48 or 12 Volts for my condenser mic?
July 25, 2005 5:01 PM   Subscribe

MicrophoneFilter: Should I connect my MXL 990 condenser mics to preamps providing 12V or 48V of phantom power?

I recently purchased a pair of MXL 990 capacitor mics, as well as an Audiotrak MAYA 1010 audio interface. The MAYA provides 12V of phantom power, and I also have a small mixer with two channels of 48V phantom. The MXL 990 info sheet specifically states:
IMPORTANT - This unit requires phantom power at 48 volts, +/- 4 volts.
I can, of course, steer on the safe side and just use the mixer's preamps, but I know I'm going to use more mics/inputs for a project soon and the MAYA's preamps will come in very handy.

So what I would like to know is: does it matter which preamp I use? More specifically, is there any influence of the phantom voltage on the signal quality or is it merely a matter of "it works or it doesn't"?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane to Technology (2 answers total)
I'm looking at the Audiotrak site, but I can't find specs for the audio input sockets. It says it has two microphone inputs. Are these XLR inputs, or jacks? In my studio experience, 12v phantom power is unusual on XLR inputs.

From a sonic perspective, I think it's safe to say you'd get the best performance from that mic by using a decent mic preamp with it.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 6:19 PM on July 25, 2005

The mic will just not work if you're giving it only 12v. You can use a Phantom Power Adaptor of some sort if you want to use the pre-amps on the Maya.

In a wider answer to your question - if your Phantom Power happened to fluctuate within the +/-4v range of the 48v required, yes, there would be a sonic influence on the sound of the output of the mic, but as coach_mcguirk says, you'll get most out of the mic by using it with a good pre-amp and that ought to provide stable +48v pp.
posted by benzo8 at 1:41 AM on July 26, 2005

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