How to record with a phantom powered microphone on a computer?


I want to record with a CAD Audio GXL2200 Cardioid Condenser Microphone into a laptop, but I don't know how to connect it.

The mic did not come with a cord, so I bought one, but the plug in is way too big for the computer. I think I may need one that has the three prongs (male & female).

  • The microphone requires phantom power - how does that connect to the computer?
  • Do I have to buy a mixing board to connect the phantom power?
  • If so, will the mixing board plug into the computer?


Posted 2015-11-05T14:49:40.937

Reputation: 31



According to the datasheet for the microphone (located here), this microphone requires a 48 Vdc phantom power supply.

You can fabricate or purchase a suitable phantom power supply with a balanced-to-unbalanced adapter so that the mic can be connected properly to your laptop computer.

Alternatively, you can purchase an inexpensive mixer that has the proper XLR connector to accept the mic cable and can supply the required 48 Vdc phantom power that the mic requires. These mixers often have a set of Tape output jacks (usually RCA), which then requires a simple stereo 3.5mm mini plug to RCA connectors cable.

I'm very fond of Mackie mixers but Beheringer makes less expensive knock-offs that can work well.

Dwayne Reid

Posted 2015-11-05T14:49:40.937

Reputation: 146


You need an audio interface, and one with phantom power (that microphone needs phantom power).

An interface will connect to the computer through USB or Firewire (typically), and handle the input and output of audio (converting analogue to digital and vice versa). Connecting your microphone(s), instrument(s) and speakers/headphones to the interface is just a matter of cabling.

If your laptop has a 3.5mm line in, you could, as already stated, buy a phantom power supply and the nessecary adapters. But the audio interface is a much better tool for the job, and a much better investment all round.

Alterntively, you could go the mixer route, but depending on the outputs of the mixer and what your overall goals are down the road it may not be such a wise investment. Unless it has a built in interface the audio interface is still, in this case, a much better tool for the job.


Posted 2015-11-05T14:49:40.937

Reputation: 11


The "three prong plug" you are talking about is an XLR connector. It is pretty much standard with when working with professional audio gear (it is rugged and less susceptible to noise). XLR connectors look like these two (female and male): XLR female and male plugs

The GXL2200 microphone has the following specifications - notice the P48 phantom power requirements:

Operating Principle:    Externally-biased condenser
Polar Pattern:  Cardioid
Frequency Response: 30Hz to 20KHz
Sensitivity:    -36dBV (16mV) @ 1 Pa
Impedance:  75 ohms
Max SPL:    130dB, 1% THD
Self Noise: 20dBA
Power Requirements: P48, 3mA

So - you need to be able to record a balanced signal via XLR and provide phantom power to the microphone. Moreover you may as well spare yourself of the future trouble with noisy build-in sound adapters (line in/ mic-in). That points in one direction only: an external audio interface.

Something like this (Presonus AudioBox USB):

Presonus AudioBox USB

You may be able to find cheaper solutions - just make sure it has the XLR input, has phantom power (often just indicated with +48V on the front), is USB and records at 24Bit (to avoid future noise issues).

You don't need a mixer (it will introduce additional and unnecessary complexity in your setup).

Michael Hansen Buur

Posted 2015-11-05T14:49:40.937

Reputation: 3 612


You need an inline UBS interface like this Blue Icicle and a short XLR cable - others are cheaper but at $49, this is a decent, simple option.


Posted 2015-11-05T14:49:40.937

Reputation: 34