With increased computer power and the creation of the first practical DAWs in the 1990s, recording changed forever. Before then, if we wanted to record anything, it had to be done in a recording studio. And that costs money, often a lot of it.
Back then, we never dreamed we would be able to do so much at home. Never dreamed there would be mics that would plug into your computer. And never dreamed that we would be thinking about the best settings for Blue Yeti microphone.
- How Much Was Lost?
- Let The Race Begin
- Not Happy Bunnies Just Yet
- The Door Opens
- I Want It All
- Developments By The Bucketload
- Enter The USB Mic
- Plug-In And Play
- A Sensitive Mic
- Best Settings For Blue Yeti Microphone – The Controls
- Getting the Right Recording
- Setting Up With Your Operating System
- Select Your Polar Pattern
- Let’s Record
- Set Your Balance
- Plug-In Your Headphones
- Recording Instruments
- Group Discussions
- Live Streaming
- Looking for Other Great Blue Audio Microphones?
- Best Settings For Blue Yeti Microphone – Final Thoughts
How Much Was Lost?
There were some good studios and some very bad ones, and then at the top of the stack were the pros. Not many of us could afford the good ones unless someone else was paying. They usually weren’t, so it was the cheap and nasty ones or nothing.
So much good material must have been lost. Songs half-written and never completed. There was nowhere to record them. Now we have computers with mics that plug in directly for recording at a decent quality. One of those mics is made by a company called Blue. They call it the Yeti. And it plugs straight into your computer.
Let The Race Begin
Into the time machine and back to 1992 we go, when Cubase, by Steinberg, was released for Mac Computers. It was basic, and in many ways, crude compared to what we have now. But what it did do is prove that recording at home was not just a dream anymore. It could be done. The race was on.
Not Happy Bunnies Just Yet
We could record, but it was rather limited to synthesizers and other MIDI equipment only. For it to take off, there had to be guitars and basses, and there had to be vocals. It really would not work without it.
British Design engineers developed Pulse Code Modulation, or PCM as it is called, in 1939. It was way ahead of its time. But it was a way of taking analog data and converting it to digital. The system they invented is still the basis for digital recording today.
The Door Opens
And so, the stage was set for the arrival of the Audio Interface. There have been a few of them, some good, some not so. Another Brit, Rupert Neve, created Focusrite, and now we had an interface that sits on our desk and is very good. And at a price we could afford.
We shouldn’t be surprised, Mr. Neve designed the Netcam moving fader system which Sir George Martin so admired and used at his Air Studios. He was known around the world and still is, for his Neve recording desks and consoles.
I Want It All
And now, we largely had it all but maybe not quite. We could plug our guitars, basses, and mics into our computers. And our DAW’s, which were improving by the week, did the rest.
Today the easiest way to get your hands on a DAW is to buy a MAC. Garageband is already installed. A scaled-down version of Logic, and compatible with it. It is excellent considering it is free.
Developments By The Bucketload
But tech progressed so far that everything was playing catch up. New industries were developing. There were podcasts, video channels, interview channels. There were personal blogs and video blogs.
Yes, we could record into our computers and put down narration and speech, and other soundtracks. But it wasn’t always convenient to start carrying audio interfaces around with us. The people that worked on those sites needed convenience.
Enter The USB Mic
Let’s not start to pretend that the arrival of the USB mic has meant everyone ditching their Neumann U87 or their AKG C414. That isn’t going to happen in the recording studios. The USB can’t give you that sort of performance.
But they fill a gap in a fast-developing market of podcasts, blogs, and the rest. And they can do that job well, some very well indeed. In the middle of all this is a company called Blue. They have some interesting designs. They also have some more than interesting names for their mics.
And they produce a good quality mic that can handle most types of recording requirements. And they do it at a very cost-effective price. One of the most popular USB microphones is the Blue Yeti. So, let’s take a look at how to set up a Blue Yeti microphone to get a good sound.
Plug-In And Play
It couldn’t be easier at the most basic level. You plug it in, and away you go. It is compatible with macOS X and the majority of Windows-based systems.
But as with most things, there are ways to get the best out of a Blue Yeti microphone. That is what we are going to look at here. But before we start twiddling knobs, it will be useful to become familiar with the mic. It has plenty to offer.
A Sensitive Mic
Because the Blue Yeti is a condenser mic, it can be very sensitive. If the settings and how you use them aren’t quite right, there will be plenty of unwanted noise and sounds that you didn’t want to capture.
Best Settings For Blue Yeti Microphone – The Controls
Let’s take a quick look at the controls that are built-in to the mic.
This is for gain, not for volume. There is a big difference. Volume is the level of the output. Gain is the level you set for the input into the microphone. This is also related to the sensitivity of the mic and, therefore, how sensitive you want it to be.
For example, if you are just recording your voice, then you won’t require too much gain. Adjusting it down slightly will give you a smoother vocal recording. The Gain control is on the back of the mic.
Polar Pattern Selection
The Blue Yeti has four different polar patterns to choose from. These are Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional, and Stereo. We will go into those a little later. You can select which pattern you want to use using the dial switch. This is also located on the back of the mic, underneath the gain Control.
This is located on the front of the mic, just underneath the Blue logo. Simply push it to instantly mute the sound.
Headphone Volume Control
Located also on the front underneath the mute button. Using this control can regulate the volume level you are hearing through your headphones.
Headphone Jack Socket
Plug in your headphones using a 3.5mm plug. The socket is located on the bottom of the mic. A useful design element is that it is out of the way when the mic is in its normal upright position.
Also nicely positioned out of the way underneath, next to the headphone socket.
This has two knobs for adjusting the angle of the mic, which can be tightened. They also let you fold the mic away after use. Additionally, the Blue Yeti will fit on a conventional mic stand if you prefer.
Getting the Right Recording
So, let’s get around to talking about the best settings for Blue Yeti microphone.
The Mic Position
The Blue Yeti has been designed to work in an upright position. With the majority of mics today, you will point the mic head towards the target source of the sound. With the Blue Yeti, it sits in an upright position on its stand or a conventional stand.
Think of it as being about to be launched into space. You need the mic in this vertical position because it is what is known as a side-address mic. Meaning it can collect sound from any side depending on which polar pattern you choose.
Setting Up With Your Operating System
I should go through ensuring that your mic is good to go with the operating system you are using. In most cases, it will operate just by connecting the USB. But, there may be situations where adjustments to the operating system might have to be applied.
There will not be any additional drivers or software to download. Just amendments to the settings. On a Mac or in Windows, these will be found in Settings/Preferences/Sounds if they are required. There you will be able to see the Blue Yeti and set it up to function as you want.
There seems little point in going through the settings as they are at the moment. Knowing Apple and Microsoft, they will have probably produced an update that changes it all by later this evening. However, they are usually quite self-explanatory, so setting them should be simple enough.
Select Your Polar Pattern
What you select will be determined by what you are using the mic for. Some applications will have different requirements and therefore have different pattern selection criteria.
As already mentioned, the Blue Yeti offers you four separate polar patterns to choose from. These are Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, and Stereo. Let’s take a brief look at each of these patterns.
Of all the polar patterns available, this is the most commonly used for all levels of microphones. The sound has its principal capture point at the front. That’s where the target source should be positioned.
When positioned correctly, this is the best Blue Yeti setting for narrating or singing. As well as for recording a single instrument.
While collecting the sound from the front, it will reject sounds from the sides and the rear. This makes it only suitable for a single user rather than more than one person.
This is a polar pattern that is ideal when using a Blue Yeti microphone for one-to-one interviews. With the person sitting opposite you, the mic will capture both voices. You need to make sure you are sitting opposite each other. And with the Blue logo on the mic facing one of the participants.
Sound from the sides is rejected to a large extent using this pattern, which is why I say it is good for interviews. It could also be used for recording a duet with two singers.
This pattern will collect its sound source from all sides of the mic at the same time. Collecting sound from every angle has its benefits for some recording situations. If you are commentating or narrating and want the surrounding ambient sounds included, this is the pattern to use.
It is also great for capturing the sound of the room when you are recording, for example, an acoustic guitar, if that is the sound you are going for.
This is an interesting choice and gives you more options than most other mics. It is great for recording live sound images. Using this pattern, the left and the right channels are active.
This means the mic will collect sound from each side. The sounds coming from the rear or front do not then overpower the overall sound image. This is great for recording anything you want to have a stereo sound to fill the mix, such as a piano, a horn section, or a small string section.
So you have plugged in your USB, and you are ready to go. There are a couple of settings you should look at before you start.
The first is Gain control. Make sure this is centered before you commence. The indicator should be vertical. If you are getting too much signal from a loud sound source, then turn the gain down a little. If the audio is not as crisp and clear as you would like, then turn the gain up a little.
Be careful not to overuse the Gain. Remember, this is a condenser mic, and they can be very sensitive.
Set Your Balance
Whichever software you are using, do a trial run of what you are recording. Watch for any clipping from the record level that is too high.
Make sure your record levels do not stay permanently in the red. Going in very occasionally for a brief second is probably fine depending on your equipment and which DAW you are using. But the meter must not stay at the higher levels all the time.
Plug-In Your Headphones
If you are going to use them, plug them in at the bottom of the mic. You can use the volume control for the phones on the front of the mic. You can set this to a comfortable level so you can hear what is going on.
With all the balances set, you are ready to record. Like most things, it might take a couple of attempts to get it right.
But for now, let’s take a look at the options for some types of recording you might want to make.
This is video and/or audio that is usually done in installments. If it is just you commentating or narrating, then Cardioid would be the preferred pattern.
This pattern will let you speak into the mic and reject ambient sounds from either side or behind. Try a couple of practice runs. Then you will get to learn how far you need to be from the mic to get the best sound.
Set the mic on the table with the person to be interviewed opposite you. Depending on the volume of the voice, you may need to make adjustments to the distance both parties are seated away from the mic. You will need to use a bidirectional pattern for this type of recording.
Use the Cardioid pattern, and experiment with the positioning depending on the instrument you are recording, for example, pointing the mic at the 12th fret when recording an acoustic guitar or a few inches to the left or right of the speaker cone when recording a bass. Make sure the gain is not too loud. You could also experiment with using the Stereo mode for this type of recording.
Omnidirectional would be the choice here. Everybody needs to be seated at a reasonable distance from the mic. Those with louder voices might need to be a bit further away to compensate.
Once again, the Cardioid pattern will probably be best. It is going to reject any ambient sounds that you will not want to broadcast.
Of course, there are many more potential options for using the Blue Yeti microphone. I have just covered a few. But it is a mic that has a wide range of recording possibilities, which makes it a good all-rounder. If you are thinking of getting a Blue Yeti USB Microphone, then I would have to say for the price it is one of the best around.
If you are recording voiceovers or narration, then a pop filter will be advisable, such as this Microphone Pop Filter For Blue Yeti. And if you are recording on location in possibly windy conditions, then this Foam Windscreen for Blue Yeti Microphone will help to cut down on wind or any other weather noises.
Looking for Other Great Blue Audio Microphones?
We have you covered. Check out our comprehensive Blue Yeti USB Mic Review, our Blue Yeti X Review, our Blue Yeticaster Review, our Blue Yeti Nano Review, our Blue Snowball USB Microphone Review, and our Blue Snowball iCE Review for more awesome Blue microphones you can buy in 2023.
You may also enjoy our detailed reviews of the Best Live Vocal Mics, the Best USB Microphones, the Best Dynamic Microphones, the Best Microphones For Recording Vocals, the Best Microphones For YouTube, the Best Computer Microphones, and the Best Interview Microphones currently available for purchase.
Best Settings For Blue Yeti Microphone – Final Thoughts
The advent of the USB mic has encouraged a whole new range of new recording activities. It is not going to be the same quality as high-level studio mics, of course. But for what they are used for, they are very good. And it is easy to see why the Blue Yeti is one of the brand leaders and most used USB microphones around.
Until next, make yourself heard.