Some projects are just too ambitious for a single microphone. Perfect for multi-person podcasts, game streams or YouTube videos; multi-mic setups let you capture multiple sound sources at the same time with complete control over each source. However, because your computer recognizes USB microphones as standalone devices, you can typically only use one at a time.
Thankfully, with a little know-how, you can configure recording software like GarageBand, Audacity and Pro Tools to record with multiple USB microphones simultaneously. In this blog, we’ll teach you how to use two Blue USB microphones at the same time to get the best sound for your project.
Update Your Firmware
The first thing you need to do in order to get your computer to recognize both microphones is make sure your microphones’ firmware is up to date. Download the Sherpa app and connect each microphone one at a time to ensure they’re both using the most recent firmware.
Yeti with unique serial number (left) and Yeti with firmware update notification (right)
If you see something similar to the picture on the left, your mics are up to date and you can continue with the Mac or PC steps below. If your mics need to be updated, a red notification will appear (like the picture on the right). Click the Firmware tab on the microphone page and select “update now”. After updating, click “OK.”
Next, you’ll need to configure your operating system to recognize both microphones. Check out the step-by-step instructions for setting up both Mac and PC below.
Sherpa’s firmware update page
Mac Users: Create An Aggregate Device
If you’re recording on a Mac, you’ll need to create an “aggregate device,” which lets you send a receive signals from multiple sources using one virtual device. To do this, follow the steps below.
1. Launch the Audio MIDI Setup application (found under Applications > Utilities). Make sure your recording software is closed before you begin.
2. Click the plus sign (+) at the bottom left and choose Create Aggregate Device. Give your aggregate device a name such as “Dual-Yeti setup.”
Setting up an aggregate device in Mac OS
Find your Blue USB microphones in the list (they may appear with identical names). Check the “use” box for each. Some versions of the Mac OS may require you to add both mics’ inputs and outputs separately.
Selecting devices for an aggregate device
Select one of the mics as the “clock source” at the top of the window, and then select the sample rate you wish to use. Check the “drift correction” box for the second mic to help make sure both of your microphones record in sync.
Left: clock settings. Right: drift correction option
Finally, you’ll need to select this new aggregate device as the input and output source in your recording software. For a detailed explanation of where to access these options in a variety of audio programs, check the DAW Settings section below.
PC Users: Download and Configure ASIO4ALL
PC users will need to use ASIO4ALL, a free universal ASIO driver for Windows Driver Model audio, to make both microphones available in your recording software (for this demonstration we will use Reaper, an open-source program).
1. Download and install ASIO4ALL.
2. Start up your recording software and open the audio settings panel, choose ASIO4ALL as your audio system/driver. For a detailed explanation of where to access these options in popular recording software, check the DAW Settings section below.
Selecting audio drivers in Reaper
Open the ASIO4ALL control panel from the Windows system tray or inside your recording software (under “hardware” or “devices,” depending on your software).
How to open the ASIO4ALL control panel in Reaper
Check the blue boxes next to both microphones to make their inputs and outputs available.
Configuring devices in the ASIO4ALL control panel
5. Go back to the “hardware” or “devices” list and verify that the inputs and outputs of both USB microphones are now accessible.
Test Your Setup
After completing the Mac or PC steps above, it’s time to test out your setup to make sure everything works properly and save a template for future use.
1. In your recording software, create two audio tracks and set their inputs to receive signal from your USB microphones. Arm the tracks and record a short test by speaking into each mic and watching the input levels to confirm they are receiving signal.
Assigning track inputs in Reaper
Check that the master output is being sent to both microphones so you can hear playback through your headphones. Some software only allows one master output path, so you may need to use auxiliary sends instead to hear through both microphones (refer to your software’s manual to set up auxiliary sends).
Left: multiple outputs in Reaper. Right: auxiliary sends in Pro Tools
3. Save the session as a template for future projects to avoid having to repeat this setup. You can now record seamlessly with both of your Blue USB microphones!
While setting up your Blue USB microphones, you’ll need to access your recording software’s audio settings menu. Here’s how to find it in several common programs. Just be aware that menus may differ slightly on Mac and PC.
- Pro Tools: setup > playback engine
- You may need to modify the default I/O setup in Pro Tools, as shown in this guide.
- Logic Pro: preferences > audio
- GarageBand: preferences > audio MIDI
- Studio One: options > audio setup
- Cubase: devices > device setup
- Reaper: preferences > audio > device
- Hindenburg Journalist: tools > options > audio
- Audacity: edit > preferences > devices
- Note for PC users: due to licensing restrictions, ASIO is not available in Audacity without “compiling” the source code, which requires some basic programming skills.
By following these simple steps, you’ll have the flexibility of multiple microphones with the convenience of USB. From recording live music performances to fascinating conversations or voiceovers for pro-level videos and livestreams, Blue USB microphones have everything you need to get the job done.