Ever wondered what the 48v button does on the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface? In this article, we’ll explain what phantom power does, when to use it, and when to leave it turned off.

Quick Answer: 48 volts of phantom power is required to activate and use a condenser microphone. Phantom power is also necessary to use some external equipment such as inline preamps.

Scarlett 2i2 & 48v (Phantom Power)

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface provides 48v as an option for both microphone inputs. This power will affect different types of microphones in different ways:

  • Condenser Microphones – Required.
  • Dynamic Microphones – Not required, generally won’t affect them in any way whatsoever.
  • Ribbon Microphones – Not required, but can damage the microphone.

It’s also worth noting that in-line preamps (Cloudlifter CL-1) require phantom power to work as well.

Phantom power will only work with the XLR output using XLR cables.

The Scarlett CM25 Microphone Bundled with the Studio Packs) is a Condenser microphone and will need Phantom Power.

Scarlett 2i2 48v Phantom Power & Dynamic Microphones

Only certain types of audio equipment require this phantom power, and dynamic microphones do not fall into this category. Pressing the 48v button on the 2i2 will have no positive effect on a dynamic microphone, and there is a slight chance it could cause damage.

It’s best practice to leave phantom power turned off when using dynamic microphones, like the Shure SM58 in the accompanying video, unless you also have a condenser mic connected to the interface at the same time.

Scarlett 2i2 48v Phantom Power & Ribbon Microphones

Phantom power can easily damage a ribbon microphone, it’s best practice to keep this setting turned off if you’re using a ribbon mic with your Scarlett 2i2 audio interface.

Scarlett 2i2 48v Phantom Power & Condenser Microphones

Phantom power is necessary to use a condenser microphone like the NEAT Worker Bee with the Scarlett 2i2. It won’t sound bad if you forget to switch phantom power on; it just won’t work at all.

It’s best practice to keep phantom power turned off until the microphone is connected to the interface, as there are some horror stories of things breaking when connections are made with phantom power live.

Scarlett 2i2 48v Phantom Power Equipment:

Scarlett 2i2 48v Phantom Power Topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:18 – Quick Answer
  • 0:40 – Pricing & Specs
  • 1:10 – Dynamic Microphone Without 48v
  • 1:21 – Dynamic Microphone With 48v
  • 2:20 – Ribbon Microphones
  • 3:00 – Condenser Microphone Without 48v
  • 3:30 – Condenser Microphone With 48v
  • 4:38 – Final Thoughts