The Yeti from Blue Microphones is a $150 USB microphone with four recording settings, zero-latency audio monitoring via a built-in headphone jack, and a 48 kHz sampling rate at 16 bits.
The mic itself is solidly built – and by “solid” I mean that the combined weight of the microphone and stand is almost 3.5 pounds and the entire getup stands about 12 inches high.
One of the more intriguing features of the Yeti is the selectable pattern settings: stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. You can hear in the above video how the sound is affected when I switch between the various modes.
I found the microphone’s recording quality to be good, although I’m absolutely positive that I wasn’t able to get as much out of this thing as a true audio nerd would have. In my hands, it was pretty much on par with a high-quality headset from the likes of Plantronics. And, like most desktop microphones, get too close and it’s going to crackle a bit, get too far away and it’s going to sound too quiet.
And the real-time audio monitoring, while a great feature, suffers a bit thanks to the Yeti being powered completely via USB. It just doesn’t get loud enough to drown out ambient noises like you’d expect. It’s a cool feature to use for recording in quiet spaces, though.
A qualified audio engineer could probably make this thing sound angelic, though, given Blue’s fervent following and reputation for high-quality recording products. I’m admittedly just a regular guy at a gadget blog. If you’re a regular guy (or gal! Gals need mics too!) looking for a decent microphone, you probably don’t need to spend $150. If you look at all the Yeti’s features, though – THX certification, selectable recording patterns, etc. – and lick your chops, you’re not likely to be disappointed.
All in all, the Yeti is a handsome, sturdy USB microphone with a unique array of features. The recording quality is good and you’re getting solid build quality, real-time audio monitoring, THX certification, and selectable pattern settings to boot. For $150, you get a lot of microphone – just make sure you’ll be able to take advantage of it.