It is usually interesting with Blue, and there is always something to discuss when reviewing their products. The company has become a dominant force in the USB microphone market, and in this Blue Yeti Nano review, we’ll find out what one of their excellent USB mics is really like?
An unlikely partnership between a Latvian recording engineer and an American musician created the company. And they have come a long way since their formation in 1995. Now owned by Logitech, they continue to produce interesting microphones for the ‘plugin and play’ USB microphone market.
The market for which seems to grow daily as more and more people decide to air their views and opinions online.
But they don’t only produce USB mics, and they also make Condenser, Dynamic, and Ribbon mics, as well as accessories. You can also expect to come across preamps and headphones from the company. They produce quality microphones at all levels and all price points.
The Blue Yeti was launched in 2009 and quickly became a firm favorite. Especially amongst those using it in small studios and for podcasts and voice-overs. This is a variant of that well-respected mic.
So, let’s take a look and see what it’s like?
The Blue Yeti Nano – An Overview
As with the Blue Yeti original, this is again a Plug and Play USB microphone. There are one or two differences, though. Visually it looks a little different, in fact almost half the size in height. But it also has a redesigned stand, and we prefer the new one.
There are also some changes in the controls which we shall discuss later. But the two stand out changes are the reduction in the SPL in the Nano to 110 dB from 120dB and the improvement in bit depth to 24-bit from 16-bit. There are also differences in the polar patterns, as we will discuss later.
It is still designed for podcasting, voice-overs, or even recording vocals in a home studio. And it can also be used by gamers. It might have a few changes, but the purpose of the mic is untouched. Which will please the fans of the original Yeti who may want to upgrade?
As the name indicates, this is a smaller version of the original. In fact, it is significantly smaller measuring 4.29 by 3.78 by 8.31 inches. It weighs 1.39 pounds. The smaller size and weight can be both good and not so good, as can most things.
A smaller, lighter mic means less stress and pressure on a shock mount or mic stand. But it also makes it feel a little vulnerable. That has nothing to do with the stand, which is very stable. The mic has a standard thread that will allow the use of a Compass Boom Arm. It will also accommodate a Radius 3 shock mount.
No need to hide it…
It has a nice finish that is typical of Blue with a smooth surface and a heavyweight metal mesh grille at the top. Looking at its design, as with most of Blue’s mics, you won’t be ashamed if it happens to appear in a video.
It has a dual capsule design. This, of course, might be considered a downgrade from the original Yeti, which had four options. In our opinion, for the environment that this mic is designed for, which is podcasting and voice-overs, or maybe vocals, the two are enough.
And one still gives you the option of live interviews. We don’t think four are necessarily needed, but we will look at that a bit closer later.
There is a 3.5mm headphone output located on the bottom of the mic to give you zero-latency monitoring. They have also included a headphone volume and a microphone mute. But there is no gain control. That is now handled via an app.
Not a good idea, in our opinion, if you have to constantly go to an app to adjust the gain. As per the original, the USB socket is also located on the bottom.
This is a condenser mic with Cardioid and Omnidirectional pickup patterns. The cardioid pattern is best for recording narrations, podcasts, voice-overs, or vocals, and it will operate exceptionally well in all those areas. The result is very similar to the original Yeti, as you might assume it would be. Very crisp with a positive mid-range.
Again, as within the original Yeti, recording low frequencies in the voice isn’t its strongest point. But that only becomes noticeable if you are working with one of those deep booming voices. You know, the ones that are supposed to terrify us in a movie trailer but are really quite funny.
Or go Omni…
The other pattern included was also in the original, Omnidirectional, for 360-degree recording. This is at its best when recording multiple people speaking, or maybe if you need a soundtrack recorded outside.
However, this also has the same problem as the original. In order to record a group conversation, the mic will need to be sensitive, and the people speaking quite close to the mic. That is fine, but if the mic is very sensitive, it will pick up just about any other noise as well. Good in some circumstances, such as adding a bit of ambiance, but very bad in others.
Mind your P’s and T’s…
One thing this mic does do a little better is to handle plosives quite well. Not well enough to negate the need for a pop filter or two. But certainly an improvement on the Yeti.
As we said earlier, there has been an improvement in the bit depth. This now works at 24-bit/48Khz. All things considered, there has been an improvement in performance. Also, we don’t think you will miss the two polar patterns they have dumped, and the sample and bit rate is now much more impressive.
If it falls down anywhere on the performance front, it is that there is no gain control, we will deal with that next…
We are not going to argue the point over the controls. In most cases, there has been an improvement. Using the 3.5mm socket for headphones on the bottom of the mic means you will be using the volume control on the front of the mic. This control, basic as it is, is a big improvement to its predecessor having a very smooth rotation.
It is also the control used to mute the mic with a gentle press, which is also an improvement. There is a colored LED ring around the control button. When the mic is on, it has a green ring, and it will turn red when the mic is muted.
Know your polar pattern…
Another very positive improvement is polar pattern selection. A little confusing on its predecessor, it is now just a simple push-button for selection. There is an indicator light that tells you what pattern you have selected.
All very positive changes, of course, but there are some downsides. As we said earlier, on the original, there was a gain control. This has now been removed, and you need to open an app to make that change. Possibly reducing the size of the mic has meant that not all the features or controls could be included.
However, we are at a loss trying to understand it if that is not the reason. It certainly isn’t the most convenient of operations for such a simple task.
Easy to use app…
There is a basic menu that allows you to select the pattern. But you can do that on the mic. There is also a control for the volume. Once again, something you can do on the mic. At least some parts of the app are unnecessary. A few points lost there, we are afraid.
Where is it best at?
When compared with its predecessor, it has lost some of its potential uses. However, most of those were not used very often. It includes what we consider the big two. The cardioid pattern for narration, voice-over, podcasts, or vocals, or the omnidirectional pattern for group discussions and 360 capture.
These are what this mic has always been best at, and that is what it now concentrates on fully. If necessary, it could be used for instruments in a home studio environment. But care would need to be taken considering the slight reduction of the SPL.
It could also be used for collecting sounds in an outside broadcast, but you would need to be careful because of the sensitivity of the mic when set to Omni. However, it would probably struggle a bit with an outside broadcast interview unless you were somewhere quiet.
Being a Plug and Play system, it needs good connectivity. The Nano is compatible with both Mac and PC computers. However, a quick check on the operating system that the computer is using would be advisable to ensure the mic will work with it.
Blue Yeti Nano Review Pros and Cons
- Excellent audio quality.
- Cardioid or omnidirectional polar patterns.
- Headphone jack with low-latency monitoring.
- Requires the app to adjust the gain.
- Less polar patterns than the original, but this shouldn’t be an issue for most users.
Looking for some other excellent microphone options?
Or, if you want a microphone for a particular purpose, take a look at our reviews of the Best USB Microphones, the Best IOS Microphones, the Best Microphones for Youtube, the Best Vocal Mics, and the Best Condenser Microphones you can buy.
Blue Yeti Nano Review Conclusion
What we think?
In my opinion, Blue will expand and continue its near-dominance of the USB market with the Yeti Nano. If we were in the market for a cost-effective USB mic with good performance, then it is almost certain this would be the choice.
It performs at 24-bit/48Khz quality, producing clear and articulate results. Also, it has a great look and a very stable build, especially the redesigned stand. It will also fit on boom stands, which is a big advantage.
It is a bit smaller, and whilst that may impact on the features it includes, but the sound quality is still very good.
We think Blue has produced a good mic with the Nano. And at the price point, it will be hard to beat. If you are podcasting, doing live online interviews, streaming, or simply gaming, then this mic is definitely worth a long look.
As Captain Sensible one sang, Happy talking!