Q Can I leave my mic powered up?

Published in SOS September 2005
Bookmark and Share
qa C1 RodeNT1.s
Leaving a condenser mic such as the Rode NT1A on it's stand and powered up when not in use does no damage, though you might want to keep the dust off with a polythene bag.
Leaving a condenser mic such as the Rode NT1A on it's stand and powered up when not in use does no damage, though you might want to keep the dust off with a polythene bag.
I've just bought my first mic, a Rode NT1A, which requires phantom power, and I'm wondering if there's anything wrong with leaving it plugged in with phantom power switched on for long periods of time? It's a bit of a hassle to have to take it off the stand, unplug it and put it away every time I use it.

SOS Forum Post

Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: There's no problem with leaving your mic powered up — many professional studios prefer to keep their mics powered all the time, and there are some good arguments in favour of this approach.

The most likely cause of damage to a mic is accidentally dropping it on the floor, and that is most likely to happen when putting it on or taking it off a stand! So avoiding that risk is probably a good thing. Also, if the mic is supported in a shockmount, continually taking the mic in and out of the mount will tend to stretch the suspension elastics and weaken the clamps, again making it less reliable over time.

So, assuming that you have space to leave your mic on its stand, it's not a bad idea. However, you should take steps to make sure that the capsule is protected from dust when not in use, so placing a clean polythene bag (a freezer bag, for example) over the mic when you have finished with it is a sensible precaution.

Leaving the mic powered will also help to keep moisture at bay in most locations (as long as we are talking about a room in a house rather than a shed in the garden). As well as keeping dust away, a polythene bag over the mic will also help keep warm air around the capsule.

Most electronic components are quite happy if powered permanently, and generally fail when power is applied after being turned off. So leaving a mic powered is unlikely to shorten its life significantly, and may well prolong it!

As I said, a lot of high-end studios leave their mics on stands, powered and protected with bags — it's not an unusual practice at all. Of course, in those situations the mics are in use pretty much every day, but if having the mic on a stand, powered and ready to go, helps make it easier to record something when the mood takes you, why not? It would be a shame not to record something just because you can't be bothered to get out a mic stand, unpack a mic and plug it all up!

June 2016
On sale now at main newsagents and bookstores (or buy direct from the SOS Web Shop)
SOS current Print Magazine: click here for FULL Contents list
Click image for June 2016
WIN Great Prizes in SOS Competitions!


Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Blog | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help


Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26


We accept the following payment methods in our web Shop:

Pay by PayPal - fast and secure  VISA  MasterCard  Solo  Electron  Maestro (used to be Switch)  

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2016. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents.
The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media