One more question (for today at least). I just got a device that provides phantom power (48v) to my condenser mic, and inputs the audio into my computer via firewire. Is there any risk to the microphone if I leave the power on overnight or long term? Seems like you're supposed to be careful with condenser mics. Donovan
Condenser mics are pretty hardy electrically. No mic I know likes to be dropped.
The most fragile mics are ribbon mics. Care must also be taken with all but two ribbin mics I know of NOT to have Phantom Power on. The two exceptions are one of AEA's ribbon mics and one of Royer's. They both use Phantom Power to power a small amp in the mic itself.
Some electret condenser mics are battery powered as well as being Phantom Powerable. Of these, a few get sort of weird if you have both their own battery turned on and external phantom power applied. The Shure VP88 is one of these. The internal battery circuit is antagonistic to external Phantom Power. If connected to a Shure portable mixer, the mixer batteries get hot and the mixer shuts down. Running with either the mic's battery turned with no external Phantom Power or mic battery turned off and external Phantom Power turned on work fine.
Some externally-powered condenser mics connected to the preamps in my studio have had Phantom Power applied for months or years.