Possible? Two mics into left and right channel into Audacity

I was curious if I could record from two mics, pan them each left and right, and then pass them into 3.5 mm microphone jack on my computer and split that into left and right channel in audacity effectively getting two track recording that I could then adjust afterwards …

Two Mics > Small mixing Board > USB microphone input > Audacity


USB microphone input

That’s not what you said in the text. The text suggests you want to enter the computer using the 3.5mm Mic-In connection.

Some oddly talented computers are able to switch from Mic-In (almost always mono) to Stereo Line-In. That’s the top and bottom illustrations in this posting.


Most can’t. Mic-In is generally mono so you usually get Left only. It’s also sensitive enough for a microphone connection which means it overloads at the drop of a hat.

“How come my track sounds crunchy and the blue waves never get taller than 50%?”

Because it’s a Mic-In and you didn’t connect a Mic.

Many of us use a stereo USB adapter such as the UCA-202.

Or any of the ones in this family. There’s one called the UFO-202 that has a built-in phono preamp for those of us with older turntables.

Be careful if you go to another product that you get one that’s stereo both directions. Some, like the Startech ICUSBAUDIO stay “STEREO” in big letters, but they just duplicate the computer connectors you already have.


Sorry, yeah that was confusing.

So it’s two large condesors mics into a little 2 channel mixing board. I’m going from the headphones of that into a USB apogee ONE 1/4 jack which is then going into my computer.

I guess the questionable part is if that 1/4 jack is stereo or not …

Give us a link. There’s a $400 USB apogee ONE. Is that what you have?


Thanks Koz, I have the older one here’s the manual:

They could prove me wrong, but until anyone does, it’s Mono in and Stereo Out.

With ONE, you can record a single channel of audio
using a specially tuned internal microphone, an
instrument input for guitar, bass or keyboard, or a
world-class microphone pre amp input.

Listening with ONE is an entirely new experience as
well. Hear your recordings and your iTunes library with
incredible dimension and clarity through ONE’s studio-
quality stereo outputs

So, back to the UCA202.


With ONE, you can record a single channel of audio

That’s the key phrase.
To record two mics left and right, you need two channel recording.

I cam up with another idea … and I tried it last night and wasn’t able to get it to work, but maybe those with more experience might know.

So the headphones from the mixing board are probably stereo. So I took a trs adapter and plugged a 3,5 mm cord and ran it into the line in on my mac. I tried this, but it seemed like it was only mono, matter of fact it was worse cause the two mics caused some wierd phasing to happen. My other idea was maybe to try the tape out (rca left right → 3.5mm) into the line in … anyway possible?

The “mode” to borrow a French term is to plug a headset into your computer and Game, Skype or Chat your brains out. Both Macs and PCs have headset connections now instead of Stereo Line-In and Stereo HeadPhone. The microphone part of the connection is mono and easily overloaded.

I bought my Mac intentionally because it still had Stereo Line-In (on the left). I have no headset connection, so I need additional hardware to record a microphone.

Some smaller MacBook Pros had one connection and you could switch
between Stereo Line In and Stereo Line-Out (Headphone).

Newer ones won’t do that. Check your Mac. Apple (upper left) > System Preferences > Sound > Input.

If that fails:


Interesting so if I bought that adapter I could probably do what I’m trying to do and split left and right into two tracks?

The Behringer’s goal is to present an analog stereo show (like probably your headphone connection) to the computer and to present the computer’s stereo show back to analog. It also has a headphone connection (in the illustration) and is one of the devices I certified for perfect music overdubbing (play multiple instruments and sing to yourself).

A stereo show is two independent sound channels, usually coupled to each other as Left and Right. Once the show is in Audacity as two blue waves, one above the other, you can use the tools to Split Stereo Show to Mono and you will have two independent sound tracks to do whatever you want.

Just so we don’t dig a hole here. Tell us again what your goal is? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the posters immediate problem we lose the fact that the basic job may be impossible.


Not all computers are cuddly and friendly. I tried to get a computer at work to pass basic, simple sound tests and it wouldn’t do it. Turns out somebody left Concert Hall effects running in Windows and it was messing with the Left and Right sound channels.


So normally when I have a band practice I put a single large condensor microphone somewhere roughly in the middle of us and just record practice. But since we aren’t usually in a perfect circle and what not, some people end up being quieter. And just so we are clear the practice is the primary goal, I’m trying to get a “field” recording without inconveniencing anyone. We recently bought a second large condensor and I thought i could setup both mics and get a more even sound. Then I wondered could I could I pan each microphone left right and send it to audacity split the left and right tracks and have a poor man’s dual track recorder. The weak link seems to be the laptop (Macbook pro maybe 2012 or 2013 model) and if the headphone/line-in jack can get separate singles from the mixing board.


I smell some confusion here. The weak link certainly isn’t your Macbook. I sometimes record 8 or even 16 channels on a G4 Powerbook that dates back more than 15 years.

Simply recording (without applying plugins) doesn’t need much processor power.

You have a proper stereo line in on your Macbook. It’s not as good as the Apogee, but see if you can hear a difference.

You could also “aggregate” the Apogee and the built-in stereo line to a 3-channel device. “Aggregating devices” can be done in Audio/Midi setup, which you’ll find in Applications/Utilities. See:


You’d still need a second preamp with phantom power. A small mixer could be useful. Only, most affordable small mixers will be audible worse than the Apogee. And a real good standalone preamp usually costs more than a complete interface with USB.

Personally, I’d sell the Apogee One and buy something with decent preamps and a few more channels, such as the Focusrite 6i6 (250 $). That has two good preamps and another four line-ins to record other instruments (guitar, keyboards…) separately, should the need arise. See:


The main selling point for Focusrite is not that their gear is so great, but that thay still have a working, knowledgeable support department and provide updates, even for older models.

If your budget is limited, look at the Art USB Dual Pre. <100$. See:


The transition from one microphone to two or more is serious stuff.

You have a proper stereo line in on your Macbook.

Do you? Which MBP do you have? I have a 15". Like I said, I specifically bought it because it has “real” stereo connections in and out. If you have a 13" of that age, yes, you do have stereo connections, but you only have one hole and you need to switch in System Preferences.

Apple (upper left) > System Preferences > Sound

Where you go from there depends on your MBP. If you have a 13", your IN and OUT may be in the same settings panel. You only get one of the two. Mine are on different panels because my connections are separate don’t depend on each other. I have used my one Mac to play music to a live production at the same time I was recording a stereo vocal performance. That was the advantage of the 15" (and the 17". The problem with the 17" was it weighs as much as a Buick.)

If you can do that, all the rest of these suggestions and settings go away. I have used my Stereo connections for broadcast and professional recordings.

So start there. What do you have?


I have a 15" Macbook pro retina mid 2012. I have the “one hole” headphones microphone combo.

15" Macbook pro retina

Right. You bought the super screen at the expense of the sound connections. Unless your System Preferences tell you otherwise, that’s the end of the stereo analog connections.

I note you never post that you’ve been into System Preferences and looked at the settings. Have you? Can you post a screen grab? Shift-Command-4 will give you a cross-hair cursor. Drag a box around whatever you want to capture as a picture.

Post the picture here. Scroll down from a text window > Upload Attachments > Browse.

Attached. My speaker volume is always all the way up because I use an external sound system with its own volume controls.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 12.05.36.png

Sorry here’s a screen shot:

Use Ambient Noise Reduction can give you that ‘music in a rain barrel’ sound. Still, even if that works, I’m betting you still don’t get both microphones.

This is what my UCA-202 looks like in System Preferences (attached). That will give me stereo input and output and a headphone connection suitable for overdubbing, sound-on-sound and sound production.

You can go up in price easily, to Focusrite and Art, but you shouldn’t bottom feed. The StarTech ICUSBAUDIO is cheaper and it looks like it should work and it says “Stereo” on the package, it will not record stereo.


Have you tried setting your MBP on a stool in the middle of the performance, turn off Ambient Sound and press record? One of the problems with fancy-pants condenser microphones is they have some directions they work in better than others. You have to aim them. This could give you your problem where some instruments sound better than others. The MBP will record from all directions.

I have recorded a temporary voice track for a television commercial using nothing more than my MBP, a quiet room, a guy with a good voice and strong coffee.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 12.19.23.png

We don’t have any idea which microphone you have, but if it has switchable patterns, you might make a single microphone work better. Note (attached) the first pattern and last pattern records many directions, not just in front.

The first pattern is omni-directional. Record from all directions. That’s worth a shot by itself.

But the last pattern is graduate-level magic. The Figure-of-8 pattern can be used to suppress the sound from the sides but pick up the sound front and back. Back in the Dim History of Broadcasting, the popular microphones worked this way and the producers would group actors front and back to announce their soap operas.

You would place the microphone sideways so the “hole” faced the loudest performer and allow the weaker performers to play to the two active portions of the pattern.

That’s getting exotic, but you could try that if your microphone can do it.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 12.44.39.png