Facebook social media iconTwitter social media iconInstagram social media iconSubmit to Reddit

Equipping Your Home Recording Studio - A free download from Audio Masterclass

An Introduction to Compression: Basic Compression - A free download from Audio Masterclass

An Introduction to Equalization - A free download from Audio Masterclass

Q: Which is the best compressor and equalizer?

Why do microphone preamplifiers come in sets of eight?

This ultimate vintage collector's item gives you bragging rights that almost no-one else has

Q: Will the preamp in my interface spoil the great sound of my mic pre?

Who should be responsible for the fade at the end of a song - the producer, mix engineer or mastering engineer?

A heroine for live performance on TV?

"Used" by The Botanists

YouTube Review - The Pulse: You won't find me there

Build a working turntable from CARDBOARD, courtesy of Kid Koala

Can an electric guitar virtual instrument ever sound like a real electric guitar?

Q: Why does my mixer have a 48 volt switch?

A RecordProducer.com reader wonders what the phantom power switch is for, and how it might improve the signal from the microphones.

A question from a Audio Masterclass reader...

"My mixer has a phantom switch that sends +48  volts DC to the microphones when switched on. May I know what is the real purpose of this phantom switch & how does it improve the sound signals coming from the mics to the mixer?"

Phantom power is available on mixing consoles, microphone preamplifiers and the microphone inputs of audio interfaces to power capacitor microphones and DI boxes.

To put it simply, if you want to use a capacitor microphone or powered DI box, phantom power must be switched on.

The exception to this is if you are using a capacitor microphone that has its own dedicated power supply. This applies to very old capacitor microphones and some modern capacitor microphones that emulate this retro style.

Some mixing consoles do not have phantom power switching. Some have one switch for the whole console; others have one switch per channel.

In theory any professional microphone that does not require phantom power should not be affected by it either physically or sonically. It is worth noting however that ribbon microphones can, under certain circumstances be damaged when connected to a phantom powered input.

Connecting anything other than a microphone or DI box to a microphone input is generally an act of folly and damage may or may not ensue due to the presence of phantom power.

In summary, phantom power does not improve the signal in any way; it allows capacitor microphones and powered DI boxes to function.

By David Mellor Friday April 15, 2011