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How to record with multiple USB mics

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Neon sign of two microphones on dark background

Got more than one USB microphone but can’t get them both to work?

If you want to record your podcast using your computer and audio editing software you’re going to need a USB microphone. Unfortunately, if you’re planning on having more than one person on your show it’s not as easy as shoving a microphone into each of your USB ports and pressing record.

Your computer’s sound card isn’t set up to register more than one USB mic so you need to do a little configuring behind the scenes to get things working.

A quick word of advice before we get started

This process is easier if you have two USB mics that are different brands.

If you’ve got two of the same, your computer and certain pieces of software sometimes can’t tell the difference between them.

It’s also a pain in the butt to work out which one’s which when you’re setting things up manually. Ok, here we go…

What’s the difference between USB & XLR microphones?

Read

How to record two USB microphones on a PC

If you’re using a PC you’ll need to download software to make this work. 

Voicemeeter is a free online mixer that allows you to link up multiple USB microphones.  Then, when you record, it’s as simple as selecting Voicemeeter as your input and output in the audio hardware settings of your recording software.

It’s important to note this method records both microphones on one track rather than each microphone separately. 

Having separate voice tracks gives you a little more flexibility when you’re editing but it’s definitely not essential. Just make sure you’ve checked your levels before you start recording so both voices are at a similar volume because if they’re on the same track you’ll have to go through and manually lift or lower levels if one person is louder or softer than the other.

If you know you definitely want your voice tracks recorded separately (this is more of an advanced step and isn’t essential) you can use a program called ASIO4All

This is a paid program and takes a bit of configuring so if you’re a beginner I’d just stick to using Voicemeeter.

To see how to set up your microphones in Voicemeeter, check out this video…

Check out more videos like this at my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

How to record two USB microphones on a Mac

This doesn’t require any additional software because there’s an app in the Utilities folder of your computer that can help you do this.

Just search for ‘Audio Midi Setup,’ click the + in the bottom left-hand corner and ‘create aggregate device.’  Once you’ve selected your different USB mics you select the aggregate device as your input and output in your recording software.

To see how to set up an Aggregate Device on your Mac, check out this video…

Check out more videos like this at my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

What’s the most versatile equipment set up for podcast recording?

If you can’t be bothered faffing around with aggregate devices and online mixers, my top recommendation for a versatile podcast set up is to purchase a Zoom portable recorder.

I have a Zoom H6 which has four inputs so you can plug in a microphone for every person on your show.  Then you can either record directly onto your SD card which can often be more reliable than recording onto your computer.  

Or, if you want to record into audio editing software, you just plug the Zoom into the USB port of your computer, select ‘Audio Interface,’ then select the H6 (or whichever version you have) as your input and output in your recording software.  No need for aggregate devices or faffing about in online mixers.

This set up gives you the flexibility to record on the road or at home on your computer.  You just plug in your microphones and away you go.

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

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WANT TO START A PODCAST BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW? THIS GUIDE TAKES YOU THROUGH ALL THE TOOLS AND TECH YOU NEED TO GET GOING!

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