How to plug mics and instruments into your audio interface

Recording Week
(Image credit: Future)

RECORDING WEEK: Plugging in mics, instruments and headphones, and getting ready to record is simple with a single mic, but harder with multiple mics, headphones and musicians. The key is in the preparation stage.

Here we take you through the basics of properly plugging your microphones and instruments into your audio interface.

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(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: Before plugging or unplugging mics, and to avoid equipment damage, ensure that your monitors are muted and phantom power is switched off. Suspend the mics on suitable stands and plug in the mic cables. Finally, switch on phantom power if required, then unmute your monitors.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: To position a mic, get the stand in roughly the right place, hold the mic with one hand and slacken off the stand clamps. Move the mic and orientate it as required, then, while still holding the mic, tighten up the clamps. For a heavy mic on a boom stand, position one of the tripod legs under the boom to keep it stable. 

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: Plugging an instrument into a Hi-Z jack input on an audio interface is straightforward, but remember to mute your monitors before unplugging it. If you’re using a separate DI box, the output is a standard XLR mic cable that runs to the mic input. Some DIs use phantom power – switch this on last.  

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