In case you missed it, last week we launched something called the V-Link. For a lot of people there was excitement, but for some there was confusion. So we wanted to take some time and break down exactly what the V-Link is, what it can do for you, and some useful ways you can use it.
So what is the V-Link?
It’s an adapter cable that allows you to convert XLR 48V phantom power inputs into 3.5mm mic inputs. There are key differences between these two types of microphone inputs and this cable uses electronics inside of the XLR cap to make the modifications possible and make 3.5mm microphones work with XLR inputs.
What makes an XLR input and a 3.5mm input different exactly?
An XLR input can supply 12V, 24V, and/or 48V phantom power. This is used to power the microphone and is run on both pins 2 and 3. Pin 2 is also the pin that the microphone uses to send signal back into your XLR input. So how is that different than a 3.5mm mic input?
A 3.5mm mic input works by sending 1-5V (typically 2.5-3.3V) bias voltage (sometimes called Plug-In Power) down Pin 1, which is also the same pin that the microphone sends audio back on.
As you can see, the voltages between the two are wildly different, as are the amount of pins required, and the method of delivering power to the microphone. The V-Link then converts the 48V power from Pins 2/3 and turns it into 3.3V on Pin 1.
So what does the V-Link do for me?
Well simply put, it creates a mimicked 3.5mm mic input that can be used to run passive microphones (battery free microphones) like the V-Mic D4 DUO that run off 3.3V bias voltage. Or it can be used to trigger PiP sleeping microphones like the V-Mic D3 and D3 Pro that use the presence of PiP/bias voltage to turn on as a method for auto-conserving battery life when their host device (a camera typically) is turned off/on. Normally if you were to use these types of microphones with a passive XLR to 3.5mm adapter cable, you wouldn’t get a signal at all. And if you turned on phantom power, you might get a signal for a very short while, but you’d destroy your microphone. Not anymore. The V-Link protects your microphone from phantom power and uses it to make it work like it should.
What can you do with it though?
Well, the easiest use case would be to run your video microphones into a bigger cinema or ENG style camera. Often these cameras only give you XLR inputs and would normally require you to upgrade to an XLR microphone. The V-Link allows you to upgrade your kit piece by piece without having to shell out a lot of money to replace your non-broken microphone. We believe that if your V-Mic D3 still works, and you want to upgrade your camera… keep using your microphone. Video microphones shouldn’t become eWaste. We think the V-Link is one more method to keep working electronics out of the landfill.
But that’s not the full potential of the V-Link. It also means you can use something like the classic audio recorder the Zoom H4n, 2x V-Mic D3 microphones, and 2x V-Link cables to create a simple, battery powered podcast setup. Add some table top stands with possibly some XLR extension cables, depending on your needs, and you have everything you need to tell stories on the go.