Logic Pro and multiple microphones on separate tracks
December 22, 2013 3:29 PM   Subscribe

In Logic Pro, is there a way to add two Shure SM81 microphones (connected via Shure USB-to-XLR adapters) as separate tracks for recording? Currently, the only way I've been able to bring them into Logic Pro is as a merged or aggregate input device, which means the signals from the two mics are merged before going into one track. I do not want this, but instead wish to feed the signal from the two mics into two separate tracks. Is there a way to do this in Logic Pro with the equipment I have?

I want the two mics separated because they are physically placed in locations where there will be different sound dynamics. Having the signals distinct means we can adjust levels and dynamics separately. The aggregate music device option does not appear to allow this, as it merged signals.
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It seems like if you have an audio interface, like a Focusrite, it is not a problem. I do this. Just assign Input 1 to one mic and Input 2 to the other, after creating two tracks.

Without an AI, not sure.
posted by Danf at 4:40 PM on December 22, 2013

Yeah, you need an external audio interface. You can individually control the mic levels on channels 1 and 2 in the Audio MIDI setup preference panel (in your utilities folder, has more granular controls than the sound control in the basic system preferences).

If you're serious about microphone recording with Logic Pro, you don't want to use the built in mic preamp anyway. There are lots of decent $50 2-channel audio interfaces out there, and you can do much better for mic preamps if you can spend a bit more. Bonus is that most of them will have direct XLR inputs. I would not be messing with USB-XLR conversion with adapters.
posted by spitbull at 5:49 PM on December 22, 2013

This tutorial is for Garageband, but the concept should work with Logic just as well:
posted by mannermode at 7:44 PM on December 22, 2013

(I just said I was using an aggregate device in my question. Twice. I don't want to use an aggregate device. Whether in GarageBand or Logic.)

Are these two USB adapters not treated as separate audio adapters for the purposes of inputting sound? They show up in Audio MIDI Setup as two separate inputs, which I can aggregate into one. It's just that I can't record them to separate tracks in the DAW.

The whole purpose of getting the USB-to-XLR adapters was to get two separate audio inputs, instead of plugging them into a mixer and only getting one input out of the mixer. Is buying more equipment really the only way to solve this? And will that really solve this problem, in the end?

My worry is that I buy a third audio adapter and still only get one track out of the two mics. What am I doing wrong in Logic?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:02 PM on December 22, 2013

Are you maybe recording onto a stereo track? That will grab two inputs instead of just one. Otherwise, I don't know of any reason that an aggregate device would actually merge the inputs (that's never been my experience). When you go to create a new audio track, you should be given the option of stereo or mono, and your choice of inputs--if you pick mono, do you see both devices in the dropdown, or just one?
posted by uncleozzy at 4:55 AM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

If doing what uncleozzy suggests above doesn't work, and you're stuck with a single merged track, is there at least a way to hard-pan your two inputted mic channels? That is, can you at least assign one of the mics you see in the Audio MIDI setup preferences all the way to the left, and the other all the way to the right?

If you can do that, it's possible to record the merged stereo channels and then split the resulting track into two separate mono tracks.
posted by Rykey at 3:43 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

When you create an aggregate device, each USB microphone should be a separate channel, which you can assign to Logic channels as you like. It probably defaults to 1/2 stereo, but you want two mono channels.

You'll want to set up a mono track in logic for each mic and assign only one of the channels from the aggregate device to one of them, then set up another with the other channel. This is the exact same method you'd use to assign channels from an external audio interface. An aggregate device is essentially a virtual audio interface.
posted by empath at 4:02 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

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