The emergence of the USB mic has seen a major shift in the potential for using microphones. And it has opened up a whole new range of industries that were non-existent before.
But now, it is more than just the emergence of USB mics. They are becoming more sophisticated and easier to use with wider capabilities. However, as with all mics, there are some problems to overcome to get the best from them.
One of those is the dreaded background noise, so I’ve decided to take an in-depth look at How to reduce background noise on a Blue Yeti mic.
- About Blue Microphones
- Where Does The USB Mic Operate?
- Easy To Use
- Is There A Downside?
- The Design
- Recording Is A Challenge
- Reducing The Impact
- What Constitutes Background Noise?
- Where Is It Coming From?
- Three Initial Basic Options
- Using The Right Settings On A Blue Yeti Mic
- External Filters for Blue Yeti Microphones
- Interested in Blue Microphones?
- How To Reduce Background Noise on a Blue Yeti Mic – Final Thoughts
About Blue Microphones
Blue is a relatively new company. They were established by a Latvian and an American in 1995. The name Blue is created by taking the first letters of the full name of the Baltic Latvian Universal Electronics company.
The founders sold the company in 2008, and since then, Blue has had several owners. These days they are owned by Logitech.
Until 2004, the microphones were built in Latvia. But, since the last buyout, the production has been moved to China. The finished product is shipped to America, where it is tested.
Where Does The USB Mic Operate?
You will read some marketing departments talking about professional performance. So, it is important to understand where the USB mic, and especially Blue’s mics, fit in the scenario of things.
They are designed for a purpose. You won’t go into high-level recording studios and find them being used. They are not for that. That is the domain of microphones such as the Neumann U87 and the AKG C414, usually with some support from the workhorse, Shure mics.
USB mics work at a lower level than that. So, calling these mics “professional mics” is a mistake. However, they do not sit in their price range either. As I said, they are designed for a purpose, and as a cost-effective option, and they fit that purpose very well.
Easy To Use
One of the best features of Blue microphones, including the Yeti, is that they are easy to operate. They are what are known as plug-and-play microphones. No software to download, no drivers needed, just plug them into your computer, and away you go.
That makes them ideal for the applications they are principally designed to fulfill. Voice-overs for video and YouTube productions, basic interviewing, vlog commentary, streaming, conference calls, and basic sound collection. These are all areas where the Blue Yeti scores points in its performance.
Is There A Downside?
With the Blue Yeti, you do have to put into context the performance level alongside the price point. This is not a Neumann, a Sennheiser, or an AKG. So, you are not getting close to that performance level.
And as I have already said, it is designed as a cost-effective option for some applications. But, in some of those applications, there can be a potential operating problem.
One of those potential problems is the design. It is made to sit on a stable surface, not anywhere else. The design is fun and eye-catching… nice. But, not always very practical… not so nice. In some circumstances, that makes them neither the easiest nor most practical to use.
But, there is a bigger problem. And, it’s not one specific to USB or any Blue mics. It applies to all mics in varying degrees. Background noise. That is one area that I am going to look at in detail. So, what can you do to reduce the background noise on a Blue Yeti mic?
Recording Is A Challenge
Have you ever sat in a recording studio while the engineer is faffing around moving mics about? Running in and out of the control room and then back to the live room again and moving them all again? You feel like saying, “Get on with it.”
But, there is a reason, and they know what they are doing. They are trying to get you the best sound possible. One of those areas is background noise. It needs to be eliminated as far as possible.
Reducing The Impact
Before we start, understand that you will never be able to get rid of all background noise. The solution then is to reduce the impact of as much potential unwanted noise as possible. Fortunately, the Blue Yeti has some built-in features other USB mics don’t have to help you on your way.
One of the built-in options that will offer some help is the choice of four polar patterns. Certain polar patterns are better for working in different applications. I will take a look at that later.
Some external options will certainly help. Once again, we will consider what they have to offer a bit later.
What Constitutes Background Noise?
I have mentioned background noise. So, let’s just pause for a minute to identify exactly what I mean. Then, we can get on to learn how to reduce background noise on a Blue Yeti mic.
Put simply; it is any background sound that you do not want to be included in the final recording. Anything that should not be there will interfere with the quality of the finished product. It isn’t going to be as loud or as noticeable as the primary sound source, but it will still be audible.
Where Is It Coming From?
You can make an important start in reducing background noise on a Blue Yeti mic by identifying where it is coming from. This will fall into two areas, working inside in a controlled environment or outside where you have less control.
Indoor Background Noise
- Central heating, fans, or air conditioning units.
- Other electrical appliances in the recording area or an adjacent room.
- Audible conversations that may be occurring in an adjacent area.
- Any external noise coming from outside of the recording environment.
- Plosives or other accidental noises that are created by the user.
Outdoor Background Noise
- Other inclement weather.
- Traffic or road noise.
- People nearby.
Before we consider unwanted sound sources in an external environment, I should say that the Blue Yeti is better used inside. It is not designed to be handheld. And its shape, stand, and weight means it could be vulnerable to being knocked over.
Having said that, you could use it outside, but it would need to be in a suitable environment. These are just a few of what can occur but are probably the most common. As you will see, some can be dealt with by using a little common sense and preparation. Others may need a little external help.
Three Initial Basic Options
So, let’s start with getting rid of background noise on a Blue Yeti microphone. There are three things you can do at the outset:
- Make sure you use the right settings on the mic.
- Use any appropriate external filters or other hardware.
- Use software specially designed to reduce unwanted noise.
Using The Right Settings On A Blue Yeti Mic
As I have already briefly discussed, Blue Yeti has the potential to fulfill several applications. Some of the ways you use the mic mean that you will need to use the settings on the mic in different ways.
The first setting you need to get right is the appropriate polar pattern. These settings are placed conveniently on the side of the mic for easy adjustment. Polar Patterns are settings that dictate how the mic will capture the sound. Different polar patterns will capture the sound in different ways.
The Blue Yeti has four different polar patterns – Cardioid, Omni, Bidirectional, and Stereo. Some of those patterns allow for specialized single-use, whilst others remove the need to use multiple mics. Let’s take a very brief look at each pattern and what it is best suited for.
This polar pattern collects sound from anyone or anything positioned right in front of it. It will reject most sounds that are either behind or to the sides of the mic.
This is the setting you would probably use for voice-overs, commentary, or anything where there is just one voice. It might also be useful for recording a single instrument.
You would use this setting for recording from multiple sources. Perhaps a group of people at a discussion or meeting. It can also be used if you want to include some of the surrounding ambient sounds in your recording.
Useful for external sources on projects like nature videos where ambient sound adds to the atmosphere. Sound is captured from 360 degrees.
This polar pattern collects sound from both front and rear with equal sensitivity. Ideal for one-on-one interviews. No sound is collected from the sides. This is sometimes known as a “Figure Eight” pattern.
The description is in the name. This pattern allows you to record without using multiple mics. As you will have seen, positioning the mic for its use is quite important. The Blue Yeti has plenty of options to pivot the mic and get the correct position when placed on a stable surface.
External Filters for Blue Yeti Microphones
When it comes to learning how to reduce background noise on a Blue Yeti mic, external filters can make a big difference.
Some cost-effective products can help to remove unwanted sounds from a Blue Yeti mic. One of those unwanted sounds is known as plosives. When someone is speaking or signing, they will naturally often create plosives.
A plosive is caused by an extra rush of air from the mouth when forming some letters. These letters are g, d, b, t, k, and p. Words starting with those letters can often cause problems in clarity.
The Pop Filter
A pop filter will help to remove those sounds. They are inexpensive and easy to use. These filters are adjustable foam screens placed between the user and the mic. For example, this Etour Microphone Pop Filter for Blue Yeti.
The Foam Ball
If you need an added level of protection above what the pop filter provides, then a foam ball might be the answer. A great option is this Foam Microphone Windscreen – Mic Cover for Blue Yeti.
I have already mentioned the suitability of recording outdoors with a Blue Yeti microphone. It can be done, of course, but there can be problems. For one thing, it is not designed to be handheld, which is often required when using a mic outside.
However, if you choose to use it externally, then getting yourself a furry windscreen will be a good idea. These are designed to cut out ambient noise, like the wind.
You will often see them used on TV during outdoor broadcasts. For example, this Sunmns Furry Windscreen Wind Cover Compatible with Blue Yeti Microphone.
You will find if you are using a DAW that there is a level of noise-canceling software built-in. Apple’s GarageBand has a reasonable option that is adjustable and will cut out a certain level of unwanted noise.
If you decide you want to buy a package with a good level of noise-canceling software, then Pro Tools is a good option. There is a range of options, but none of them are particularly cheap.
So, it is a good idea to decide whether it will be a worthwhile investment. The basic budget-friendly version is Avid Pro Tools – Music Production Software.
Interested in Blue Microphones?
We have you covered. Take a look at our comprehensive Blue Yeti X Review, our Blue Yeti Nano Review, our Blue Yeti USB Mic Review, our Blue Yeticaster Review, our Blue Snowball USB Microphone Review, and our Blue Snowball iCE Review for more great mics currently on the market.
Also, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best USB Microphones, the Best Microphones For YouTube, the Best Computer Microphones, the Best Microphones For Recording Vocals, the Best Live Vocal Mics, and the Best Cheap Microphone Under $50 you can buy in 2023.
How To Reduce Background Noise on a Blue Yeti Mic – Final Thoughts
Always remember that it will never be possible to eradicate every little sound that could be picked up when recording anything. But you can go a fair way to getting rid of most of it.
One of the important things is to ensure you are controlling the recording environment. I looked briefly at everyday sounds that can be a problem. Controlling the recording environment means making sure those sounds that you can control don’t affect what you are doing.
Just make sure you are using a Blue Yeti microphone the right way. Ensuring the right patterns are in use in that controlled environment is going to help you achieve a great recording.
Until next time, make yourself heard.Related Posts
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