Blue Yeti USB Condenser Microphone Review
When it comes to PC microphones, Blue is probably a name that you’ve heard of. They seem to have managed to position themselves as the go-to microphone for gamers, streamers and even podcasters alike. They’re very unique when it comes to branding, and have almost monopolised the USB condenser microphone market. But compared to other brands out there, is Blue all that? We were sent through a Blue Yeti, one of their more flagship microphones to put to the test.
At first glance, Blue have got it down with the names of their products. Rather than relying on a mixture of letters and numbers, you’ll typically see text after the word Blue: Blue Yeti, Blue Snowball and Blue Raspberry. The box the Yeti came in looked great, and the product was actually packaged rather well. The microphone inside was actually blue, which was a bit of a surprise, but wait for it. Despite the company being called Blue, they tend to favour silver and even white products. But not now. The Yeti comes in a number of colours.
The whole unit comes as one piece inside the box, with the microphone able to spin 180° on its stand. One minor downfall with having the mic as a complete unit is the fact it has to sit on your desk, so key presses and desk punches can be heard clearly. I haven’t got the ability to mount a boom arm to my desk, and I used to have my PC on my desk which produced an annoying feedback hum which was commented on by friends when playing games. The PC is now on the floor, but I do get the occasional “Jesus, who’s pounding their keyboard?” Yes, I am a heavy handed player.
I would have liked to have seen some kind of shock mount included in the box to combat these kinds of noises, but they’re cheap enough from somewhere like eBay. The whole unit though is very nicely put together and feels rather premium compared to other microphones I have used in the past including the Samson C01U and the Audio-Technica AT2020. See what I mean by model numbers? Blue Yeti just sounds cool.
Now Blue have made the setup process pretty seamless. It’s completely plug and play using the usual USB technology. MicroUSB in the mic end, and plug it straight into your desktop or laptop. All done, no driver downloads from the Blue website. Even on the Yeti support page it shows you the ways you set the mic up with various pieces of audio recording software and in the Windows 10 Sound and Recording devices screens. Very easy to follow too.
Once installed, you just choose the input in your software of choice. For us at TechNuovo, it’s usually Discord for our in-game communication and OBS to capture our gameplay. It is also compatible with Audition, Audacity and even Garage Band on Mac for you Podcasters so it’s a really flexible piece of kit.
But it’s not just flexible with its software compatibility. The microphone uses something called Omnidirectional technology, which in a nutshell means it can capture audio at a full 360°. But, there is a toggle switch on the back which enables different directions and turns off directions entirely. Okay, so the four settings would take while and a few paragraphs to explain, so I thought I’d use this handy image I found from the interwebs to show you all four settings.
So, now that you know each setting, I thought I’d let you know that I usually use the Cardioid mode, as I am generally sitting in front of the microphone, but the other uses are definitely beneficial in the right setup. One more thing, use a pop filter. It will greatly help with those unwanted breath type noises when saying words beginning with P or B.
Now, onto quality, and I must say I am rather impressed with the Blue Yeti. Recordings sound extremely full and there is a lot of energy in voice overs. Truly a professional sound. However, I must admit that there is a little too much bass for my liking coming through, especially when I present to the camera. As a personal preference I would much rather have less bass on my initial recording so I can go in and fine-tune using something like Adobe Audition. But, I do know why they’ve wanted it like this. It’s a plug and play microphone and one that’s aimed at streamers, who aren’t necessarily editing their work before posting online. And for those types of people, this microphone is for you.
For people like Podcasters however, if you’re pre-recording and scheduling publishing times on your shows, this microphone may not work. Sure, the Omnidirectional Mode may pick up equal sound from all directions, but because of that extra bass you get straight from microphone, really limits the amount of editing you can do, unless you want to waste time removing some of the bass tone before moving onto fine tuning each person’s voice. To let you know too, I set my Windows 10 microphone sensitivity to around 70% on the scale, and the gain on the microphone to a little past half way on the dial.
Overall I really like the Blue Yeti microphone. It’s a solid bit of kit. Sure it has its target market, and if you fit into that gaming streamer or have some kind of live podcast going on, then this is definitely a nice piece of kit especially for the price. They’re very much classed as a budget condenser microphone, but wow does it produce some great sounding audio. For more information, then head over to the Blue website.