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I want to get one of those ear microphone to used when recording cell phone conversations. I noticed on Amazon that one can get the Olympus TP-8 at a decent price. But from the reviews on Amazon, it seems like there is something called "phantom power" meaning (if I understood it correctly) that the microphone needs power from the audio recorder to work. Apparently some audio recorders can supply this power and some can't. From Amazon I can't figure out which recorders have this power.

Is there a way to figure this out? What should one look for in the description?

I do already have an old RCA (RP5120-A) recorder, but it was very cheap and is old. I am guessing that this would not have "phantom power". Is that right?

Does one of the following audio recorders have this "phantom power"?

  • Olympus VN-702
  • Olympus WS-801

Which other cheaper ($60 or less) recorders can be recommend that would have this "phantom power"?

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2 Answers 2

It is extremely unlikely that a 1/8" TRS microphone needs phantom power. Instead, it most likely needs plug-in-power. The difference is that phantom power is 48V, while plug-in-power can range from 3-5v. If you plug a plug-in-power device into a source of phantom power, there is a good chance you will damage it.

Plug-in-power was originally a Sony thing, and then a SoundBlaster thing. Sony recorders are most likely to support plug-in-power. My Sony M10 does, but it is well above your budget.

Companies other than Sony may use a term other than plug-in-power. So you probably need to do some googling to see if you can find place where people mention both the Sony term and various non-sony terms.

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Phantom power is a 48V of DC voltage usually usually applied to the studio level condenser mics. In your case it is obviously not the issue. Just plug this mic in any recorder with a 1/8 jack and you'll be fine.

BTW, from the Olympus site:

"Just plug the TP-8 jack into the "MIC" jack of your recorder"
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