Ten years ago, we would not have been writing this Blue Yeticaster Review. There wouldn’t be such a microphone because there wouldn’t really have been that much of a need for it. Broadcasting and news and current affairs information programs have until quite recently been the domain of large corporations.
Now anyone can have their own commentary on just about anything that is going on. It has produced a whole new industry of podcasters and video bloggers. There are lots of very amateurish efforts, of course, but some of them are very good. And they have good quality videos and good presentations.
To produce great watchable content, you certainly need good video quality, and you need good subject matter. Just as important, though, is that you need good sound. A sound quality that is clear and bright, and as professional as you can make it. Enter Blue microphones, one of the leaders in manufacturing mics for exactly that purpose. But who are Blue?
They were founded by a Latvian recording engineer and an American musician in 1995. They have grown to be a major player in the cost-effective USB mic market. A market that is growing by the day. Mics that you can just plug in and play with your computer.
They have undergone a few ownership changes and are now owned by Logitech. They produce a range of well-respected mics that have brought recording opportunities to a new breed of user.
The range is not extensive in terms of the number of models. Nevertheless, there are enough differences between them to justify their place. And in this review, we are going to have a look at one option…
There may be some people who have never heard of Blue or their Blue Yeti mic. They may have thought the Yeticaster was just another in Fender Guitars’ ever-expanding range. They will have left us by now. This is all about a microphone, a USB mic in a package. And a very good package at that.
Maybe conducting interviews for news and current affairs websites? This is a microphone package that aims to give you all you need for creating a professional job. There is the respected Yeti mic, a Compass boom arm, and a Radius 111 shock mount. All that you need. Plus, it looks the part as well.
There are plenty of controls and recording options in this package that are very impressive. With its simple set up and plug and play design, the Yeticaster transforms your desk into a studio.
The boom and shock mount system would allow it to be used in a home recording studio. Either for vocals or for recording instruments. It has some very impressive design features that would allow that. More on this later.
So, let’s take a closer look…
The microphone is the Blue Yeti, which a lot of people will be aware of. It was first released in 2009 and, at the time, was one of the most advanced mics of its type around. It was and still is innovative in the way it is designed. And it has a gain control and a headphone output that gives zero latency. There is also a mute button.
It has a sturdy construction and feels secure in your hand. There is a strong wire mesh over the mic head to protect the internals. And as we said, it certainly looks the part.
There is a Radius 3 shock mount system. This is an important addition to the package. This advanced shock mount will isolate the mic from any accidental external, ambient vibrations. That ensures there is nothing that will interfere with the quality of the sound. It is very much a tried and tested vintage-style suspension system.
Another excellent and very welcome addition is the Compass boom arm. This is a tubed extruded aluminum design and has 360 degrees of rotation. We do have to say though for the sake of balance that its rotation can be a bit insecure at times.
The dimensions when the Yeti is on the stand is 4.72 by 4.92 by 11.61 inches, and the assembled unit weighs 4.9 pounds.
It should be noted here that when you buy just the Blue Yeti microphone, it comes with a desktop tripod stand. That stand is not included with this package.
The idea of this system is that the boom arm is attached to the table. The microphone is positioned in a downward direction. And there is a built-in cable management system to avoid having wires, etc. lying around. This prevents any connecting cables causing potential hazards and interference.
There is a supplied USB cable that is a reasonable 10 feet in length.
The Yeti is a condenser mic with a pressure gradient capsule. It enjoys multi-pattern selection options. These include Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, and Stereo. This equips it for a variety of recording and broadcast options. The frequency range is a standard 20Hz – 20kHz, and it has bit and sample rate of 16-bit/48kHz.
We mentioned earlier about some of the features that might make this mic suitable for home studio work. One of those is that it has an SPL of 120dB. This is interesting because that kind of pressure level will allow it to work comfortably with a sudden loud increase in volume.
That could be vocals or speech, but it could also be guitars or some forms of percussion. The boom stand will also allow the mic to be positioned perfectly for that activity.
Controls are located on the mic in an easy to use position. There is the volume control and mute button positioned together. On the other side of the mic, the selector for the polar pattern options. On the bottom of the mic are the USB port and headphone socket.
Where Is It Best Used?
A microphone that can have a variety of uses is a good thing. That applies to the serious recordist or the hobbyist. Perhaps more so for the hobbyist or someone just starting out. To have that mic that can be used in multiple environments saves you money.
This is clearly a mic that is best used in a stable indoor environment. But that could be for recording interviews or performing voice-overs or even recording vocals or instruments.
The only concern would be that it is very sensitive. You will be using this mic plugged into a computer. Any use of the keyboard is likely to be picked up by this mic in whatever pattern is engaged. Nevertheless, its optimum performance is going to be attached to a desk and with one of the four polar patterns engaged depending upon requirements.
Using it for podcasts, interviews, or voice-overs is what this mic has primarily been designed for.
There are no drivers to install, so it is purely a plug and play system. It is compatible with Windows 7,8. Vista, XP, or XP Pro. Also, with Mac OSX 10.4.11 or higher.
Being that it is so easy to use, the performance should be good. The on-mic controls are useful and will help, but essentially this is a very easy and practical mic to use. The frequency range is good, and the SPL is very good, which opens the door for a variety of uses.
But it will perform at its best in a simple, uncomplicated voice recording, be it interviews or voice over.
Blue Yeticaster Pros & Cons
- Good sounding microphone.
- Built-in volume and mute button right.
- Zero-latency monitoring.
- Quality cable management.
- Four polar patterns.
- Very little sibilance, but a pop filter is always recommended.
- Adjustment knobs and screws are not the easiest to turn.
- Not the strongest of builds.
- Instruction manual could be better.
Other Excellent Microphone Options
Are you looking for some superb microphone options for specific purposes?
If so, please check out our reviews of the Best Microphones for Youtube, the Best Microphones for Recording Rap Vocals, the Best Vocal Mics, the Best Condenser Microphones, the Best IOS Microphones, Best Microphones Recording Electric Guitar, the Best Dynamic Microphones, or the Best USB Microphones currently on the market.
Or, if you’re a fan of Blue, you might also enjoy our review of the Blue Baby Bottle.
What We Think
We have to say that we are always quite impressed with Blue products. They have a nice innovative design and are well-built. And they are always designed with a variety of uses in mind. For those who may want to keep costs down, then this mic is a great investment. But when the complete package of shock mount and boom arm is added, it becomes an incredibly good deal.
It has got a few negative points. There is quite a lot of plastic in the build. Also, the instruction leaflet that comes with it isn’t the best. You will also need to spend a bit of time setting it up initially. On top of that, the boom arm is sometimes a little awkward to get in the right position. But none of those issues at this price point are deal-breakers.
At this stage of the game, a USB mic like this can never compete with an XLR mic. That may change one day, of course. But I don’t think Blue has any aspirations that this might compete now. It is designed to do a simple job and do it well on a budget.
It is designed to give you a few options for use, as well as be easy to use and quick to set up. The fact that it also looks good and will appear professional if it is caught on camera is a plus.
On that basis and at this price point, this becomes a good package and one that is easy to recommend.