How to record with two microphones?

Hey there,
Essentially, I want to know how to record on audacity with two microphones for a prerecorded radio show. These two microphones will have only a USB connector, and I understand I may need a hard mixer, but so far I can’t find mixers that allow USB’s to be plugged in to be mixed? I have Samson mics but they only have USB connectors as they were second hand. Please help!

Josh

USB mics are super-convenient and they are economical since you are getting the USB interface essentially free with the microphone, but they do have some limitations.

In general, you can only use one recording “device” at a time. You might be able to open two instances of Audacity and record from one USB mic with each copy. (I’ve never tried that.)

Or, you may be able to configure a DAW (a Digital Audio Workstation such as REAPER) to record from two different devices/interfaces at the same time.

If you can get both mics recording at the same time and they are recording the same sound (like in a stereo setup) you can get some weird “phasing” effects, since each device has it’s own clock. If you are recording two separate things like two sides of an interview, or a guitar and singer, then phase or slight timing differences are not an issue. With a long recording, the two recordings can actually drift out-of-sync.

but so far I can’t find mixers that allow USB’s to be plugged in to be mixed?

Right. You can’t use a USB mic with a mixer or PA system.

You can get mixers with a USB port for connection to the computer, but you need analog mics. With a stereo mixer, of course you can use two analog mics and pan one mic left and the other right to get a separate track from each mic. Or, you can mix multiple mics to left & right.

If you want to record multitrack (a separate track for several mics), a mixer won’t work, but you can get a USB (or Firewire) audio interface with multiple analog mic inputs.

No that won’t work.
Although it is possible to open multiple projects at the same time (in separate windows), there can only be one actual “instance” of Audacity running, and only one project can be recording at a time, with one recording device.

It is “possible” (but not particularly easy) to create an “aggregate device” that combines two physical devices (such as 2 USB microphones) into one virtual device, which Audacity can then record from. On Windows this requires third party software such as “Virtual Audio Cable” (non-free commercial software) or VB-Audio Cables (donationware).

That may be possible. I’ve had that working with Sonar.

Right.

More information on possible solutions is at Audacity Manual .

We would categorically not recommend it :smiley: but you can run Audacity 1.0.0 with current Audacity and record into two instances of Audacity that way. I’ve actually never had a single problem doing that, but your mileage may vary.

Of course two instances of Audacity running on two different computers is safe.


Gale

Okay, thanks for your help guys! Usually when I come into a new forum I almost always get a hostile and condescending reply!
So it looks like I need two analogue mics, thanks for your help again!

I almost always get a hostile and condescending reply!

We can do that if you wish.

You should know that if you try a USB sound adapter such as the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 that it’s not a mixer.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Scarlett2i2/

You will always get a stereo show with one microphone on the left and one on the right. It requires post production to make a pleasant-sounding presentation.

Koz

If you elect to use an actual mixer like the Peavey PV6 that I use…

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PV6USB

… that is a mixer and you can produce a finished show in Audacity with nothing further required other than cut off trash at the beginning and end.

But it is a bit harder to understand and use.

Koz