March 19, 2023

Information Technology by cobuman

Is Realtek Audio strong enough to power XLR microphone?

If you happen to be a video maker like me, you may be in the market for improved audio and your most likely first step would be a purchase of better microphone. However, if you opt in to purchase a microphone with XLR connections then you may have an issue… 

Realtek Audio
Realtek Audio Devices found inside your computer

Ever heard of Realtek? If you think maybe… then you most likely noticed this name while fiddling with random audio settings on your computer. The reason for this is because Realtek is the most common (generic) audio hardware installed on vast majority of computers in the world. Seriously, even when you purchase custom build PC parts you will most likely have Realtek audio in your computer. For the most part this is fine, but when it comes to audio recording it leaves much to be desired, especially when it comes to extra juice needed by more expensive microphones.

Recently I bought a “professional” microphone for the purpose of possible live streaming and came to find that Realtek audio may not be strong enough to power a microphone that normally uses XLR phantom power amplifiers. Luckily, and I say this loosely, this microphone happens to come with an XLR to 3.5mm cable adapter that is designed to work with regular mic connections found on a typical PC.  The best way for me to demonstrate my results was by creating a video…

As suspected, Realtek was nowhere near powerful enough to control/power this microphone while Sound Blaster Hfi Go was. Not to mention that the Sound Blaster is powered by USB 5v only. If I didn’t happen to have this sound adapter handy I would have wasted my money on this purchase. It’s fair to mention that my tests were done on an HP 8300 SFF computer; although, I suspect the same results on my high end computers that also have Realtek installed.