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What is Phantom Power?

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asked Apr 14, 2015 in Audio Terms by AlexTinsley (772,520 points)
What is Phantom Power?

or

I plugged my condenser microphone and I'm not getting any signal into my mic pre.

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answered Apr 14, 2015 by AlexTinsley (772,520 points)
 
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Phantom Power or +48V is a method of sending an electrical current through a microphone cable.  It is most widely used as a power source for condenser microphones.

Condenser microphone capsules require pre-amplification in very close proximity.  This requires a power source so that the signal can be amplified before traveling very far.  In addition, true condenser microphones (as opposed to electret) require a voltage for polarizing the microphone’s transducer element.  Phantom power provides a voltage for both these purposes.

Dynamic microphones do not require phantom power.  Plugging a dynamic microphone into a preamp on which phantom power is enabled will neither affect the sound or damage the microphone.  Ribbon microphones should never be plugged into a preamp with phantom power engaged.
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