Connecting Multiple USB Microphones to a Mac Laptop
December 2, 2011 9:33 AM   Subscribe

I need to find the best way to connect more than one microphone (probably two but it could be up to four) to a Mac laptop. I don't need studio quality but will be capturing voices and I'd like them to sound decent. The signal from the mics would need to be seen by Flash, for teleconferencing, and by the basic Apple OS applications (Quicktime, Garage Band, etc.) Is it possible to connect more than one USB microphone at a time, perhaps through a hub? If not, is there a simple external digital mixer that I can use? Is there an on-line store that specializes in this type of audio? And is the a wireless USB option?
posted by Jamesonian to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I recommend a USB audio interface (aka a USB sound card) and an analog mixer with at least as many inputs as you have microphones. The mixer combines the four analog mic signals together and the sound card digitizes the resultant mix.
posted by blue t-shirt at 9:36 AM on December 2, 2011

seconding an external mixer
posted by 3mendo at 9:40 AM on December 2, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, but I know what my analog options are. I'm trying to learn if there are any comparable, or even better USB options.
posted by Jamesonian at 9:43 AM on December 2, 2011

What is your budget? You can get a cheaper integrated solution like this M-Audio mixer/soundcard, all the way to the Apogee equivalent.
posted by ddaavviidd at 9:51 AM on December 2, 2011

I messed around with this for a little bit. At one point, I had two USB microphones hooked up to my mac and it really didn't like that. I got the impression that Mac OS X is only able to handle one USB audio input at a time.

To get around this, you're going to need to get some sort of Audio Interface to get separate signals. On preview, the M-Audio One that ddaavviidd links to should be adequate.
posted by kpmcguire at 10:01 AM on December 2, 2011

You need a 4 Channel USB Mixer. Plenty of options out there.
posted by monospace at 1:16 PM on December 2, 2011

Or you could use a mic with an omni pattern (360 degrees) and gather everyone around the thing, that way you only have to deal with one microphone. As long as you compress a little all the voices should sound about the same volume wise.
posted by locussst at 6:54 PM on December 2, 2011

If these four people are in the same room, a good omnidirectional microphone (not a cheap PC one) will probably be enough.

I'm no audio expert, but I set up a sort of podcasting studio for an artsy reporter friend this summer with, among other gear, a Blue Yeti Pro microphone and was pretty impressed with the improvement over regular consumer PC/USB recording mikes. She does interviews with small groups of musicians and artists, and it works well.
posted by rokusan at 3:40 AM on December 3, 2011

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