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Phantom power or not? - Sennheiser

JoeLouw's picture
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 07/31/2008 - 5:30am

I am still new in this industry. I bought myself a Canon XH G1 with a Sennheiser shotgun mic, consisting of two units - the ME 66 and K6.

Now the question is regarding the K6 Powering module. I got my training from a well known cinematographer in Cape Town who knows what he's doing for over 20 years. (He owns the same mic as me) As I've been told by him that you should never use a non-phantom powering mic on a video camera with phantom power switched on. (49V) - He said you will blow the phantom power sircuit on the camera.Now I've asked him if I can use the mic that I have, and switch on the phantom power. He said no! Now I'm going through the K6 power modulemanual and it states the following:

K6 powering module for battery or phantom

K6 P power module for phantom powering only

I own this K6. Can I use it for phantom powering?

Please explain?

Thank you!



jeff92k7's picture
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 07/29/2008 - 4:02pm

If you want to use phantom power, just turn off the switch on the mic. If you don't want to use phantom power, turn the phantom power off and turn the mic switch on.

You will typically be fine using a mic that doesn't require phantom power even if the phantom power is turned on. Most modern mics will just "ignore" the phantom power if it's not needed. I've never heard of a device that offer phantom power (camera in your case) being damaged by turning phantom power on. It doesn't make much sense to make a product that can damage itself. That's not good for business - unless you're making explosives.

I have heard of mics being damaged by phantom power though. These mics are usually ribbon mics and are typically very fragile and aren't the type of mic that you would use for field recording anyway. They are also usually very old mics. Even modern ribbon mics are typically made to ignore phantom power if they don't need it.

It's always best to turn off the phantom power if you don't need it, but there's no reason not to use it if you need it.

Jeff


JoeLouw's picture
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 07/31/2008 - 5:30am

What I meant was that, my trainer said you should never use a mic (one that DOES NOT support phantom power) on you camera with the 48V switched ON, like for example this K6 ME66 mic. Now I saw in the K6 manual that it does support phantom power, he said his doesn't (also the K6 ME66). Could there be and other or maybe older K6 unitthat does NOT support phantom power?

Thanks
Joe Louw


jeff92k7's picture
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 07/29/2008 - 4:02pm

Again, it's not good practice to turn on phantom power if a mic doesn't need it, but short of an old ribbon mic (or a mic that specifically gives a warning), there will be no problems having it turned on even if your mic doesn't need it. As for "never" using phantom power if the mic doesn't need it - that's a little extreme to me but if that's what he was trained to do, that's fine. However, in many cases, that's not possible. For example, many low to mid level audio consoles switch on phantom power in groups or even to the whole console at once. In those cases, you will regularly have non-phantom powered mics plugged in that are still receiving phantom power. It won't hurt anything.

As to whether there are different versions of the k6 power module, I don't have an answer beyond the two versions you already noted (K6 and K6P). You would have to check with Sennheiser but I imagine your friend's is one of those two and his misunderstanding of phantom power is what is causing your confusion.

Jeff