USING FOCUSRITE AUDIO INTERFACES ON WINDOWS WITH ZOOM OR SKYPE
Using an audio interface gives you the flexibility of using any microphone you choose or more that 1 mic for more audio options. You can start with a 2 channel interface or work your way up to 8 channels and beyond. If you are a windows user, there are a specific set of circumstances if you want to bring multi-channel audio into the VOIP (voice over IP) world of programs. These programs include Skype zoom, Teams, Meets, Messenger etc...
Most multi channel interfaces will be seen on a Mac without any specialized preparation. But not to worry if you are on a windows machine and you are using a Focusrite interface, there are some easy solutions that work!
If you are using Zoom I recommend creating a Zoom account and downloading/installing the Zoom Client for Meetings desktop application from the Zoom website here, as the web client has limited features.
If you are using a 2 channel interface you will have no problem as windows will see both channels for use on Zoom or Skype. You can follow the directions on Focusrite's website here.
When it comes to multi channel (3 or more) audio inputs we need a different routing solution. Focusrite has a detailed explanation with diagrams here.
Essentially in the windows world you will see that Zoom or Skype will only see inputs 1 and 2 on a multi channel interface. Within Focusrite's monitoring software, Focusrite Control, you can send all of your inputs with the exception of channel 1 to an output. (Remember if you are using condenser mics turn on phantom power to those channels). You then take a 1/4" TRS cable from the output such as channel 3 and plug it into input 1 on the interface, thus sending a sub-mix all of your inputs to input 1 of your interface. This is the same principal as using an external mixer and physically plugging it in to your interface. Follow this link for a detailed explanation.
If you are using an older Focusrite Gen1 interface, there is a detailed explanation here.
Please remember that different manufacturers have their own software products and may not perform the way that Focusrite does. I have only tested Focusrite products for these applications and continue to use their products for their ease of use. Their website has great information and their customer service is top notch.
Have fun exploring the audio side of things. It can be frustrating at first but have patience the end result will be well worth it!
VOIP - Voice over internet protocol or more commonly phone service over the internet
ASIO Drivers - Audio Stream Input / Output drivers for Windows
Mix Minus - A mix minus your caller so the caller doesn't hear their own voice back
Phantom Power - 48v power source provided by your interface for condenser mics
ASIO drivers are usually not included on Windows by default and need to be installed separately. If you are using a dedicated audio interface, then its ASIO driver is usually available as a separate installation from the manufacturer's website