If you are a content creator, you’ll eventually need to record multiple audios simultaneously. This is especially true when you need to connect multiple microphones to do a podcast with a co-host or invite a guest.
Musicians and singers need multiple microphones while collaborating with other creators or recording musical instruments. If you sing and play an instrument, it’s more convenient to record both simultaneously than mixing them together in editing.
Normally, laptops only have a single input port for 3.5mm microphones and one or two USB ports. In such cases, you may be wondering how to connect multiple microphones to a computer.
This article will teach you different methods to connect multiple microphones to a computer. We will also discuss some other technicalities involved in recording multiple audio together, allowing you to choose the method best suited for you.
Things to Consider Before Connecting Multiple Microphones
You should keep in mind several considerations before connecting multiple microphones to your PC, including the following:
- You should be able to monitor each microphone properly during the recording. Keep the laptop or PC screen towards you when recording the podcast to check the wave graph. Perform mic tests after completing the setup to make sure everything works fine. Also, remember to turn on the mics and other devices.
- Be mindful of the mic placement on your setup. Place the mics at a proper distance to record them on separate channels. If the mics are placed too close, recording on separate channels is useless. If there is an unwanted noise on one channel, it’ll also get picked up by the other microphone. It will also increase your post-production work. Test the mics before recording to minimize interferences.
- Using options such as a splitter cable can weaken the incoming signal to your PC. You should consider a preamp if you feel it dampening the sound level.
- If you want to use multiple microphones, try to be consistent with the brand and models. Every microphone has individual traits that may take some getting used to, and having the same microphones can save you the trouble of managing them. To learn more about which microphone to choose, refer to the articles here.
How to Connect Multiple Microphones to a Computer
You want to connect multiple microphones to a computer without compromising its audio quality. It is also best to record each mic on a separate track to save your efforts in editing. Most PCs have at least two USB ports to connect two USB microphones.
Other methods through which you can connect multiple microphones are provided below:
Using USB Microphones
Usually, PCs and laptops have at least two USB ports. You can use these ports for USB microphones. However, you’ll need an external application to make it work. You can use a free audio mixer application like Voicemeter to record from both microphones.
Using this method has some limitations, which are mentioned below:
- The audio must be recorded on a single track only.
- You need to be mindful of the volume levels of different mics. If the volume of one mic is very high or low, it is practically impossible to improve it in post-production.
Refer to this article to learn about USB microphones and XLR microphones.
Connecting Multiple Microphones to Macbooks
Connecting multiple microphones to Macbooks is easier if you use Mac OS. They have a built-in application to facilitate multiple microphone connections. Follow the steps provided below:
- Plug in the USB microphones to your Macbook.
- Go to “Utility” and search “Audio Midi Setup.”
- Click on the “+” sign in the bottom right corner to create a list of “Aggregate Devices.”
- Mark the “Mic Test” checkbox and then move on to configure input and output.
- Set “Figure 1” as input for the first mic and “Figure 0” as output.
- For the second mic, set “Figure 0” as input and “Figure 1” as output.
- From the Garageband, set the “Aggregate Devices” as input and output.
- You can record separate audio tracks through the “Record” button on each track.
- Press the “Record” button when you are ready and start as it glows red.
Other Connection Options
Aside from the options mentioned above, there are also solutions for Windows and other operating systems.
Using a splitter cable is the most convenient method to connect two microphones simultaneously. You can get a splitter cable with two ports for less than 5$. If you are a beginner and don’t want to invest much, using a splitter cable is one of your best options.
Most laptops and PCs have at least one 3.5mm microphone jack for you to connect the splitter cable. These jacks have two ports configured for the left and right channels, and it is one of the cheapest yet most effective methods to record through multiple microphones.
If you want to connect more than two microphones to your PC, it’s advisable to have an audio interface device.
You can set it up with DAW software such as Audacity to record sounds on different tracks. If you want to connect more than two microphones and record the audio on different tracks, you need to buy additional equipment.
Watch this video to learn how to connect multiple microphones to a computer.
You can record with multiple microphones through your computer using an audio mixer that can cost between $100-$150. Although this may seem expensive, it provides you with more convenience and control.
You can invite as many people as you want on your podcast. You just need to connect all the microphones to the mixer through XLR cables and the mixer to your laptop through a USB cable. You will still need DAW software to record the audio on separate tracks.
If you are looking for a slightly cheaper option, you can go for a USB audio interface.
USB Audio Interface
USB audio interface is the most commonly used equipment to connect multiple mics. It is not only convenient but is also a very affordable method. You can purchase an audio interface with multiple XLR inputs for as low as $50.
The interface has ports for your microphones, and you can easily connect it to your computer through a USB cable. If you use any music production software, you can conveniently record separate tracks from each microphone.
Alternatives of Connecting Multiple Microphones to Your PC
If you want to record a two-way conversation and are wondering how to connect multiple microphones to a computer, you can use another alternative: a bi-directional mic for two people.
However, it is limited to two people, and both of them need to sit across from each other. These mics can also be expensive and hard to find.
Tips to Record With Multiple Microphones
Here are a few tips that may help you when recording with multiple microphones.
- Some mics record in cardioid pattern, meaning they record when you speak directly into it, whereas some follow an omnidirectional pattern. When you want to use multiple microphones, use cardioid to isolate each sound.
- Keep the laptop screen towards you while recording and monitor the metrics. The volume level of the recorder will indicate if the mics are active and functioning. You can also identify if one of the tracks is too high or too low than others. This can be corrected through a preamp and save you time in post-production.
- Use a noise gate while recording through multiple microphones. It filters out sounds below a certain threshold and gives you a purer audio quality. It also prevents you from microphone bleeding.
However, you should be careful while using this technique, as it can also cut off genuine sounds. Test your microphones with the filter to see how they perform. You can add noise gates in post-production to avoid any issues.
Recording podcasts with guests or collaborating with fellow musicians is very exciting, but you need the right setup for proper implementation. If you have been recording with a single microphone until now, recording with multiple mics is a totally different game.
Using a high-quality audio mixer can minimize the complexity and uncertainty, but you will still need to learn a few things. If you are a newbie or on a tight budget, you can choose a cheaper option.
Through this article, we discussed how to connect multiple microphones to a computer. You can now decide which method works best for you.
To learn some cool post-production editing techniques, read the articles provided here.