I’ll be starting a podcast (my 2nd) soon and have purchased a Yeti mic for my co-host and I to use. I already have a Snowball but have ready (and seen reviews) of the Yeti that convinced me to find a used one at a good price.
Unfortunately I didn’t research enough and found out after I paid for it that there’s no way to mix 2 USB microphones apparently
I’ve looked at cheap XLR microphones and basic USB mixers, and with budget microphones costing £11 each plus £10 each for a stand, and a basic mixer with a USB input is about £35, which total about what I could sell the Yeti for. I’d have to pay a little extra for the XLR-to-phono plug cables but that’s not a big deal.
I know sound quality varies widely at the bottom range, but would I be better off with 2 seperate cheap condensing cardioid pattern microphones instead of having to lean close in to the Yeti?
Thanks for any advice!
Life is never easy down here at the bottom end.
Yes, there are ways to record two USB microphones. If you’re on windows, there is VoiceMeeter.
I believe (I’m not a Windows elf) that will give you the ability to control the live volume of each microphone which is something some of the other techniques don’t. I also believe all the USB technologies give you a mixed show. You can’t do anything to one voice in post production without messing with the other. This may be OK. It’s up to you.
The shift from one microphone to two is painful but the shift to three is simple. Buy a mixer. Post the model number of the mixer. At £35, the mixer isn’t likely to have any of the features that make a mixer valuable, so buying a mixer may not have the positive impact that you think.
Also low-balling the microphone may give you problems. I know you’re ready to discuss quality of sound, but that’s not what I mean. The higher end microphones are more likely to be able to ignore room noise and echoes. That switch on the back of your Snowball that goes from cardioid to omni-directional? That’s what that switch does. In cardioid, anything directly behind the microphone vanishes. You point that toward your refrigerator. That also helps with room echoes if you’re recording in a modern bare wall room with wooden floors.
Do post the model numbers, I’ll go nuts and you can tell if any of that is valuable to you or not.
I admit I’ve never thought of doing a two microphone show for the cost of a good dinner.
Thanks very much for the detailed reply! I’m not an audiophile, DJ or sound guy by any means so all this stuff is difficult for me…
The BEHRINGER XENYX 302USB is the mixer I am looking at…not sure if it’s any good but Behringer is apparently a good brand name? I know every big name has its budget line but I’m not really ready to spend £200 or so for audio stuff. I’m not sure if the podcast will go anywhere, so up to 90-100 is what I’d be OK to spend right now, and that’s what the Yeti goes for used on ebay UK.
This is one of the cheap mics I’m looking at: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/400844795185?ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1436.l2649 I’m sure it’s not a great quality mic (OK, probably it’s crap) but I was thinking I could upgrade to a better XLR mic later, or borrow one, while enjoying the mixer (which must be easier to use than a software mixer, I’m thinking?).
I’ve seen something online that indicates that Cakewalk Sonar X1 Studio can mix 2 USB inputs but can’t find anything about it on their current website. Older versions of Sonar can be had for about £60 but I don’t know if this supports 2 USB inputs.
I’m really surprised there isn’t a device like a USB hub that combines more than 1 input. Ideally I’d like something that lets me dial down or up individual mics, for cheap To start with, I can handle saying ‘move your head back, forward, ok’ to deal with individual sound volume, but I figure for the same money as a Yeti, if I can get a double-mic and mixer setup why not?
The microphones should be OK with a couple of tricks. He is expecting them to be used with a guitar amplifier, so that’s the kind of cable it comes with. You need something with XLR on both ends.
The Behringer mixer will only support one microphone.
I like the Behringer stuff. They do have one (1) mixer where they “fudged” the design and I don’t like it very much. I don’t remember the model, but it was tiny, so you may hit it. I’ll tell you.
It doesn’t matter if the ad says “FOUR INPUTS!!” if the thing only has one XLR connector, it only has one microphone connection (as a rule). Attached (bottom)is a SIX INPUT MIXER!! that will only manage four microphones, those big black connectors with the three little holes.
If you mount the microphones on a table, put folded towels or something underneath them to keep table noises from getting into the show. A little more exotic trick is to keep voice reflections from the table from making your voice honky is to put heavy furry on the whole table.
This is a shoot I did on a hard conference room table. That blue thing is a furniture moving pad, folded.
I’m really surprised there isn’t a device like a USB hub that combines more than 1 input.
That’s carrying analog ideas over to the digital world and that’s dangerous. It’s not like you can open up the cables and twist the wires together like you can with analog. Each USB device is a computer and it likes to “chat” with the mother ship.
Oh, and then there’s timing. Ever been next to two different battery kitchen wall clocks? You would expect them to all tick at the same time, but over three or four minutes, the two ticks start to drift apart. Same thing happens with two USB microphones, only here you can get sound sync problems.
“By the end of the hour show, we were noticeably off sync with each other.”
And since room echoes will also be off sync, matching them up in post production is really entertaining.
Ah. Well I’m seeing 6-input USB mixers costing twice what the Yeti costs…so that may blow my plan out of the water (unless I can reliably borrow stuff on a monthly basis…don’t really see that happening).
Does an XLR to phono converter work for voice mics?
Also thanks for the explanation about USB stuff, describing each device as its own computer helps me understand why there’s no USB mixer available. Doesn’t mean that doesn’t suck I think using a pair of laptops to record each USB mic will be too much bother just to try to get a mixer-LIKE functionality.
So I think I’ll either start with a single USB mic, or try VAC or Voice Meeter when I’m able to make the time.
Capture each part of the show with your cellphones’ Personal Recorders and mix it down in Audacity. Total cost: zero. I wondered why more people don’t do that. Ad hoc podcast. Turn the speaker down so it doesn’t try to echo cancel.
If you use one microphone in the middle, remember to set it to omnidirectional. This will pick up all the room echoes and environment noises, too, so pick a quiet area to record. You should also use the pad under the microphone and blanket on the table. I used to arrange conference calls like this.
Computers are designed around the idea of one microphone. Shifting to two is is a pain in the neck.
Where is your first podcast?
Thanks for all your help Koz, I’ve already got the Yeti on the way so we’ll start with that (with the blankets, etc. on the desk).
My first podcast was called Digital Porridge, it may still be on iTunes (I don’t have an iOS thingie so I don’t know if it’s still there).
You can get iTunes on anything.
The episodes won’t download. I think I’m beating the snot out of my switch. I’m transferring two HiDef TV shows right now.
“The New Dawn…Has dawned.”
It’s not your switch Koz… I get “episode unavailable as well”.
Sorry, yeah, haven’t paid for hosting in some time so I guess the files aren’t online anywhere You’re not missing much though!
I’m surprised that the listings are still there, but the content behind them is gone. iTunes is usually better at that. Maybe it’s a quirk of the search system. If I didn’t already know it was there, I’d never find it any other way.
One “problem” microphones have is an enormous signal range. Real life doesn’t fit into a sound recorder. The classic way to get around this is a knob…or two…or three. Sound mixers bigger than a certain size generally have three different ways to set show volume.
Even those eight-foot long recording studio monster mixers don’t go much beyond three (but they can do it to forty different microphones).
So how do USB microphones or other devices with only one adjustment do it? Fudging. They assume most people are going to want to talk or sing into one, so that’s what they’re set for. This kills people trying to record their expressive acoustic guitar and that’s a constant complaint on the forum. I have a Shure X2U microphone preamplifier and I’ve never used it at anything but full volume setting—and it’s not enough.
I complained about it and Shure said that’s the way it is.
Low volume is generally manageable if you’re careful with environment noises, etc, but overload and clipping is immediately fatal, so all these devices come out of the shrink wrap at low volume. Yet another reason you wouldn’t want to mix a bunch of them into one show.