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PHANTOM POWER BASICS: Microphones/Preamps
We now have volutes for Kay Basses!
I'm very pleased to announce that we've partnered with Roger at KayBass.com to stock the wooden volutes for Kay Basses
(both pre- and post-1952 models). We add these two new offerings to the Engelhardt models we have had for many years. Now in stock, and shipping free to all 50 states.
New Fishman Platinum Pro-EQ in stock!
This is more than just a pretty new case. The new Platinum Pro EQ Analog Preamplifier
replaces both the original Pro EQ Platinum Bass and the Pro EQ Platinum. It combines the handy features they already had (DI, Optical Compressor, Phase Control, more) and ADDS some great new tools as well - like an Onboard Digital Tuner, Notch Filter, Low Cut Filter, Effects Loop, and a Footswitchable Boost (with level), among others. It has a switch on the top to adjust the EQ mode for either Bass or non-bass instruments (like acoustic guitar, uke, mandolin, etc.) so you have one preamp that can serve multiple situations. If you liked the old Pro-EQ Platinum models, you'll LOVE the new one
Lenzner Gut Strings IN STOCK
Due to a materials shortage, our German-made Lenzner gut strings
were a little tough to get a hold of for a couple weeks there. But I'm happy to say that we've just gotten a MASSIVE shipment from Germany and we have every gut string IN STOCK - even low B and high C strings! Brand new, fresh gut strings are ready to be packed up and sent right out!
NS Design CR4 SPECIAL PRICING!
The NS Design CR4 Bass
is a very nice electric upright bass that is crafted in Europe. They don't come cheap - but here's a stellar opportunity to get one at a big discount. If you have been holding out - or considering buying the NXT (the budget version of this bass) - you may want to jump on this deal
while it lasts.
New Version of our Popular Gig Bag - IN STOCK
Our previous model gig bag was a useful carry case for small amps, cables, preamps, and other miscellanea - our newest version
is slightly larger, includes some handy new features, and has a new, lower-profile "BASS" logo for a classier appeal.
Certain microphones (and other devices) have onboard electronics that require electricity; "Phantom Power" is a very common method of powering these devices. It's called "phantom" power because it works "invisibly" by sending DC power back to the device using the same
microphone or instrument cable that carries the audio signal from
it. One cable, two jobs!
Phantom Power is best known (and most often used) as a power source for condenser microphones (like our K&K Sound Golden Bullet Mics and the DPA 4099 Bass Mic), though many active DI boxes and preamplifiers can also use it to supply their operating power (like the K&K Pure XLR Preamp or the Fishman Pro EQ Platinum Bass, among others). As you can see in the image to the right, the same cable carries the audio signal FROM the preamplifer, while the mixing board sends DC power TO the preamplifier, all without adding noise to the signal. This makes it possible to use the preamplifier without draining the battery or using an external power supply.
VOLTAGE IS IMPORTANT:
There are two general types of phantom power microphones: the more common type that typically uses XLR (aka microphone) connectors and requires between 12-48 volts, and the type ordinarily used with "mini" condenser mics that uses approximately 9 volts in parallel with the signal cable. The 9v type is usually terminated with ¼" phone plugs rather than an XLR. Because they use different voltage levels, they are not interchangeable.
Phantom power supplies are often built into mixing consoles, microphone preamps and similar equipment. Alternatively, a separate dedicated unit can be inserted into the microphone circuit as required. In the case of the Golden Bullet Microphone, the mic comes with its own dedicated "power box" which is operated by a 9v battery and passes the audio through to your amplifier or mixing board.
Though a large variety of units can either supply or use "phantom power," the manner in which they do so (and the voltages they use) can vary, and one must exercise care to ensure that the individual pieces of equipment they are using are compatible with each other. For instance, the K&K miniature condensers (Golden Bullet/Trinity mics and systems) use a 9v current sent through a standard ¼" instrument cable. Yet the phantom power used to power the DPA 4099 Bass Microphone, Fishman Pro-EQ Platinum Bass or the K&K Pure XLR use the common 12v-48v "standard" used by most studio equipment; it is sent through a three-conductor XLR (microphone) cable, usually powered by a recording mixer or PA board.
It's usually easy to determine which units are compatible; in our product descriptions, we include the specs for voltage when a unit has phantom power capabilities or needs. Many of our product pages also have links to manufacturer instructions and product manuals, and these will cover their phantom power specifications in more detail.
Products Related to This FAQ
The Fine Print:
The information contained herein is based on what's in my brain and/or my opinions as of
today and is subject to change. Like any topic, a great deal more information could be added—but
the intent of these writings is to present easy to understand, quick FAQs, to address common questions
and improve the reader's general knowledge. What's written here is by no means the authoritative absolute
answer, I am not the world's greatest authority on bass (not even close), or on anything else for that
matter. I hope the information and opinions here are helpful to you, that's the point!
I welcome email with dissenting and additional viewpoints that help improve my personal awareness and the
content pages. If you have a question that you think belongs here, please let me know