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Okay, another thing you are going to find in a lot of preamps and audio interfaces or anything with kind of a mic pre is probably a phantom power option. And if you are going to be using a condenser microphone that requires phantom power--which, most of them do--make sure that you find a mic pre or an audio interface that has this option. Now what is Phantom Power? Well, they call it Phantom because it's kind of funny. It's not really in the microphone. The microphone needs this power to operate. Phantom refers to the fact that it comes from your audio interface or from your mixing board or whatever the source is or stand-alone phantom power device.
What it is it's sending 48 volts of DC current out through the microphone cable to the microphone itself, and this is what gives the charge to that electrostatic diaphragm in the magic condenser microphone. It's like this extra power, this extra juice, this is what allows condensers to be so sensitive to high transients. So it's really, it's an important thing to be aware of, and if you are going to use condensers like I said, definitely something to make sure you have. So if you are looking to see if you have Phantom Power, it's usually near preamps on a mixing board or the audio interface or on the preamp itself, if you have a stand-alone.
The button will usually have 48 volts or +48 volts near it, and again, it's a simple on/off switch. You just turn it on, and it's on. The difference between padding and phantom power generally the way switches are applied, it's common for one 48 volt switch on digital audio interfaces to supply phantom power to all the XLR microphone inputs on that interface, whereas padding is more of a channel. It's singular. Each channel gets its own pad, or each mic input gets its own pad. So bear that in mind.
Sometimes on mixing boards, there is only one phantom power device. On very high-end preamplifiers or even kind of more sophisticated preamplifiers, you will find that you have a dedicated phantom power supply for each channel of preamplification you have there. So it's a good thing to keep in mind. One other thing, not all ribbon microphones and phantom power get along. It is possible to accidentally destroy a certain ribbon microphones with phantom power. All I can tell you is if you have an older ribbon microphone, go ahead and look into its specs and find out if you can do it.
A lot of the newer ones aren't susceptible to this, but at the same time, you should check into it just because the sensitivity of the ribbon microphones generally, they are just something about getting the Frankenstein 48 volt shock doesn't work for them the way it does for condenser microphone. So anyway, that's Phantom Power. It will creep up again in this title, and we will talk about it a little bit, and I will show you where it is on a mixing board and on a few other devices.
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