Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters
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Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters
Contact: podcasting at Twitter: @mcphillips
Curated by Mike Phillips
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How Can I Help?

If you find articles here helpful but need additional information, you're welcome to contact me. I'm not as actively involved in podcasting circles as I once was. There is a lot more useful information available now than when I started this resource, but some of the information is not so good. Audio can be complicated, but it can be mastered.
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Audio does not have to be intimidating.
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Shock Mount for ATR2100 Microphone

Shock Mount for ATR2100 Microphone | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |
The very popular ATR2100 microphone has a body diameter that is larger than most handheld microphones. Accordingly, it's often challenging to find a shock mount to isolate it from table noise and vibrations. I recently discovered a shock mount that fits the ATR2100 (and the AT2005USB and Samson Q2U) perfectly. It's the Sterling Audio SM5. The regular price is $30. It's a quality piece of equipment, and it comes with a spare set of bands. I bought one from Musician's Friend, but a lot of dealers carry them. By design, they do not hold the mic rigidly. That's how they provide isolation. So, be careful with it, and it should provide years of good service.

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Deoxit D-5

Deoxit D-5 | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

Do you get a lot of “snap, crackle, and pop” with your audio connections? Do you hear disgusting noises when you touch or rotate an audio plug that is connected to your mixer? If so, you probably have oxidized connectors!

Do yourself a favor and order a can of Caig Laboratories’ Deoxit D5 contact conditioner. Amazon has it in stock, it’s eligible for Prime. It’s not cheap, but it lasts a long time.

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Scooped by Mike Phillips! Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone: Musical Instruments

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

Product by Audio-Technica More about this product
List Price: $80.00
Price: $39.99
You Save: $40.01 (50%)

The price of the ATR2100 has been all over the place in the last couple of years. For now, it's back down to $39.99.


November 9, 2015: Unfortunately it's at $52.00 at the moment. Keep watching Amazon for sales. It was $36 a couple of weeks ago, but they did not have many in stock.

February 26, 2018: The price is now around $64.00. While that's the highest I've seen it, the microphone is still a great value. The next step up is a Heil PR40, which is $325.00.

August 20, 2021: The ATR2100 is discontinued but has been replaced by the ATR2100x. The new price is $99.00, but there are discounts. Plus, there are plenty of ATR2100s for sale on the used market. It's risky to buy used, but if you find a reliable source, you can get them for as little as $29.00.

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Interfacing Skype with a Mixer | IAIB

Interfacing Skype with a Mixer | IAIB | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

If you're having problems interfacing your Skype computer with your mixer, take a look at this article at the IAIB. If you have any questions, my contact information is at the end of the article.

August 20, 2021: Sorry, is no longer available.

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Understanding Aux Sends for Mix Minus | IAIB

Understanding Aux Sends for Mix Minus | IAIB | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

If you use a mixer to create a mix-minus feed to include Skype guests with your Internet broadcast or podcast, make sure you understand the difference between pre-fader and post-fader auxiliary sends. Not every mixer gives you the opportunity to designate whether an aux send is pre-fader or post-fader. Failure to differentiate between the two can cause a lot of headaches.


If you're buying a mixer, read the specifications clearly before you make your final decision. For example, the Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 has a button on each aux send that makes it pre or post. The Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 requires that you change the aux send in the System settings in the firmware. (The default is pre-fader.) The Behringer 1204 mixer has one pre and one post aux send. The Behrringer X1204 (notice the "X") has one switchable pre/post aux send and one fixed post aux send. That's why I always recommend the X1204 over the 1204 even though it is a little more expensive.


Most Internet broadcasters will want post-fader sends. While pre-fader sends can be useful for some applications, those applications are very specific. You really have to know what you're doing to use them effectively.


Behringer, Mackie, Alesis, Yamaha, and Presonus mixers are designed for live sound reinforcement and music recording. We adapt them to use as broadcasting and podcasting mixers. If you understand what goes on under the hood, you will have a better chance of making these mixers work the way you want.


If you have any questions, or if I can help, follow me on Twitter at @mcphillips.

August 20, 2021: Sorry, is no longer available.

TopDawg's curator insight, March 10, 2013 1:20 AM

I own a Mackie ProFX12 and the Behringer 1204USB. This information provided better insight on Mix Minus. Thanks!

SouthernGospelStation's comment, August 29, 2013 2:50 AM
This was good. question- are aux sends the way to also use the same mixer and computer (with multiple sound cards) to both do production work or live voicing on the same equiptment? IE: an aux for skype...and aux for live voicing, and one for producing spots, commercials, voice overs, voice tracks etc - so it doesn't go over the air?
Mike Phillips's comment, August 29, 2013 6:49 AM
Yes, but I recommend the M-Audio Audiophile 1010LT PCI sound card. It has four usuable stereo channels (five, including SPDIF) that allow you to use one computer four channels. The main audio requires a channel as does each mix-minus. If your mixer has a USB output, you have five usable channels. If you need more information, contact me on Twitter - @mcphillips.
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TS, TRS, TRRS – BALANCED, UNBALANCED | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

There are several types of plugs typically used by Internet broadcasters and podcasters to connect their computers, MP3 players, and microphones to their mixers and recorders. Two of the most popular connectors are the 1/8” mini plug and the 1/4” phone plug. People often confuse these plugs, so they are discussed in this article I posted on the IAIB blog.

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Understanding, Finding, & Eliminating Ground Loops

Understanding, Finding, & Eliminating Ground Loops | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

Here is an excellent technical paper written by Bill Whitlock of Jensen Transformers. Click on the image at the link above to download a PDF copy of "Understanding, Finding, & Eliminating Ground Loops in Audio & Video Systems." If you're not familiar with Jensen transformers, they are among the highest quality audio transformers in the world. If you are listening to audio from your computer, radio, or TV at the moment, you're probably hearing through one or more Jensen transformers.

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Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB (Discontinued) Microphone Review

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB (Discontinued) Microphone Review | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

At the risk of soundling like a broken record, here is another review of the ATR2100-USB dynamic microphone. It's perfect for most podcasters. Unfortunately, its price is creeping up. They're now almost $52 at, and they're much higher elsewhere. Apparently AT has realized they've got a good thing here.

Sean Shakespeare's curator insight, February 16, 2014 11:14 PM

Pro: XLR and usb compatible

con: they are becoming more expensive 


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Audix DCLIP Mic Stand Adapter

Audix DCLIP Mic Stand Adapter | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

Many small-diameter microphones are 3/4" diameter including the EV RE10/15/16/18 series, the EV 635A, the AKG D112, the Neumann KM184, and hundreds more. The older EV mics came with a model 310 stand adapter, which was discontinued in favor of the model 311 that allows snapping the mic into place. While I always prefer to have the original adapter that was shipped with a mic, sometimes they are lost or broken and are not available.


The EV 311 is about $14US from Full Compass. The Audix DCLIP is about $10US shipped from Sweetwater Sound. Just for fun, I ordered an Audix DCLIP to see first hand how robust this clip is. It's a good one. The swivel locking mechanism works very well in that the thumb screw tights a surface with gripping teeth against a fiber washer to prevent slipping. It's easy and quick to position the mic. 


It will be interesting to see how well the clip holds up. Fiber washers don't last forever, although a suitable replacement part may be available at a hardware store. Even then, while the clip is only $10, if you buy a lot of them, it can get expensive replacing them for the sake of a washer. 


Sweetwater didn't have the EV 311 on their website, so I was not able to order one to compare. Full Compass carries them, but they are not eligible for free shipping, making it more practical to add them to an order down the road. 


The 3/4" mic is also a 19mm mic. Many mic clips are specified for 19-23mm mics. Just for grins, I ordered an Audio-Technica AT8405a stand adapter for a 21mm mic. A difference of 2mm really matters. This Audix clip does not fit a single mic I own.

August 20, 2021: I subsequently acquired a mic that fits this adapter. It works. Be aware, however, that while some mic clips are flexible enough that they can stretch to fit mics that are close to their intended size, this one does not. I destroyed mine insert a slightly larger mic. Most of the clips I have are flexible enough to fit. This one is hard plastic. Only use it with a mic that's the exact size.

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Ultimate Podcast Microphone Shootout

Ultimate Podcast Microphone Shootout | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

The author of this article listened to some of the best radio microphones in the world and picked the best two podcasting microphones on the market. Includes audio clips. Decide for yourself which mics are worth their price.

DAN ORTEGO's comment, August 18, 2013 11:06 PM
The Ultimate Podcast Microphone Shootout was the most helpful resource I found for selecting my own choice.
Ileane Smith's comment, August 19, 2013 3:49 AM
Congrats Dan. Is your show live?
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dbx 286S Mic Pre-Amp Processor

dbx 286S Mic Pre-Amp Processor | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

Podcasting studios are often characterized by poor acoustics. You can buy the best mic, preamp, compressor, and mixer and still have a bad result. It's annoying for your listeners to be able to hear things such as computer fans running in the background of your podcast. Those noises are particularly apparent when your listener is using headphones.


While there is nothing better than eliminating noise at its source, a good band-aid is the dbx 286s microphone preamp and processor. While you probably already have a preamp in your mixer, the 286s includes one, as well. Plug your XLR mic into the 286s and plug the line output of the 286s into a line input on your mixer. 


The 286s includes a compressor, an enhancer, and a de-esser, but be very careful not to over-process your mic audio. One of the most useful features of the 286s is the gate. While listening to your mic audio through headphones, adjust the Threshold control until the background noise is masked. (It does not disappear!) When you talk, the background noise is still there, but it is not as easy to hear because your voice is hopefully so much louder than the noise.


Don't buy the 286s or any processing equipment expecting miracles. Many beginning podcasters think that they have to buy a whole rack full of equipment to get a good sounding podcast. In many cases, just the opposite is true. Keep it simple. Do not over-process. Don't crank the low frequency control on your mixer to 3 o'clock hoping that your voice will sound deeper. Poor application of equalization and processing are a dead giveaway that you don't know what you're doing.


The 286s takes some experimentation to find its optimum settings. When it is properly set, it can add a lot of control to your mic chain. They're available for about $200US. There are some other units, such as the Symetrix 528E or the Vorsis M1, but those units are more expensive than the dbx unit and offer negligible improvement for most podcasters. As always, your mileage may vary!

August 20, 2021: It's now 10 years since I started using the 286s, and it's still a great choice for a mic processor. With age, they've started exhibiting a problem with dirty switch contacts, particularly on the bypass switch. There's sort of a solution. Stand the processor on its back so that the controls are facing the ceiling. Put a few drops of Deoxit D5 in the panel opening around the switch. Press and release the button a few times. Leave the processor in this position over night. The next day, the Deoxit should have run down into the switch. The switches can be replaced, but they're a hassle.

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Shure X2U XLR-to-USB Adapter

Shure X2U XLR-to-USB Adapter | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

Almost all professional microphones have XLR connectors. Sometimes it's more convenient to use a USB microphone. So, what happens if you want a professional mic but you also want to use it as a USB mic, at least some of the time?


Take a look at the Shure X2U converter. Plug in a mic with an XLR connector (do NOT plug the converter directly into the mic!) and connect the converter by USB cable to your computer. Now your professional mic is also a USB mic.


The X2U has a ton of features. Click to read the specs. Street price is about $99.


My X2U failed. When I returned it to Shure, I was expecting to get grief from them because the unit was possibly close to being out of warranty, and the receipt was nowhere to be found. To their credit, they replaced the unit - no questions asked - and the new unit works perfectly.

February 26, 2018: If you really need an external XLR-to-USB converter and if you have the money, skip the X2U and, instead, get a Centrance MicPort Pro. 

DAN ORTEGO's comment, August 18, 2013 11:07 PM
Great product and I'm using it right now.
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News on the ATR2100-USB Microphone

I previously reported that the ATR2100-USB microphone has been discontinued. There is good news. It's back as the ATR2100X-USB. Even better news is that it appears to be in stock in a lot of places. The supply has been low because of inventories being cleared out by people needing external microphones for Zoom and WebEx conferences. Unfortunately, the price has increased to $99. It's still a great buy, and I'm glad it's back, but remember that the Samson Q2U (when it is back in stock) is a little cheaper. Also remember that the ATR2100x-USB has a lifetime warranty. Since the USB jack is probably the most fragile part of the mic, the lifetime warranty can be a benefit, particularly at the higher price. I'm still a fan.
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Taking Live Telephone Calls On The Air

One of the most often asked and most difficult questions for podcasters is, “How can I take live telephone calls on my show?” People have resorted to all sorts of techniques to bring live telephone callers on the air, including connecting a cell phone to the mixer using a TRRS cable and even holding a phone’s speaker up to a microphone. Neither solution is particularly robust.


You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that there is an excellent service that provides features only available in professional broadcasting equipment that can cost thousands of dollars. You can have a call screener located anywhere in the world who selects callers to be placed on the air. All the host has to do is click a button to go live with the caller. Hardware requirements are minimal. You need a fast computer and a mix minus from your mixer. Take a look.

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No More Skype Ducking

No More Skype Ducking | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

Skype is a half-duplex audio service, which means that only one person can talk at a time. Think of an old fashioned speaker phone or even a walkie talkie or Nextel. Most of the time, that's not a problem. However, there are some advanced uses of Skype in which the half-duplex clipping, or ducking, is a problem. 


Here is an updated and simplified version of an article I wrote a couple of years ago on how to eliminate Skype Ducking. This version uses only Skype. The big "gotcha" with this configuration is that you must have excellent Internet bandwidth on both the caller's and the host's sides.

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Radio Guide May/Jun-2014

Radio Guide May/Jun-2014 | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

An article I wrote about microphones appears on Page 38 of the May/June 2014 edition of Radio Guide magazine, a trade magazine primarily for terrestrial broadcasters. You might find it interesting.

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IAIB Spotlight Ep. 14 - Mike Phillips Interview 9-13-13 - GFQ Network - Podcasting Network

IAIB Spotlight Ep. 14 - Mike Phillips Interview 9-13-13 - GFQ Network - Podcasting Network | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

Here's a guest appearance I did on the IAIB Spotlight with Andrew Zarian, warts and all. You might find some useful information here. 

nativemedia's comment, September 25, 2013 12:22 AM
it's great
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No More Skype Ducking | IAIB

No More Skype Ducking | IAIB | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

If you use Skype to bring in audio from a co-host or a regular guest, are you having problems with Skype "ducking" the audio during the call? That is, when the guest and the host talk at the same time, is the lower volume audio suppresed in favor of the louder one? 


The reason you have the issue is Skype is a half-duplex communications system. Only one person can talk at a time. While Skype does a great job of balancing the callers, if you as the host try to play music over Skype for your guest, such as theme music, the ducking problem will become blatantly obvious.


There is a quick solution. Take a look at this article on the IAIB (and become a member.) If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me on Twitter (@mcphillips) or in the Podcasting Technology Resources Community in Google+ Communities.

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Phantom Power and Bias Voltage: Is There A Difference?

Phantom power and microphone bias voltage are not the same. This brief article explains the difference between the two.

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Ground Loops

Ground Loops | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

This post will only briefly touch on the complex subject of ground loops. The short story is that when you connect a mixer to a computer to a sound system, there is an excellent chance that you will get a ground loop. A ground loop manifests itself as a high pitched whine superimposed on your audio. They can be hard to diagnose, but they can be simple to solve. Contrary to what you may think, the whine is not coming from the computer or the mixer; it is created by interconnecting them.


The device at the link is from Radio Shack and is called a ground loop isolator. It's really nothing more than a pair of audio transformers. What's good about these units is that, unlike a lot of Radio Shack merchandise, they are good quality. Transformers can be very expensive, as in a hundred dollars or more per channel. It's amazing how good these are for about $18US.


Assuming you're using a mixer, the simplest way to diagnose a ground loop is to monitor the sound with headphones while you can clearly hear the whine. Start unplugging the audio connections to the computers and amplifiers until the whine disappears. In brief, if you disconnect the audio to and from your computer and the whine goes away, you need a ground loop isolator between your mixer and your computer. In this case, if you're recording and playing computer audio in stereo, you'll need two of these Radio Shack units. 


The reason you have to have two units is that the ground loop is created when the GROUND of the mixer is connected to the GROUND of the computer. Since the ground on the input is the same as the ground on the output, connecting either one will cause the problem. Unfortunately, you're going to have to do some trial and error. 


The Radio Shack ground loop isolators are in stock in most stores. However, if you have some time and want to save some money, check out this eBay seller: The isolators are surplus, are sticky, and have to be cleaned with lighter fluid, but they work great for podcasting. 


If you're having a ground loop problem, you can contact me by email at podcasting at I'll try to help you solve your problem. All I ask in return is that you follow me on Twitter (@mcphillips) and that you tell others about this site.





Brian Benitez's comment, January 25, 2012 4:12 PM
There's a simple free solution to ground loops, which may not be possible depending on your physical location and power setup: plug all devices that connect with your audio system into the same power circuit. When devices share the same ground, you generally won't get that audible buzzing sound.
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Audio-Technica AT8410a Microphone Shock Mount

Audio-Technica AT8410a Microphone Shock Mount | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

The Audio-Technica AT8410a microphone shock mount is one of the best I've found. Almost any mic less than 30 mm will fit in it. (It will not work for the ATR2100-USB.) The isolation provided by the elastic bands is excellent. Street price is $48US. Mine have lasted more than 20 years. 


EDITED TO ADD: One of my 8410a shock mounts turned out to be an early model for which replacement bands are no longer available. AT offered to swap it for a new one for $29. The offer seemed like a good deal at the time. However, by the time I paid shipping on the old unit ($5), paid for the replacement ($29), and paid for return freight ($9.50), I had $43.50 plus a trip to FedEx invested. In retrospect, it would have been easier to throw the old one away and buy a new one for $48. Nevertheless, this shock mount is my absolute favorite. 

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Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Microphone (Discontinued) Reviewed

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Microphone (Discontinued) Reviewed | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

The ATR2100-USB has been chosen as Videomaker's Best Handheld Microphone of 2011. Here is text from AT's Facebook post about the award:


"Turn the ATR2100-USB over, and in addition to the usual single XLR connector, you will also find a Mini-B USB port, an 1/8-inch headphone jack and a volume control dial. While it functions as any other XLR mic, the USB port allows it to connect easily, in true plug-and-play fashion, to any computer - Windows or Mac. Plug some headphones directly into the mic for instant audio monitoring, adjust the volume and wail away. And the quality? Excellent! For versatility and quality, the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid USB/XLR Mic is our choice for Videomaker's Best Handheld Microphone."


You heard it here first.

TopDawg's curator insight, March 10, 2013 1:27 AM

Awesome review!

Justyn Magarotto's curator insight, January 23, 2014 1:00 AM

This article first delves into the fact that this is a great microphone and that is is great for any connection becuase it has a multi pulg which makes it very much useful for many recordings. The article continues to talk about it's set-up and best uses but does not call it a universal microphone that is great for every situation. It is a very well endowed equiptment and it is obvious but it does not fill the full spectrum or recording requirements.I found this article greatly useful because it hit the questions head on without a dodge or fake answer. I think the uses of different microphones are useful.

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Behringer 1204USB and X1204USB Mixers

Behringer 1204USB and X1204USB Mixers | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

A recent question on Twitter prompted me to write this post about a subtle difference between the Behringer 1204USB mixer and the X1204USB mixer. The number system is confusing since many people think the "X" is an abbreviation for "Xenyx", but it's not. The 1204USB and the X1204USB are very different.


While the X1204USB includes digital effects that the 1204USB does not, the effects are not the most relevant benefit. (We NEVER use effects.) Both mixers include two auxillary sends per channel. Aux sends are typically used to create mix-minux feeds for Skype, Google Voice, Google+ Hangouts, TalkShoe, Paltalk, and other online interactive sites and services. With the aux sends on the 1204, one is pre-fader and one is post-fader. With the X1204, both can be post-fader. Why do you care?


With a pre-fader aux send, the audio from a channel is sent to the aux output even if the channel fader is down. With a post-fader aux send, when the channel fader is down, there is no output from that channel to the aux output. So, if you're using a pre-fader aux send for a Skype mix-minus feed, if you lower your mic fader to cough, the Skype caller will hear the cough. If you're using a post-fader aux send, when you lower the channel fader on the mic, the aux send from that channel is muted, and the caller does not hear you.


This seemingly subtle difference between the 1204USB and the X1204USB totally justifies the cost difference. The pre-fader aux send is usable, but the post-fader aux send is sweet. There are other differences, but you can read about those on the Behringer website. 


NOTE: If Behringer made both aux sends on the 1204USB switchable or permanently post-fader, I'd recommend it over the X1204USB. 

Mike Phillips's comment, November 27, 2011 11:21 PM
Pre-fader sends for Mix-minux channels
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Blue Microphones XLR to USB Converter (Discontinued)

Blue Microphones XLR to USB Converter (Discontinued) | Equipment and Techniques for Podcasters |

If you want a less expensive alternative to the Shure X2U converter also listed on this page, check out the Blue Icicle. The last one I bought was about $35US. While it doesn't have the bells and whistles of the X2U, it does the job. It even supplies phantom power if you decide for some unknown reason to use a condenser mic for podcasting.


If, like me, you have two side-by-side computers for which you want a professional-sounding mic on each, get the ATR2100-USB (on this page) and connect it by USB to one computer. Get the Blue Icicle, connect it through an XLR cable to the ATR2100-USB, and connect the Icicle by USB to the second computer. You now have one mic simultaneously feeding two computers. (While the ATR2100-USB may technically not a professional mic, I challenge you compare it in this arrangement with a professional mic, such as an SM58.)


The only caveat is that you might pick up a ground loop by connecting the grounds of the two computers together through the mic. Make sure both computers are connected to the same electrical outlet or UPS. You'll know you have a ground loop if you hear a high-pitched whine in the background of your audio. But that's another topic.

February 26, 2018: Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the Blue Icicle for dynamic microphones. The background noise generated by the Icicle is just too high for a professional application. It's usable with a condenser mic since the condenser mic has higher output level. Also unfortunately, the Shure X2U is just as bad as the Icicle. If you need an external XLR-to-USB converter, the only one I recommend is the Centrance MicPort Pro. It's expensive, but it's the best one for the application. 

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