There are many reasons why you might want to record 2 USB Mics at the same time. This is an ideal solution for podcasters, interviewers and musicians. In this detailed guide you will discover how easy it is to set up your Mac to use multiple audio devices simultaneously. (Got a Windows PC? Click here for sister post).
Our step-by-step guide takes you through the process of how to record 2 USB mics at once. We show you how in Garageband and also Reaper. You should be able to apply the principles whichever multitrack recording software or DAW you use.
Table of contents
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You can read how to create an aggregate device on your Mac on the Apple support site. But some of the terms are a bit confusing.
Our aim is to simplify the process. Then you can quickly and easily make professional recordings for your podcast, interview or YouTube collaboration. Or maybe you want to record two musical instruments or vocals simultaneously.
Like the mics we used? Read more and buy them by following these links:
The Best USB Microphone?
In the video tutorial below, we show you how to record multiple USB mics with a Shure MV51 and an Audio Technica AT2020USB+. But you can use any USB Microphones to achieve the same result. You can also compare all the best USB Microphones in our complete guide. Do check it out. It contains original uncompressed audio recordings and video reviews of many top USB Mics.
Record 2 USB Mics: Video Tutorial
Record TWO USB Mics at Once – on Mac. Video Tutorial
How To Record Multiple USB Microphones: A Step-by-Step Guide
Time needed: 15 minutes.
A step-by-step guide to record 2 USB mics at once. This guide will show you how to set up an aggregate device correctly. Then how to record multiple tracks with more than one USB microphone in Garageband, and then Reaper. You can adapt the steps to any DAW or multitrack recording. Note that you CANNOT record with 2 USB mics in Audacity.
- Open up the Audio MIDI Setup Utility
The Audio MIDI setup on Mac gives you control over all the audio devices you have installed. Use Spotlight Search or navigate through your Apps to find it.
- Match Up Sampling Rates
It is very important that all the USB mics are set to record using the same sample rate. This will avoid timing issues.
- Create An Aggregate Device
Click the + sign to create a new aggregate device. And don’t forget to rename it!
- Choose the USB Mics You Want to Combine
First select the USB mic you want to use as the clock source, then tick all the other USB microphones you want to use. Make sure you tick the Drift Correction box for the additional mics. (Do not tick drift correction for the Clock Source mic)
- Do Not Try to Record 2 USB Mics with Audacity
It is not possible to use multiple devices at the same time with Audacity. You will need to use suitable multitrack recording software. Below we show how to record with Garageband and Reaper.
- You can use Garageband to Record with More Than One USB Mic
With a few adjustments to the default settings, Garageband is a capable multi-track recording package.
- Select Your Aggregate Device in Garageband
Open up Garageband -> Preferences -> Audio/MIDI and choose the aggregate device you created earlier.
- View the Smart Controls
Go to View -> Smart Controls so you can the see which audio inputs you are using for each separate audio track.
- Configure Track Header to Make Record Enable Visible
Right click on an audio track and choose Configure Track Header. Then tick next to Record Enable. Then you will be able to record multiple audio tracks at once.
- Create Two Audio Tracks and Select Inputs
Double-click to create new audio tracks. Use the smart controls to select the audio inputs for each separate track.
- Arm Tracks To Record
Click the Record Enable button for each audio track that you wish to record.
- Now You Are Ready to Record With Two USB Mics in Garageband!
Click the main record button … and start your recordings.
- Update Preferences to Record with Two USB Mics in a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) – For Example Reaper
Navigate to Reaper -> Preferences -> Audio Device and select your aggregate audio device
- Double-click to Create New Audio Tracks in Reaper
Create an audio track for each USB Mic.
- Arm Tracks to Record and Select Audio Inputs
Press the Record Arm/Disable button to arm each track for recording. Select the appropriate mic and inputs from the dropdown list.
- Ready to Record with Multiple USB Mics in Reaper
Now press the main record button in Reaper, and your audio tracks will start recording from the microphones you have selected.
Recording with multiple USB microphones is pretty straightforward on a Mac. Hopefully the settings and tips outlined above will turn you into a recording ninja.