Blue Yeti USB Review - USB Streaming


Updated on Apr 08, 2021



Score: 8.9/10
Price: $129.99
Brand: Blue
Model: Yeti USB
Type: Condenser


A notable desk-sitting USB powered microphone. Built for podcasting, it's easy to see why the Blue Yeti USB Microphone has gained a massive amount of popularity in the gaming mic & streaming mic community. From the look, to the USB Connectivity, all the way down to the internal hardware, this microphone makes for a great desktop audio device with a wide range of uses.

Blue has a reputation for developing high-quality microphones for podcasting, videos, and even music. They're affordable, use quality parts, and like we'll see with the Blue Yeti, are really simple to use. I was first turned onto Blue when I got ahold of their famous Blue Snowball (see: Blue Yeti or Blue Snowball?), and ever since, I've worked with every mic they offer.

Man Speaking Into Blue Yeti
Man Speaking Into Blue Yeti

In this review, we're going to discuss the base model of the Blue Yeti, which is very very similar to their more premier model, the Blue Yeti Pro. However, if you're willing to shell out an extra $100, and you prioritize sound resolution & input speeds, then check out our review on the Blue Yeti Pro model.

If you're on the fence about which one is right for you, well, they are very similar in design, so continue with this review, and we'll cover the differences.

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Why It's Great

If you've read any of our other reviews, then you'll know I'm a big fan of versatility. There's nothing better than a multi-purpose microphone, and the Blue Yeti is just that. It's not often that you'll see people using the same microphone for Zoom calls, YouTube videos, Twitch streams, and then recording in their home studio. All through USB!

So what's so special about the Blue Yeti that it can do all of these things?

Blue Yeti Graphic Showing Features
Blue Yeti Graphic Showing Features

The mic uses a proprietary tri-capsule technology from Blue that offers studio-quality audio recordings, with 4 pattern options bringing you flexibility on the type of audio you're looking to record. It's like it was designed with almost everything in mind. Whether you're recording voiceovers, vocal tracks, instrumental tracks, or just using it on your Zoom/Skype calls, the Blue Yeti has a setting for you.

Speaking of Skype, that was the first place I ever used this microphone for. Years ago, when I found myself in video conferences regularly, I decided to upgrade my input device to stand out. I know I personally hate when someone's audio sounds shuffled, and I didn't want to be that someone. Nowadays, Zoom is where those meetings happen, and the Blue Yeti still holds.

But what about when you need to record your audio?

A lot of people consider the Blue Yeti to be the best microphone for YouTube, especially for those new on the scene. More commonly, I see people using it on Twitch as their gaming microphone, and it does a fine job at that. The small-diaphragm design of the mic allows for an excellent transient response, giving a strong level of accuracy to the recorded audio.

More unique, however, is the USB Capabilities, paired with the fact that this is NOT a phantom-powered condenser microphone. I mean it really doesn't get simpler than that.

The Blue Yeti Can Plug And Play On Mac And PC
The Blue Yeti Can Plug And Play On Mac And PC

You'll also find that this is one of the more ideal cheap microphones for a home studio. The simplicity of plug-and-go paired with the cost & quality of the condenser make it perfect for those starting. I've met with a handful of underground rap artists who started downloading beats to their desktops and plugging this mic right in. It does the job, and if you find a quiet enough space, and know a few things about audio mixing, it could be good for beginners.

Thanks to the high sensitivity, I've found the Blue Yeti to make an excellent ASMR microphone, too.

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The Downsides

This microphone was clearly designed to be desktop-first, and if you've worked with other condenser microphones, you can probably see how.

One issue I've had with it, that's easily corrected by using a good DAW, is the delay in recording. This isn't an issue I've had with the Pro model, which transmits audio roughly 4x faster. The delay is so minimal that you wouldn't notice when using it for communication/streaming purposes, but if you're bringing it into the studio, you may spend a lot of time tinkering to get it right.

Beyond that, it's going to pick up a lot of audio, so if you don't have a really quiet space for recording, you may need to checkout our alternatives below, and find a dynamic microphone. Why?

Blue Yeti Volume And Mute Buttons
Blue Yeti Volume And Mute Buttons

Condenser microphones by nature pick up a lot of audio. That's how you get the full shape from not just the voice, but every air molecule that it bounces off of in the space around you. Because of this, it's been my experience that you'll need to keep the input volume low and get within inches of the microphone. But if you will often have a noisy background or bad reverberance, you may not get what you need from this mic.

These downsides are relatively common in more affordable USB Microphones. It can be hard to find a balance as XLR microphones do have a bit of an edge over USB but don't always perform as well on the lower end of the price scale. The Blue Yeti is (incredibly) popular for a reason, however, and a lot of that is because of how few issues it has compared to other condensers in this price range.

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Very Affordable
  • USB Compatible (as opposed to XLR)
  • No Phantom Power (No preamp required.)
  • Desktop Mic
Cons
  • Picks Up Noise
  • Slight Delay
Best Used For
  • Video Conferances
  • Gaming Microphone
  • Streaming Microphone

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Alternatives

The Blue Yeti USB is not for everyone. If you feel like it's not the right fit for you, there's definitely a good list of alternatives.

If you're someone who either: Needs something more affordable, needs a microphone for their home studio, or needs a performing mic, then I'd strongly encourage you to checkout the Shure SM58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone. It's commonly used for live performing, but many people have found it to work wonderfully in their home studios. This was my very first dynamic microphone, and as a life-long Shure fan, I give you my word it's A-1. Check out our review on the Shure SM58 here.

If you're needing something better than the Blue Yeti, and the Blue Yeti Pro doesn't seem right for your situation, then I'd recommend you look into the Rode NT1 Condenser Microphone. Nearly double the price, this microphone definitely has a superior quality for a studio condenser mic. We've written a review on the Rode NT1 here.

And if that's still not the right fit, and you want something even better for recording, streaming, gaming, etc., then you MUST checkout the Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone. Easily one of, if not my favorite mics ever. It's extremely versatile, very commonly used in the YouTube & Podcasting community, and an absolute essential for recording Hip Hop / Rap vocals. We've written a review about the Shure SM7B here.

Summary

Thanks to the extreme versatility, the Blue Yeti USB Microphone is a popular choice in the world of desktop mics. It's easy to see why so many people use it for video conferences, YouTube videos, and Twitch streaming. If you're strapped for cash and want to get started with Podcasting or making videos, this is the perfect mic for you. You can also find the best Blue Yeti pop filters here.

It's far from the best vocal recording device, but it's the perfect entry-level condenser microphone for many home studios. Go on YouTube and I guarantee you'll see people on there using this. It definitely does the job!

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Posted on Sep 13, 2020

Streaming Gaming

Have questions for us? Email us at info@musiciannerd.com


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