How to Plug a Condenser Mic Into an Amplifier

By Steve Lander
Professional condenser microphones need phantom power.

When you speak or sing into a regular microphone, a magnet moves and creates a current in a coil of wire. The heavy magnets in regular microphones move slowly and can clip off some of the dynamics of the music they capture. Instead of using a slow moving magnet, condenser microphones use two plates that store or discharge electricity based on how they vibrate together or apart and are much more sensitive and responsive. For a condenser mic to work, though, it needs a separate power source, which comes from a special preamplifier.

Unplug your amplifier and pre-amplifier from their wall outlets.

Plug your condenser microphone's XLR cable into an XLR input on your preamplifier. Select an input that is designed for a condenser mic and provides a "phantom power" feed to energize its capacitor.

Plug an audio patch cable into your pre-amplifier's output. Typically, the output will be a one-quarter inch jack.

Plug the patch cable into an input on your amplifier.

Plug the preamplifier and amplifier into their wall outlets. The microphone is now connected.

About the Author

Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.