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Can You Record with 2 USB Microphones into 1 Computer?

Here’s how to record your podcast with 2 (or more) USB mics. And also, why you probably shouldn’t!

Can you record with 2 USB microphones at the same time? Yes!

Should you record with 2 USB microphones at the same time? To be honest, probably not.

Recording with a USB microphone is a really simple way to podcast. They're quick and simple to set up and use.

Adding in a second one can complicate things though. Yes, it can be done – and we'll show you how in this article – but it's never an optimal setup.

So first, let's look at a couple of better solutions.

Podcast Equipment: Alternatives to recording with 2 usb microphones

Best Options for Recording 2 or More People

If you want to record yourself and a co-host or interview guest in the same room, then here are a few good options. All of them streets ahead of trying to record with 2 USB microphones.

Option 1 – Use a USB Audio Interface

If you like the simplicity of USB, then you might want to get your hands on something like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.

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It's a great little audio interface that lets you plug in 2 XLR mics and run them straight into your computer.

You can use any type of XLR mic with the 2i2. Check out our best mics for podcasting roundup to explore your choices on that front.

With this option, you'll be able to record both of you on separate audio tracks, which will give you a bit more flexibility in post-production.

Option 2 – Use a Digital Recorder

Why not take the computer out the equation altogether and use a digital recorder like the Zoom H5 or Zoom H6?

These recorders let you plug multiple XLR mics into them and record on individual audio tracks.

This setup works great in-house or in-studio, but its strength is in its flexibility. You can go out in the field or on location and record great audio, without being burdened by a tonne of gear.

With the Zoom H6, you can record up to 6 independent tracks simultaneously.

Check out our best digital recorders roundup if you'd like to look into this option a little more.

Option 3 – Use a Mixer

A mixer will add a few more options into the… well, the mix.

What if you and your co-host wanted to add a third person to the conversation, but they were recording remotely? You could use call recording software, and connect the 3 of you up via the mixer.

With a mixer, you set up what's know as a mix-minus. This is so everyone can hear each other, without hearing their own voices being played back at them.

A mixer also lets you record your episodes “as live”. This means you can mix in the music, effects, and other segments in real time, rather than editing them all in afterwards.

Take a look at our best mixers roundup if you think this could be the route to go down.

Just Tell Me How To Record With 2 USB Microphones

Alright then! If you've got your heart set on recording with 2 USB mics, here's 3 different options for you.

One thing I'll say up front too – this is often easier if you have 2 different models of USB mic. Sometimes having 2 of the same (eg; 2 Blue Yeti's) can confuse the computer. This doesn't always happen, but it can. If you're having trouble, I'll again refer you to the (much better) options above.

Incidentally, if you want to buy a second USB mic, then you can't go wrong with the Samson Q2U. It's a brilliant microphone that works as both a USB and XLR model.

Anyway, about those options…

Option 1 – VoiceMeeter/Audacity (Free)

record with 2 usb microphones through voicemeeterA common way of recording 2 USB mics on the Windows platform, is with VoiceMeeter. This is a free virtual audio mixer that lets you set up a range of different input options.

Once downloaded, you can select and manage separate USB mics inside VoiceMeeter's control panel.

Next, you'd create an Input and Output source called “VoiceMeeter”, which can then be selected inside Audacity.

Now, you can record with both of your USB mics at the same time.

The slight catch is that it'll record both mics onto the same audio track (whether that's in mono or joint-stereo) inside Audacity.

Audacity recording USB mics onto both tracksYou can see how this appears in the image on the right. The left and right tracks are exactly the same, containing the input from both USB mics.

The ideal situation is that we can get one microphone on the left track, and the other on the right, but combining them in this way isn't a massive problem. It just means that you'll have a little less control over your audio in the post-production phase, since you can't edit and process each voice separately.

If you do want that level of control, let's look at how to record 2 USB mics on separate tracks.

Option 2 – ASIO4ALL/Adobe Audition

This option is slightly more complicated. Here, you'll need recording/editing software such as Adobe Audition or Reaper, which are paid programmes.

With this setup, you'd also be using a free audio driver called ASIO4ALL.

It helps if you have 2 different models of USB mics too, as I've already mentioned.

I've put together a video tutorial of how to set this up with Adobe Audition. I used the Blue Yeti and Shure MV5 USB mics.

Check out our Best USB microphones roundup, if you're still looking around for a good USB mic.

I'm adding in a transcription of the tutorial too, in case you need to return to this in the future…

Tutorial Transcription: Record With 2 USB Microphones Into Adobe Audition

Here's how to use audio recording and editing software, Adobe Audition, to run two different USB mics into the PC at the same time.

I'm going to use the Shure MV5 and the Blue Yeti as my two USB mics. It's better to use two different models of mic here, as it might not work if you have two of the exact same.

I'll also need to go to asio4all.com to download and install an audio driver called ASIO4ALL.

ASIO stands for Audio Stream Input Output. And ASIO4ALL basically powers up your computer's sound card, giving it access to multiple inputs and outputs independently at the same time.

Next, when you open up Adobe Audition, go to File, then Preferences.

Set your device class to ASIO and ASIO4All v2 as your device.

Open up Settings to the right of device drop-down menu. Inside this control panel, you'll see a list titled WDM Device List, and you want to click and activate the little power buttons besides your USB mics.

Come out of Settings after that and go to Audio Channel Mapping. Select both your USB mics as your left and right channels.

Leave the Preferences section and start a new multi-track session. On track one and two, use the input drop-down menus titled Default Stereo Input to select both your USB mics. Hit the R on both tracks to arm each one to record. And when you hit record, that's you up and running with two USB mics at the same time.

In these setups we used the Blue Yeti, the Shure MV5 and the Samson Meteor.

Option 3 – Use Separate Laptops

If you and your multiple co-hosts all own USB mics, you probably all own laptops.

With this option, you'd just get together in the same room and record your own individual audio into Audacity, each on your own computer.

A couple of loud claps before the episode starts will give you a good marker to then sync the different audio tracks together in post-production.

Summary: Should I Record With 2 USB Microphones?

So it's definitely doable, but far from optimal.

If you're podcasting regularly and don't plan on stopping, then it's worth considering an investment in something like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or Zoom H5.

Yes you can muddle by with either of the 3 options for recording with 2 USB microphones. But long term, they're going to make life awkward, and could even start to hold you back.

Need More Help?

We're always available in The Academy if you need more help getting this set up, or want access to all of our equipment courses.

We've got courses on all aspects of podcasting in there. From planning and launching, to promotion and monetisation.

On top of that, we've an active community forum, and run regular live Q&A sessions. It's the ideal place to find everything you need to start and grow a great podcast.

Discussion:

29 Comments

  1. Matt on 3rd February 2017 at 9:29 am

    Does the same apply if your using a Mac? Is it possible to use two USB mics wit a Mac and not just a PC?

    • Matthew McLean on 6th February 2017 at 9:48 am

      Hi Matt, I believe ASIO4ALL is a Windows-only program, so you might need to try something like CoreAudio to work a similar setup on your Mac.

      • Kevin Watson on 7th March 2017 at 1:28 am

        Hi Matt, It is possible to have multiple USB microphones on a Mac using ‘Aggregate devices.’ I am not very technical but searched youtube for using “multiple usb microphones in garageband” and found a relatively good solution that did not involve downloading any extra software.

        • Matthew McLean on 8th March 2017 at 11:59 am

          Hi Kevin, I believe it is pretty straightforward in Garageband on the Mac yeah, you shouldn’t need to download anything else to get that working. Not a DAW I ever use but I plan on adding a video in at some point!

  2. VARIZD on 5th August 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Asio4all not showing up on on sound recording devices.. I can open the control panel but still, on my windows 10 laptop with adobe audition opening, asio4all is not there as audio input option. Any solution?

  3. Jerry on 5th October 2017 at 6:36 pm

    does this work for 6 microphones work for this program? Can I use 5 at2020’s and 1 blue yeti?

  4. Kelocyde on 4th February 2018 at 1:48 am

    Why are audacity or voicemeter even mentioned if you’re using adobe audition?

    • alejandro Rubio on 2nd November 2018 at 1:06 pm

      Because some of us rather not support Adobe. I rather use Audacity since it’s open source and it’s as good as Adobe audition.

  5. jwrex on 24th February 2018 at 2:58 pm

    As an FYI, I asked Blue about this very topic, and they indicated that they can set up a second microphone to be recorded separately. They have a service called “Identity Modification” that they can do on Blue microphones so they show up as a separate track. This needs to be arranged through them directly, and I do not know if it can be applied to other brands’ microphones (I assume not).

    • Peter Johnson on 4th March 2018 at 1:56 pm

      I would think it may not be needed for some other companies microphones. From what i read elsewhere, USB devices have a device name and a device serial number, and the problem is that all the Blue Yetis have the same serial number, so cannot be individually identified by Apple.

      I have also read that Audio Hijack can tell them apart without modification, so you might want to try that. Its not particularly cheap, but ti does also allow you to record multiple streams at once.

  6. Thomas on 10th May 2018 at 9:16 pm

    Hi,

    If I want to use option 1 (same track), can I use 2 of the same mic? I have the ATR2100 and that works in my acoustic environment – it would be cool to be able to just get another one of those.

  7. Vanessa on 14th June 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Can the same process be done with three mic’s?

  8. Victoria on 16th November 2018 at 2:48 pm

    This was so helpful! I appreciate it. – Steel Mace Warrior Podcast

  9. DAVID on 6th February 2019 at 3:46 pm

    I’m looking to set up a podcast studio and I was wondering if through Reaper I could use two Maono AU-A04 USB Computer Cardioid Mics for my partner and I to record our show. I’ll include the Amazon link to the mics I’m checking out.

    Thanks!

    https://www.amazon.com/Microphone-MAONO-Condenser-Professional-Recording/dp/B07GQT8879/ref=sr_1_8?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1549463849&sr=1-8&keywords=usb+microphone+for+recording

  10. Lucas on 22nd February 2019 at 5:29 pm

    My friend and I are having major difficulties trying to record in audacity. We have an HP laptop but we plugged in 2 microphones from USB adapters. We have voicemeeter and the voices show up on there but when we choose the output as voicemeeter, audacity doesn’t pick up any voices. Please help

  11. I bought three blue yeti microphone would it be better to return them and buy three different types

    • wilwilliams on 11th March 2019 at 8:05 pm

      If you’re planning on using just USB mics, this might be your best bet. Be sure to see our USB Microphone Roundup if you want our recommendations!

  12. Jouros on 10th May 2019 at 1:41 am

    Will this work with Adobe audition 3? I know its old but its all i have to work with

  13. Pete on 31st May 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Hi, this is great thanks. The problem is with playback/monitoring. Unable to hear anything no matter what setting I have it on. Using Adobe Audition.

    Thanks

  14. Dave Souza on 31st August 2019 at 12:14 pm

    I have 2 of the exact same USB mics! Am I screwed?

    • Lindsay Harris Friel on 1st September 2019 at 8:17 pm

      I don’t think so, why?

  15. Luke Byron on 5th September 2019 at 9:51 am

    I have 2 USB mics currently, looking to upgrade to 3/4. If I have 4 USB slots on my PC, will this be ok to add them all in using Voicemeeter and record like that? Or can a PC not handle 4 USB mics? I don’t need 4 different tracks, in fact I’d like only one output stream

    Also, do all mics need to be identical type/brand if recording together?

  16. Finn on 6th September 2019 at 4:36 am

    This was really helpful and I’ve followed all the steps. However i have encountered one problem and was hoping you could help me. When i try and record with the 2x Atr 2100s that i brought 2 things happen. My first USB port no matter what mic I plug In, the audio from that mic is perfect. However once i plug the 2nd mic into another port it registers on voice meeter that it is picking up sound, just slightly less than the first mic. However when i then go to record in audacity only the mic in the 1st usb port picks up any sound. I have spent hours watching yt videos and fiddling with settings and I still can’t get it to work so any help would be awesome.

  17. Ben V. on 6th September 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Is it possible to use 2 usb mics on an iPad?

    • Matthew Boudreau on 17th September 2019 at 12:22 pm

      It is, but it’s complicated. A better method would be to use an external audio interface that will run on either USB or its own power.

  18. Zack on 1st October 2019 at 9:14 pm

    I’m trying to start a video podcast with 3 hosts. How do we connect audio of our 3 mics (all usb) in the computer, centralize sound, and what video editing software is good? Also, do we need to somehow sync up audio with the camera?

  19. Martyna on 10th October 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Same question same problem. I’ve got 2 of the same mic and even after installing ASIO i can’t select them when audio mapping. Please help!

    • Matthew Boudreau on 12th October 2019 at 12:35 pm

      ASIO interfaces sometimes run into conflict when they are open for use as a WDM device. In other words, when they are open for use in windows. You can try disabling the audio device and restarting VoiceMeeter. To disable the audio device in windows, navigate to your sound settings in windows. Right-click on your device and select disable: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Nq-7m7YxtxNG_RmbohHVqHxV-6tvueVk

      Using two USB mics does sometimes require an advanced understanding of sound drivers for your computer, which is why we don’t recommend it except as a workaround.

  20. Alex on 5th November 2019 at 12:21 am

    Could you explain the “Make an Input and Output source” part? I followed the steps and in Voicemeeter it picks up both my mics but when I go to audacity it doesn’t show up in Input nor Output…

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Written by:

Matthew McLean

Matthew is an audio drama writer and producer who enjoys talking about podcasts. He makes the tea at The Podcast Host, and is a loyal servant of adopted house rabbits.

October 2nd 2019