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Unveiling the Mystery of Phantom Power and Condenser Microphones: A Comprehensive Guide

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Introduction: Why Understanding Phantom Power and Condenser Microphones are Crucial for Audio Production

Audio production is all about capturing sound as accurately and effectively as possible. In order to achieve high-quality recordings, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of the tools and equipment being used. Two of the most important pieces in any recording setup are Phantom Power and Condenser Microphones.

Definition of Phantom Power

Phantom power is an electrical current supplied to certain types of audio equipment in order to power them. Specifically, it is used with condenser microphones, which require electricity to function properly. The term “phantom” refers to the fact that the power is transmitted through the same cables that carry audio signal, without causing any interference or noise.

There are two commonly used voltages for phantom power: 48 volts and 24 volts. While 48-volt phantom power is more common, some devices such as portable audio recorders only support 24-volt phantom power.

Explanation of Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones use capacitance – the ability of two conductive plates separated by a dielectric material (air) – to convert sound waves into electrical signals. They have a thin metal diaphragm that vibrates in response to sound waves.

The diaphragm is positioned very close to a metal backplate, forming an electrical capacitor between them. When sound waves hit the diaphragm, it moves back and forth relative to the backplate, changing the distance between them and therefore changing the capacitance between them as well.

This results in a tiny electrical current that corresponds exactly with the sound waves picked up by the microphone. Condenser microphones are known for their high sensitivity and accuracy compared to other types of microphones such as dynamic or ribbon mics.

Importance of Understanding Phantom Power and Condenser Microphones

Understanding phantom power and condenser microphones is crucial for anyone involved in audio production. Without proper knowledge of these concepts, it’s easy to make mistakes that can lead to low-quality recordings, or even equipment damage.

For example, connecting a condenser microphone to a device that doesn’t provide phantom power can result in no signal being picked up, or a very weak and unusable signal. Conversely, supplying phantom power to a device that doesn’t require it can cause permanent damage to the equipment.

Furthermore, different types of condenser microphones require different amounts of phantom power. Failing to supply the correct voltage can result in poor sound quality or uneven frequency response.

Having a solid understanding of phantom power and condenser microphones is essential for achieving high-quality audio recordings. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into these topics and explore how they work together.

Understanding Phantom Power

Definition and explanation of phantom power.

Phantom power is a term used to describe a method of powering certain types of audio equipment. It is typically used with condenser microphones, though it can also be used with other devices such as DI boxes and some active speakers. The term ‘phantom’ refers to the fact that power is supplied without the need for an external power source – i.e. it seems to appear out of nowhere.

Phantom power is supplied through the same cables that are used to connect the equipment, meaning that only one cable is required for both audio and power. This makes it a convenient solution for many recording and live sound situations.

The voltage level of phantom power can vary between different devices and systems, but most commonly it is either 12V or 48V DC. The voltage does not affect the quality of the audio signal in any way, but it must be compatible with the equipment being used.

Types of Devices That Require Phantom Power

As mentioned earlier, condenser microphones are the most common type of device that require phantom power. However, there are other devices that may also require phantom power such as DI boxes (used for connecting instruments), active speakers (which have built-in amplifiers) and some specialty audio equipment.

It’s worth noting that not all condenser microphones require phantom power; there are some models which have their own internal battery or external power supply. However, if you’re using a condenser microphone without these features then you’ll almost certainly need to use phantom power in order to get any sound out of it.

Voltage Requirements for Different Devices

As mentioned earlier, there are two common voltages used for phantom power: 12V and 48V DC. Most modern equipment will be designed to work with both voltages, but it’s always worth double-checking the requirements of your specific equipment. Some microphones may have a higher voltage requirement in order to operate properly.

For example, some ribbon microphones require up to 60V DC in order to produce sound. It’s important to be aware of these requirements and make sure that your equipment is compatible before attempting to use it.

How to Supply Phantom Power to Devices

There are various methods for supplying phantom power depending on the equipment being used. For most recording setups and small live sound systems, phantom power is supplied via the mixing console or audio interface.

Most mixing consoles will have a switch or button labelled ‘PHANTOM’ which can be engaged in order to supply power. Audio interfaces often have a similar feature, either as a physical switch or as an option within the control software.

It’s important to note that not all mixing consoles or audio interfaces will provide enough current for multiple devices requiring phantom power. If you’re using multiple condenser microphones or other devices then it may be necessary to use an external phantom power supply unit.

Phantom power is a simple but essential technology for anyone involved in recording or live sound production. Understanding how it works and how different devices require different voltages is crucial for achieving high-quality audio recordings and performances. By following the guidelines outlined above and consulting your equipment manuals where necessary, you’ll be able to ensure that phantom power is supplied safely and effectively throughout your setup.

Understanding Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones are a type of microphone that use an electrically charged diaphragm to convert sound into an electrical signal. They are popular in professional recording studios because they are capable of capturing a wide range of frequencies and dynamics, making them ideal for recording vocals, acoustic instruments, and other sources that require a high level of detail.

Definition and Explanation of Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones work by using a thin metal or plastic diaphragm that is placed close to a backplate. The distance between the diaphragm and backplate creates a capacitance, which is the ability to store an electrical charge. When sound waves hit the diaphragm, it vibrates and changes the capacitance between the two plates, creating an electrical signal.

One important thing to note about condenser microphones is that they require power to operate. This power is called phantom power and can be supplied through XLR cables or battery-powered preamps.

Types of Condenser Microphones

There are several different types of condenser microphones available. These include:

1) Large Diaphragm

Large diaphragm condenser microphones have a diaphragm that is typically 1 inch in diameter or larger. They are popular for recording vocals because they have a warm, full-bodied sound with plenty of low-end response.

2) Small Diaphragm

Small diaphragm condenser microphones have a diaphragm that is typically less than 1 inch in diameter. They are popular for recording acoustic instruments such as guitars and pianos because they have a more accurate high-frequency response.

3) Tube Condensers

Tube condensers use vacuum tubes instead of transistors to amplify the signal. They are known for their warm, vintage sound and are popular for recording instruments such as drums and electric guitars.

4) Electret Condensers

Electret condenser microphones are similar to traditional condenser microphones, but they use a permanent charge instead of an external power source. They are popular for use in consumer electronics such as laptops and smartphones.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Condenser Microphone

One advantage of using a condenser microphone is that it is capable of capturing a wide range of frequencies and dynamics. This makes it ideal for recording sources that require a high level of detail, such as vocals or acoustic instruments. However, there are some disadvantages to using a condenser microphone as well.

One is that they can be more sensitive to environmental noise than other types of microphones. Additionally, they require power to operate, which means you will need an interface or preamp with phantom power capabilities in order to use them.

Overall, if you need a microphone that can capture highly-detailed sound with plenty of nuance and subtlety, then a condenser microphone may be the right choice for you. Just be sure to consider the advantages and disadvantages before making your decision.

How do Phantom Power and Condenser Microphones work together?

Condenser microphones are known for their high sensitivity and ability to capture subtle nuances in sound. However, they require a power source to operate, and this is where phantom power comes in.

Phantom power is used to provide this necessary voltage to the condenser microphone. In most cases, phantom power is supplied via an XLR cable from a mixer or preamp.

The phantom power travels through the same cable that carries the audio signal from the microphone. When it reaches the microphone, it powers the electronics inside, which include a diaphragm that vibrates in response to sound waves.

The vibrating diaphragm creates an electrical signal that travels down the cable and into your recording device or mixing console. From there, you can manipulate the signal with EQ, compression, or other effects.

Explanation on how phantom power is used with condenser microphones

Phantom power supplies use two conductors within an XLR cable: one carries positive voltage (+48V), while the other carries negative voltage (-48V). Together they act as a balanced audio circuit while also providing DC voltage. However, not all condenser microphones require +48v of phantom power; some require less voltage such as +12v or +24v.

In some cases when using incorrect voltages or polarity reversal of pin 2 & 3 on XLR connector can cause damage to microphones. Some mixers have switches allowing you to turn off phantom power per channel (used for ribbon mics) or per group of channels (to save battery life).

How phantom power affects sound quality from a condenser microphone

Phantom Power provides necessary voltage to condenser microphones allowing them to capture sound with great detail and sensitivity while doing away with the need for battery replacements. The correct usage of Phantom Power will ensure best sound quality without any interference during recording process while incorrect usage may lead to damage equipment or poor sound quality.

Phantom Power should not affect sound quality if provided correctly at recommended voltages without any interference but it can affect performance if not provided correctly such as  producing noise during recording process. A low-quality phantom power supply can cause noise and hum in the signal, which will be amplified when you increase the gain or volume of the recording. It is advised to use a high-quality phantom power supply or mixer/preamp that has quality built-in phantom power supply.

How to troubleshoot issues with phantom power and condenser microphones

If you’re having issues with your microphone or aren’t getting any signal, there are a few things you can try to troubleshoot:

1. Check your cables: Make sure both ends of your XLR cable are securely plugged in and that the cable itself isn’t damaged.

2. Check for polarity reversal: Ensure pins 2 & 3 on XLR connector are not reversed.

3. Check for proper voltage: Ensure voltage requirement by microphone is met.

4. Swap out cables: If you have another XLR cable available, try swapping it out to see if that fixes the issue. 

5. Check mixer settings: Make sure your mixer is turned on, phantom power is turned on per channel if required by mic type (ribbon mics) and volumes/gains are set reasonably without clipping signals.

In this article, we have covered the definitions and explanations of phantom power and condenser microphones. We have also discussed the different types of condenser microphones and how phantom power is used with them. Additionally, we looked at how to troubleshoot any issues that may arise when using these devices together.

Phantom Power is a vital part of any recording setup that requires a condenser microphone. It provides the necessary voltage to make sure your microphone operates correctly. By understanding how it works, you can ensure your recordings are clear and free from unwanted noise. Condenser microphones are commonly used in recording studios because they are sensitive to sound and produce high-quality recordings.

There are various types of condenser microphones available, each with its unique features suited for different applications. When using phantom power with a condenser microphone, it is essential to make sure that the voltage supplied matches the requirements for the device you’re using; otherwise, you may encounter problems in your recordings.

To help improve your experience when working with Phantom Power and Condenser Microphones, here are some tips: 

1. Always check your equipment before beginning any recording session to ensure everything is functioning correctly. 

2. Make sure you use good quality cables that can handle the voltage requirements for your devices.

3. Consider investing in a pop filter or windscreen to reduce plosive sounds during recording sessions.

4. Be aware of microphone placement as this can affect the quality of sound recorded by your microphone.

5. Finally, always stay up-to-date with new technologies in audio production as advancements can significantly improve audio quality while reducing noise levels in recordings. Mastering the use of Phantom Power and Condenser Microphones will lead to clearer sound recordings free from unwanted noises or disruptions.

Proper understanding of these devices is essential for any audio producer or recording artist looking to take their craft to the next level. By following the tips outlined, you can improve your recording sessions’ quality and accuracy while reducing the likelihood of problems arising during your sessions.

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What is phantom power, and does your microphone need it.

And do you need it to power your microphone?

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What is phantom power, do condenser mics need phantom power, do dynamic mics need phantom power, can phantom power cause damage, key takeaways.

Phantom power is a way of carrying electric current to power microphones without using a separate power supply. It's typically used to power condenser microphones and the 48V DC power itself is supplied by most mixers, audio interfaces, and preamps.

If you're shopping for a microphone or audio interface, you've probably seen the term phantom power. But what exactly is phantom power, where does it come from, and do you need it to power your microphone?

Phantom power is a method of providing power to a microphone without an external power supply or battery. While some microphones don't require phantom power, other, more sensitive microphones do.

Phantom power works by carrying DC electric current over an XLR cable that plugs into your microphone. This way, a single cable carries power to the microphone as well as the audio signal from it.

The official standard for phantom power specifies that it can carry anywhere from 11 to 52 volts of DC power. Studio microphones most often run at 48 volts, so you'll see phantom power referred to as +48v.

The power needs to come from somewhere, and in most cases it comes from a mixer or audio interface . While most audio interfaces feature phantom power, not all of them do. You can tell by looking for buttons labeled +48v or similar, usually near the gain controls.

Phantom power isn't the only way to provide power to a microphone. Lavaliere mics, for example, typically rely on internal batteries for power. Larger vacuum tube microphones also require more power, so they use their own bespoke power supplies.

Every condenser microphone requires power, due to the way this type of microphone operates. In the majority of cases, this is phantom power. There are only two cases where condenser microphones use other power sources, which we'll look at in a moment.

Condenser microphones are very sensitive, with a conductive diaphragm next to a solid metal plate. As the diaphragm vibrates, the distance between it and the metal plate creates changes in capacitance.

This signal requires a built-in preamp to lower the impedance and amplify it. This is why condenser microphones require power, and, in most cases, this is phantom power.

The first of the two exceptions is tube condenser mics, which, as mentioned above, use their own power supplies, so they don't require phantom power. The other exception is USB microphones , which get their power from the USB connection.

Dynamic microphones don't require phantom power because they work differently from condenser microphones.

A dynamic mic essentially works like a speaker in reverse. Instead of sending a sound through a speaker, which vibrates and makes noise, dynamic microphones vibrate from noise in the air. This signal then travels through a circuit in the mic and to your XLR cables.

These signals are high enough in volume that the signal can go directly to your mixer, preamp, or audio interface. The only issue is that some dynamic microphones, like the Shure SM7B , have very low output.

For these mics, you can use an inline preamp to boost the signal. These inline preamps sometimes use phantom power instead of an external power supply. In this case, it's the preamp that is using phantom power, not the microphone.

While it's possible to damage microphones with phantom power, it's not common or likely.

One type of mic more prone to damage from phantom power than others are ribbon microphones. There are two types: active ribbon microphones, which actually require phantom power, and passive ribbon microphones.

Passive ribbon microphones used to be more prone to damage from phantom power running to them. These days, these microphones have circuitry built in to avoid this type of damage. The only way you'll likely damage a ribbon microphone with phantom power these days is from an XLR cable with faulty wiring.

The only other way to damage a ribbon microphone is a mistake you should avoid with any type of microphone when using phantom power, and that's forgetting to ensure it's off before plugging or unplugging cables. Never plug in a microphone with phantom power enabled. Switch it off, make the connection, then switch it on.

Follow the above, and you shouldn't ever have to worry about damaging anything with phantom power.

Related: What Is Audio Distortion, and What Causes It?

Phantom Power Explained: The Key to Better Audio

  • September 28, 2023

In the world of sound engineering, there’s a lot to learn, and one of the terms you’re likely to encounter early on is “Phantom Power.” But what exactly is it, and why is it crucial in sound engineering? In this beginner-friendly guide, we’ll demystify Phantom Power, explaining its purpose, how it works, and why it’s essential for your audio equipment.

What Is Phantom Power?

This is a common question, but to put it simply: it is an electrical power source used in audio equipment, primarily in microphones. Its purpose is to supply power to certain types of microphones, typically condenser microphones, and active direct boxes (DI boxes). These devices require an external power source to operate and produce the best possible audio quality.

How Does Phantom Power Work?

Phantom Power is typically delivered through the same microphone cable that carries the audio signal. It is a DC (direct current) voltage, usually set at +48 volts, although some equipment may use +12 volts or +24 volts. This voltage is applied equally to the two balanced lines in a microphone cable.

The magic happens inside the microphone. Condenser microphones contain a special component called an “electret” or a condenser capsule. This component requires a source of electricity to polarize the diaphragm and create an electrical charge. When sound waves hit the diaphragm, it moves in response to these variations in air pressure, generating an electrical signal. Phantom Power ensures that the electret is charged, allowing the microphone to function correctly and capture audio with precision.

Microphone with phantom power, and headphones.

Why Is Phantom Power Important?

1. powering condenser microphones.

Condenser microphones are known for their sensitivity and ability to capture intricate details in sound. They are commonly used in studio recording for vocals and acoustic instruments. However, to operate optimally, condenser microphones require a power source, which Phantom Power provides. Without it, these microphones would be unable to function, limiting your recording capabilities.

2. Enhancing Audio Quality

When a condenser microphone receives Phantom Power, it can reproduce audio signals more accurately. This results in a cleaner, more transparent sound with better high-frequency response. Whether you’re recording vocals, acoustic guitars, or delicate soundscapes, it will ensure that your microphone performs at its best.

3. Supporting Active DI Boxes

Active direct boxes (DI boxes) are essential tools for connecting instruments like electric guitars and keyboards to audio systems. They often require Phantom Power to operate their internal preamp circuits effectively. By supplying this power, you can ensure that your DI box delivers a strong and clean signal to the mixer or audio interface.

4. Compatibility with Professional Equipment

Many professional-grade mixers, audio interfaces, and microphone preamps are equipped with Phantom Power capabilities. Knowing how to use it expands your compatibility with a wide range of audio gear, allowing you to work with high-quality equipment and achieve professional results.

When to Use Phantom Power

  • Condenser Microphones: Always use Phantom Power when using condenser microphones, whether in the studio or for live performances. These microphones cannot function without it. If you’ve ever plugged your mic into your audio interface but received no sound when recording, this may be the reason.
  • Active DI Boxes: If you’re using active DI boxes to connect instruments to your audio system, make sure Phantom Power is turned on to power the DI box’s internal preamp.

Phantom Power may sound mysterious at first, but it’s a crucial tool in the world of sound engineering. It powers condenser microphones and active DI boxes, enhancing audio quality and compatibility with professional equipment. Understanding when and how to use it is an important for any aspiring sound engineer. Happy recording!

Microphone Mastery: Choosing the Right Type for Your Sound

  • September 26, 2023

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Alat ini adalah power supply tambahan untuk microphone condenser yang menggunakan plug XLR sehingga suara yang dihasilkan lebih jernih dan lebih keras. Phantom Power ini dapat menghantar daya hingga 48V dan low-noise.

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Deskripsi Phantom Power Microphone 1 Channel 48V Supply for Condenser Microphone Dimensi 10 x 8.8 x 4.1 cm PACKING BUBLE WARP BUNGKUS BARANG ANTI SHOCK https://shopee.co.id/PACKING-BUBLE-WARP-BUNGKUS-BARANG-ANTI-SHOCK-i.232738097.6563740720 Isi paket: - 1x Phantom power 48v - 1x Adaptor power supply - 1x Cabel XLR To XLR (Ukuran 3 Meter) Alat ini adalah power supply tambahan untuk microphone condenser yang menggunakan plug XLR sehingga suara yang dihasilkan lebih jernih dan lebih keras. Phantom Power ini dapat menghantar daya hingga 48V dan low-noise. 48V Phantom Power Microphone kondenser dengan plug XLR dapat digunakan pada power supply phantom power 48V ini. Ultra Low Noise Kualitas suara yang dihasilkan microphone Anda akan lebih baik karena phantom power ini sudah dilengkapi dengan teknologi low noise untuk mengurangi suara bising saat rekaman. High Quality Component Phantom power ini menggunakan bahan berkualitas pada semua komponennya. Suara yang dihasilkan akan sangat jernih dengan komponen audio kualitas tinggi.

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The Narkomfin building, Moscow

Moscow's Narkomfin building: Soviet blueprint for collective living – a history of cities in 50 buildings, day 29

Shared living spaces and the emancipation of women from domestic drudgery were at the forefront of the Narkomfin’s groundbreaking design. So why was this building rejected almost as soon as it was completed?

In the shadow of one of Stalin’s Seven Sisters skyscrapers in Moscow’s Presnensky District, an unkempt park gives way to a trio of yellowing buildings in varying states of decay. The crumbling concrete and overgrown wall-garden don’t give much away, but this is the product of the utopian dreams of a young Soviet state – a six-storey blueprint for communal living, known as the Narkomfin building.

Designed by architects Moisei Ginzburg and Ignaty Milinis in 1928, the building represents an important chapter in Moscow’s development – as both a physical city and an ideological state. Built to house the employees of the Narodnyo Kommissariat Finansov (Commissariat of Finance), Narkomfin was a laboratory for social and architectural experimentation to transform the byt (everyday life) of the ideal socialist citizen.

In the years following the 1917 Russian revolution, living conditions in the newly established Soviet Union left much to be desired. Newcomers moving from the countryside with the promise of a new life arrived in an overcrowded and underdeveloped Moscow with very little infrastructure or housing. Architects were tasked with developing a solution for the housing shortage – and a framework to support the changing face of Russian society.

Enter the “social condenser”, an idea developed by the Organisation of Contemporary Architects, who spearheaded revolutionary ideas of collective living through standardised Stroikom units, confining private amenities to a single cell while facilities like kitchens and living space were communal. Thanks to this design, the Narkomfin building appears as one long apartment block, connected to a smaller communal structure by a covered walkway and a central garden space.

One of the Narkomfin’s communal staircases.

But communist values were not the only ideals behind the Narkomfin: women too were set to be emancipated. “Petty housework crushes, strangles and degrades … chains her to the kitchen”, wrote Lenin in A Great Beginning . “The real emancipation of women, real communism, will begin only where and when an all-out struggle begins ... against this petty housekeeping.”

While the organisation’s architecture was set to transform the byt of the domestic soviet, head architect Ginzburg was in no rush. He spoke of architecture as being able to harness the activity of the masses, and to “stimulate but not dictate” their transition into a “socially superior mode of life”.

Yet the communal and feminist values behind Narkomfin went stale almost as soon as the building was completed in 1932, and only a handful of such projects were completed before Stalin’s Five Year Plan halted the experiment. After Stalin’s rise to power, the communal and emancipatory values the architecture intended to inspire were quickly rejected as “leftist” or Trotskyist, and Narkomfin’s communal spaces fell in disrepair. Residents illegally installed makeshift kitchen units into their homes and the recreation space originally planned for the building’s rooftop was instead dominated by a penthouse apartment for the commissar of finance, Nikolai Milyutin.

A corner detail of Narkomfin the block by M A Ilyin.

Having since suffered years of neglect, Narkomfin is now caught in a tug-of-war battle between developers seeking to capitalise on the building’s central Moscow location, and those campaigning for its full restoration. Between 2006 and 2008, developer Alexander Senatorov bought up around 70% of the building’s 54 flats (the Moscow government owns a further 20%, with the remaining 10% owned by individual occupants). Soon after, Senatorov began working with Alexei Ginzburg, the original architect’s grandson, to draw up plans for a boutique hotel.

The project fell flat after the 2008 financial crisis, however. The unique split-level units were then let to artists at a nominal fee, but more recently, rental hikes have been forcing tenants out. They have been replaced by commercial establishments including a falafel shop, shisha lounge and yoga studio – and heightened security.

“These days it is more inviting to hipsters than historians,” says Natalia Melikova, a Moscow-based photographer and founder of the Constructivist Project . “It’s catering to a certain public now.”

Warned of the security guards’ aversion to snoopers, I entered Narkomfin by reciting a rehearsed request to visit the sixth-floor shisha lounge. Behind the heavy metal entrance door, I was eyeballed, quizzed – “who gave you information about us?” – and eventually taken up to the rooftop where, ironically, I was free to roam.

In the place where Milyutin’s penthouse once stood, the Healthy Space yoga studio now takes classes outside when the sun is shining, against a backdrop of Stalin’s ominous Kudrinskaya Square skyscraper.

Inside, “illegal repairs” have been carried out by Senatorov, who plans to spend around $12m (£7.7m) on a renovation project carried out by Kleinewelt Architects , set to include private accommodation, a mini-hotel and a small museum of constructivism. Inside an apartment-turned-falafel shop on the fifth floor, I spoke to a resident who told me that he values the collective mentality of the occupants of the building, for whom rental hikes and hasty evictions loom large.

For now, the building has been temporarily filled with artists and trendy businesses, but the ghost of the communal living experiment lingers in the hallways of Narkomfin.

A cafe inside Narkomfin.

Occupying a prime spot between the US embassy and a shopping centre, the land around Narkomfin is ripe for real-estate development. Having previously appeared three times on the World Monuments Fund watch-list, Melikova has nominated the building once again for 2016 listing – but its worsening state puts it at risk. If considered more than 70% dilapidated, she explains, Narkomfin could be razed, rather than restored: “It is a crucial time for all stakeholders – which includes the developer, the city of Moscow, city residents, and the international community - to work together for the Narkomfin building.”

Many masterpieces of Soviet constructivism are now crumbling under capitalism, replaced by pastiche architecture or pale replicas of former buildings. When opening the neighbouring luxury Novinsky Passage mall , former mayor Yuri Luzhov commented : “What a joy that in our city such wonderful, new shopping centres are appearing – not such junk”, pointing in the direction of Narkomfin.

Melikova, whose Constructivist Project aims to promote the preservation of the city’s avant-garde architecture, is hoping for a sensitive restoration of the building: “The changes are irreversible and Narkomfin’s authenticity is at stake. Moscow does not need another replica.”

  • Which other buildings in the world tell stories about urban history? Share your own pictures and descriptions with GuardianWitness , on Twitter and Instagram using #hoc50 or let us know suggestions in the comments below
  • A history of cities in 50 buildings
  • Moscow holidays
  • Architecture
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Vladimir Lenin

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