MacMost Now 177: Setting Up a One Channel Microphone

Often when you plug in a single-channel microphone you will only get sound in the left or right channel. Here is how to set it up so that the sound goes into both channels.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 177: Setting Up a One Channel Microphone.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. Today I want to show you how to properly set up a mono microphone to work, so the sound shows up in both channels on a Mac.
So a favorably common problem is to have a microphone, kind of like the one I'm using right here, just a simple lapel microphone, or maybe it's a handheld microphone, but it's not stereo. It's mono, or monaural, which means there's only one channel. When you plug that into your Mac through a microphone interface, you find out that you get the sound in either just the left or the right channel, and the other one is silent, while what you really want is the sound to be equally shared in both channels.
So the way to fix this problem is to use a utility called the Audio MIDI Setup Utility. You can find it in the Applications Utilities Folder. So once you're in the Audio MIDI Setup program, you'll find that you've got a bunch of different options to choose from. You want to choose Audio Devices - of course, we're not dealing with MIDI here - and you want to go ahead and select your input. You'll find there your built-in microphones, built-in line input; and in this case, the USB device I'm hooking up.
Now I want to make sure I'm setting the properties for that same device. Sometimes I'll have options for sources, if there are different sources for that device. Then what I'll want to do is go ahead and choose the format that I want; usually the default format is chosen right there. But here's the key - I want to choose what type of format it is.
Now by default, this microphone gets a 2ch-16bit, which means I only get the audio in the left channel. I want to reset that to 1ch-16bit, and that will take the number of inputs on the left here from 1 to 2. I can set the input default volume for that. And now I find out that when I record from this microphone, I'll get the sound equally put into both channels, instead of just into one.
Now you should look up the audio specifications for your microphone and make sure that the Audio MIDI is set up properly. Or, if you don't have such specifications, experiment for a little while and see which settings get you the best quality.
Till next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 4 Responses to “MacMost Now 177: Setting Up a One Channel Microphone”

    10 years ago

    Hi Gary,

    this tool you presented sound very interesting.

    But I have one question:
    In Windows you have the ability to mix the sound “what you hear” with the signal of the mic.

    I didn’t find this function on the mac.
    I often make recordings with music and voice on a website. But with my mac i cannot mix the signals, so that the music only comes through the mic what doesn’t sound very good.

    Maybe you have a solution for me. Would be nice to hear from you.

    I’m writing from Germany, so please excuse my baaaad english :-)

    10 years ago

    Not sure about what you are trying to do. Are you trying to mix sounds to create music or a soundtrack? Then GarageBand is an application that does exactly that.

    Christian Garcia
    7 years ago

    Hello Gary,

    I bought the iMic and Audio-Technica Lavalier described in your videos. I plugged in and followed the instructions on the Audio Midi setup and still on one channel is being recorded and output. Any suggestions?


      7 years ago

      No suggestions other than to try again — play around with the settings.

Comments Closed.