2 microphones via one USB port - impact on sound?

Hi - I’m using Audacity for my new podcast project (I’m very new at this) and so far I’ve been using one mic. I’d like to add a second mic for better balance between me and the guest. I would like to get an USB splitter to run both mics from one USB port on my laptop. Question is, will this impact sound quality? If so, will it be significant?

I know this isn’t precisely an Audacity question but thought I would check here as I am sure others have thought about such questions.

As mentioned, I’m new to all this so I appreciate in advance your helping a newbie out.



With Audacity it will be very significant - it won’t work. Audacity can only record fro one device at a time.
To record from two microphone, you could use a two channel USB sound card, and plug in two conventional (non-USB) mics into the USB pre-amp.

It “may” be possible to record from two USB mics at the same time with other software, but doing so is not generally recommended because it is fraught with problems.

Thanks…I had this idea that it would be fairly simple and straightforward, as both mics would be coming through one channel…but you’re saying that’s incorrect?

There are two “negatives” with USB mics.

  1. You can only use one at a time, so you can’t record in stereo (unless you have a stereo USB mic) and you can’t use them for multi-tracking.

  2. They won’t plug into a mixer or PA system.

For my needs, which is just simply recording a conversation, I’m not as concerned with recording in Stereo. Especially given that once you turn the Audacity track into an MP3 in order to publish it as a podcast, it converts the file into a stereo file. As for the second point, I see what you are saying but I’m not sure it’s relevant for what I’m trying to do. Mainly because I’m trying to keep this process as simple as possible.

I thought that using a splitter and thereby using two microphones, but into one USB channel, would be an easy solution but it appears that is not the case?



Yes, I’m saying that is incorrect. Each device connected to a USB port is uniquely identified and seen by the computer as a separate device.

Okay, now I get it. Thank you!

Would be interested in figuring out the easiest way to get to 2 mikes; this clearly ain’t it.

Thanks again

You mean “mic” :wink:

Probably the easiest way is as I described previously:

I am using a Samson USB “mic” (thank you) and was hoping to get another. I like your idea but is there such a device that would work with two USB mics?

If so, could you attach a link, so I know exactly what I should be looking for?

Thank you for your patience. I appreciate your helpfulness.

USB microphones are aggressively non-expandable. Everybody smacks into the same problem.

You can plug a second USB microphone into a second computer, run two Audacity programs and then Export and combine the two sound tracks that way. There is one odd thing you have to pay attention to, but Separate Sound totally does work. Many movies are shot that way. Get the guest to bring their laptop with them when they visit.

Oddly, one recommended technique is to leave the guest where they are (several towns away) and you both record your own voice. Communicate via Skype or call each other or whatever, but the very high quality voice is not the honky Skype transmission. It’s your two local recordings.

A very common half-way point is the two-chanel USB interface. You plug two analog microphones into a Scarlett 2i2 (for example) and split the stereo sound later and remix as needed. You’re on the left and the guest is on the right (totally separate) until you split them.

Screen Shot 2018-05-11 at 17.16.34.png
But yes, that works with two analog microphones. This is where you sell your USB microphone to someone just starting out.

One oddity of two microphones: theyr’e not separate unless you’re in two different rooms. His microphone is going to record your room echo, and your microphone is going to record him. So the best you can do is adjust the two volumes for better show balance. No special effects or other corrections.

Isn’t home recording fun?


Samson USB “mic” (thank you)

Which Samson?

You can get fancy and configure some microphones for bi-directional use (figure of 8 pattern). Put you on one side and the guest on the other. Have you both wear headphones and it will be obvious when one is louder than the other. Move your chairs back and forth until it evens out.

Very old style radio shows used to be recorded like this.
Screen Shot 2018-05-11 at 17.32.33.png
That’s an RCA 44 microphone in the middle which records from front and back. So it’s picking up both performers. The sound effects guy in the back has his own microphone.


They won’t plug into a mixer or PA system.

Actually, some will. The Yeti Pro (different from the “Professional Studio Yeti”) has both an analog XLR and a USB connection the bottom.

The Yeti Pro is also missing the “Yeti Curse” noise bug.

You generally know you have a Yeti Pro because it comes in at twice the cost of a plain Yeti. It’s not an accidental purchase.


Using the Meteor mic. Seems like a solid microphone, and advertised as very good at picking up multiple speakers.

Maybe that’s the way to go, just figure out the best USB mic for picking up two speakers sitting at about a 90 degree angle from each other. Plus some adjustments can be made in production which will help as well. Any recommendations appreciated.

I know there is also some software out there that is supposed to be helpful.


Got it. The Meteor has a cardioid (kidney-shaped) pattern and you can’t change it.

You should be speaking into the company name. It’s a side-fire microphone, not an end-fire like the microphone in my illustration.

The microphone should pick up people within a 90 degree spread. The microphone is designed not to listen to sounds coming from the rear.

There are two ways to compensate for two different voices. Chris’s Compressor is a look-ahead processor that tries to keep everything even and level.

Leave some useless sound at the end of the show to make Chris happy. Run Chris and cut it off later.

There is a new package called Level Speech.

You have to install either of them.

There are some tricks that can be helpful.

Put the microphone on one or two books and all on top of a folded bath towel.

That will help with rumble and noise from the table and gets the microphone up higher so you can speak directly into it.

Next level is a heavy blanket, quilt or, as in this case, a furniture moving pad over the whole table. That’s the blue thing in that picture.

That will help with voice clarity and reduce slap and tight echoes.


Thank you - I will look into these ideas. They are very appreciated.

So far I’ve done three podcasts and after using the Audacity tools (or at least the ones I understand), overall they’re pretty well balanced once I run through the various Audacity tools - at least the ones with which I am comfortable. Will also help to sit a little closer and speak a little louder! :slight_smile:

Home style all-in-one microphones are designed to run low volume. Too high volume or overload and clipping sounds terrible and immediately kills the show. Quiet voices can most times be rescued in post production and most users think it’s their fault.

Only one of those makes you send the microphone back.