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How To Connect Condenser Mic to Amplifier

After choosing the best condenser mic, the next question is how to connect condenser mic to preamplifier and start recording.

Connecting condenser mic to an preamplifier can be a bit tricky, but with the right steps it’s not too difficult.

How To Connect Condenser Mic To Preamplifier

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of connecting a condenser mic to a amplifier, and we’ll also provide some tips on how to get the best sound quality.

The process of connecting a condenser mic to a preamp and amplifier is relatively simple. However, setting up the connection for the first time may be a bit tricky. In time, you’ll master the whole connection process.

What is Microphone Preamp?

The microphone preamp is an electronic device that increases the microphone signal so that it can be used by a mixer or an input device with adequate line level. Preampifiers reduce background noise and inline regenerative feedback.

Preamps come in all shapes and sizes. They can be attached to a mixing board or audio interface, or can be used with an external power source. A preamp can also be a separate purchase, but that’s less common.

Preamps can also be used for other purposes outside of just recording. A preamp has several basic functions. The most obvious is that it provides phantom power to a condenser microphone. By the time the sound reaches the microphone, it’s already been amplified and converted to an electric signal. A preamp does this by providing phantom power.

Functions Of A Preamp

When you turn on a condenser microphone, it will usually be powered up with a signal from a preamp. This preamp is what converts the sound from the microphone to the audio interface. This preamp also provides the power for the mic. It’s important to know what the preamp does for the microphone. There are basically two functions a preamp has:

  1. pre-amplification
  2. phantom power.

➡ The pre-amplification function helps boost the level of the sound coming from the microphone.

➡ The phantom power function allows the mic to operate without the external power source.

When you use a condenser mic, the sound from the mic will generally be inaudible. A preamp helps bring the sound from the mic to a level that’s audible to the listeners. It also helps make the sound more transparent.

Why Preamps Are Necessary for Condenser Mic?

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, condenser microphones need a preamp for two main reasons:

  1. Condenser mics need a preamp for 48v phantom power.
  2. Mic preamp amplifies the audio signal to “line level”.

Now let’s discuss these two reasons in greater detail.

  1. Condenser Mics Need Preamp For Phantom Power

Condenser mics need a separate power source to work and record. A condenser microphone contains a diaphragm, which is usually made of very thin metal, and another piece of metal called a backplate.

Electricity is applied to both of these creating a static charge between them. The amount of electricity required ranges from between 9 and 48 volts.

This tiny bit of electricity needed to make the diaphragm move in a condenser mic is called the “Phantom Power”. This power usually comes from your audio interface or the mic preamp.

So, it’s the preamp that provides the charge for phantom power, causing the condenser microphone to record sounds.

  1. Preamps Amplify Condenser Mic Signals To “Line Level”.

A mic preamp not just provides phantom power to a condenser mic to record, it also brings the sound levels of the condenser microphone from “mic level” up to the “line level” so that the signals can be processed by other devices.

A microphone preamp takes a microphone audio signal at its input, applies an appropriate amount of gain (which is typically adjustable), and outputs a line-level signal.

The audio signals that are produced by condenser mics or any other mics are too weak to be transmitted and processed by other recording devices such as mixing consoles.

Microphones produce audio signals at a “mic level” that greatly ranges from -60 dBV and -20 dBV.

A mic preamp takes these low-level signals and amplifies them to a “line level” of +4dBu (1.78 dBV).

This “line level” is the professional standard for recording/mixing audio devices such as mixing consoles and digital audio workstations.

As I mentioned before, a mic preamp applies “GAIN” to the condenser mic signal to bring it up to the “line level”.

Gain works by adding energy to the signal. This energy is converted from an external power source of some sort (whether that’s an AC wall plug, phantom power, or batteries).

Gain boosts signal strength from mic level to line level so the condenser microphone signal is compatible with professional recording devices. Mic preamps control gain and are typically the first circuits a signal passes through after the condenser mic output.

A Step-by-Step Guide To Connecting Your Condenser Mic To Preamp And Amplifier?

After acquiring your condenser mic, the next step is to connect it to a power source and start recording. Of course, you probably remember that a condenser mic requires phantom power to function. If you don’t, there’s no need to beat yourself up.

We’ll quickly catch you up on the essential bits you need to know. A condenser mic is genuinely one of the best microphones out there. Unlike other mic options, a condenser mic contains a lightweight diaphragm, with a fixed plate to support it in the mic’s encasement. Also, the microphone has its own capacitor. The unique build of the condenser mic makes it highly effective for capturing sounds clearly and accurately.

Indeed, It is no surprise many recording professionals choose to use this mic for capturing vocals and other related sounds. However, a condenser mic’s internal dynamics also means that it needs a source of power to operate.

Connecting a condenser mic to a preamp and amp system is a relatively straightforward process.

Before we dive into our tips on how to connect a condenser mic to a preamp, let us first outline the items you need:

  • A preamp that supplies phantom power 
  • An XLR audio cable
  • An audio adapter

➡ First, unplug your preamp and amplifier from their respective sockets. You don’t want to risk sending out a random sound burst that may damage your speakers or even the mic.

➡ Next, plug the XLR cable from your condenser mic into any input with an XLR label on your preamp.

➡ Ensure that the input has a phantom power option, which you can toggle when the time comes.

➡ Next, plug the audio adapter into the output channel on your preamp. The output port is usually a ¼ inch jack. Then, connect the adapter with an audio patch cable.

➡ Plug the audio cable into an input channel on your amp.

➡ Finally, put your preamp and amplifier plugs back in their sockets and turn them on. Then, toggle the phantom power switch on your preamp to ‘on.’

➡ Your condenser mic should now be ready to start recording.

Benefits of Using a Dedicated Preamp With Your Condenser Mic

Even though you might not have to spend a large amount of money to get a preamp, there are some benefits to using a dedicated preamp.

  • You’ll have a preamp that is dedicated to one purpose only: recording. This means that your condenser mic will only have one job to do. It will only do what it was constructed to do: pick up the sound.
  • A preamp will be more stable than an amplifier with more or less features. It’s like a dedicated piece of sound equipment that you can tailor to any recording needs.
  • A preamp is more reliable than an amplifier. Just because an amplifier comes with a lot of cool features, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s trouble-free. It’s also possible for an amplifier to malfunction or malfunction in a way that you can’t easily fix.


As you can see, a dedicated preamp is a great investment. They have a range of features that an audio interface with built-in preamp cannot. So, if you’re looking to record your condenser mic with professional results, consider acquiring an external preamp unit.

Hopefully this article provided you a useful information about how to connect condenser mic to preamplifier & why does a mic need one?

For further information feel free to contact us at hello@micforyou.com.

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