In test recording sessions, I found the X2u very easy to use. I plugged in a studio condenser mic to the adapter and then with the supplied USB cable, plugged into the laptop. Within seconds, the computer had recognized the X2u and we were setting the mic level with the Monitor Mix control on the X2u. Best of all, the sound quality was pristine, delivering a smooth, airy vocal sound.
There’s been no shortage of products designed to help musicians get their musical ideas into their computers. While at the Winter 2010 NAMM show in Anaheim, I saw the then-new Shure X2u XLR-to-USB signal adapter. It’s a compact, affordable single channel palm-sized adapter that promises to help solve the problem of how to interface a recording mic with your home computer.
The Shure X2u is a plug-and-play compact USB audio interface that provides three functions. It provides a high-quality microphone preamp with gain control and tri-color LED to measure sound levels; a monitor mix control to balance the level between the mic signal and playback audio; and a 1/8” headphone output with volume control. It’s plug-and-play ready for any current Mac or PC.
Shure included switchable phantom power so that the X2u will work with studio condenser mics as well as dynamic or ribbon mics. The on board A-to-D converter operates at 16-bit, and up to 48kHz sampling rate.
A nice feature is the supplied Velcro straps for mounting the X2u right on the mic stand, making it easy for the performer to make adjustments on the fly to his headphone mix. We also noticed that there was no delay (also known as latency) between the live vocal and the mix, which when present, can cause confusion when overdubbing at home.
Finally, the X2u is built into a sturdy, compact cylindrical metal housing that looks ready to withstand the rigors of use at home, in the studio, or on the road – plus it comes with a padded carrying case. With a street price of $99, the X2u is an ideal choice to make computer recording easy for anyone who wants high quality audio without investing in a more expensive home recording set up.
See Echoes post “Using Apple’s Garage Band” for more information and story links on the Shure X2u.