There are many technical terms and concepts in audio recording and engineering that can be confusing for beginners.
And one of the concepts or features in the recording world is phantom power which is related to microphones.
If you’ve ever wondered what phantom power is and whether you need it for your recording, I will try to explain it to you as best as I can.
What Is Phantom Power
Phantom power is a way of supplying electrical power to condenser microphones, which are widely used in professional audio recording.
Unlike dynamic microphones that generate their own electrical signal, condenser microphones require an external power source to function effectively.
This power is provided through the same cable that carries the audio signal, making it a convenient and widely adopted solution in the audio industry.
Condenser microphones have a more sensitive and detailed audio capture mechanism compared to dynamic microphones.
In order to achieve this sensitivity, a thin diaphragm vibrates in response to sound waves, converting them into electrical signals.
Phantom power typically operates at a standard voltage of 48 volts, although some equipment may support 12 or 24 volts. The higher voltage ensures optimal performance and compatibility across a wide range of condenser microphones.
Do You Need Phantom Power To Record
So, as you understand, you need phantom power to record vocals or instruments through condenser microphones.
Other than that, it’s not required for recording because you can use a dynamic microphone to record anything you want.
Or if you use VST plugins for your instrument, then you don’t need a mic at all. However, if you record vocals in your studio, then you must have at least one microphone.
But in general, it’s better to have the ability to record with condenser mics because they offer different sounds than dynamic mics and also, it’s great for diversity.
Also, when you record guitars with amps, it’s always a good idea to blend two types of mics which will give you more versatile sound and options.
Of course, if you want to build a professional home studio where you will be able to record a variety of music styles, your recording device should have a phantom power option.
Phantom Power In Audio Interfaces
Now, when it comes to choosing audio interfaces, you need to pay attention to if it has phantom power.
Most modern USB audio interfaces offer built-in phantom power but more affordable ones, might not have it.
And because I think the audio interface is better than a mixer for a home studio, I suggest you buy one with phantom power options.
You can easily find the best audio interface for a home studio with phantom power and it will not cost too much. Some of them you can find in the $100 range, however, may lack other features.
Do Dynamic Mics Need Phantom Power?
Dynamic microphones don’t need phantom power to operate, so they are great for home studios.
Do Condenser Mics Need Phantom Power?
Yes, condenser microphones need phantom power to record through an audio interface.
I hope my explanation of phantom power is clear and you understand why it’s required. My suggestion will be that when you decide to buy a recording device, it must have a phantom power because you will have more options.