Podcast setup with 4 microphones and Skype

I cant believe its been so hard to get this figured out but any help would really be appreciated.

I have an M-Audio M-Track Quad. This is it right here

I have 4 microphones connected to it and into my computer running Windows 7.

I want to record all 4 microphones with 4 people, and one or multiple Skype audio from voices over the desktop. Or Skype through laptop, I can try to connect into the interface. Id like all those tracks in one file, able to edit independently if needed, and export altogether as one file.

Can anyone help? PLEASE

I cant believe its been so hard to get this figured out

Because it’s impossible?

Audacity is not recommended for recording Skype, Chat, Conferencing or Game Commentary.

I can probably force that show to work, but I’d be using a talented sound mixing console rather than a handy mixing device.

I think he could fit four people into that sound mixer. Everybody needs to be on headphones and on their own headphone volume control.

Of the four computers in that picture, two are required, one to mess with Skype and the other to manage the “studio” audio and recording. The other two are playing Angry Birds and making a reservation for lunch.

If you want each of the performers in their own feed and recording, you’re talking about a multi-channel recorder with good sound isolation in a studio.

Oddly, if everybody was home, this would actually be easier. Everybody, including you, records their own voice and sends the sound files to you for mixing into a final show. No mixer or craziness at all. One DropBox account, badda bing, badda boom.

The only slime in the game is if you have a guest. In that case you will have to mess with a dedicated Skype computer and separate recorder just for them.

I’m not making that up. We had a recent poster who was doing that successfully until one of the people in the roundtable had messed up their local microphone. That’s the downside of this process. It is a bit like marching cats.

In my opinion, you will never get this to work reliably with one computer.

Let us know.


OK, forget Skype altogether. Lets say I get all four people in studio, I still cant get the 4 channels I need. Audacity only gives me

1 Mono
2 Stereo

But this interface should allow 4 or allow me to select 4 channels. I cant figure that out. Thatd be step one.

There is a desperation method I bet you didn’t think of. Everybody is always on Skype. You have one computer recording Skype at all times but has no microphone. It’s a silent sixth partner. Guests can call in if they want and Skype takes care of all the sound management.

I did that at work for a while.

The down side there is one single feed and you can’t stop it. And you have to remember to start the recorder at the top of the show.


Dueling posts. You should occasionally wait for the time zones to catch up.


Audacity will record multi-channel. You should know Audacity gets its sound from Windows, not the device, so you should have a multi-channel device driver in and working before you even launch Audacity.

There’s a posting collection for multi-track recording. Not all the devices work right.


A very common problem is to have a Multi Channel Device!!!, but its channels are arranged in stereo pairs, so your choices are 1-2, or 3-4, or 5-6.

Before you get all excited about multi-channel recording, please note your performers need to be in separate areas or rooms. If you don’t do that, each performer is going to leak into the others even with good microphones and drive you nuts trying to do post production.

You can do it this way.

That will give you good quality sound and also good isolation. Depending on the maker, he’s holding about $800.


Hmm, so how can i setup 4 mono channels for all 4 mics to record? My interface is a M audio M track QUAD.

Is there a certain driver to use? Some preferences to adjust?

Do you have a recommendation for a multi-channel device driver?

And how would i setup 4 mono channels? That way I can record all 4 mic’s.

Then Ill have those 4 channels and if I need to mix a recording from another person we can listen via skype then mix the file with what he records on his own lap top. I think that will all work

Have a look in Audacity “Help > Diagnostics > Audio Device Info”.
Do any of the options say that 4 or more recording channels are available?

If you are unsure, click the Save button and save the information somewhere convenient, then attach the text file to your reply (using the “Upload attachment” option below the message composing box).

we can listen via skype

Skype takes over the sound services of the computer running it—and it doesn’t ask. That’s what’s so darn much fun with throwing Skype in the mix.

It’s not entirely evil. That’s why Skype always works no matter how messed up your computer is. It’s not using your sound adjustments.

Even if you do get it all to work on one machine, that will last until the next time Skype does one of their famous updates. Then you have “This Worked Last Week” syndrome.

And that’s why having a Skype computer is a good idea. You let Skype have its way with one machine and you let it think it’s the King of the World. Meanwhile, you use the speaker and microphone feeds and just don’t tell it what you’re doing. It doesn’t have to be massive. Any cheap laptop and a UCA-202 will do it. If you can find one of the older Macs, you don’t need the UCA-202.

How were you planning on giving everybody their own headphones? You can’t put Skype out there on a speaker in the room. Each person’s microphone then becomes Performer One Plus Skype, Performer Two Plus Skype, etc. There’s goes the channel isolation.

That also means you will never integrate the far side voice with the other voices. Skype delays will just kill you.

You are designing NPR-West down the street from me in Culver City, California. Live microphones in California, Washington and New York and a Skype feed from Beirut.

Thank you David Greene.

I need to make an appointment to visit over there and see how they’re doing it. It’s possible somebody is making a console with all that built in.


This isn’t deadly. You can get off the ground with a very quiet room and a padded (furniture moving pad) round table and an omni-directional microphone in the middle picking up everything (that’s why the room needs to be dead).

You park a Skype laptop on the table and use it in speakerphone mode. With the exception of delays and echo cancellation, it will look and sound just like one of the performers.

No headphone feed.

You have to give up the idea of individual voice feeds and hours of post production, but you can be producing finished podcasts by the end of the day.

I used a simple but odd microphone technique sometimes called pressure zone. You tape an omni-directional microphone onto a piece of plywood and park it in the middle of the table over a folded-over towel to keep it from picking up table noises.

That’s different versions of the same idea.

Record that however you want, but no, I can see your lips forming the question, you can’t use the Skype computer.


Have a look in Audacity “Help > Diagnostics > Audio Device Info”.

In there it says 2 channels available. (I have recorded with 4 channels and 4 microphones before, using adobe soundbooth and garageband before)

At this point all im concerned with is recording four microphones with my interface and on audacity. How can I do that? what settings? Set them as mono? Not worried about skype for the moment.

You may have reached the end of what we can do.

I know this seems like a help desk, but it really is a forum—users helping each other. If you have questions about an unusual configuration of an interface nobody has ever heard of, your possibility of help from the regular elves may approach zero. So we’re left with waiting for someone to happen by who has that same interface and is more knowledgeable about it than you are.

How long do you have to wait?


As a side issue, I think this show of yours is a ruse. Are you a podcaster who writes reviews or training videos for equipment? Are we messing up your production by not being able to get this device to work? It rings bells when a poster gets this far and doesn’t once mention the content, audience or anything about the production except a suspicious fixation on one piece of equipment.

Are you the equipment designer and you’re writing the promotional video?

Fess up.


I just want to record 4 microphones at the same time in Audacity with the equipment I have. Anything else I will figure out later.

Ive got a desktop running Windows 7, the M-Audio M track Quad, 4 microphones, and Audacity.

I just want this to work. Like I said, I dont know why this is so hard. I guess Ill just go back to the old other program

It’s down to the device drivers.

  • If the drivers present the device as a single device with 4 channels, then you will be able to record 4 channels with Audacity simply by setting the number of recording channels in the Device Toolbar to 4.
  • If the drivers present the device as two stereo devices (unfortunately this is rather common on Windows), then Audacity will only be able to record from one or the other of the two “stereo devices”. (Other software may be able to record from all 4 channels by using commercial ASIO drivers rather than the standard Windows drivers).

record from all 4 channels by using commercial ASIO drivers

And Audacity doesn’t easily support pay-to-play ASIO.

It’s good to note that home computers naturally have one mono or stereo recording and one mono or stereo playback. Full Stop. To force them to do any more than that requires special software, drivers, or configurations.

You can simulate your setup with four phones.

In the case of iPhones, you can use Voice Memo. Point the bottoms of each phone (where the microphone is) toward each performer and press record. Have everyone clap once on cue. [one, two, three, clap] as a sync point so you can get them all together later.

Leave the phones flat on the table. That increases the performance volume and eliminates comb filter, wine glass, and echo effects.

If you have a nice quiet room (or garage), the sound can be surprising good.

That’s an iPhone SE and it sounds pretty much exactly like me.

Post back if you find a different way to do it.