3 Mic Set-up Advice

Hi all! I was hoping I might get some tips for you all on how to make my 3-mic podcast set-up sound better!

I currently have 2 condenser mics and 1 dynamic mic to share amongst 5 hosts. I am routing them into a Behringer Xenyx 1204USB and then bringing that right into my Mac and recording with Audacity. At the first recording, I couldn’t tell how bad the clipping was (admittedly, I was hitting over -6DB in Audacity, but didn’t realize how bad it would sound). 2 particular hosts ended up having lots of clipping and distortion, which really bummed me out. I think I can make some simple adjustments next time, but knowing these parameters, and aside from asking the hosts to keep an even-temper or for me to ride the levels, how can I:

  1. Reduce the mess during laughter and over-talking? Even if I bring down the mic levels before we start, when we’re all laughing, it’s a lot of noise. But that’s sometimes an important part of the round-table. Any general technical tricks I can do to keep the distortion to a minimum?

  2. Manage the sound quality with a host that may have quite a dynamic range? Someone who will be calm and very quiet for one section, then get extremely loud a few minutes later?

Ideally I want to get nice dynamic mics for us all, with some nice stands, but budget and location currently are making that prohibitive in the short-term. Any tips or website recs would be awesome.

Thanks so much!

That mixer has a compressor on each channel. Experiment turning the compressors up so that the light flashes whenever one of the hosts talks louder than normal.

I assume you’ve read the Gain Settings instructions on page 21 of the manual. If you get clipping in a mic channel there’s nothing you can do about it - even turning down the main mix faders won’t help.

If you have clipping showing in Audacity it has happened in the mixer, so make sure your output meters never go into the red. If that happens you can turn down the main mix faders, turn up the compression on the mic channels, or turn down the Gain (not the fader) on the mic channels.

Once you have a clean recording in Audacity you can then experiment with compression and limiting to even out the volumes even more.

– Bill

This is great - thanks so much!