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Old March 30th, 2009, 02:41 PM   #1
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Phantom power in an audio recorder

I have a question about phantom power: I am looking into buying an audio recorder--I think either the Zoom H2 or the M-Audio Microtrack II. I am leaning towards the M-Audio because of the Phantom Power and the CF cards (I have a lot of them and hate to get another format). Bu t my question is with phantom power--will it help boost the level on any mic, or only those that specify "phantom power"? In other words, if I plug a handheld interview mic in and it does not require power but the levels are low, will turning on the phantom power give me a pre-amp boost in levels? Also, will the phantom power work through an adapter, since the audio in on the unit 1/4" and the mics could be XLR.

Thanks!
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Old March 30th, 2009, 02:55 PM   #2
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Jeff... condensor mics need power in order to operate. They will not work without the bias current that "phantom power" provides... it is not a booster. Some mics will accept both phantom power and also have a provision for a built in battery. Dynamic mics however do not need power to operate. Plugging a dynamic into phantom powered connection will not damage the dynamic mic, but the dynamic mic signal does not get a signal boost because of the presence of phantom power.

Chris

Last edited by Chris Swanberg; March 30th, 2009 at 10:16 PM.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 03:05 PM   #3
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Thanks very much-I expected that was the answer. I was unsure though because the description on the M-Audio says "The unit offers dual mic preamps with 48V phantom power".

Thanks.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 06:12 PM   #4
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The M-Audio unit feeds phantom power to its 1/4" TRS jacks. So, you could pick up a couple short 1/4" TRS -> XLR cables to let you use external mics.

If you're going to be buying specifically for use with external mics, you might want to look at the new Zoom H4n (the older H4 has very unimpressive pre-amps). Fostex's FR2-LE is a nice recorder that uses CF media, and I'm pretty sure Marantz has a couple CF-based recorders as well.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 06:17 PM   #5
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Thanks Jordan.
I figured adapter will be necessary unless I get one with XLR's.
I may just go the less expensive route of the Zoom H2 for now. I don't need Phantom because my Senn. shotgun capsule is a K6 with the battery or phantom.

Anybody have experience, good or bad, with the Zoom H2? It looks like a nice deal at $160.
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Old March 31st, 2009, 10:40 AM   #6
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If your main use is with an external mic, The M-Audio or h4n would be the more flexible and more quiet choice.

The h2 seems really optimized for its internal mics, much less so for an external mic.

The mic inputs on the H2 are unbalanced with 'plug-in power'. I believe your K6 needs a balanced mic input.

K6: "Transformerless balanced output on 3-pin XLR connector" Hmmm... So trying to plug a K6 into the H2 directly would connect a transformerless output directly to 5V plugin power. That should create some interesting fireworks.

At minimum you would need a balanced to unbalanced, low to high impedance transformer to work with the H2. Which almost makes up the difference in price between the H2 and M-Audio.

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Old March 31st, 2009, 05:41 PM   #7
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Field Recorder

2 months ago I sold my Microtrack and moved up to the Fostex FR-2LE. You don't need TRS to XLR adapter cables and it has better controls (knobs instead of rocker switches). I also prefer the bright LED readout. Also the Fostex uses AA Batteries that last for 8 hours instead of the internal Microtrack 2 hour battery.
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Old April 1st, 2009, 03:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Boyer View Post
2 months ago I sold my Microtrack and moved up to the Fostex FR-2LE.
Much better unit but also twice as expensive!
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 06:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Demmers View Post
Much better unit but also twice as expensive!
The FR-2LE is not expensive at all - it is probably the cheapest recorder that could be called "professional".

The FR-2LE is really an excellent and very inexpensive machine (I reviewed it for LineUp magazine when it came out).

I had the original FR-2 before I upgraded to the Nagra VI last year (now that *is* expensive at around £5,000).


Of the pocketable babies - I carry the Olympus LS-10 with me; but the Edirol R-09HR and Sony PCM D-50 are also good.
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