Are you looking to connect a condenser microphone to your computer (Mac or PC)? There are many great reasons that you may want to do this:

  • Studio Recording (Garageband, Protools, Ableton, Logic, etc.)
  • Video Conferencing (Zoom, Google Chat, FaceTime, Skype, etc.)
  • Live Streaming (YouTube, Twitch, Periscope, etc.)

Generally speaking there are two ways to achieve your goal:

  1. USB Audio Mixing Console
  2. USB Audio Interface

If you’re using a condenser microphone then you will need an audio interface that has +48 volts phantom power, which is standard among all USB audio interfaces. Without phantom power your condenser microphone will not work.

We’ll go into both options below so you can make the best decision possible.

USB Audio Mixing Console

Yamaha MG10XU

The first option is to use a USB Audio Mixing Console. This is similar to a traditional audio mixer except it has a USB output dedicated to sending data/audio to your computer. 

On the low end ($150-300), you can use something like a Yamaha MG10XU which is extremely popular for audio streaming and video conferencing.

On the high end, you can use any type of digital audio console ($1,000-50,000). These will allow you to also multi-track record each audio input. 

USB audio Mixing Consoles will typically include:

  • 2-32 XLR inputs
  • 1-4 Stereo Line Inputs
  • Independent volume control
  • Main output control
  • Headphone jack
  • Phantom Power for Condenser Mics
  • USB port to connect to your computer

USB Audio Interface (XLR To USB)

The USB Audio Interface is by far the most robust and reliable solution for you to connect your XLR microphone to your computer.

On the low end, there are several options for $100-250 that will fit your needs:

  • Presonus AudioBox USB 96
  • Focusrite Scarlett
  • Solid State Logic SSL2+

These options essentially do the same thing. They will give you:

  • Two XLR inputs
  • Independent volume control
  • Main output control
  • Headphone jack
  • Phantom Power for Condenser Mics
  • USB port to connect to your computer

With this option, you can also multitrack your recording. This means that if you’re using ProTools, Garageband, Logic, or Ableton, you can record both inputs at the same time to separate tracks. This will allow you to adjust the volumes of both tracks (guitar & vocals for example), after you have recorded them both at the same time. 

The USB Audio Interface is a great solution for both Mac & PC Computer users.

Equipment Featured In This Tutorial:

Recommended USB Audio Mixers:

Recommended USB Interfaces:

Connect Condenser Mic to Computer Chapters

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:41 – Audio Mixer With USB Interface
  • 2:13 – USB Audio Interface
  • 3:12 – Comparing The Two
  • 5:23 – Final Thoughts

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