What Is Phantom Power (48V) On Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

focusrite iphone

What is Phantom Power?

In the world of audio recording and music production, phantom power is not a supernatural phenomenon. Rather, it’s a technical term for a certain kind of electrical power that microphones and other audio devices require to function. But how does it work, and why is it necessary? Let’s take a closer look.

The Magic Behind Phantom Power

Phantom power, also known as +48V, is a DC voltage that’s sent through microphone cables to power certain types of microphones. It’s called ‘phantom’ because the power supply doesn’t interfere with the audio signal—it’s essentially invisible, or “phantom,” to the circuit.

Why is Phantom Power Necessary?

Phantom power is essential for condenser microphones. These mics have internal components that require an external power source to operate, like the mic’s internal preamplifier and active electronic components.

Unveiling the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

So, where does the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 fit into all this?

What is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2?

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a high-quality, compact audio interface popular among music producers, podcasters, and content creators. With its excellent preamps, versatile inputs, and sturdy construction, the Scarlett 2i2 offers a professional recording solution.

Key Features of the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

One of the noteworthy features of the Scarlett 2i2 is its built-in phantom power supply. This allows it to provide the necessary +48V power to condenser microphones, thereby enhancing their performance.

How Phantom Power Functions in the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Now that we know what phantom power is and how crucial it is for certain devices, let’s explore how it works on the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.

Enabling Phantom Power on the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Enabling phantom power on the Scarlett 2i2 is as simple as pressing the “+48V” button on the front panel of the interface. Once activated, the interface supplies the necessary voltage to the connected microphone.

When to Use Phantom Power on the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Phantom power should be enabled when using condenser microphones that require it. Remember, not all microphones need phantom power. Dynamic microphones, for instance, don’t require it, and while it won’t cause them damage, it’s unnecessary. Always ensure to know the specifications of your microphone before activating phantom power.

What Happens If You Don’t Use Phantom Power on a Device that Needs It?

If a device that requires phantom power isn’t given it, it won’t function properly. In the case of a condenser microphone, you might experience a lack of signal or weak audio output.

The Impact of Phantom Power on Sound Quality

Phantom power doesn’t just enable a microphone to function—it can also influence the sound quality.

The Positive Effects of Phantom Power

Phantom power helps in producing a clean, clear, and high-quality sound by adequately powering the microphone’s internal electronics.

The Potential Drawbacks

While phantom power is vital for certain microphones, it’s not always beneficial. Using phantom power with a device that doesn’t require it can potentially cause damage or produce a distorted sound.


Phantom power is more than a mere technical term in the audio industry—it’s a vital component that makes high-quality audio recording possible. For devices like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, it enables the use of advanced condenser microphones, thereby enhancing audio quality and making your recording experience more professional.


What is phantom power?

Phantom power is a DC voltage—usually 48 volts—that is supplied to certain microphones and audio devices that require an external power source to function correctly.

Does phantom power improve sound quality?

Phantom power itself doesn’t directly improve sound quality. It provides the necessary power for certain microphones, like condenser microphones, to function properly, which in turn allows them to capture high-quality sound.

How do I know if my microphone needs phantom power?

Check the specifications of your microphone. If it’s a condenser microphone, it’s highly likely that it needs phantom power. However, if it’s a dynamic microphone, it doesn’t require phantom power to function.

Does the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 have phantom power?

Yes, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface includes a phantom power option. You can activate it by pressing the “+48V” button on the front panel of the interface.

Can I damage my microphone by using phantom power on the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2?

Phantom power will not damage condenser microphones that require it. For dynamic microphones, which do not require phantom power, activating it won’t cause damage either. Always check your microphone’s specifications to ensure you’re using it correctly.