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Care and Feeding of Microphones, Part 2

The explosion of affordable condenser microphones on the market means many people are acquiring their first condenser. Here are a couple of points you should remember to keep your mic safe.

Most condensers operate on phantom power – usually delivered via the mic cable from the mixer. Avoid “hot-plugging” your mic. Repeated power-on surges can shorten its life. Make all connections before activating the channel, and then apply power. If you have a tube condenser mic with its own power supply, this is just as important. Don’t turn on the power until after you’ve connected the mic input and the mixer output.

Tube condenser mics also require a little time to warm up to perform their best. Manufacturer recommendations vary but range from 2-3 minutes to 10-15 minutes. Once your tube mic is on, some sources recommend that you leave it on to maximize the life of the tube.

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