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Yeti Pro USB and XLR microphone review

Sections: Macintosh/Apple Hardware, Peripherals, Reviews

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Provides: ultra high quality audio input
Developer: Blue Microphones
Minimum Requirements: USB 2.0 port or XLR
Price: $249
Availability: Now

What do you get when you take an already great microphone, turn up the quality to uncompromising levels and add every feature you could possibly need or think of? Blue’s Yeti Pro is the answer to that winning combination. Yeti Pro starts with the original Yeti, an already amazing microphone, and adds a stereo XLR output and support for 24-bit recording, among other things. It’s hard to believe it only costs $100 more than the original Yeti.

Yeti Pro with cables

There are a few things that are new with the Yeti Pro. Obviously, Yeti Pro supports 24-bit recording, which is great, but you’re going to hear enough about that from me in a minute. Yeti Pro also now can be used as an analog mic with stereo XLR output. The jack on the Yeti Pro itself is not a standard XLR connection. It’s a stereo XLR output; don’t worry, an adapter to regular XLR is included. This connection is necessary since regular XLR doesn’t support stereo audio with a single cable. All you have to do is connect the included cable to get two XLR outputs (left and right). Blue also changed the volume knob a bit, making it much more sturdy. Plus, now it’s a digital control, meaning it doesn’t have physical minimum or maximum values. You can just keep turning it and turning it and turning it. If you’re using the Yeti Pro for its audio out capabilities, this knob will directly control the computer’s volume level (think volume keys). Okay, enough of this, let’s get to what really matters, how well Yeti Pro performs.

Let it be known that the Yeti Pro is one ridiculously sensitive microphone. If you use it in 24-bit mode (likely the main feature that drew you to this microphone in the first place), then you’ll notice this fact very quickly. If you aren’t familiar with the differences between bitrates, let me very quickly explain. A higher bitrate gives you a larger dynamic range for volume. If you’re familiar with Blue’s previous Yeti USB microphone, then you know this mic is already extremely proficient at picking up quiet noises. The Yeti Pro is even better thanks to the 24-bit support. This also means you don’t have to worry about your recording levels as much as you might be accustomed to. The resolution of this thing is just incredible. Even audio sources with low volumes are easily mic’d by the Yeti Pro with superb quality. But it’s not all fun and games. Mostly, yes, but not all.

The Yeti Pro hears everything. Yes, it hears more than your mother, teacher or anyone else who seems to hear everything you don’t want them to combined. And similar to all of those situations, it’s sometimes a bad thing. For instance, when I was testing the Yeti Pro on a guitar cabinet, even at higher volumes, I was able to hear the unprocessed sound of me playing the guitar in the same room. The guitar cabinet wasn’t enough to drown out the sound of my strumming the background, even on cardioid mode pointed towards the cabinet. I will say I had the gain cranked on the Yeti Pro at the time, but what I’m trying to say is that you need to prepare your recording environment properly if you want to get the best audio possible. That means separating the Yeti Pro from anything you don’t want it to hear. This isn’t really a big surprise. If you’re this serious about your audio, you should already be accustomed to this sort of thing. I just wanted to point out that it’s even more important with Yeti Pro.

Yeti Pro shock mount

Another good example is the sound of vibrations. If you have an external hard drive sitting on the same surface as the Yeti Pro, you’re most likely going to hear it in your recordings. Remember, being able to record everything is a feature, not a bug. You just have to prepare for it. One way to alleviate this is by using a shock mount. Right now that’s a little difficult with the standard base, but Blue’s working on a shock mount just for the Yeti and Yeti Pro. You can expect to see more of this guy later this summer.

You should already know the Yeti Pro—as a result of being built from the same good stuff that made Yeti—sounds amazing. With its four mic patterns (Stereo, Cardioid, Omnidirectional and Bidirectional), you’ll be able to configure the mic to optimally pick up any sound. And unlike lower quality mics, what goes in is exactly what comes out. What I mean is that your recorded audio will match your source audio almost exactly, which isn’t something you can say of lower quality mics.

But the most important question here is whether can you really hear the difference between the higher quality of the Yeti Pro compared to something that’s still very good, like the original Yeti? That’s an excellent test, and here’s how I did just that. I picked a song in iTunes and played it through some nice speakers. First I recorded it with Yeti, then with Yeti Pro. Both mics were set with the same mic patterns and had the same placement. I then played back the recordings to see which sounded most like the original. I was prepared to come back saying there wasn’t much of a difference. I was wrong. The Yeti Pro is noticeably clearer than the original Yeti thanks to its increased resolution. Honestly, it sounded almost identical to the original song file with Yeti Pro, and just barely off with Yeti. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Yeti is all of the sudden a bad microphone. It’s still a superb microphone, but there is a discernible difference between the Pro and the original, and it’s all thanks to the 24 bit support. But that’s to be expected. Why release another model if it’s not actually better?

It’s extremely easy to recommend the Yeti Pro; even easier than the original Yeti. It’s an amazingly sensitive microphone that can not only deliver amazing audio quality over USB, but now over XLR too. The Yeti Pro does the job of four ultra high definition microphones, or maybe even more, thanks to its four mic patterns and support for digital and analog output. It even functions as great audio output, making it an all in one solution. Simply put, I’ve never had the pleasure of testing a better microphone than Yeti Pro.

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Yeti Pro review

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