter snake to get phantom power to the business end ?

    I have been considering making a splitter so I don't have to rent one anymore but I want to make sure it will deliver phantom power to the split end of the snake. Any suggestions?
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    Splitters are a real challenge to build with any degree of quality, and you
    probably shouldn't attempt it unless you've made a few "regular" snakes and a billion mic cables, IMHO. Do some homework. Go online to Whirlwind and ProCo, see what they say. My Whirlwind passes phantom fine from ONE side, preventing problems from occurring from 2 sources.
    If you are going to do the "homebrew" thang, be sure you budget for GOOD transformers! Check out Jensen's line...they know their stuff and are superb at rejecting RFI and still sound great...Good Luck and don't let the flux go to your head!
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Barkingdogstudios, here is more helpful information regarding splitters.

    Splitter can be a misnomer. That is to say, on the splitter, one output is in fact a direct connection to the microphone that goes directly to the input of your microphone preamplifier and is known as the " first split", with a transformer paralleled across that providing an isolated output for the second feed. So whoever gets the primary feed also needs to send the phantom power because phantom power will not go through a transformer. You also need to make sure that on the direct feed the Shield/ground is connected because it actually isn't required for the microphone signal but is necessary as a ground reference source for the phantom power. Now, splitters are not cheap but you can find cheaper passive splitters that have no transformers within. Don't use those. You can but much greater attention to grounding problems and ground loops can be a serious hurdle to overcome.

    As Moonbaby stated, you don't really want to attempt to build one of these. The Dean Jensen Transformers/splitters are the best but also the most expensive. Lesser expensive splitter transformers are perfectly adequate if you're not taking the transformered output but rather the direct feed our first split, leaving the transformer split output for the PA system which has inherently more distortion than the transformers anyhow.

    I have to split now
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    We built our own three way splitter using all transformer splits with transformers from Hammond Since it was all transformer split it had to have its own Phantom Supply built in. It also had ground lift switched on the outfut of each transformer/XLR output. It was designed by a good friend and we built it in house. It took a trained tech a couple of weeks to build it and we probably had more money invested than if we had gone out and bought one from Whirlwind or Proco. But it worked great and was way over engineered. Not a task for the faint hearted.
  5. Barkingdogstudios

    Barkingdogstudios Active Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    Well, it's starting to look like this is going to be a lot more involved than I thought. The closest I've been able to come to any kind of active splitter that's not priced along with yachts is the ProCo MS-82P. With the external phantom power supply, it comes to about $650 US. I really only need phantom power for max 4 mics. The rest are all dynamic mics.

    What I may do is just use the True Systems Precision 8 pre-amp I've been using for recording live as an active splitter and run mic cables separate from the snake altogether. Most of the places I'm recording are smaller venues where this wouldn't be a problem. In those venues, the mics that I need phantom power for usually aren't going through the FOH systems anyway.

    I'm just not budgeted for a large, expensive application.

    Thanks for all your help.
  6. AudioJohn

    AudioJohn Guest

    A very reasonably priced Microphone Splitter made in the UK by Orchid Electronics is very popular in the UK and Europe:

    Hardly worth trying to build yourself!

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