Passive splitters, cheap mixers, phantom power and ribbon mics
Is the above a recipe for disaster? For the most part, I use a split with no transformers. I have noticed that when connecting to cheaper mixers that apply global phantom power, even with their phantom off, when I apply phantom, it seems to spread over all the channels. Tonight I plan to use a couple of ribbon mics (Beyer M500s) and am a little nervous about phantom power taking a back route through the Mackie mixer that is used for FOH. I do have transformers that I will use for the ribbon channels, but what would be best for my peace of mind of best sound would be to put the transformers on the PA end of the ribbon channels and have a direct connection on my end (using Grace pres although I am curious as to how they would sound with APIs). Would this be enough protection (or is the phantom power destroys ribbon mics a myth, as I have heard in places?)?
How long have you been using a non-isolated splitter? IMO, that’s a serious no-no in my book! I mean, why do you want to be connected to other system’s chassis’ and such?
Consider renting or borrowing a transformer splitter for all the inputs. But, in any case protect those ribbon mics with some iron.
Be nervous; be very nervous especially if you’re borrowing those M500s from a friend.
Yes, take the direct out and give the isolated out to FOH. If the XFMRs sound good who cares, take the iso out. Transformer will protect you from any stray phantom power voltages.
Well, it’s kind of a myth. It depends on how you plug the in and out of the circuit. Some folks believe if you plug them in absolutely straight on making sure pin 2 & 3 hit the connector at the same time, you’re in good shape. Damage occurs to the ribbon when pin 2 or 3 sees the voltage first. I rather look at it like this. DO NOT PLUG ANY RIBBON MIC INTO A CONNECTOR WHEN 48 VOLTS IS PRESENT. END OF STORY.
Thanks for the reply! I do love the Mythbusters, but I don't know if I want to be one.
The M500s are mine (just purchased them from Dolo here on GS), so if I break them, I fix them. I also just spoke to Beyer, since when I got received them in the mail, there was a rattling in one of them. It turned out that the inner blast filter had come loose. Old glue and all that. I asked about the phantom power situation and it was his view that Beyer mics don't really have the problem that others might. Still and all, I don't know how much of a chance I want to take. I also found out that a complete rebuild is under $200. Apparently Beyer decided to discontinue the spare parts a few years ago and he convinced them to start up again, since there was a lot of demand to keep these mics going. I guess I dodged a potential bullet on that one.
I have been using a non isolated split for about 5 months. It was a matter of economics ($250 for a 24 channel split snake) and I had done some research here with a number of people chiming in that they had done the same. I do have 20 or so channels of isolation, but some aren't that great quality (Horizon) and others are cumbersome (Sescom, although I took 8 of the transformers and built them into another box and that works well. They sound pretty decent to me.) with subsnakes all over the place. My goal is to eventually get together 32 channels of isolated split, but I need more gigs to accomplish that.
Tonight I'll use the 8 channel sescom box. That should be fine.
Oh, Your non-isolated splitter DOES have (pin one) ground lift switches for (at least) the recording splits, right?
Jeez, you gotta call me on everything! Not this time around.
Anyway, it went great last night. Great vocalist, excellent guitarist, really good sounding room and the M500s on vocals sounded very nice indeed. The FOH guy, who had never used ribbons before really loved them, as well. Split worked perfectly (Sescom 8 channel box).
Clearly, I am in the market for a better splitter.