Connecting your mixer/interface
If you already have the mics and the gear, here’s a quick how-to. If you don't have the equipment you can skip this section and read further on in this article for advice.
You can use anything that plugs into your computer via USB and lets you plug two (or more) XLR mics into it. For the purposes of the below image, we are using the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, but you might be using something like a Zoom H5 or Zoom PodTrak P4.
Simply plug both your XLR mics into your interface, then use its USB cable to connect to your computer, and you’re good to go.
2. Next, inside Alitu, go to the ‘Record’ tab and select your interface as the “microphone”. You can see in my example it shows up as ‘Focusrite USB Audio’. Again, yours might be Zoom H5, Zoom PodTrak P4, etc.
3. Then, plug some headphones into your interface (as opposed to directly into the computer). Click ‘Show More Settings’, then select your interface as the ‘Listen via’ option, too.
That’s it! That’s really all there is to do. You’re now ready to hit record.
Good Ways to Record Multiple People, Locally
If you want to record multiple people in the same room using Alitu then the good news is that there’s no shortage of ways to record multiple mics in the same room.
The downside is that you’ll need to invest in some additional equipment to optimize it. But don’t worry, you won’t need to break the bank to afford the ideal setup here.
The vast majority of podcasters record with a USB mic because it makes things so simple. USB mics work especially well if you’re recording solo episodes or online (remote) interviews. But this setup doesn’t suit everyone, especially if you want to record two or more people in the same room.
In this article, we’ll look at some options for recording multiple people locally, while still enjoying all the benefits of Alitu’s simplicity.
Top Option - Get a USB Audio Interface
When asked about local multi-mic setups we recommend getting a USB audio interface. You simply plug your XLR mics into one of these devices, then it connects to your computer via USB - essentially making multiple “analog” mics as simple to use as one USB mic.
A key point here is that we’re using XLR mics, not USB. You can’t plug multiple USB mics into an audio interface (or anything else, other than a computer). If you’d still like to have access to all the simplicity benefits of a USB mic, though, then you can find mics that work as both - for example, the Samson Q2U or AudioTechnica ATR2100.
We recommend the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface because of its quality-to-affordability ratio.
What About a Mixer?
Mixers are yesterday’s man in the world of podcasting. They’re a hangover from an era where all audio gear was built for musicians. These days, there’s a lot of equipment designed specifically for voice recording, so we only recommend using a mixer if you already own one and can’t afford to buy anything else.
Mixers add unnecessary complexity. All those dials, buttons, and faders make perfect sense to the experienced audio pro, but most podcasters are completely new to this stuff. A mixer can end up being an intimidating barrier that you don’t need in your way to getting your show recorded, published, and launched.
USB audio interfaces are much cleaner and simpler than mixers. They’re not the only option that trumps the mixer, though. The digital recorder is another solid choice in a podcaster’s toolbox.
Digital Voice Recorders
If you’re looking to add three or more mics to your setup then the best option could be a digital recorder. There’s increased flexibility here, and two main ways you might go about recording your podcast.
Option 1 - Record Into the Recorder
Recorders do what they say on the box. You don’t need a computer or the internet, or even a power source (aside from a couple of batteries) to plug in a handful of mics and record high-quality episodes.
Recorders typically record each person on separate audio channels. After recording, you’d just transfer the audio onto your computer via SD card or USB, load it into Alitu, and begin work editing and polishing it up. If the recorder did record everyone on individual channels (multi-track) then Alitu can sync them all together for you.
Option 2 - Use a Digital Recorder as a USB Audio Interface
Recorders are flexible things, and you can connect them to your computer via USB and run them in the same way you would a USB interface or USB mic.
This means you can record multiple mics directly into Alitu, simply by setting your recorder as your audio input, prior to recording. The useful thing here is that you can still hit record on the recorder too, which will create a handy backup recording on your SD card.
Zoom’s H5 and H6 are traditionally seen as the best voice recorders on the market. For podcasters though, I tend to recommend the Zoom PodTrak P4. This piece of kit was designed specifically for podcasters, and it has a lot of features and flexibility. It’s cheaper than the H5 and H6, too.
You can plug up to four mics into the PodTrak P4. You can bring in remote guests online or over the phone and have them talk to all of your local participants with ease. You can even play clips, music, and effects during your recordings.
Now, with those options explored, we need to touch on some of the “what not to do” stuff.
Bad Ways to Record Multiple People, Locally
Okay, “bad” is a strong word, but connecting two USB mics into one computer is rarely ever the answer. They’re simply not designed to be used this way. USB mics are like prima donnas, who are offended by the presence of another one. They don’t get on well with one another, if at all. There’s also only one place you can plug in a USB mic, and that’s your computer. They don’t run into audio interfaces, mixers, digital recorders, or anything else like that.
It’s not impossible to record with two USB mics into one computer, but it’s often difficult and clunky. At the moment, Alitu does not support recording multiple USB mics, so if you really wanted to go down this route you’d need to use another recording method (find some options here) and switch back to Alitu for the editing, production, and publishing.
I’d strongly recommend choosing one of the options above as opposed to trying to record with multiple USB mics. If you can afford it, get yourself an interface like the Scarlett 2i2 or a recorder like the PodTrak P4 and save yourself a lot of time, stress, and hassle!