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Appletell reviews the Blue Yeti THX certified USB Mic

Sections: Macintosh/Apple Hardware, Peripherals, Reviews, Speakers and Headphones

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Provides: USB audio input
Developer: Blue
Minimum Requirements: USB 1.1/2.0 port, OSX 10.4.11+
Price: $149.99
Availability: Now

Yeti at an angleIf you’re going to buy one nice mic, why not make it one heck of a mic? I mean, if you have one really nice mic that reproduced sound better than you thought was possible, you wouldn’t want to use any other, right? That’s how the Yeti makes you feel. And actually, it’s more than just a mic. It’s three mics in one with its triple microphone capsule, and it even has a headphone amp built in. And just to prove it’s awesome, the Yeti is the first mic to be certified by THX. Yes, if you’re going to buy one mic, why not make it a Blue Yeti?

Let’s talk hardware. The Yeti stands tall and proud on its custom stand. This stand does not allow you to control the height of the mic, but it is at a comfortable level for nearly all purposes. If this is still not acceptible, the mic can be removed from its stand and placed on a regular mic stand. Still, the one included is quite nice and allows for tilting, which is really all most users will require. If there’s anything that doesn’t feel premium on this mic, it’s definitely the knobs. They feel like they are drowning in the holes in which they reside. What I mean is that they move side to side on the mic when you adjust them. Sometimes they feel like their going to break, but I’m not too worried, since I’m not about to be rough with this. Still, if there were one thing they could have made better here, it was the knobs. Not too shabby when the worst part of your product is the least important.

Yeti from two angles

Perhaps you’ve heard that the Yeti is THX certified. Pretty cool, huh? Yeah, I know, it’s a bit of a mystery what exactly THX certification actually means. Basically, it’s a certification that ensures you’re getting a quality product with truthful specs. The Yeti is the first mic to receive such certification from THX, so if you get one, you can definitely use this as a bragging point. In Blue’s own words, THX certification is “… validation of Yeti’s incredibly low distortion, high fidelity, and balanced frequency response.” True, that.

Setup is simple. All you really need to do is connect the Yeti to your computer with the supplied USB cable. There are no drivers required, period. You will have to set the preferences in your audio app to use the Yeti as the input source, which is standard practice for all mics. You can do this for your entire system through System Preferences, and then Audio, but it may not cascade this setting to your recording software or app of choice.

Since the Yeti has a headphone amp (audio out), you can also set your software to use this audio out for monitoring purposes. Actually, you could use it as your default sound output, but it just makes more sense as a monitoring tool. This is great, because there’s a nice big volume knob on the front of the Yeti, making it dead simple to adjust the output level. But the real advantage is that there is zero latency. If you’ve ever tried to record vocals with any sort of latency, you know how nice it is to have none. Just plug your headphones into the bottom of the Yeti. Obviously, you’ll want to use some nice headphones to get the most out of this. Having a hard time deciding? Why not get these?

You could really start using the Yeti at this point, but you do have some more options you should know about. Gain can be set on the back of the mic, which is really helpful for tweaking on the fly. Right next to that is the mic capsule pattern knob. You have four choices: stereo, cardiod, omni and bidirectional (which is almost stereo). This requires just a simple twist of a knob to change; love it. So, really, you can use this mic to record just about anything you want. But for the purposes of this review and testing it, I focused on recording voice.

Yeti on a desktop with a MacBook Pro

The Blue Yeti rocks. It’s that simple. This mic is truly professional quality, and it’s clear why it’s the first mic to receive THX certification. It deserves it. Here’s a good example. Do you hate the sound of your speaking voice recorded? Chances are that you do, and now I think I understand why. Don’t blame your voice, blame that cheap mic you’ve been using. When I first began testing this mic, I instantly fell in love with the way it reproduces sounds. Like I’ve said in the past, Blue really understands how to get the most out of a mic capsule. Somehow they capture sound the way it was meant to be, and isn’t that the whole point of a mic?

The Yeti is an amazing mic, and a superb deal at $149. Sure, you could easily find a cheaper mic, but the Yeti won’t disappoint you, and that’s definitely worth something a perfect rating.

Appletell Rating:
Blue Yeti Review

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  • Scottin Pollock

    Nice review. In my mind, the wobbly buttons are actually a feature. They are mounted on a pretty flexible nylon potentiometer shaft. Better to have any torque applied to them absorbed by the shaft than transmitted to the pc-board mounted component.

    Curious if you noticed the rather substantial handling noise and mute button issues discussed at macinput.com?

  • Scott Leigh

    This mic looks like it belongs in the expensive case in the Guitar Center store where I bought it. It's hefty, weighty, not overly so but enough you know its not from excessive engineering to add dead weight but from excellent engineering that adds substance, sold presence. It's like a trophy that one can mount on their fireplace that you can't help staring at and admiring. It says, "Whoever owns this is on another level of coolness." I love how it looks like a Yeti-ish droid-like character from a Star Wars movie in a funky stance and is only missing wheels to move it along. Seriously if the thing didn't work so well all the cultural and aesthetically pleasing nature it possesses would be a psych job. While its looks will psyche you out the quality of such a mic performing things like true surround sound (you'll love it when that option now magically appears which never did before on Logic Pro!) The fidelity is amazing and when considering price you feel like you stole it when the store was looking. It generates all its power from the USB slot so needs no other power source and is great for portable projects and field sound effects. The choice of recording mode choices to best suit a voiceovers, interviews, instrumental, events, etc. makes this a true all in one. Now the choice between one for vocals and another for instrumental projects has been solved without sacrifices. The sample rate of 48kMHz and bit rate of 16 bit means you'll have enough quality to use for pro projects. Geti the Yeti and you will have all your recording needs Meti. :)

  • Charlietrail

    Anyone know if it withstands very loud audio sources? (eg band practices) The Mikey didnt even on the 'loud' gain setting…

  • Robert

    The BLUE YETI mic stand adapter is NOT STANDARD. It will not fit on any MIC STAND I have.