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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.