What Is a Field Recorder with Phantom Power? & Why Is It Necessary for a Field Recorder?
Phantom power feature in a field recorder is used to deliver DC current and power condenser microphones, which require electric power to work properly. For most field recorders with phantom power, the current is transferred through an XLR microphone cable so that the recorders will not need an extra power adapter. Most importantly, Phantom power sends the voltage necessary to condenser microphones but it won’t cause any problems to send signals consistently and smoothly.
The phantom power feature is normally turned off in the recorder’s settings, and you need to manually turn it on for powering condenser mics. 48 volt is the most common voltage setting and most condenser mics require 48v phantom power for proper performance. You may see other phantom voltages to work with mics that have particular requirements.
There is a question you might wanna know, people used to say phantom power must be turned off if you are not using a condenser microphone, is that true? Well, it can be true for ribbon mics or some old dynamic mics. Most dynamic mics nowadays won’t get damaged. But it is always recommended to turn phantom power off before recording with a dynamic mic, which gives you the best sound quality and longer battery life. Also, remember to plug the condenser microphone in before turning on phantom power. Otherwise, you might hear a huge crack sound.
Top Field Recorders with Phantom Power in 2022
Zoom H4n Pro – Classic Portable Field Recorders with Phantom Power
The first field recorder on this list is the solid Zoom H4n Pro. It is not a very new product, but it is still a go-to option when purchasing a budget-friendly portable field recorder with phantom power. It utilizes built-in stereo X/Y microphones, so it offers great convenience and flexibility even you don’t have a microphone at hand.
When it comes to audio recording quality, the Zoom H4n Pro allows users to record field recordings up to 24-bit, 96 kHz. Frankly speaking, it does not have the highest standard, but it is enough for most needs. With two XLR inputs with locking connectors and its multi-track mode, you are able to record audio onto 4 channels effortlessly.
Besides a power adapter, the Zoom H4n Pro field recorder requires 2 AA batteries to work outdoor and it can work up to 10 hours in stamina mode. As for phantom power, the Zoom H4n Pro provides two voltages: +24V and +48V. And you can use the +24V setting to work with some condenser mics to reduce power consumption. You can directly to SD/SDHC cards up to 32 GB, or use this recorder as a USB audio interface for directly recording sound to computers
The Latest Handheld Recorder with Phantom Power – Tascam Portacapture X8
The latest Tascam Portacapture X8 has premium hardware and advanced smart features, making it a definitely worth-considering recorder in 2022. To give you the best audio recording quality, this Tascam Portacapture X8 recorder is equipped with two large built-in microphones (14.6mm diameter), in-house-developed HDDA mic preamps, dual AD converters, and 32-bit float point recording technology, allowing you to capture high-quality recordings with minimum noises.
Looking at the appearance of this recorder, we can see that the Portacapture X8 has implemented a huge color touch display that offers multiple presets for recording, and you can have the best audio settings without complicated operations. With these settings, you can turn this versatile recorder into a field recorder, a recorder for podcasting, or a professional instrument recorder easily. As one of the latest recorders in 2021-2022, the Tascam Portacapture X8 can be controlled wirelessly through an optional Bluetooth dongle and their app.
While we’re focusing on the smart features and audio quality, the Portacapture X8 is also great for connecting extra XLR mics. Although this is a handheld recorder that has a fairly small size, you’ll also be able to plug 6 XLR into this recorder, which makes this recorder a nice mixer with the USB audio interface function. Indisputably, the Tascam recorder will provide phantom power to every condenser mic that you plug in.
What is different from regular portable recorders is that this field recorder supports micro SD/micro SDHC/micro SDXC (up to 512GB) and you will find two camera jacks in this Portacapture X8 recorder for working perfectly with your cameras.
Zoom F6 Field Recorder/Mixer with Phantom Power
If you prefer a reliable and sturdy field recorder with phantom power for multiple condenser microphones rather than a pocket-sized handheld recorder, this Zoom F6 has some really great performance considering the reasonable price and remarkable recording quality.
Firstly looking at the recording quality, Zoom’s F6 recorder comes with six professional-grade preamps that give you quieter noise compared to Zoom portable recorders such as H6. Moreover, the Zoom F6 field recorder has wider frequency response.
With 32-bit float recording and dual AD converters, this Zoom F6 field recorder allows you to have an unprecedented amount of dynamic range and you can connect 6 XLR mics through the mic inputs. You can easily the levels for each input with the knobs or even remotely monitor signals and control the recorder via Bluetooth with their Bluetooth BTA-1 adapter.
To cope with the pressure you’ll be editing video clips and recording tracks, the Zoom F6 features precise timecode that generates time code at 0.2 ppm accuracy. Just like a simple portable recorder, you can set phantom power voltage and energy conservation function easily in the settings to power your condenser mics. For those looking for a professional field recorder with phantom power without spending a fortune, this Zoom F6 is the way to go.