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Tip of the Week

How to phantom power a cheap computer mic.

Condenser mics that are made to connect to a laptop are dirt cheap and have very good high end response. Running one on 48V phantom power is much easier than a lot of people seem to think. Just connect the capsule directly to pins 2 and 3 of your XLR, and pull pin 3 towards ground (pin 1) with a 47K resistor to create a 6V differential across the capsule.

I believe it's even roughly "impedance balanced", as the ECM floats much the way a transformer in a dynamic mic would (the 47K additional loading on one side being negligible). Just make sure neither ECM wire connects to a metal casing that might get grounded.

You can buy cheapo headset mics through eBay. I like those because they come with a little gooseneck. I use this one to mic hi-hats.

If you want to leave the 1/8" TRS plug on the mic and make an adapter (as opposed to hacking it off and wiring it right into an XLR), you'll want to know how the plugs on these mics are wired: The sleeve is connected to low side of the capsule, the tip is the hot. You can disregard the ring – it's either shorted to the tip or not connected at all.

Jon Blackstone
Blackstone Appliances

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