Blue Yeti is a simple plug-and-play USB-only desktop microphone, so the user does not need to set up a separate audio interface. To begin recording with Blue Yeti, simply connect the microphone to your laptop or PC via a USB port. The Blue Yeti is not a high-end studio microphone, but its sound quality is adequate for online content creators, and its versatility allows it to record almost anything without a complicated setup.
Because of its 5v-powered USB design, the Yeti can include many of the most important recording controls. There’s a built-in gain dial, which is useful for preventing later processing when recording quiet or distant sounds. It also has a volume control for the live-monitoring headphone amp, a mute button to pause recording, and the most important control of all: a pattern switch that allows you to choose between the four operating modes of its triple-capsule array.
The Yeti’s quality was clear and full in every test we gave it, though you might want to invest in a pop-shield for the best results. The omni-directional mode captured a room full of chatting people clearly and loudly, the cardioid and bi-directional patterns were pleasingly precise (though you’ll need to lean close to the mic to get the best out of them), and the stereo pattern is ideal for podcasting, neatly separating multiple voices gathered around a table.
It’s up to you whether that range of functionality is sufficient to compensate for the Yeti’s one obvious disadvantage – the fact that you’re limited to a single mic rather than a multi-head setup. However, an external mixer and the necessary microphones to replace its stereo function will cost much more than the Yeti, and this is an undeniably high-quality mic (THX certified, no less) at an absurdly low price.
The Blue Yeti USB microphone’s sturdy construction and professional-looking aesthetics would be useless if it didn’t sound good. Any USB microphone will improve your computer’s internal pickup, but the Yeti takes things a step further with three internal condenser capsules that are highly sensitive and capture a very clear and detailed sound. If you’re used to smaller microphones, you might be surprised at how well the Yeti picks up even the smallest noises: crumbs on your jeans, scratching your face, and even soft background noises from other rooms.
Each of the four polar patterns aids in locating the areas that the microphone captures. Cardioid is the most common pickup pattern for a single person talking or singing; it focuses on the front of the mic, trails off at the sides, and de-emphasizes the back. Omnidirectional microphones capture sound from 360 degrees around the mic, making them ideal for representing the entire ambience of a space.
It zeroes in on both the front and back of the mic, making it ideal for two people sitting across from each other. And stereo is similar to omnidirectional in that it uses the left and right channels to create a wide audio image and is ideal for recording instruments or when there are multiple sound sources in front of the mic.