Using multiple mics

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Using multiple mics

Permanent link to this post Posted by everydayexperiences » Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:18 am

I'm sure this question has been answered, but I can't find it. I have an online talk show and am currently using one mic that connects to my laptop with USB. I want to be able to use multiple mics - one for me and the other people I may be interviewing b/c it's hard to hear everyone clear with only one mic - is this possible and would I need a mixer? I'm using Audacity 1.2.6. Any info would be appreciated!!
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Re: Using multiple mics

Permanent link to this post Posted by Gale Andrews » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:05 am

Using multiple wired microphones connected into a mixer will work with Audacity. Using multiple USB mics will not work with Audacity, because operating systems always treat them as separate recording devices and Audacity (and most recording software) will only record from one device at a time. This is because on consumer level systems different recording devices have different clock speeds, so recordings made simultaneously from different devices will drift apart over time. I don't personally know of any mixers that accept multiple USB inputs.


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Re: Using multiple mics

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:07 am

Mixer.

A mixer will give you real time management of multiple microphones and/or high-level sources and provide headset monitoring.

No shortage of people who want Audacity to do real-time production.

It doesn't.

...or deal with multiple sound devices (USB microphones).

It doesn't do that, either.

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Re: Using multiple mics

Permanent link to this post Posted by everydayexperiences » Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:32 pm

Thanks...so I could get a mixer -one that connects to the comp. with usb- and plug mutliple mics (regular connectors,not usb) and record on audacity?
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Re: Using multiple mics

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:27 pm

Regular mics into a regular mixing desk into the "line in" (NOT MIC IN) of your sound card will give you multiple mics recorded onto 2 channels (that's stereo).
If you want multiple mics into multiple channels (simultaneously) you will need a fancy multi-track USB or Firewire mixing desk. (Most reviews put firewire ahead of USB, but you will no doubt want to do your own research)
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Re: Using multiple mics

Permanent link to this post Posted by Gale Andrews » Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:33 pm

stevethefiddle wrote:If you want multiple mics into multiple channels (simultaneously) you will need a fancy multi-track USB or Firewire mixing desk. (Most reviews put firewire ahead of USB, but you will no doubt want to do your own research)


Does recording more than two channels ever work with Audacity 1.2 on Windows, unless the desk is its own recording device, and uses EWDM drivers, or you have an EWDM sound card?

Distributed versions of Audacity can't support ASIO drivers (which would work) due to licensing (though you can compile 1.3 with ASIO support if you don't distribute it, and compiling 1.3 with DirectSound support might work). Otherwise the WDM/MME drivers we support out of the box normally show each pair of channels as separate devices, so you can only record from one of them.


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Re: Using multiple mics

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:16 pm

I'm not sure about Audacity 1.2.6, but we have had feedback reporting success with the Alesis multimix firewire mixers using Audacity 1.3.something.

However, going for 8+ channels of sound simultaneously requires a reasonably optimized computer and a fast hard drive. Even with the best hardware and low latency ASIO drivers (which Audacity can not use out-of-the-box) it is strongly recommended that the recording is done on a second internal hard drive (physical drive, not just a different partition).

Also, If I remember correctly, I think alatham uses an M-Audio 1010 with Audacity - I've not seen him around recently though.

But as you say Gale, not all multi-channel mixers will work with Audacity. If the drivers don't do the business, then there's no show. This would not however prevent anyone from using a suitable ASIO program for recording, then editing in Audacity.
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Re: Using multiple mics

Permanent link to this post Posted by alatham » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:16 pm

I just noticed this post.

I can record up to 8 channels at once using Windows XP Home, Pentium 4 @ 3.2GHz, 1GiB RAM, running both Audacity 1.2.6 and 1.3.4 (I haven't moved to .5 yet).

My sound card is an M-Audio Delta 1010LT. I'm currently running older drivers from about August of 2007. I installed the newest drivers once and they did not allow me to record the speaker output or record more than 2 channels at once (after sending an email to M-Audio I got a copy/paste reply that had no useful information followed by prolonged silence when I pressed the issue).

With the drivers I currently have, I can select each stereo pair of inputs (1+2, 3+4, etc) individually and record in stereo, or I can select "Multi" and record up to 8 at once. It's very, very convenient for me since I don't have to swap inputs in and out all the time and I can record several instruments at once if the situation allows it.

However, if I wanted to record more than 2 mics I would need to buy some pre-amps. The 1010LT comes with 2 optional mic pres on channels 1+2 (you can move a jumper on the circuit board to select between the pre-amp circuit and a more basic TRS Line In, it's not a software switch), but the other channels are simple Line level inputs. So 4 mics would require 2 mic pres, but they could all be recorded at once to separate channels.
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Re: Using multiple mics

Permanent link to this post Posted by Gale Andrews » Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:54 am

Hi Andy

That's very interesting - thanks. I think we should add that to our Wiki page on recommended sound devices:
http://audacityteam.org/wiki/index.php? ... nd_devices

You're on Vista aren't you? The web page for the product doesn't mention Vista, as is often the case. Can't help thinking the RIAA is behind the continual erosion in drivers supporting stereo mix, somehow.....


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Re: Using multiple mics

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:00 pm

galeandrews wrote: Can't help thinking the RIAA is behind the continual erosion in drivers supporting stereo mix, somehow.....

"Stereo Mix" does make it easy to make pirate copies of some types of copyright material and DRM for audio can be easily bypassed. I think that manufacturers are being cautious to avoid the possibility of being sued for aiding copyright infringement.

It seems to be another of those things like "Warning - May be hot" on coffee cups, and "May contain traces of nuts" on peanut packets. In the UK, because of increasing political and media attention on knife crime, it has been seriously suggested that there should be a total ban on the sale of all knives - that going to make it tricky when it comes to slicing a loaf of bread.
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