This post is also available in: Português
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.
Our guide on how to record with multiple USB microphones was originally written in 2016. We update this post periodically to reflect changes in technology, our recommendations, and because we’re always learning new things!
Best Options for Recording 2 or More People
If you want to record yourself and someone else in the same room, then here are a couple of great options. Both 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.
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.
The 2i2 is brilliant, but there are other top USB audio interface options on the market right now, too.
Option 2 – Use a Digital Recorder
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.
Check out our best digital recorders roundup if you’d like to look into this option a little more.
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 are 4 different options for you.
One thing I’ll say upfront too – this is often easier if you have 2 different models of USB mic. Sometimes having 2 of the same (eg; 2 Blue Yetis) 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 – Use Rode Connect With Rode NT-USB Mini Mics
This is a new (2021) option, and, in my opinion, the best way of effectively recording 2 (or more) USB mics into 1 computer. The catch is that you’ll need to buy specific types of USB mic to make it work. Usually, when people want to record with multiple USB mics, it’s because those are the mics they already own.
The Rode Connect software is completely free, but the Rode NT-USB Mini mics are $99 a pop. That’s actually a very good price for what is an excellent little mic. But as I’ve said, there’s a decent chance you already own USB mics and don’t need to buy more.
Rode Connect can power up to 4 NT-USB Mini mics at once, and you can record them in multitrack. You can even bring in remote/online calls from apps such as Skype or Zoom. If this setup sounds appealing, check out our full writeup – Rode Connect & Rode NT-USB Mini – A Multi USB Mic Solution?
Option 2 – VoiceMeeter/Audacity (Free)
A 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.
You 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 3 – ASIO4ALL/Adobe Audition
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.
Check out our Best USB microphones roundup, if you’re still looking around for a good USB mic.
Bonus Resource: Free Online Microphone Test
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.
Option 4 – 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 doable, but far from optimal.
That said, if you’re putting together a setup from scratch, then you can run 2-4 Rode NT-USB Minis into Rode Connect and record in multitrack. You can even feed in remote guests from apps like Skype and Zoom, too.
I’ve covered a few more options here for recording with 2 USB microphones, and you can muddle along with those. But long term, they’re going to make life awkward, and could even start to hold you back. The easier your podcast is to record, the easier it will be to stick with it, keep putting out new episodes, and grow your audience.
Want to Make Podcasting Easier?
Imagine you had one ridiculously simple place to record, edit, produce, and publish your podcast. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?
Well, imagine no more. That’s why Alitu exists. It’s the ‘Podcast Maker’ tool for folks who want less time learning the tech, and more time creating and promoting great audio content. Try it out free for 7 days and see what you think!