Using Audacity with 4 mics.


I am completely new to this equipment and I am having some trouble. I bought a mixer, the Behringer Q1202USB. Along with that, I bought 4 mics with the XLR cables to go with it. Is there any way for me to record from four different mics that are hooked up to the same mixer? We will be doing a podcast with four people in the same room, so I didn’t know if audacity allows someone to record more than 1 voice at the same time. I would greatly appreciate some help with this.

Behringer Q1202USB

I suspect what you asked isn’t what you want.

You can totally mix all four microphones down to one show and record it in Audacity. The best way to do that is to have one separate, non-performing person sit in the corner with the mixer and headphones and critically adjust the volumes as the show goes. People do that with broadcast radio shows all the time.

One of the performers can mix (and send the recording engineer home), but that’s a lot herder because your own voice is going to sound out of mix even though it’s actually perfect. That takes getting used to.

What you probably wanted was record four tracks with one microphone on each track. That’s not going to work for several reasons chief being the mixer is not a four-channel mixer. It’s stereo (two channels).

The other very serious problem is your studio. You probably don’t have one, and so each voice is going to echo around the room and get into each other’s microphones. So you can’t manage each microphone separately even if you wanted to.

I’d mix a four-voice test down to one track in real time and see how it goes.

Let us know.


Thank you for the info! Like I said previously, I’m new to all of this, so it really helps knowing that. Hoping I can find a tutorial video on how to mix multiple mics onto one track.

Hoping I can find a tutorial video on how to mix multiple mics onto one track.

That’s a snap. The hard part is getting the four individual voice tracks in the first place. How were you going to do that?

You can use the PAN controls on the sound mixer to push microphone 1 and microphone 2 to the left and microphone 3 and microphone 4 to the right. If you record a simple stereo show, that will give you a mix of one and two on the left and a mix of three and four on the right. That’s the best we can do with your mixer.

I personally would pick a nice quiet room with a table and park my iPhone in the middle with Voice Memo recording. Put the iPhone on a heavy book on top of a towel to avoid rumble and table noises.

You can be cranking out your podcast tomorrow while you’re still struggling with multi-channel recordings in Audacity.

What’s the podcast?


I guess my only option is to go with what you suggested. I mean, I won’t be doing 4 most of the time. This is probably going to be the only time we do four. Would you suggest getting another mixer with more channels if we ever do 3-4 again? As long as what you suggested is for sure doable, then we will just do that. I’ll definitely try that out with my phone though, the other method.

In regards to the podcast itself, that’s still up in the air. I would like to talk about the NBA and NFL, movies and other pop culture stuff, and some random topics on the side. The first topic will be a discussion between an atheist, Christian and agnostic individual. And then myself as the moderator. Not sure how that will go, but hopefully it will turn out okay. Once again, I really appreciate the advice.

Then we should get down further into the weeds. What’s the microphone(s)?

If you mean create one mono show out of a mix of all the performers, yes. Leave all four of the PAN control in the middle and watch the bouncing sound meters when people are talking.

There is also one other item. Make sure you know the comparison between the mixer sound meters and the Audacity meters. Overload, having the meters go all the way up is immediately harsh sounding and permanently fatal. So don’t do that.

Intentionally overload the system as a test by saying “WOOOOOOOF” loudly and turning the mixer up so you can get a good idea where the volume indicators are and how they work. Loud speaking or yelling is perfectly valid, but never blow into a microphone.

It could be said that a guarantee of failure is to shoot your first podcast with new equipment, no experience and the most complicated performance possible.

I’m just sayin’…

Denise and I did a test podcast between the coasts just to do it for the experience. We have a joke that we had the perfect podcast because we spent the whole time discussing in detail when we were going to have the next podcast.


Gotcha. That makes sense. This is the mic that I got. Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphone,^221957295827-device^m-plaid^323968835663-sku^485369000000000@ADL4MF-adType^PLA

Would this be a good choice?

Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Dynamic

Nothing wrong with the microphone. How were you going to mount it? Hand-held? That can get noisy, especially with four inexperienced people doing it.

Would this be a good choice?

That’s a larger stereo mixer than what you have now. It’s still no more than stereo, two channels, going into Audacity to be recorded.

I have shot your show with very little equipment than you have now, but I did it in a very quiet room, I shot it directly to mono—and I wasn’t one of the performers.

There one thing I haven’t talked about yet. If you shoot mono or stereo mix directly, producing the finished show can be relatively simple. If you insist on multi-channel, you fall squarely into the five to one rule. It will take you five times the length of the show to edit it in post production, and that’s if nothing goes wrong. Think about that for a minute. Your half-hour podcast will be ready for posting in about three hours.

The first half-hour is performing assuming nothing goes wrong. The next half-hour is playing it through and finding/noting all the mistakes. There’s the final half-hour playing the final all the way to make sure everything sounds right. That’s an hour and a half and we haven’t edited anything yet.

There’s a video show I like and it’s becoming popular. The lead performer has started to steer the action so post production editing is easier and faster instead of free-wheeling and entertaining.


We did publish a section on multi-channel recording—more than 2-channel stereo.


I mentioned a nice quiet room several times in there. That can be hard to do, but pays enormous dividends in production.

There was a promotion and product advertisement company that didn’t want to continue using an actual high quality, soundproof studio for their work and they decided to start shooting it at home.

There is no fix. She will always sound like she was recording in a bathroom. The modern fashion of highly polished, bare wood floors, plain white walls and large windows is aggressively hostile to sound recording.

It’s not unusual for audiobook readers to make a closet into a mini-studio to avoid that “kitchen recording” sound. That’s what Ian in Hollywood did so he could record audiobooks in his apartment on noisy La Brea ave. He’s a paid presenter now.

I got lucky. I have a soundproofed third bedroom (the kid before me played drums) and I can get any microphone to sound good.


I know there’s an “authenticity” thing about having a podcast too good. It starts sounding like one of those evil broadcasters, but there is a limit. I haven’t posted it yet, but there is a public video performance with wind noise so bad nobody could make out the words.

“Jeff must be really IRL. I can’t understand a thing.”


That all is very good advice. I bought 4 mic stands for all the mics, so we are good to go with that. If the process of editing is easier and it’s possible, then I’ll just stick with the current mixer and following your instructions on this:

“You can use the PAN controls on the sound mixer to push microphone 1 and microphone 2 to the left and microphone 3 and microphone 4 to the right. If you record a simple stereo show, that will give you a mix of one and two on the left and a mix of three and four on the right. That’s the best we can do with your mixer.”

In regards to the quiet room, that’s something I’ll definitely have to figure out. I’m thinking that one of my friends has a room that could meet the following criteria, so we will see what that is like. I’m glad that you told me all of this though. I was afraid I would be unable to do it all with my equipment. Also, if for some reason we can’t find a room, I’m sure renting out something for an hour could always been an option.

I’ll just stick with the current mixer and following your instructions on this:

This was just an example of what you can do with your current mixer. You don’t actually gain anything by doing that and you’re just going to jam all the voices back together into one pile later anyway. You can’t record each performer on their track with your current mixer or interface.

So you should start out mono. Leave all the PAN adjustments in the middle. All the voices should cause both of the volume meters to jump and they should all jump about the same amount. There is no post-production mix-down. All the voices are already mixed and you can’t change them. That’s why you need to be super careful during the recording.

I am surprised you didn’t say the word “Skype” yet. That’s not a setting or adjustment. Audacity is not recommended for recording Skype or Chat.


Gotcha. Thank you for the help

You should shoot something. There’s too many things to go wrong the first time you do it. Let us know how it comes out.


I will for sure!