As its name suggests, the Yeti is big, imposing, and has near mythical abilities. But unlike its Himalayan counterpart, Blue Microphones’ newest USB podcasting mike is most definitely real. Better yet, it also soaks up fantastic, professional-quality vocal recordings, and its flexible settings make it a viable tool for a smattering of audio apps like recording music.
The Yeti’s killer point is versatility. Like the Blue Snowball before, the Yeti has settings for the two most common types of audio recording patterns: A directional (cardiod) pattern that picks up only what’s right in front of it, and an omnidirectional pattern that picks up sound from all angles.
We managed to attain excellent audio with both settings, although the cardioid option can sound thin unless you’re recording right on top of the mike. Not so fun if you have a couple of hours worth of voiceover to lay down.
But what really sets the Yeti apart are two new recording patterns: bidirectional and stereo. Both formats achieve nuanced results that would otherwise require multiple microphones.
The bidirectional setting picks up sound in front of and behind the mic (rejecting everything else). The effect is subtle but creates a more intimate feeling recording than the omni does. It’s good for situations like chronicling a face to face conversation.
We’re generally skeptical when a product claims to create stereo recordings from a single location, but the Yeti’s stereo setting works shockingly well. As an audio source moves from left to right in front of the mike, the recording is panned with great accuracy to the corresponding channel.
This lends recorded conversations a realistic sense of depth and space. The setting works as well with acoustic instruments as with vocals, although we suspect the effect will be largely lost if your deafening Led Zeppelin cover band tries to rock through Houses of the Holy start to finish.
The Yeti looks like it belongs on a late-night talk-show host’s desk and feels like a studio quality mike. It’s mounted on a sturdy stand heavy enough to knock out misbehaving interview guests (or withstand shock if you accidentally bump your desk). But because of its ample weight, the Yeti would not be our first choice for the field-recording applications Blue hints it is capable of.
As anyone would expect from a plug-and-play mike, the Yeti is easy to use, and our recording software instantly recognized the mike without any awkward tinkering. It’s also the first mike ever certified by THX.
For folks getting started in recording on their computer, whether it’s for podcasting or music, this mike offers a ton of versatility and the recording quality that Blue has built its name on. In fact, the Yeti makes other lesser USB mikes look downright abominable.