If you have on-location guests or co-hosts your audio quality will benefit greatly from using multiple mics.

But can you use multiple mics without a mixer? And if so, how?

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This week we’re answering another listener question. Send us yours on Twitter, drop us an email via the contact form, or leave us a comment on any relevant blog post!

With thanks to Justin, who provided this episode’s topic.

“I am looking at starting a video podcast with 2 other hosts. My biggest question is how do we use 3 microphones without having to get a fancy Mixer that has more bells and whistles then we would ever learn to use?

We plan on using a MacBook & Webcam, just need info on how to start out on an average budget. I know audio is important, but I want everything to be professional.”

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We tend to get this question fairly often. Recording with two mics is fairly established, but as soon as you get beyond that things start to get a bit tricky.

So how do you go about using multiple mics without a mixer?

Well the simplest thing you can do is to get a USB microphone that has an omnidirectional polar pattern – which means it records audio all around it. This way it’s literally like a round-table discussion all working with the one mic.

There’s obviously a few downsides like having a lack of control in differing between hosts, but the upside is it’s super easy to work with.

That’s one option, but you could instead use two or three USB mics into your computer at the same time by downloading a sound card, for example Asio4All or VoiceMeeter. We have an article based around this which you can find here.

Another option would be to get a digital recorder, like the Zoom H4 or H5 – which cost between $170-270. For Justin’s situation, the H5 has a feature where you’ve got capsules you can put in the top. So, you take off the internal mics and you can put in different tools – including one that has 2 more XLR inputs.

This means you have 2 XLRs in the bottom and 2 XLRs in the top, allowing you to plug in 4 really good quality microphones. It’s not the cheapest setup in the world, but it’s sure to be one that will produce a professional sound while also being very portable.

For more information about adding extra mics, checkout this article by Matthew on The HosaTech Stereo Splitter.

Another option mentioned on this episode would be a Scarlett interface. This is limited because it’s not portable, but it’s a great piece of tech and one to consider.

Finally, there’s some cases where it’s worthwhile to all jump on a separate computer and record on a call recorder like Zencastr or Zoom – even if you’re all in the same place. It’s a really quick way to record your own track and then bring it all together using the simplest of kit.

And that’s it for this week’s episode.

We’d like to thank everyone to took part in our survey which has now closed, and the winners of the competition will be announced shortly!

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If you have any more questions or want more info about the academy, get in touch with us on Twitter, drop us an email via the contact form, or leave us a comment on any relevant blog post!