It was the summer of 2017. I was a few episodes into starting up a new podcast, and decided it was time to step up from my dependable-but-tiny Samson Go Mic in favor of something a little more professional. I had been eyeing the universally beloved $129 Blue Yeti microphone for a while, and as soon as an Amazon Prime Day deal hit, I pulled the trigger without thinking twice. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had just made one of my best tech purchases ever.
What I initially bought as a tool to make better podcast recordings eventually turned into one of the centerpieces of my digital life. When I decided to get more into Twitch streaming a few years later, I already had an excellent microphone for laughing and shouting along with my viewers while losing at Mortal Kombat. And when the pandemic forced my colleagues and I into permanent work-from-home life, I was more than well-equipped to lead meetings and cut high-quality voice-overs for videos.
Even when I tested more than a dozen alternatives for our best microphone roundup earlier this year, the Yeti still emerged as the most impressive of the bunch — beating out mics that are much newer and flashier. Here’s why the Blue Yeti ($129; bluemic.com) is the best gadget I ever bought, and why it’s still the best overall mic for most people.
There are a few reasons why the Blue Yeti has stayed in my setup for close to four years, chief of which is that it simply sounds great. Blue’s USB microphone consistently picks my voice up warmly and accurately, producing crisp recordings that are largely free of any fuzzy distortion. Whether I was streaming on Twitch or recording voice overs, I’ve found the Yeti to pack the most professional-sounding audio you can find for its price, and it sounds even richer than some rivals that are more expensive such as the HyperX QuadCast.
There’s also something to be said about the Yeti’s understated design. I opted for the all-black model, which has blended seamlessly into various versions of my home office setup without looking distracting or tacky. And if you want your Blue Yeti to pop more on your desk, there are plenty of attractive two-tone color options out there, including Midnight Blue, Satin Red and the grey-and-black Slate.
The Yeti’s simple controls — a light-up mute button and volume knob up front, and knobs for gain and recording modes in the back — are still some of the best around, and I like that it’s tall enough to get close to my mouth without me needing to buy a separate mic arm. It’s also incredibly well-made, with a rubber underside that keeps it from sliding around on my desk and a weighty aluminum build that’s survived many trips in my backpack.
Part of what makes the Yeti one of the best mics in its class is its four recording modes, which include cardioid (for recording right in front of you), bidirectional (for recording in the front and back at once), stereo (for capturing a wide left-to-right soundstage; especially ideal for music) and omnidirectional (for recording in every direction for things like conference calls).
I admittedly use the Yeti almost exclusively in cardioid mode, since I’m typically streaming, recording or conferencing by myself in my room most of the time. But the Yeti’s bidirectional mode has come in handy on several occasions when I recorded a two-person podcast with a friend, and I’ve taken advantage of stereo mode when playing live acoustic guitar for my Twitch viewers. The fact that the Yeti is equipped for various solo and group scenarios gives it a bit more overall value and versatility than competitors like the Elgato Wave: 3 and the Razer Seiren X, which only record in cardioid mode.
The Blue Yeti isn’t without its cons, of course. As a condenser microphone (which are considered more accurate but also more sensitive than dynamic models like the Shure MV7), Blue’s microphone can pick up a fair amount of background noise. As such, I tend to keep it close to my mouth with the gain as low as possible. It’s also a pretty chunky mic at just over 3 pounds and almost a foot tall, so th
Why the Blue Yeti microphone is one of the best gadgets I’ve ever bought
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