How to Set Up a Phantom Power Mic


"Phantom power" is an electrical term that refers to a means of drawing power without direct connection to a power source. In the context of microphones, phantom power refers specifically to any microphone that draws its power from a powered device such as mixer via an XLR cable. It is a convenient means of powering a microphone, as it mitigates the need for batteries and power supply cables. To get the best sound out of your microphone, correct set up is essential. Positioning, connection and isolation can be the difference between a bad recording and a good one.

Things You'll Need

  • Microphone stand
  • XLR cable
  • Powered device such as mixer or audio interface

Set Up

  • Set up a microphone stand. Position it on a flat surface, away from any noise-emitting devices or appliances, such as fans or cooling vents. Adjust the telescopic stem so that the collar is at a suitable height for the specific application. For example, at mouth-height if recording a singer. Position the microphone at a suitable distance away from the sound source. For example, approximately four inches away from where the singer will stand or 15-inches away from an acoustic guitar.

  • Place the microphone in the collar of the microphone stand. Wrap an XLR cable loosely around the stem of the microphone stand so that it doesn't hang loose and get in the way. Aim the collar toward the sound source and away from any reflective surfaces, such as windows. For example, if recording an acoustic guitar, position the collar so that the microphone points toward the joint between the neck and body of the guitar. Pointing the microphone directly at the sound hole will result in a "booming" sound.

  • Connect the female end of an XLR cable to the connector at the bottom of the phantom power microphone.

Live Use

Home-studio Use

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