Recording Question- two mics and additional audio

Hi there,

So I want to know if this is even possible, and what I would need to do it:

I intend to play a podcast, and essentially talk over parts, sometimes pause it. But I want it to record on the podcast I am recording and have the person on my second microphone also hear it.

I currently do not have any gear, I am looking to acquire this weekend, but is it possible to basically kind of do commentary of a podcast?

I’m running a windows 7 machine.


What you can’t do is to pause playback in Audacity while simultaneously continuing to record in Audacity (on one computer).

I presume that you want to do this in “real-time” (all in “one take”).

You could play a CD in a standalone CD player, via a mixer, with two microphones plugged into the mixer, and record from the mixer, but note that with a normal sound card you will only be able to record a maximum of two independent channels at the same time, which will limit what editing is possible after recording.

The “professional” way to do this would be to use a stand-alone CD player (or a second computer) to play the pre-recorded podcast, and run that, plus 2 microphones, via a mixer, and record on a machine that is able to record 3 (or more) independent tracks simultaneously. The recording machine could be a computer that has a multi-channel sound card, or a stand-alone recorder (such as a Zoom H4, Roland R-44, Boss BR-800, etc.) Note that some “multi-channel” sound cards and stand-alone recorders can play multiple tracks at the same time, but only record a maximum of 2, which is no good for this job.

The other “professional” approach is to “overdub”. That is, that you record all of the parts separately (usually you would work to a script to do this). The hardware requirements are much lower for this. All you need is a machine to record on (if using a computer, you will need to have a decent sound card - probably a USB sound card), a decent microphone, and a quiet place to record that is substantially free of echoes.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the “quiet place to record that us substantially free of echoes” - this is your “recording studio”. If you record in a kitchen, it will sound like you have recorded in a kitchen and not like a studio recording. If there is TV on in the background, that will be in the recording and there’s no way to remove it after the fact.

The most common problem that people make is that they assume that they can get a general purpose PC or Mac, and use it as an all-in-one recording studio. You can’t - a PC is not a recording studio, it is just a computer. A standard Windows PC has basically two audio pathways - stereo in and stereo out. For more than that you need additional hardware.

a quiet place to record that is substantially free of echoes.

What he said.

Nothing makes you sound more like a 9-year old with a Mr. Microphone than trying to record in a room with no carpeting and bare walls.

I’m trying to think of a way to do this without a sound mixer. I don’t think there is one. You picked a bad combination.

You can play the base podcast in any player not Audacity. I picked iTunes. You can set up Audacity to record the final product. Two different software products does work. But now combine iTunes playback of the original podcast with your voice.


You could fake it. In a nice quiet room (see how that keeps coming up) play the original podcast in speakers. Use the microphone to pick up that playback and your voice.

Still no second microphone…

If you both crowd around that one microphone…

You don’t need headphones because the original podcast is on speakers and you can hear each other.

You should plan on not using keyboard hotkeys. They will interact between the two applications.

Good luck. Post back if you get it to work.


I knew when I took it on, it would be daunting. I suppose I will need a mixer, I appreciate all the feedback.


Even if you do go the full mixer route, the need for a quiet room only goes down about 2%. Each wall and floor echo is going to be picked up by two microphones now, doubling the room noise.

If you do go for a sound mixer, know ahead of time clearly how you’re going to connect it to the computer. You can get a really cheap analog mixer, but then you have to adapt it. The Mic-In connection on a laptop only works on a few computers. The rest of the time it produces terrific distortion. I use a USB adapter. That’s a Behringer UCA202 with my mixer on the right.

And then two people will have to listen to the original podcast on headphones. Where are you going to plug them in?

You did not pick an easy show.