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I'm looking to start recording a podcast and thought I had a setup which would work, but I'm having trouble.

I'm looking to record on a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and I have two Turtle Bay Earforce X12 headsets. I did some Googling and thought I'd found a way to record from both headsets simultaneously using only the single 3.5mm jack on the Surface. I have a splitter which allows me to plug the mic and headphone jacks from a single X12 into the headphone jack on my Surface without issue, but in order to be able to record from two X12s at the same time I obtained a further two splitters - one Hosa YMM-261 to split the mic jack on the original splitter allowing both X12 mics to be plugged in at once (and was also led to believe online that this would allow me to isolate the mics so I can set levels independently) and one Cable-Tek splitter to do the same for the headphone jacks on the X12s.

I set all of this up, with both headsets plugged into USB ports on my Surface docking block as follows:

Recording Setup

However (perhaps unsurprisingly), this setup did not work - when I tried to record in Audacity, neither of our mics were recorded and there was a lot of static/noise both in our headphones and on the resulting recording.

I tried the X12s in a variety of USB ports, both on the docking block and the one USB port on the Surface itself, but without success, same result each time. Plugging in just a single X12 with the Headphone/Mic Combiner worked fine.

So, is it possible to achieve a dual headset recording setup with the equipment I already have and if not, what would be the cheapest way to get a dual headset recording setup in place?

I'm not set on needing separate channels for each mic - we can sort out levels before recording for now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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I believe the reason your connection is not working is because the way things are connected, the mic1 output doesn't only end up in the mic input of the tablet but also to the mic2 output. Same with the outputs.

Ideally what you need is an audio interface with multiple (2x) inputs and outputs. This would allow you to control each level individually but you would also be able to use the controls on your headsets.

Another option would be a small mixer but I suspect it would make things unnecessarily complex for the use you need it for.

  • Thanks for the answer - can you suggest a suitable audio interface for the setup I have/want, with budget being the primary concern? – 3N1GM4 Sep 7 '17 at 10:21
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    I'm afraid I can't think of any out of my head and I'm going to be busy for the next few hours. I'll have a look if I get a chance but I can't commit to it. To help you narrow it down, it's going to be a USB audio interface with 2 mic inputs in 3.5mm format and 2 headphone outs (or two outs). Some sound cards with 5.1 will allow you to set them up as 2 x Stereo. I suspect this might be the cheapest option. – Schizomorph Sep 7 '17 at 11:01
  • Thanks so much, no rush for a response so no problem if you're busy. Really appreciate your help and input so far. – 3N1GM4 Sep 7 '17 at 11:06
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    I did have a look on amazon but I felt it was hopeless with all the bells and whistles and lack of proper specs so I gave up and looked on a site for pro audio. Admittedly I did this all in a rush because I have to go again, but do have a look at the behringer UMC202HD. It doesn't have 2xheadphone outs but you can either split it to 2 headphones or connect the second to the main out using an adapter. Do look around on your own because this was done in a rush. – Schizomorph Sep 7 '17 at 16:13
  • Much appreciated, thank you. If anyone else has any suggestions, they would be most welcome. – 3N1GM4 Sep 7 '17 at 16:17

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