Sunday, February 07, 2010

Review Of Blue Yeti and Blue Yeti Pro - The Ultimate Pro USB Microphones At a Great Price - Look here For A Voice Sample


Contextual Situation
Up until now, my trusty Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Vocal Microphone without Cable, a dynamic cardioid microphone has worked well for my Home Recording needs. My need was for finer sound capture like a professional singer/voice over artiste, through a wider frequency range microphone.  I also needed the digital sound  to come directly from the microphone and not be converted from analog on the computer.

I had choices : a professional microphone or an external audio interface that would send in digital signals directly with a high quality output. However, good quality audio interfaces can cost quite a bit and my budget was limited.

Enter Blue Yeti and Blue Yeti Pro
Blue Microphones Inc have come up with two high quality multipattern Condenser microphones called Blue Yeti USB and Blue Yeti Pro Multipattern Condenser Microphone that make you love your voice, and your musical instrument sound unlike many other conventional microphones out there in this price range.

At the time of writing this article, I had purchased the THX Certified Yeti USB microphone from Amazon for about $25 less than most other outlets that sell it around $149.99 - I got it for $124.41 a little while ago BUT current prices are even lower around $100. You can get the Blue Yeti USB Microphone from here.

I am absolutely thrilled with the quality of the Blue Yeti USB Microphone compared to all the previous ones I have had. My review of the Blue Yeti microphone below is based on my experience with it in addition to how the Blue Yeti USB compares with the newest entrant, the Blue Yeti Pro Multipattern Condenser Microphone.

I have been using the Blue Yeti Microphone since early 2010 and I have to say this is probably the best microphone I have ever had. Read on below for why.
Christened "Yeti" in keeping with Blue Microphones' love for odd sounding yet catchy names - this microphone stands for its name - it is indeed hard to find a microphone that has the same quality and options at this price point as Yeti for your home recording needs.

You will be impressed with the Three 14mm Condenser Capsules' wide band frequency response range between of 20 Hertz to 22 KiloHertz thus picking up the lowest bass sounds, excellent mid-range capture and the highest trebles in your raw recordings.  The sampling rate of the Blue Yeti USB microphone is 48 Kilohertz with 16 bit word depth. And its high threshold for Max Sound Pressure Level (Max SPL) at 120 decibels to take in serious loudness of the sound source, be it your own voice or amped Guitars.  Few microphones available in the market in this price range provide you with these unique combinations of technical qualifications to be best-in-class.  But there is even more to consider.
Buy Blue Yeti USB Microphone
Picture Credit: Blue Microphones



Buy Blue Yeti Pro Multipattern Condenser Microphone
Picture Credit: Blue Microphones Inc.
Blue Yeti USB and Yeti Pro Microphone Features
The Blue Yeti USB and the Blue Yeti Pro Multipattern Condenser Microphone features three condenser capsules allowing for Stereo recordings in addition to a choice of recording patterns such as Cardioid, Bidirectional, and Omnidirectional.

The triple capsule array is an array of three condensers in one microphone assembly that is employed in combination with one of 4 recording patterns provided conveniently through a knob selector switch.

Typically each one of these patterns alone require you to buy individual microphones each at around a minimum of $75 (base quality) - so the Yeti USB is a great combo microphone that will be handy in many situations with the sound quality assurance of a THX certification.

The THX certification for Blue Yeti USB mic represents an endorsement for the low distortion, high fidelity and balanced frequency response of this product. The Blue Yeti Pro Multipattern Condenser Microphone is not yet THX certified although given that it is built on top of the Yeti USB and has even stronger features, I doubt the lack of the certification as yet, matters.

Zero Latency
The microphone also gets rid of one of the biggest annoyances of any USB and XLR microphones and that is the latency between when the sound is produced and when it is rendered on your headset. Blue Yeti USB Microphone and Blue Yeti Pro Condenser Microphone provide zero-latency output to the headphone! 

Direct Digital Sound Input
Both the Blue Yeti USB and Blue Yeti Pro microphones use the power source coming out of USB channel and sends digital sound directly to your computer freeing the analog to digital conversion job from the computer which already is doing a lot while processing your music through your favorite sound recording software.

Additionally, the Blue Yeti Pro Multipattern Condenser Microphone offers an advanced analog to digital converter that provides sampling at a whopping 192 Kilohertz with 24 bit word depth while providing both the options of USB connectivity direct to your computer and XLR connectivity to standard sound recording equipment like analog mixers or audio interfaces. That is four times the clarity of sound coming from CDs.  

The Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone captures sounds at a sample rate of 48 kilohertz using a word bit depth rate of 16 bits which is sufficient for standard quality sound recording.

Standard Mic Stand Compatible
You can use both the microphones with a mic stand through a standard thread mount - the desk stand provided with the microphone is removable.

Mute Button
The microphones have a mute button for instantaneous cut out of sound.

Mic Gain Control Knob
They also have a knob for controlling the mic's sensitivity to sound source called "mic gain control" that allows you to control how sensitive the mic will be in relation to the source's decibel level. This allows for distortion control by reducing the gain - always start with the middle point and then go lower or higher based on what you need.

Four Microphones in One
There are four recording pattern choices that you can choose from for both the Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone and Blue Yeti Pro Multipattern Condenser microphones :

The Stereo mode allows for recording right and left channels and integrates two of the three condensers from the triple array to produce a stereophonic signal. This is very handy when you would want to record either centered sounds or sounds from left or right channels. For instance, some instruments could be playing to the left side of your mic and some to the right while vocals could be right in front of the mic allowing for the recording to produce a more surrounded feel to the performance.

The Cardioid mode helps you record in a unidirectional pattern such that only the frontal sound source close to the mic is sensed by one of the condensers in the triple array. The cardioid mode cancels sounds that emanate from the left, right, and rear side of the microphone. Also, typically the closer the sound source the higher the proximity effect producing a bass boost. This is ideal for recording podcasts, or vocals in a home music recording session.

The Omnidirectional mode is the exact opposite and employes all three of the triple capsule array recording sounds all around the mic - ideal for situations such as recording an orchestra or picking up sounds from a drama on a stage or any other live recording setup.

The Bidirectional mode uses the front and the back of the microphone as sound sources. This is most typical of studio microphones aka figure-8 microphones or ribbon microphones. The Yeti uses similar top and bottom portions of the microphone unit for this purpose when set to Bidirectional mode. This is ideal for duet song recording or for recording interviews. In my view, this mode captures close enough sounds near the microphone superbly and the sound quality is awesome. The Cardioid mode, in my view, is well suited for rooms where there is other background sound that needs to be eliminated.

The microphone works plug and play with Windows and Mac :-)

The Yeti USB and Yeti Pro microphones are the ideal high quality investment at a low price for your home recording needs and will help fulfill that dream of producing your own single or album records that you could potentially go on to even sell on iTunes of Amazon.com - this is a great opportunity for you to  finally achieve. 

Blue Yeti and Blue Yeti Pro Shockmount
Blue Microphones Inc. has come up with a dedicated Shockmount for Blue Yeti line called the Blue Radius. This shockmount is brand new addition since March 2011 and a perfect fit that allows you to get a professional studio level experience. Be sure to buy the Blue Radius along with your Yeti purchase.


Note that the Blue Ringer Shockmount is designed for their spherical line of mics such as the Blue Snowball and not for the Yeti.


Are you facing the Microphones correctly?
BTW, I have seen posts where the mic's top portion is facing the person's mouth instead of being upright as in pro recording microphones. This microphone is intended to be used facing up and not towards your sound source. The Cardioid mode particularly is located on one of the sides of the mic ( you can test this out with a headset and speaking around the mic's top sides). Knowing where the condensers are located will help you get the best out of this mic.

In summary, this is a very hi-tech high quality USB microphone to purchase for your sound recording needs and produces awesome quality recordings at a very good price point.

So Why Should You Buy Yeti ?
Blue Yeti USB and Blue Yeti Pro Microphone stand out for many reasons.
Besides the 4 polar patterns affording you multi pattern recording capabilties in a single microphone, Yeti has the most important of all requirements for a pro quality condenser microphone - 
My Home Setup : Blue Yeti USB, Pop Filter, Radius Shockmount
  • The Blue Pop Filter does fit the Blue Yeti stand unlike earlier reports - See photo alongsidefrom Blue Microphones themselves.
  • Zero Self-noise - the mic has almost no sound of its own coming in the way of recordings. 
  • Strong mid-range capture - The single most important aspect you want in a good mic for vocal and instrumental frequencies is a good mid range support. Many expensive microphones do not have it.  With the Yeti, you can be certain to be able to record bass, sharp and fully rounded mid range voices - making it perfect for vocals (both speech as in podcasts and singing), and for instrumental recordings. 
  • High Quality Shockmount Blue Radius makes it great overall Studio quality investment
  • $85 - $100 price range for Yeti USB - its a real steal at this price given all the features and its versatility and quality.  
  • $200 - $235 price range for Blue Yeti Pro offers you incomparable sampling rate of 192 Khz and 24 bit word depth with flexibility of USB and XLR based sound capture - that's 4 times the clarity found on CDs - No other mic in the world offers you that at that price point so it is a great professional sound investment. 









Resources 
  • Here's my blog entry on a recommended microphone stand for Blue Yeti USB microphone.
  • Blue Yeti USB Voice Sample : If you are looking for a voice sample using the superb Yeti USB microphone, here's a Tamil Film song I recorded in my voice playing supporting keyboards : (Cardioid Mode with Mic Gain set close to 60% i.e. left of middle, with Yeti on a mic stand, about 8 inches away from my mouth and mic facing up )

  • For comparison with the lower priced Blue Snowball USB Microphone, check out my review here

49 comments:

  1. Thank you for the post - well written review with good content on all the features. Would love to hear some sound samples as well but cant find that anywhere. But I guess from what you have written, this is a good quality mic at a good price. Thanks for the link to Amazon.

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  2. Nice review and hey very nice voice - have you considered going pro? Awesome song and impressive mic. I am going for it.
    Cheers
    Srihari

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  3. Thank you for your review. I am wondering what you think about the "handling noise" comments in the review at macinput.com? I have read many good reviews of this mic and the macinput review is the only one that mentions this.

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  4. Thanks for your comment and visiting the site.

    In my experience, the negatives of noise and mute button issues are easily outweighed by the quality of this mic.

    I did notice the handling noise as I was getting used to the mic but then leaving the mic alone as in a studio recording, and focusing on singing helped me overcome the need to hold the mic.

    The only thing that annoyed me was the noise would come in even if the headphone’s wires were to touch the mic stand – and I was using a standard mic stand.

    The mute button click was not that noticeable but as I noticed it I could easily edit it out.

    What I miss is a sharp punch out- punch in facility where I could simply cut out recording at a point and then record with an accurate punch in right at that spot – the mute button does not serve that purpose if that’s what Blue’s intention was. I suppose that would/ought to be outside of a mic unit and not with it so I am fine with that.

    All in all a very good deal at Amazon for an amazingly good mic.

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  5. On the concern about desk actions causing noise such as typing on the keyboard being caught up by the mic, placing the mouse pad under the mic helped me remove that part of the noise fairly quickly.

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  7. Great review and nice sample (and I like the song and the singing as well!). I am shopping for a mic right now for podcasting (and maybe for music a little) and I am leaning towards this mic. I also may save up for the Rode Podcaster, much more expensive, but I have like the sound better on the samples I have heard.

    However, this mic has a lot more and for a much lower price. So, we'll see.

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  8. Thank you Steve for your kind words. I have checked out the Rode Podcaster and comparatively, it does a rock solid job as a cardioid mic. I think both the mics are very close in terms of quality levels.

    I do miss a shock mount with Blue Yeti. But I love the multiple recording patterns and overall quality and the price!.

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  9. The Rode Podcaster is a great USB microphone with sound capture quality, crispness, and richness absolutely a delight.
    I think though that Blue Yeti has its merits in that it can be employed for multiple situations and it has a lower price!

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  10. Fantastic review, and thanks for the sound sample at the end, I think it made me veer towards buying it :) Found your blog from cnet when you posted. Keep up the good work!

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  11. Thanks very much. Today its priced at just $108 and change.
    Awesome price for a great mic. :-)

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  12. Thanks for the review. Just wondering if you use a Pop filter with this mic, and if so, which do you recommend?

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  13. Hi Michael
    I do use one but any standard pop filter would work. I use the Blue Pop Filter http://amzn.to/cqhD7U
    due to its heavy duty metal construction and its price is in range of standard fabric based pop filters.

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  14. Redshifter, thanks for the reply. Okay one more question... It is hard to tell from the photos, but does the Blue Pop filter cover the Yeti mic all around, as in 360 degrees? Or, does it only cover one half of the mic, ie 180 degrees? I ask because I intend to use the mic in Bidirectional mode. Would I need two of these Pop filters to cover both directions, or will one suffice? Thanks again.

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  15. Hi Michael
    It only covers a portion of the mic and it is useful specifically for the cardioid setting which is the unidirectional voice source setting most commonly used for voice solos.

    For bidirectional use, the Yeti mic expects you to have the speaking partner on the opposite side of you so I am guessing 2 pop filters, be it Blue's pop filter or any other brand, would be required.

    I hope this is helpful although some of the above is based on the logical expectation based on the configuration of the mic than real experience with bidirectional mode and pop filters - my experience is with the unidirectional mode alone.

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  16. Thanks much for the informative and helpful review. I was dithering between the Yeti and Snowball, and you convinced me to spend the extra thirty bucks or so to step up to a truly excellent mic. Well done.

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  17. Thanks for your review - I've been debating which direction to go for portable recording - either a USB mic for my Macbook, or a standalone flash recorder. Your review (along with the Amazon link LOL!!!) has convinced me to buy this mic. Thanks again!!!

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  18. Thank you Curryman and Jeremy. So glad the review was helpful.

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  19. Excellent Review, Redshifter. Nice sound sample as well - helped me get a good idea of how well the Yeti captures sounds. I have some observations that I'd like to share and like to have your comment on this.

    I have been been debating between the Rode Podcaster and the Blue Yeti. Looking at Rode Podcaster's specs, it looks to me that its frequency range is between 40 Hertz and 14K Hertz which is significantly narrower than the Blue Yeti's frequency range of between 15 Hertz and 20K Hertz. That to me makes the Blue Yeti capable of far better sound capture than the Rode Podcaster.

    But I am not that sure since the other measure that seems to be favoring Rode Podcaster is its Max Sound Pressure Level at 132 db compared to Yeti's 120db which means that Rode can take larger volume of sound than Blue Yeti before it starts to sound like a distortion guitar. :-)

    So I am now in the throes of a decision, mostly favoring Blue Yeti, given the multi pattern recording capability and better frequency range which to me is critical to crisp sound capture.

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  20. Hi James,
    Thanks for posting this comment and the great observations you have made. I'm glad the review is helpful.

    Excellent points made here, and you have brought home the specific tech specs that should help with a decision. IMO, a broader frequency range is essential for capturing a wide range of sounds from deeper bass to the sharpest sounds in the higher ranges. So I'd say that's a critical measure and agree with your observation.

    The Max sound pressure level indicator is an important one too and I'd consider anything above 90 db to be sufficiently high quality. The difference of 12 decibels between Yeti (120 db) and Podcaster (132 db) is not that significant in my non-scientific but regular use based knowledge. And bear in mind that you may, in your use of the mic, never near that level of loudness assuming this is for a vocal application. If its for Guitars especially for amp'd guitars, then there's a possibility that this measure may play a minor role. You can overcome that with a bit of a distance between the speaker and the mic.

    Since I own a Blue Yeti myself, my view is based on my impression of this mic as being an awesome product. I'd add that the bargain price of this mic, the polar pattern options for multiple uses, and the value it provides as a studio quality mic makes it very attractive to buy. Hope this is helpful with your decision.

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  21. can anyone advise whether the headphones and pop filter that come in the blue yeti mic 'kit' are worth getting or should I just buy the mic on it's own?

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  22. I have not purchased the kit but would veer towards getting the items individually, as you would have potential discount advantages on each of them besides qualitative differences. Besides, should you, for any reason, want to return one of those pieces if you had purchased them individually, you can easily do so unlike returning an entire box of items as you would if you had the kit.

    I am not sure of the quality of the headphones in the kit as those specifics are left out in the tech specs. I wish the vendors would share more details.

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  23. I am thinking about getting the Blue Yeti microphone and blue pop filter but i dont have a mic stand so where on my computer can i put the filter?

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  24. Thanks for asking the question. I would recommend getting a standard microphone stand as most pop filters including Blue Pop Filter do require a standard mic stand on which the pop filter can be mounted. The desktop stand is not designed to hold a pop filter.

    Please read this entry for the microphone stand I recommend :
    http://redshifter.blogspot.com/2010/05/blue-yeti-microphone-stand.html. This has worked out well for me.

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  25. For those who were looking for a shockmount for Blue Yeti USB Microphone, here's a Universal Shockmount that fits the microphone.

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  26. Hi, I would like to know how long is the USB cable?

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  27. The USB cable is about 3 feet long with one side being standard USB connection to the PC and the other side being a USB mini type connected to the mic.
    If you find it short, you can always get a 4 pin USB Type A - M - 4 pin mini-USB Type B - M 6 feet cable - that is typically available between $2 to $10.

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  28. I just want to point out, if it hasn't already been pointed out, that the 'Sabra Universal Shockmount' does NOT work for the Blue Yeti. Yes, it fits around its frame, but the plastic of the shock-mount is in contact with the mic's frame all the way around, so there are no shock absorbing qualities! If the shock-mount was 5% bigger it would work like a dream.

    I guess I'll just keep looking...

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  29. Thank you for posting about the unit touching the plastic rim of the shock mount.
    I do wish to point out that after I got it, the handling noise I used to experience before is virtually gone. So while this may not be optimal, I think it provides value to a large extent albeit not as much as a dedicated shockmount for Blue Yeti would.

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  30. Hello everyone!

    First, thank you Redshifter for a really well written and thought out review.

    I just had a question regarding this microphone's gain control and live sound capture. I'm looking into getting a mic to pair up with my laptop to record my band practice and jams. We play in a small jam space, made to take up noise but it get's pretty loud. Our levels are pretty good and we dont play blast any one instrument (3 in the band, 1 guitarist, 1 bassist, one drumer, both frontmen are on the mic)

    I was wondering if you knew if this mic was capable of capturing live sound (punk rock to narrow the gap) when on a low gain setting? Were not looking to record an album this way, just looking for a way to get a reference track that we can listen to in the car/music player that will be clean/representative of how it sounded when played live.

    Thanks

    Seb @+NewEmpire+

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  31. Hi Seb
    Thanks for posting here and asking your question.

    IMO, with the mic gain set to around middle or left of middle (to the lower side) in the Stereo or Omnidirectional mode, you should get good results. The 120db Max SPL capacity of Blue Yeti is a good level to capture loud sounds as long as it is not too close to the mic - so I'd recommend keeping the mic at some distance (some trial and error may be required for getting that right).

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your band.

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  32. im having trouble using my blue yeti, i have fl studio 8 and ableton 8 and so far i cant get the mic to work, if u could help me out a bit that would be great

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  33. It should be easy plug and record/play. I use Garageband and one of things there is I have to connect the Yeti USB cable after Garageband is started. Is that a possibility here with Ableton or FL Studio 8 ?
    Or the possibility is that you are connecting multiple devices to your sound card and frequently the sound card ASIO drivers only support one device to be connected - one solution that I have seen my friends use is ASIO4ALL which allows multiple devices to be selectable within a single soundcard so that you can select them on your audio channel.

    Hope this helps.

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  34. i am wondering why the yeti pro doesnt have the THX logo. even on the thx website, they are only endorsing the yeti. also, the yeti is bi-aplified and the yeti pro is pre amplified. is there a proof that the yeti pro has a thx certification?

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  35. You are right in that the Blue Yeti Pro is not yet THX certified. My take on this is that the THX certification enhances the attractiveness of the mic to the consumer but with the given specifications for Yeti Pro, to me that already is a winner - no other microphone in this price range can claim the sampling rate they offer with analog to digital conversion, pre-amp with USB and XLR on a multi pattern mic.

    I see the THX certification as something that will boost the Yeti Pro even more if it does come in later but am not banking on it to think highly of the product.

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  36. Hey Redshifter, great review! Was the song you sang recorded with the yeti or the yeti pro?

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  37. Thanks Anonymous. The song was recorded on Yeti USB - I mentioned this above the embedded YT video.

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  38. I'm considering buying one Yeti.
    Can't figure out which one..
    Is the Yeti Pro much better and worth the 100$ more?
    Or is the normal Yeti just fine?

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  39. It entirely depends on your needs - if you only need to connect to the computer directly and do not need to connect through XLR, if you do not need the high sampling rate and high word bit rate, then the normal Yeti USB would work fine for you. At 48khz sampling and 16 bit word bit rate its CD quality sound being captured

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  40. Well, I want to use the USB for a while for sure. But maybe later, when I want to update my quality of sound, I'll buy an audio interface. So I will buying the Pro above the regular one.
    Thanks for this review btw ^^

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  41. Is it possible to use one of the Yeti's as regular microphone during Videochats like MSN and Skype?

    Thanks

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  42. Yes of course. The vocal quality is significanly better than headset boom mics or laptop mics.

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  43. Is that microphone also good when you want to record an amplifier with distortion and an electric guitar with the Yeti Pro?
    Or will you have too much overdrive afterwards?

    Thanks

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  44. Given higher bit rate, Yeti Pro is capable of capturing more detail. That said, YMMV in that you may need to play with the multi pattern settings and the distance from the amped/effected sound source such as the Guitar amplifier. If the mic is too close to the amp'd source, you are likely to get the higher overdrive which may be not what you want. The MAX SPL detemines how much sound pressure it can take and when the source is close then SPL is high potentially causing some overdrive.

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  45. Hi Great review, recording and comments from others about this mic. One concern I want clarified (I am new to the tech side of recording) is the latency issue. You say one can hear the vocal from the headphone input on the mic... but will that also be playing the backing track? Obviously this is important when laying down vocals or other instruments in time and just wanted first hand experience that this is not an issue. And does the mic come with any recording software, tho' I intend to use Garage band anyway, but if you have further tips with this that would be fab. Thanks.

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  46. I want to ask a different kind of question. I do acoustic recording for voice and guitar. In the old days, one would use two mics, one close to the sound hole of an acoustic guitar and another for voice. I see this is tereo, but can you get decent recordings this way? Or is there a better solution? When I had the space and a G5, I had two Shure mics going into an interface, and connecting to garage band or other software. Now I do not have those mics and interface anymore. So I wonder what I can accomplish with the Yeti, or do I need two? I have a Zoom H2. I recall it had horrible Latency with USB on a MAc, but I also recall it may have worked Line out to Line in on the Mac . So a posible solution would be to use the zoom for guitar and the Yeti for voice.

    Thanks!

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  47. Mine wont work in games or anything. all i do is plugg it inn and out, plox help me i have the proper driver and stuff but still dosent work.

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  48. Have you tried plugging in the mic after starting the game? I have to do that when working with Garageband. The mic does not get picked up by the software if I connect it before starting the software. Hope this helps.

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  49. Hi Paul
    I am not sure if responded earlier to you comment but I do recall posting something but I dont see it any more. If I did not, I am sorry for the long delay in my response.
    A single Yeti may work for your use case if you are sitting with the Guitar and doing vocals - it may not work if you are standing - but the richness of the Guitar strums may not be captured with just a single Yeti. You may want to get two Yetis instead - Zoom H2 in my opinion is a horrible mic when it comes to getting high quality recordings.

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