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I am thinking of getting an XLR microphone for video conferencing. Will the mic monitoring output of the audio interface only output my voice or the audio from the video conferencing software mixed with my voice?

Thanks

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    That depends entirely on the interface; whether it will hairpin & mix, & whether that is controllable by whatever software you are driving it with. You need to look at the interface documentation or ask the manufacturer.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 27, 2022 at 15:48
  • The Rode AI-1 says "direct monitor", i take it that it does not mix the audio, is that correct?
    – Pablo
    Apr 27, 2022 at 16:09
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    Direct Monitor often means that you can mix together some audio from the PC with the current source being recorded (the mic) in the monitoring output. But it is usually used with a DAW software, not a videoconferencing one, so I am not sure of it working in your use case.
    – audionuma
    Apr 28, 2022 at 5:56

2 Answers 2

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PC speakers cannot output the signal from your local mic in videoconferencing because that causes an echo and also generates easily a loud feedback squeal. If you need a mix of what's fed into the PC speakers and what's caught by your brand new mic, purchase an analog mixer. One with a few inputs, maybe only 1...2 of them good for a mic, costs less than a mic.

If your mic expects phantom powering (=DC supply voltage fed through audio wires) you need a mixer with that capability. In my mixer every XLR mic input has button "+48V". I press it if the mic is one which needs phantom power.

There's still important things left:

  1. The mixer must have so called AUX send to make possible to feed the signal of the mic alone to your PC mic input. Check carefully the routing capabilities.

  2. You may think "blah, no use to buy a mixer, I have heard that the PC onboard audio can be configured to make one by software". That's true, but how to make the videoconferencing software to accept it is a new problem. It can be tricky to make it accept even the input of the PC mic connector, because most web cameras have a mic (which you now want to scrap)

  3. PC onboard audio interfaces generally cannot output the +48V phantom which is the standard for high quality condenser mics. Dynamic mics do not need it, but with them you may find the mic output is too weak.

NOTE: You obviously planned to use an external audio interface with mic input to replace the onboard PC sound system. That has also traps:

  • the mic may want the +48V phantom and the simplest interfaces do not have it
  • audio buffering can cause intolerable delay to the sound. Special ASIO driver and proper mixing software can reduce it neglible, but how to make the videoconferencing software to accept it can be unsolvable. You need much less if the interface has "direct input monitoring" i.e. it generates internally inside the interface to your headphones the mix of your mic signal and the output from your PC application. In that case no mixer software is needed.
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I believe all conferencing software today accepts to use any available sound input to and output from the computer.

Assuming a situation with one person on "this side" just about any sound interface will work. The sound sent to the speakers or headphones will only be the output from the conferencing software. The sound sent to the "other side" by the conferencing software will only be the output from the mic. There can be little bit of "feedback" from the speakers into the mic. Selecting a directional mic (cardoid) and moving around speakers and mic usually makes the problem go away or at least be acceptable.

A small warning: if you aim at getting one of the popular low output podcasting mics not every sound card will have enough amplification, examples inlude Shure SM7B or Electro Voice RE20, these might need a "cloudlifter" type of device added (the require the sound card to output 48V phantom, most USB cards today do that).

If you have several people on this side, you will probably want to go with one microphone per talker and headphones for each. A solution that comes to my mind is the Rode Podcaster (not a recommendation as such, only a suggested search start on google).

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