Does your show feature multiple hosts or do you frequently welcome insightful guests to your virtual studio? As you strive to deliver professional-grade content that resonates with your audience, you realize that using just one microphone cannot deliver the best audio quality. Now let me show you how to record a podcast with multiple mics.
I’m Niall Mackay- The Podcast Guy. My podcast shows usually welcome guests for interviewing and sharing, so it needs to have more than one mic. Although I still can record my episode with just a single mic, it doesn’t meet my requirements for high-quality sound.
Therefore, I know how important it is to use multiple mics for my recordings. That’s why I’m here to share with you my experience with this. From choosing the right microphones to preparing some hardware and software to connect them together, this blog post will give you a step-by-step guide.
Ready to level up your podcast quality? Let’s begin.
Why One Mic Isn’t Enough?
Let me tell you some reasons why using multiple microphones will help you reach high-quality audio tracks, professionalism, and the listening experience of your audience.
The beauty of podcasting lies in the authenticity of the voices that grace your show. Each voice brings a unique perspective, and as a podcaster, your mission is to ensure that every word is heard with the utmost clarity and resonance.
Your audience deserves a listening experience where every voice shines through, and a single mic setup might just rob them of that privilege.
- Authentic Guest Conversations
Inviting guests to your interview podcasts brings a fresh dynamic to your content. Whether it’s a thought-provoking interview or a casual chat, you want your guests to feel valued and their stories to be heard authentically.
A single microphone forces you into a logistical puzzle of sharing one mic or leaning in awkwardly, compromising the natural flow of conversation. With multiple microphones, guests can speak freely, without concerns about interrupting or fading into the background.
- Co-Host Chemistry
A single microphone setup limits this chemistry, as interruptions and crosstalk become inevitable. With multiple mics, co-hosts can engage in spirited discussions, humorous exchanges, and passionate debates without missing a beat. The result? A more engaging, energetic, and entertaining podcast that keeps your listeners hooked.
When You Should Record With Multiple Microphones?
You’ve recognized that relying on just one microphone falls short of delivering the highest quality sound that your content deserves. Whether you’re aiming for clearer conversations, immersive storytelling, or capturing the energy of live events, using multiple mics is the best choice.
You need to do so in these situations:
Dynamic Group Discussions
Imagine hosting a lively panel discussion in conversational podcasts with experts or friends engaged in passionate debates. Each voice contributes a unique perspective, and using multiple microphones ensures that these perspectives come through with crystal-clear clarity.
No longer will overlapping voices muddy the waters – your audience can distinctly follow every insight and argument.
Interviews and Guest Appearances
When you invite guests to your podcast, you want their voices to shine. Whether it’s a celebrity, an author, or an industry leader, having separate microphones ensures that their thoughts and stories are presented authentically. The multi-mic recording captures the nuances of their voices, making each interview feel more personal and engaging.
If you have co-hosts who banter, debate, and share laughs, multi-mic recording is a must. Each co-host can express their thoughts clearly without interruptions or audio overlaps. The back-and-forth becomes smoother, enhancing the chemistry between hosts and creating an enjoyable experience for your listeners.
Live Event Coverage
When capturing the excitement of live events, multi-mic recording ensures that the energy and ambiance are faithfully translated to your audience. From on-location interviews to capturing crowd reactions, multi-mic setups capture the raw emotion and atmosphere of the moment.
3 Different Ways To Use Multiple Microphones
Recording a podcast with two mics or more is not that complicated, I will share with you 3 ways that I usually do, each method gives you specific advantages, so consider your need to find the best solutions.
Regardless of your chosen method, the common thread among these approaches is the commitment to delivering high-quality audio. With multiple microphones, you’re not just recording voices; you’re capturing the essence of your podcast, the energy of conversations, and the authenticity of interactions.
- USB Microphones: Simplicity and Convenience
If you’re a podcasting enthusiast seeking a straightforward solution, USB microphones offer an accessible entry point to multi-mic recording.
These podcast microphones come equipped with built-in analog-to-digital converters, allowing direct connection to your computer via USB ports. Setting up multiple USB microphones is relatively hassle-free, making it an ideal option for those starting their podcasting journey.
Step 1: Prepare the Equipment
- At least two USB mics (as per the number of hosts or guests)
- Computer with available USB ports
- Recording software (e.g., Descript, Adobe Audition, GarageBand)
- Headphones (optional)
Choose multiple USB mics that suit your needs and budget. Make sure each microphone is compatible with your computer’s operating system.
Ensure you have enough available USB ports on your computer to connect all the microphones. Some USB microphones may require driver installation. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and install any necessary drivers or software on your computer.
Step 2: Connect the USB Mics
Plug each USB microphone into separate USB ports on your computer. Most USB microphones are plug-and-play, meaning they will be automatically detected by your computer’s operating system.
In the recording software, set the input source for each track to the corresponding USB microphone. This ensures that each microphone’s audio is captured on its designated track.
Have each participant speak into their USB microphone while monitoring the input levels on the recording software. Adjust the microphone gain as needed to achieve clear and balanced audio levels.
Step 3: Start Recording
Once you’re satisfied with the setup and sound quality, start recording. All the USB microphones will be mixed into a single track, so ensure proper mic placement and balance during recording.
Throughout the recording session, monitor the audio levels to ensure there are no sudden spikes or dropouts. Address any technical issues promptly to avoid compromising the recording quality.
Pros and Cons
- Ease of Use: USB microphones are plug-and-play devices, eliminating the need for complex setups or additional equipment.
- Affordability: USB microphones are cost-effective and offer good quality for beginner and intermediate podcasters.
- Recording Remotely: USB microphones are well-suited for remote podcast recording, allowing participants to use their own microphones and computers.
- Limited Control: Recording with multiple USB microphones typically results in a mixed-down, single-track audio file. This limits your ability to edit individual microphone tracks separately during post-production.
- Sound Quality: They may not provide the same level of audio fidelity and control as higher-end XLR mics used with professional audio interfaces.
- Audio Interface With XLR mics
Acting as a bridge between your microphones and computer, an audio interface allows you to connect multiple XLR microphones, each with its dedicated channel. This means separate tracks for each voice, paving the way for seamless editing and post-production.
Recording multiple XLR mics and an audio interface offers a professional-grade solution for podcasters aiming for exceptional audio quality and control. You should have a podcast studio for a better setup.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up and recording using this method:
Step 1: Prepare the recording device
- (USB) Audio Interface with multiple XLR inputs
- XLR mics with XLR Cables for each
- Computer with available USB ports
- Podcast Headphones (optional)
- Recording software (DAW) such as Audacity, Adobe Audition, Logic Pro, or Pro Tools
Step 2: Recording Setup and Connection
Place the XLR microphones on their respective stands or boom arms. Plug multiple XLR mics to the audio interface using XLR cables. Ensure the microphones are properly positioned in your mic stand or boom arm to capture clear audio.
Connect the audio interface to your computer using a USB cable or the appropriate connection method. Install any necessary drivers for the audio interface if prompted by your computer’s operating system.
Open your chosen digital audio workstation (DAW) and create a new multitrack project. Within the software, configure the input source for each track to correspond to the appropriate XLR input on the audio interface. This setup allows you to record each microphone on its own track, providing greater control during editing.
Step 3: Recording
Before recording, perform a sound check with all participants. Ensure that everyone can hear each other through their headphones and that audio levels are balanced.
Then start the recording in your DAW. It will capture individual audio tracks, you can edit them precisely in your audio editing software.
Monitor the audio levels throughout the recording session to detect any issues such as clipping, distortion, or background noise. Address any technical problems promptly to maintain audio quality.
Benefits and Considerations:
- Excellent Audio Quality: XLR mic and audio interfaces deliver professional-grade sound suitable for demanding podcasting needs.
- Expandability: Audio interfaces offer multiple XLR inputs, making them suitable for podcasts with multiple hosts or guests.
- Ideal for In-Person Recording: This setup is optimal for in-person podcast recording sessions, ensuring high-quality audio capture.
They also have some considerations:
- Cost: XLR microphones and audio interfaces can be more expensive compared to USB microphones.
- Setup Complexity: Setting up XLR microphones and audio interfaces may require more technical knowledge and configuration than other methods.
- Digital Recorder: Portability and Performance
If your podcast takes you on the road or requires a portable setup, a digital recorder with multiple inputs is your ideal companion.
Select a digital recorder that meets your podcasting needs. Look for features such as multiple XLR inputs, adjustable gain controls, and high-quality preamps.
- Zoom H4n Pro:
The Zoom H4n Pro is a versatile and widely used handheld digital recorder. It features high-quality built-in microphones, adjustable recording patterns, and XLR/TRS inputs for external microphones or line-level sources. It’s great for capturing interviews, music performances, and field recordings.
- Zoom H6:
The Zoom H6 is a more advanced option with modular microphone capsules, allowing you to customize your recording setup. It features four XLR/TRS inputs, making it suitable for recording multiple sources simultaneously. The H6 offers versatility, expandability, and excellent sound quality.
- Roland R-07:
The Roland R-07 is a compact and portable digital recorder designed for high-quality audio capture. It features Bluetooth connectivity for remote control and wireless audio streaming. The R-07 is well-suited for recording concerts, interviews, and ambient sounds.
Step 1: Prepare the Equipment
- Digital recorder with multiple XLR inputs
- XLR Microphones (matching the number of participants)
- XLR Cables
- Recording and editing software
- Headphones (optional)
Many digital recorders allow you to record with both the built-in microphone and an external microphone simultaneously. So you just need at least one external microphone and a built-in microphone.
Step 2: Setup and Connection
Do the same as using the audio interface, plug your external mics into the XLR inputs using cables. Access the digital recorder’s menu and adjust settings as needed. Set input levels for each XLR input, activate phantom power for condenser microphones, and configure recording format and quality.
Have participants speak into their microphones while monitoring the digital recorder’s output through headphones. Adjust input levels to ensure optimal sound quality without distortion.
Step 3: Start Recording
Press the record button on the digital recorder to begin capturing your podcast episode. Monitor audio levels during the recording to address any issues in real time.
Once the recording is complete, save the audio files on the digital recorder’s storage media (SD card or internal memory). Transfer the files to your computer for editing.
Pros and Cons of Using a Digital Recorder
- Portability: Digital recorders are lightweight and portable, allowing you to record podcasts in various locations.
- Flexibility: Record on the go, whether you’re conducting interviews, capturing live events, or recording in unconventional spaces.
- No Computer Required: Digital recorders eliminate the need for a computer during recording, making them ideal for remote recording scenarios.
- Editing Workflow: Editing on a computer may offer more advanced editing features compared to on-device editing on some digital recorders.
- Limited Multitracking: While some digital recorders support multitrack recording, the number of available tracks may be limited compared to dedicated DAW software.
How To Record A Podcast With Multiple Mics – Conclusion
Do you still feel recording with multiple mics is complicated? I hope not!
While it may demand a bit of additional equipment and a modest enhancement of your skills, the payoff is undoubtedly worth it. By investing in the right equipment and honing your recording skills, you can transform your podcasting experience into one marked by clear, professional-quality sound.
Based on your budget, equipment, and desired audio quality, choose the options that meet your need. The result won’t make you disappointed, I promise.