The increase in the potential for using computers and the invention of the USB opened a whole new world for recording. New business opportunities arrived in podcasts, video blogging, and many other activities. The USB microphone helped to make these things possible.
Having a semi-good quality mic that could plug straight into your laptop or other device was a big step forward. However, while they are practical, they do not suit every application. And they have a bit of a way to go before they can rightly claim to be “studio quality,” even though some do.
So, I decided to take an in-depth look at the Blue Yeti and ask, “Is the Blue Yeti good for singing?” But, before I do, who are Blue?
The company was founded in 1995 by a Latvian recording engineer and an American musician. They grew very quickly on the back of the “USB mic explosion” and are now owned after a few buyouts by Logitech.
The Blue Yeti is just one of several mics that they produce for the USB market. And like other Blue products they have become very popular.
The Good And The Not So Good
As I mentioned, the development of the USB mic has been a great and worthwhile innovation. But they are not for every recording application.
What Are The Advantages of a USB Microphone?
- Cheaper than conventional mics of the same quality.
- Don’t need an interface to plug into a computer.
- Portable and good for people who travel with a mic for work.
- Have a range of potential uses.
Are There Any Disadvantages of a USB Microphone?
- The majority of USB mics have a depth of 16-bit, fine for some applications but way below what is used in a professional studio.
- The sound quality is not as good as a decent analog mic.
Not Going To Focus On The Disadvantages
The sound quality is not going to be as good as a Neumann, a Sennheiser, or an AKG microphone. That goes without saying, but you can argue that most mics costing three times and more of the price of Blue’s Yeti are not as good either.
To many people, a USB mic is an irreplaceable piece of equipment. But we are wondering, “Is a USB microphone good for singing?”
How Does It Perform As A Microphone For Singing?
One of the big advantages of a Blue Yeti microphone is that it has been designed with four polar patterns.
What Is A Polar Pattern?
This refers to how the mic captures its sound. Vocal mics in a recording studio usually have a Cardioid Polar pattern because it takes the sound source from what is directly in front of it. So, it is perfect for a solo singer who will sing straight into the mic.
As an added advantage, a Cardioid pattern will reject sound from the rear and the sides. This again helps when recording because there is no sound recorded from the sides or rear.
Therefore, a Cardioid Polar pattern is good for vocals, and Blue Yeti has that pattern. However, the pattern is one of four patterns built-in.
Why Four Patterns?
Having four patterns does not benefit a vocalist recording a song because it is likely they will only benefit from the one we have just discussed. So, if this is a mic that has been designed for solo vocals, why include them?
The reality is that the Blue Yeti mic has not been designed to record only solo vocals. It has been given the polar pattern to achieve that, but as we can see, there are other options. The four polar patterns in the Blue Yeti are:
It might be a good idea to identify exactly how each polar pattern works and what it is primarily used for.
The Cardioid Pattern
We have already looked at this, but essentially it captures the sound from right in front of the mic. It is best used for recording a solo voice, or sometimes two vocalists, an instrument, or in front of a speaker cabinet.
The Omnidirectional Pattern
This is a polar pattern that collects its sound from all directions. That makes it best suited for interviews with a group of people or recording ambient sounds out of doors.
From a vocal point of view, it would not work so well for a solo vocal as the cardioid. But it could be used with a group of singers or a choir if it was placed centrally among them.
The Bidirectional Pattern
This pattern has, as you might guess, two sound collection points. That is in front and behind the mic. That makes it suitable for interviews between two people or recording dialogue with an ambient soundtrack from behind the mic.
Vocally it could be used for a duet between two singers, or singers putting on backing vocals.
The Stereo Pattern
This pattern will separate the right and left channels. This can be good for recording a singer with a single instrument.
The tri-capsule design allows the Blue Yeti to be switched between the four polar patterns. But as we can see, that has more effect on three of the polar patterns for applications other than vocals. So, let’s cut to the chase.
Why These Design Features?
The most significant quality of this mic from Blue is its ability to work in a variety of applications. It hasn’t been designed to work in a high-level studio recording vocals. It has been designed to satisfy other applications to an acceptable level.
So, what is a Blue Yeti microphone good for? Well, that would be voice-overs, podcasts, interviews for video productions, video blogs, etc. It is a good all-rounder, built with the needs of a growing market that requires a mic with a USB connection.
A Range Of Sound Collection Options
That is why it has been given four different polar patterns. Because people undertaking those applications will work in a variety of environments that will require different sound collection options. And this mic has all the bases covered when it comes to having a range of sound collection choices.
Recording Vocals Is Not One-Dimensional
This is true, but again, it depends on the level you are working at. In a professional studio, to record a duo of vocals, there are likely to be two high-level mics, for a quartet, probably four.
For a choir, it could be a dozen, depending on the numbers involved. The mics will be at the front, at the sides, and even over the top. One mic with an Omnidirectional pattern would not give you those results.
Working in professional studios, the Bidirectional and Stereo patterns are options that are unlikely to be considered very often, but are useful to have.
Is The Blue Yeti Good For Singing?
So, to answer that question properly, we need to just ask what we mean by singing. A better question might be, “Is the Blue Yeti good for recording vocals?” rather than just singing.
For A Live Performance?
Using the word “singing” means you are implying it might be used on stage in a live performance environment. And in that situation, the answer to that would be a definite no. Blue Yeti mics are not made for stage performances.
A High-Quality Recording For Single or Album Release?
The answer to that would also be a no. USB mics just have not got the quality that good XLR mics have. One day they might, but certainly not at the moment. In that environment, you would expect to find a Neumann, AKG, Sennheiser, or top-level Shure.
So Is The Answer a No?
Well, not exactly. As I keep saying, it depends on your environment. Let me explain more fully. The growth of computerized music in the last ten years has exceeded all forecasts of where we might all be. With music software products like Apple’s Garageband, the possibility of making a good recording has gone up a division.
Garageband is not the only one, of course. There are plenty of others. And they all offer great potential, special effects, and a myriad of instruments to bring in if you want them.
The Creation Of Home Recording
We have already talked about the rise of computer power, the DAW, and the creation of the USB mic. But it is the first two, computer power and the DAW, that made home recording possible.
But we still needed an audio interface for the mic. Some people still use them, and you can use some very high-quality condenser mics via the interface. But this can be anywhere between quite and very expensive.
If You Are On a Low Budget
Some people might be on a low budget with their home recording equipment. If the funds aren’t available for a good audio interface and a high-quality XLR mic, what do you do? You still want to record vocals, but suddenly it seems out of reach.
And this is where mics like the Blue Yeti come in. It will plug straight into your computer and work with your DAW to give you a decent vocal recording using the Cardioid pattern.
The four pattern selling point they make a big deal about probably won’t apply here. You will be recording a solo vocal or an instrument. You will just need the Cardioid pattern, nothing more.
This Will Be Where The Blue Yeti Scores
The Blue Yeti will score points here. It is a very cost-effective mic for recording vocals. One that produces a more than decent sound, and is easily one of the best microphones for a home demo vocal recording. It is easy to use and carries one or two features that are certainly going to help.
Some Nice Features For Vocals
Blue has added some features that apply to all of the potential applications you might use the mic for. But they all also apply if you want to use them for vocals. These are all built-in to the mic for ease of use:
- Volume control for headphones.
- Output jack for headphones.
- Gain Control.
- Mute Button.
Of course, if you are recording vocals, then it is doubtful you would have the headphones plugged into the mic. There is the potential for the cable to rub against the body of the mic, causing unwanted noise. You would probably plug the headphones into an alternative source.
So, is the Blue Yeti good For singing? Let’s just clarify a little. This is a mic that has been designed to cover a variety of applications. It is most suited for its voice-over, podcast, video blogging, and interviewing applications.
Likewise, the different polar patterns allow a wide variety of recording potential. And in that environment, it is certainly one of the best you can buy.
However, while it was given the features to be able to record vocals, it wasn’t designed specifically for just that, as some mics are. With a 16-bit depth, it can’t compete with better quality mics. And USB mics can’t yet perform alongside the XLR mics for the finished article.
More Options from Blue Microphones
But, if you want a microphone for recording simple vocal demos at home, then the Blue Yeti is a good buy. As I have said, it will give you a recording good enough for a basic demo. And that is all that many people need.
Some other options for home recording from Blue are the Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording and Streaming on PC and Mac, the Blue Yeti X Professional Condenser USB Microphone, and the Blue Yeti Nano Premium USB Microphone.
And if you need a stand with a pop filter, which you will for vocal recording, a good package is this InnoGear for Blue Yeti, Heavy Duty Microphone Stand (with Windscreen, Dual-Layered Mic Pop Filter, and Suspension Boom Scissor Arm).
In the Market for a Microphone?
We have you covered. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Microphones For Recording Vocals, the Best Live Vocal Mics, the Best Microphones For Recording Electric Guitar, the Best Microphones For YouTube, the Best USB Microphones, and the Best Computer Microphones you can buy in 2023.
Also, take a look at our detailed reviews of the Best Dynamic Microphones, the Best XLR Microphones, the Best Condenser Microphones, the Best Vintage Microphones, the Best Shure Microphones, and the Best Cheap Microphone Under $50 currently available.
Is The Blue Yeti Good For Singing – Final Thoughts
I must admit that I quite like Blue microphone products. Used in the right way, they are well-made and a good asset to have for home recording.
One of the stand-out features that the Blue Yeti offers is its four polar patterns. That makes it a mic with a variety of potential uses. Almost certainly one reason why it is so popular. As I said, as a vocal mic, it will give you good service in your home studio and is a very cost-effective option. If what you need is a mic to do some demos at home, it is an excellent buy.
Until next time, let your music play.