Microphones have been around a long time, but in relative terms, the USB mic is a new innovation. The first USB was used in 1996, and by 2000 the second generation had improved data transfer rates. It would be another nine years before Blue gave us a chance to write a Blue Yeti Review.
Some people refer to the USB as the connector that changed everything, and we understand what they mean. But it’s certainly not the chosen microphone connection amongst most music professionals.
Plug and play…
It is, though, a great option, and being able to plug your microphone straight into a computer or similar is a big plus in many situations. Plug and Play can have enormous benefits in some situations.
There has been an expansion of online news and comment channels, especially on social media platforms. The USB mic has grown in those circles and is now widely used, But that is not the only area in which they can be valuable mics to have at your disposal. But before we take a look at this mic, who is the company with the interesting name?
A rather unlikely partnership between a Latvian and an American founded Blue in 1995. Baltic Latvian Universal Electronics is what Blue stands for. Since the success of the original partnership, they have changed owners a few times over a fairly short time. They are currently owned by Logitech and based in California.
They have established a core business that includes not only USB mics but also dynamic, condenser, and ribbon microphones. Accessories also form part of their range these days as they expand into preamps and headphones.
They have a good reputation for building microphones that have variety but are efficient. There are also some interesting design features and product names that are, shall we say, different. So, let’s get this review underway and have a look at the Blue Yeti…
Blue Yeti – An Overview
When it arrived on the scene in late 2009, it was probably the most advanced USB mic on the market. It certainly created options that other mics did not have for recording directly to your computer. Its four different patterns and three separate capsules allowed excellent recordings to be made in a variety of environments.
It was also quite innovative in terms of its styling and the way it looks. Controls were built-on to the mic, and it had headphone connection and volume for zero-latency monitoring.
With no drivers to install, it is the complete plug and play mic solution for your computer. Over a decade later, and it is still a popular mic and one of the most successful. The ease of use and practicality make it a great choice for many environments. Let’s have a closer look at this workhorse of a USB mic.
People have commented that it is weakly made – don’t believe it. This is a mic that is built from solid metal and is very firm in the hand. It is going to withstand a few knocks.
If there is a slight weakness in the build quality, it is only in the control buttons which do feel a little flimsy. The rest of the mic has a rugged but very sleek and stylish looking construction. There is also a tough wire mesh over the top of the mic protecting the internals.
So easy to use…
It sits on its own built-in stand and is finished in a brushed silver look. The stand is fully adjustable to allow you to get the perfect recording position. You can pivot and move it around, and once you have the optimum angle, just tighten the knobs to secure it. No-fuss, no problems – it is as simple as that.
It weighs just under three pounds and stands eleven and a half inches tall, and has a width of 4.72 inches and a depth of 4.92 inches. It can be folded down and put away for easy transportation. But can also be removed from its own stand to be used directly on a mic stand. However, it should be noted that this mic does not come with a shock mount or a pop filter.
There is a shock mount specifically designed for this mic as an optional extra. Pop filters are available and not a problem to find and will almost certainly be needed.
The Blue Yeti was the first microphone to be awarded THX certification. This is a standard by which microphones are judged on sound quality and the delivery of the full frequency range.
A legendary microphone for a good reason…
The build quality is good. It would have to be as it is still a popular microphone today. We have drawn attention to the control buttons, which perhaps could have been stronger. With care, when you use these, they will be fine.
It is the performance of any microphone that users are really interested in. And you won’t be disappointed with the Blue Yeti.
It is a small-diaphragm mic with a three condenser capsule that will allow you to produce great recordings in a variety of situations. It also has Cardioid, Omnidirectional, bidirectional, and stereo polar patterns. That gives this mic about enough variety and options as you are ever going to need.
Use for just about anything…
With these four patterns, you have the flexibility to be able to record podcasts, interviews, and audio for videos. But it goes a bit further than that, and it will also handle vocals and some instruments with consummate ease.
We wouldn’t go as far as to say that it produces world-class performance in any discipline. It is just from good to very good in all of them. And, bear in mind, there is another option. You could use three or four different microphones to achieve what the Yeti can do on its own.
Its performance figures show it has a serious quality for such a cost-effective mic -16-bit/48kHz, a signal to noise ratio of 100dB, as well as an impressive SPL of 120dB. The frequency response is a fairly standard 20Hz to 20kHz.
Impressive figures that give you a brief glimpse of the quality of reproduction this mic can be capable of. The Blue Yeti doesn’t require Phantom power. It gets that from the USB port of the computer.
As we briefly mentioned. It can record in any of the three polar patterns or in stereo. It also features a quality A-D converter and has a headphone amplifier built-in. This will give you zero latency. The headphone volume on the body of the mic is a good feature, as is the mute control.
The Yeti is a side-address mic. For interviewing, that is a big plus as you can sit comfortably opposite your target source, allowing face to face interviews.
Is there a downside?
There are with most things, and with the Blue Yeti, there could be one depending on what you are using it for. It is a very sensitive mic and tends to pick up a variety of background sounds. You can set it to be one-directional, but we think it’s unlikely to remove the sound of shall we say a keyboard.
If you are using the keyboard while recording, there is a chance you will record the sound. This is a bit of an extreme example, but it would be the case.
We have already made mention of the controls built-in to the mic, so there is no need to go into details. At the expense of repetition, there is a headphone output, headphone volume, and mute button. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack socket. All very useful and good additions
The headphone socket and USB port are located out of the way on the bottom of the mic. There is, of course, the controller for selecting which pattern you will use.
There are not many mics that offer that level of control from the mic itself. As we have already said, being so sensitive, it is not a good idea to play with these controls while recording is going on. It will certainly pick up the remotest sound or any contact.
Where is it best used?
As you will have already surmised, this is a mic with a lot of potential uses. It will work for recording vocals and/or certain instruments in your home or small studios. The SPL will come into its own when used in this way.
But its best use may well be for interviewing face to face for podcasts and recording narration for video production. There you will see the benefit of all the functions this mic can offer. The pattern options, though, also make it suitable for conferencing, if you are seated, or field recordings. It is not a mic to be used handheld.
It is compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 9 and 10, Vista, and XP. Or with Mac OSX 10.4.11 or higher. It will require a minimum RAM of 64 MB. But, it’s always best to check the compatibility of any operating system to make sure it will function properly before you buy.
Blue Yeti Review Pros and Cons
- Excellent sound quality considering the price.
- Good build with a quality stand.
- Very versatile with four polar patterns.
- Easy to use.
- Plug and play compatibility.
- Works best when directly connected to your computer, not through a USB hub.
- No on/off switch.
- Extremely sensitive, which is good or bad depending on the circumstances.
- Not the smallest of USB microphones.
Looking for more superb microphone options?
However, if you’re after some more general microphones, take a look at our reviews of the Best Condenser Microphones, the Best IOS Microphones, Best Microphones Recording Electric Guitar, the Best USB Microphones, or the Best Microphones for Youtube you can buy in 2020.
Blue Yeti Review Conclusion
What we think?
There is an expression ‘nothing is better than a good old ‘un.’ In some situations and with some things, we know what they mean. Mics have moved on a long way since the Blue Yeti was introduced, but it is still a very good mic. A ‘good old ‘un.’
Of course, it is not what you might call a top-quality studio mic. It is no AKG or Neuman, not even a Sony, Sennheiser, or Shure, but it probably wasn’t designed to be.
If you have a small or a home studio, mics like the Blue Yeti are excellent because they have such a variety of uses. For those who need mics for voice-overs or interviews, of which there are more daily, it is also a great choice. Having its own portable stand is a huge asset for this type of recording.
We can only say that considering its price point; this is a very good mic indeed.