Over the past few months, I have been recording a weekly tech podcast. Even though I have not been an avid podcast listener, I have started looking at the medium more seriously. This is why I wanted to try out the Yeti microphone when the opportunity presented itself. The idea was to record a few episodes of our podcast — Our Own Devices — to test the microphone. However, that was when the lockdown was imposed across the country and we all retreated to work from home.
The Yeti Blue is the world’s first USB microphone, which means it does not have to go through the usual processes and wires when it comes to getting digital quality sound. It can plug in directly to a laptop or desktop and you can start recording with the right software, or even directly on to some podcast platforms that offer the feature.
In the box, the Yeti Blue comes with its own stand and a micro-USB cable. The stand lets you adjust the angle of the microphone, though Yeti recommends that you keep the microphone upright and not directed towards you. On the microphone, which actually looks very good and a bit retro in some ways, there is a mute button and a volume knob on the front. At the back, you have knobs to change the recording pattern and to adjust the gain. Below the microphone, there is the micro-USB port, a 3.5-mm jack to plug in your earphones to monitor what the mic is catching and a screw, in case you want to use another accessory to prop up the device.
The one issue I faced was the fact that this uses a USB-A cable and the MacBook Pro I am using now has only USB-C. A lot of users on new Macs could face this problem, so keep a converter handy.
Since I could no buy a converter with India under a full lockdown, I had to fish out my old MacBook Air which had a regular USB port.
On the MacBook Air I tried recording with the Simple Recorder software, which I use for my interviews with the computer mic. The process was simple and I just had to choose the Yeti Microphone option before starting to record. The difference in audio quality, however, was way beyond what I expected. With the earphones plugged in, I could hear everything — my wife speaking to her dad on the phone in one room, the washing machine whirring way in another, my son binge watching a Disney show in the other. On top of this, my voice could be heard more clearly because I was close to the Yeti Blue. The audio was all well layered and with sound where it should be in the stereoscopic profile.
This is where the ability of the microphone to switch the recording pattern comes into play. While I was originally recording in stereo mode, for recording a podcast there is the Cardoid mode where the mic catches audio just in front of it. This is what you would use if you are a gamer using Twitch to reach out to your audience, or just doing a live music session with your fans via Facebook or YouTube. In case you are recording with a guest, you can use the Bidirectional mode. For a more rounded audio profile, there is also the omnidirectional mode that records sound equally from around the mic. All of these work as advertised and comes handy in different conditions and with different types of use cases.
At times the audio can be a bit too loud for podcast listeners and this is where the gain controls work well to achieve the perfect balance. While recording with more sophisticated software like Apple’s Garage Band, it is possible to see if the audio is going too loud and make adjustments accordingly. The mute button too is useful in case there is a sudden noise that you want to keep out.
Overall, the Yeti Blue is the perfect microphone for podcasters and other audio performers and negates the need for another recording device from which you have to transfer the audio files for editing and uploading. The Yeti Blue makes life much simpler and efficient for those in these realms. However, the Yeti Blue is priced Rs 12,495 and hence should be considered by only those doing the above at a professional level. But those users, this is worth it in every way.