Thread: Lav mic question for those with technical skills

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  1. #1 Lav mic question for those with technical skills 
    Senior Member Ruben de Boer's Avatar
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    I just bought a Sennheiser MKE 2 lav mic with a lemo plug. I bought it for about 45, so for me it's worth the gamble.

    I'm ready to chop off the lemo plug and replace it with a 3.5mm / 1/8" jack (for about 15 incl shipping) to use it with my Zoom H5 line input (which provides plug-in power). I'll solder it as mic signal (not line), so red to tip, and blue + shield to ring + sleeve.

    My question is this:
    Do I need a converter or resistor to use the mic with plug-in power (5v)? From the specs I've found it seems the mic takes around 5v (it states it can work from a 5.6v mercury battery, but I have no knowledge of these batteries and the circuit involved). Anyone any clues?

    An alternative is to use a converter cable (around 60), but I rather would not. To cumbersome and expensive.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member DPStewart's Avatar
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    When you say the Zoom provides "plug in power", do you mean standard 24v or 48v phantom power? Because that's far too high for the LAV microphone. ZAP!
    But a lower power *might* be an option on the Zooms - I don't know them. Some of the Tascams I have put out a 3.5v power on the 1/8" input that is specifically for LAV microphones, and it works very well.

    If the 1/8" inputs on the Zoom are putting out full phantom power - the safest bet will be a proper cable made specifically for this purpose.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Ruben de Boer's Avatar
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    Thanks for chiming in, DP. You can select 5v (plug-in power) or different Phantom Power voltages. Phantom Power is only for the XLR outputs on my Zoom H5. Plug-in power is specifically for the 'line in' so should be fine.
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  4. #4  
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    Lav mics must be wired mono/balanced for phantom power to work and connected to a mono mic preamp input. You can't plug them directly into a 3.5mm stereo line input on a recorder. You won't have enough gain nor will you get phantom power. Use the XLR inputs for the lav. Red pin2, blue pin 3, shield pin 1.
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Ruben de Boer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz16mm View Post
    Lav mics must be wired mono/balanced for phantom power to work and connected to a mono mic preamp input. You can't plug them directly into a 3.5mm stereo line input on a recorder. You won't have enough gain nor will you get phantom power. Use the XLR inputs for the lav. Red pin2, blue pin 3, shield pin 1.
    I wasn't planning of using it with phantom power, only with plug-in power. Plug-in power can be unbalanced. Phantom power must be balanced.
    Considering these facts I should be OK plugging it into the 5v plug-in power 1/8" jack of the Zoom H5...

    Or am I missing the point, razz16mm?
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruben de Boer View Post
    I wasn't planning of using it with phantom power, only with plug-in power. Plug-in power can be unbalanced. Phantom power must be balanced.
    Considering these facts I should be OK plugging it into the 5v plug-in power 1/8" jack of the Zoom H5...

    Or am I missing the point, razz16mm?
    The mic will not be powered and will not function in a line level 3.5mm stereo input. Phantom power current is supplied on a balanced mic input across both pins 2 and 3 of an XLR referenced to pin 1 ground. The DC power is canceled out of the audio circuit with capacitors.

    You also will be lacking 40dB plus of necessary mic preamp gain on the line input.
    Just put an XLR on it and use the mic inputs.
    Last edited by razz16mm; 01-07-2017 at 02:28 PM.
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  7. #7  
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    Lav condenser heads typically don't take straight phantom they take bias voltage also called plug-in power.

    This is the adapter that Sennheiser makes that includes the transformer to step down from phantom 48v to plug-in power or bias voltage.

    https://en-us.sennheiser.com/mza-900-p
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  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by Howie Roll View Post
    Lav condenser heads typically don't take straight phantom they take bias voltage also called plug-in power.

    This is the adapter that Sennheiser makes that includes the transformer to step down from phantom 48v to plug-in power or bias voltage.

    https://en-us.sennheiser.com/mza-900-p
    Yes this is why the rode lavs with the MiCon connectors can be swapped between 3.5 and XLR connectors. I use rode lavs with the 3.5 jack and zoom H1s all the time. For a while I didn't realise they were getting plug in power from the H1. It was until I put a XLR jack on one, plugged it in, and got no signal that I realised I needed to turn on the phantom power. I guess the rode XLR connector has that step down transformer built in.
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  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Howie Roll View Post
    Lav condenser heads typically don't take straight phantom they take bias voltage also called plug-in power.

    This is the adapter that Sennheiser makes that includes the transformer to step down from phantom 48v to plug-in power or bias voltage.

    https://en-us.sennheiser.com/mza-900-p
    Yes this is why the rode lavs with the MiCon connectors can be swapped between 3.5 and XLR connectors. I use rode lavs with the 3.5 jack and zoom H1s all the time. For a while I didn't realise they were getting plug in power from the H1. It was until I put a XLR jack on one, plugged it in, and got no signal that I realised I needed to turn on the phantom power. I guess the rode XLR connector has that step down transformer built in.
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Ruben de Boer's Avatar
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    I'm still confused. I ordered a 1/8" plug and will try that with the lav mic (to the mic / line in from the Zoom H5, with plug-in power turned on). I'll let you guys know if that works...
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