Best Cardioid Microphone Alternatives to Blue Yeti


Blue-Yeti-USB-Microphone

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The Blue Yeti is a legendary mic. It was one of the first credible USB mics for good quality YouTube audio at a reasonably affordable price. It has become so popular that even non-creators use it for video conference calls. However, being popular with creators, YouTube viewers, and home workers doesn’t make it the best microphone for your money if you don’t need all of those features the Blue Yeti offers, or if you do not know how to make the best use of those features.

If all you need is an easy way to record good audio, I have reviewed 6 good USB microphones.
If you cannot wait, here are my top 4 budget Blue Yeti alternative microphone picks and a summary of each, followed by the 2 best enthusiast-level alternatives to the Blue Yeti.

Best 4 budget alternatives to the Blue Yeti USB mic

  1. Fifine K678 USB Microphone
  2. Razer Seiren Mini USB Microphone
  3. Samson Q2U USB/XLR Microphone
  4. Blue Snowball USB microphone

Quick Mic Summary of these Blue Yeti Alternative mics

Fifine K678 USB Microphone: looks like the Yeti’s younger sibling, but with almost the same sound and features as the Yeti. It’s a Cardioid microphone, instead of being a multi-pattern mic like the Yeti, so it costs much less.

Razer Seiren Mini: it is small and all-plastic, with a very clear recording for voice that sounds crisp and natural, that is ideal for conference calls. The Seiren Mini has a super-cardioid polar pattern, offering good background noise rejection.

Samson Q2U: a cardioid dynamic mic with an all-metal body and both USB and XLR outputs. Sounds good, offers plenty of versatility, and is useful if later you upgrade to an audio interface. Includes zero-latency headphone monitoring.

Blue Snowball: it is lightweight, made of plastic, and takes up very little desk space. The Snowball is retro-styled and offers a choice of two polar patterns, cardioid or omnidirectional. Can be used with Blue Sherpa software.

Editor's Choice
FIFINE USB Podcast Microphone for Recording Streaming, Condenser Computer...
Highly Recommended
Razer Seiren Mini USB Condenser Microphone: for Streaming and Gaming on PC...
Best Value
Samson Technologies Q2U USB/XLR Dynamic Microphone Recording and Podcasting...
Honorable Mention
Logitech for Creators Blue Snowball USB Microphone for PC, Gaming, Podcast,...
FIFINE USB Podcast Microphone for Recording Streaming, Condenser Computer...
Razer Seiren Mini USB Condenser Microphone: for Streaming and Gaming on PC...
Samson Technologies Q2U USB/XLR Dynamic Microphone Recording and Podcasting...
Logitech for Creators Blue Snowball USB Microphone for PC, Gaming, Podcast,...
Condenser or Dynamic
Condenser
Condenser
Dynamic
Condenser
Headphone connector
On mic controls
USB cable type
mini-USB to USB-A
Built-in to USB-A
mini-USB to USB-A
mini USB to USB-A
XLR output included
Frequency response
40Hz-20kHz
20Hz-20kHz
50Hz-15kHz
40Hz-18kHz
Audio resolution
48kHz/16bit
44.1/48kHz/16bit
44.1/48kHz/16bit
44.1kHz/16bit
Price
$47.99
$49.99
$69.99
$59.99
Delivery
Editor's Choice
FIFINE USB Podcast Microphone for Recording Streaming, Condenser Computer...
FIFINE USB Podcast Microphone for Recording Streaming, Condenser Computer...
Condenser or Dynamic
Condenser
Headphone connector
On mic controls
USB cable type
mini-USB to USB-A
XLR output included
Frequency response
40Hz-20kHz
Audio resolution
48kHz/16bit
Price
$47.99
Delivery
Highly Recommended
Razer Seiren Mini USB Condenser Microphone: for Streaming and Gaming on PC...
Razer Seiren Mini USB Condenser Microphone: for Streaming and Gaming on PC...
Condenser or Dynamic
Condenser
Headphone connector
On mic controls
USB cable type
Built-in to USB-A
XLR output included
Frequency response
20Hz-20kHz
Audio resolution
44.1/48kHz/16bit
Price
$49.99
Delivery
Best Value
Samson Technologies Q2U USB/XLR Dynamic Microphone Recording and Podcasting...
Samson Technologies Q2U USB/XLR Dynamic Microphone Recording and Podcasting...
Condenser or Dynamic
Dynamic
Headphone connector
On mic controls
USB cable type
mini-USB to USB-A
XLR output included
Frequency response
50Hz-15kHz
Audio resolution
44.1/48kHz/16bit
Price
$69.99
Delivery
Honorable Mention
Logitech for Creators Blue Snowball USB Microphone for PC, Gaming, Podcast,...
Logitech for Creators Blue Snowball USB Microphone for PC, Gaming, Podcast,...
Condenser or Dynamic
Condenser
Headphone connector
On mic controls
USB cable type
mini USB to USB-A
XLR output included
Frequency response
40Hz-18kHz
Audio resolution
44.1kHz/16bit
Price
$59.99
Delivery

Last update on 2022-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best 2 enthusiast-level Blue Yeti alternative USB mics

  1. Audio Technica AT2020 USB+ Microphone
  2. Shure MV7 USB/XLR Microphone

Quick Mic Summary of these Blue Yeti Alternative mics

The Fifine K678 USB Microphone looks like the Yeti’s younger sibling, but with almost the same sound and features as the Yeti. It’s a Cardioid microphone, instead of being a multi-pattern mic like the Yeti, so it costs much less.

The Audio Technica AT2020 USB+ sounds good, providing sensitivity and clarity whether recording speech, vocals, or instruments. However, that sensitivity might be a problem for you if your location has a lot of background noise.

The Shure MV7 USB/XLR microphone has a rich and darker sound, reminiscent of radio presenter mics. Being a dynamic mic it’s good at rejecting background noise. You also get the choice of USB or XLR outputs, but it does cost a little more.

Best Condenser
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone, With Built-In...
Best Dynamic
Shure MV7 USB Microphone for Podcasting, Recording, Live Streaming &...
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone, With Built-In...
Shure MV7 USB Microphone for Podcasting, Recording, Live Streaming &...
Condenser or Dynamic
Condenser
Dynamic
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Cardioid
Headphone connector
On mic controls
USB Cable type
USB-B to USB-A
micro-USB to USB-A
XLR output included
Frequency response
20Hz-20kHz
50Hz-16kHz
Audio resolution
48kHz/16bit
48kHz/24bit
Price
$99.00
$249.00
Delivery
Best Condenser
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone, With Built-In...
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone, With Built-In...
Condenser or Dynamic
Condenser
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Headphone connector
On mic controls
USB Cable type
USB-B to USB-A
XLR output included
Frequency response
20Hz-20kHz
Audio resolution
48kHz/16bit
Price
$99.00
Delivery
Best Dynamic
Shure MV7 USB Microphone for Podcasting, Recording, Live Streaming &...
Shure MV7 USB Microphone for Podcasting, Recording, Live Streaming &...
Condenser or Dynamic
Dynamic
Polar Pattern
Cardioid
Headphone connector
On mic controls
USB Cable type
micro-USB to USB-A
XLR output included
Frequency response
50Hz-16kHz
Audio resolution
48kHz/24bit
Price
$249.00
Delivery

Last update on 2022-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Keep reading for a fuller description of each of these microphones. Plus, later in this article, I explain why you might want to consider a Blue Yeti alternative microphone.

Microphone Reviews

Fifine USB Podcast Microphone (K678)

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The Fifine USB Podcast Microphone (also known as the K678) looks a little like a small version of the Blue Yeti. It’s a condenser mic that looks and sounds like a Blue Yeti, and also has similar features to the Blue Yeti. Where it mainly differs is in only having a cardioid polar pattern and not the others that you also get with the Blue Yeti. But that’s fine if you’re recording speech or streaming since that’s the polar pattern you’d want anyway.

This Fifine Podcast microphone is my pick as the best budget USB microphone because it sounds good and has pretty much the same features you’d find on the Blue Yeti, including low latency headphone monitoring. Oh, and because you get all that for an incredible price.

It’s supplied with a desktop stand, but I would recommend mounting it on a boom or scissor arm to help minimize the sound of any bumps and keyboard noise. Adding a good pop filter will also benefit this mic, especially if you like to get close in.

On the base of the microphone body, you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone socket. That will allow you to monitor the audio, and a mini-USB socket to connect the microphone to a computer. Between the sockets, there’s a threaded mounting hole to take the supplied adapter that allows the mic to be screwed onto a boom or scissor arm.

Like the Blue Yeti, this Fifine microphone has twist control knobs for mic gain and headphone volume. There’s also a push mute button along with an indicator LED to show that the mic is powered/muted.

The audio resolution maxes out at 16-bit/48kHz and the frequency response is 40Hz–20kHz. In tests, the Fifine sounds like the Blue Yeti, but since it is smaller and requires fewer components than the Yeti, it’s much cheaper.

Specs and Features:

  • Rugged build quality with all-metal construction.
  • Mic cartridge type: Condenser.
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid.
  • Frequency response of 40Hz-20kHz.
  • Max audio resolution: 48kHz sample rate /16bit bit depth.
  • Connections: mini-USB and 3.5mm headphone.
  • Built-in headphone output for zero-latency monitoring while recording.
  • Controls for gain, headphone volume, and mic muting.
  • Includes desktop stand and 5/8″ male to 3/8″ female adapter for mounting onto a boom or scissor arm.

Included in the box:

  • 1x Fifine K678 USB microphone.
  • 1x metal desktop stand.
  • 1x 6.5ft USB cable.
  • 1x 5/8-inch male to 3/8-inch female mic thread screw adapter.
  • 1x user manual.
Sale
FIFINE USB Podcast Microphone for Recording Streaming, Condenser Computer...
  • [Excellent Quality Sound] Equipped with cardioid polar pattern allowing it to capture clear, crisps...
  • [Versatile Controls] The microphone’s 3.5mm headphone output features adjustable volume controls...
  • [Streamlined Setup & Compatibility] The FIFINE microphone features a 6.56ft USB output that enables...
  • [Durable Material & Structure] The microphone is constructed with rugged metal and the stand is...

Last update on 2022-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Razer Seiren Mini USB Microphone

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The Razer Seiren Mini is a budget-priced USB condenser microphone that is ideal for any home or office-based worker. So, if you need to sound crisp and clear on conference calls and remote meetings you should give the Razer Seiren Mini a lot of consideration.

It has a super-cardioid polar pattern, so the pick-up is concentrated to the front and offers good background noise rejection.

The mic is small and appears quite discrete if it appears in your video call. It has an all-plastic design, making it lightweight and it feels sturdy enough. The plastic construction also helps to keep the cost down, enabling Razer to deliver a solid price to performance ratio with the Seiren Mini.

The mic comes with a desktop stand that includes a ball head, allowing you to tilt the mic toward you. However, I would recommend using the included 5/8th inch adapter to mount the mic on a boom arm or mic stand.

Setup is easy. Just plug the mic into a USB-A port and your computer will automatically install the mic as an audio input device. I also like the fact that the Seiren Mini has a green LED indicator light that confirms it is plugged in and powered.

The Seiren Mini beats the Blue Snowball with its better frequency response and audio resolution. I also think it sounds better than the Snowball. All these points are probably due to the fact that it is a much more modern design.

The only downside is that the Razer Seiren Mini, like many budget USB mics, does not have a headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring of the audio and computer playback. But if all you need clear crisp audio for online video and conference calls, this should not be a problem.

In summary, the Razer Seiren Mini is affordable, easy to set up, pretty good at background noise rejection, and produces very clear spoken word recordings that sound crisp and natural.

There are just two things I would prefer to be different on the Seiren Mini. I would prefer the all-plastic design to be metal, and I don’t like the fact that the USB cable is permanently connected. On some USB mics, I will use a longer USB cable than that supplied. With the Seiren Mini, I would need a USB extension cable and a female-to-female adapter.

Specs and Features:

  • Mic cartridge type: Condenser.
  • Polar patterns: Super-Cardioid
  • Frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz.
  • Max audio resolution: 44.1/48kHz sample rate /16bit bit depth.
  • Connections: Permanently connected USB cable.
  • Includes desktop stand and 5/8″ inch mounting adapter.

Included in the box:

  • 1x USB Microphone
  • 1x Desktop mic stand
  • 1x 6ft USB-A cable
Razer Seiren Mini USB Condenser Microphone: for Streaming and Gaming on PC...
  • Ultra-Precise Supercardioid Pickup Pattern: The Razer Seiren Mini is tuned with a tighter pickup...
  • Professional Recording Quality: With its 14mm condenser capsule and flat frequency response, the mic...
  • Ultra-Compact Build: Made for minimalist or smaller setups, it barely takes up any desk space and is...
  • Heavy-Duty Tilting Stand: Sitting on a sturdy support, the mic can be angled to find the perfect...

Last update on 2022-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Samson Q2U USB/XLR Dynamic Microphone

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The Samson Q2U microphone is a handheld mic that has both USB and XLR outputs. It has long been liked by many audiophiles, and it still offers terrific value for money.

First off, the sound is good, but not quite as rich and warm sounding as the more expensive Audio Technica AT2020USB+. To be fair, they are different types of microphones, and the Q2U is about half the price of the Audio Technica.

Despite having a frequency response of 50Hz-15kHz the Samson Q2U has a bright top end, with clear middle and low end that sounds fine. When it comes to the audio resolution you get 44.1/48kHz and 16bit, which is OK but not modern music studio standard. But I see this mic now being used by home workers on conference calls or people starting with streaming or YouTube videos.

The mic has an all-metal body, and the build quality is good. The base has mini-USB and XLR outputs, which can both be used simultaneously, plus a 3.5mm headphone jack output for zero-latency monitoring for yourself and computer audio playback.

On the side of the there’s a green power indicator LED, an On/Off switch, and up/down buttons for volume. The On/Off switch is useful as a mute button for online meetings, but it’s not as elegant a solution as the mute button on the Blue Yeti, since the mic picks up the sound of you handling it when operating the On/Off switch.

If I had to be negative about the mic it would be that you may need a better windscreen than the included one to help avoid plosive pops and blasts.

The Samson Q2U has a lot going for it, not least its affordability, versatility, and rugged build quality. It would be ideal for anyone needing to keep the cost down without sacrificing much on sound quality, but also looking at the potential of using the mic in the future with an audio interface or sound mixing desk.

Specs and Features:

  • Mic cartridge type: Dynamic.
  • Polar patterns: Cardioid.
  • Volume up and down buttons.
  • On/off switch.
  • Power indicator LED.
  • Frequency response of 50Hz-15kHz.
  • Max audio resolution: 44.1/48kHz sample rate /16bit bit depth.
  • Connections: mini-USB, XLR, and 3.5mm.

Included in the box:

  • 1x Samson Q2U USB/XLR dynamic microphone
  • 1x Plastic microphone stand clip
  • 1x Foam windscreen
  • 1x Desktop tripod stand
  • 1x Mini USB to USB-A cable
  • 1x XLR mic cable
  • 1x Owner’s manual
Sale
Samson Technologies Q2U USB/XLR Dynamic Microphone Recording and Podcasting...
  • Best of both worlds: professional handheld dynamic microphone with USB digital output for connecting...
  • Sound your best: dynamic microphone capsule with a cardioid pickup pattern captures sound from in...
  • Hear the mix: onboard 1/8" (3. 5mm) headphone jack allows for zero-latency monitoring, so you can...
  • Start Recording: The Q2U is a plug-and-play device, meaning it doesn’t need any special drivers to...

Last update on 2022-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Blue Snowball USB Microphone

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If you are looking for a more affordable microphone than the Blue Yeti but comes from the same number 1 premium USB microphone brand, then look no further than the Blue Snowball.

Inside the retro-styled plastic body, there are two microphone capsules, giving you the choice of cardioid or omnidirectional polar patterns. Although the grill and Blue logo on the front are metal, the rest of the body is plastic.

When the Blue Snowball was launched in 2005, the output connector was USB-B (the type used on printers) to USB-A. This is now a mini-USB to USB-A, which is the same as on the Blue Yeti. Also, a nice improvement is that the polar pattern selector switch gives you two “flavors” of cardioid. You get the standard cardioid plus a version with a -10dB pad, which is handy if you tend to speak loudly, or you’re recording something that is loud. The audio resolution is good enough at 44.1kHz/16bit.

This microphone sounds OK, with a bit of a warm mid-frequencies emphasis. So, if you like a bright top end to your audio, this mic may not be for you.

Because of its small size and its small metal tripod desktop stand, it will not take up much space on your desk. However, if you want to avoid picking up the sound of bumps and knocks from your desk, I recommend putting the mic on a mic stand or boom arm using the standard 5/8th inch mounting hole on the bottom.

Disappointingly, the mic does not have a headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring or computer playback. But we need to remember this is a budget mic. But on the plus side, like the Blue Yeti, you can use the Blue Sherpa software with the microphone. This gives a good advantage over some of the other budget microphones. To find out more about the software read my article, Blue Sherpa Software: How to download, install and use with Yeti.

Specs and Features:

  • Mic cartridge type: Condenser.
  • Polar patterns: Cardioid, Cardioid with -10dB pad, and Omnidirectional
  • Frequency response of 40Hz-18kHz.
  • Max audio resolution: 44.1kHz sample rate /16bit bit depth.
  • Connections: mini-USB.
  • Includes desktop stand and 5/8″ mounting point.

Included in the box:

  • 1x Blue Snowball USB microphone.
  • 1x metal tripod desktop stand.
  • 1x 6.5ft USB cable.
Sale
Logitech for Creators Blue Snowball USB Microphone for PC, Gaming, Podcast,...
  • Legendary Blue broadcast sound: 2-capsule design gives your voice exceptional presence and detail...
  • Multiple pickup patterns: The USB microphone features a cardioid pattern for recording and...
  • Stylish retro design: Record or stream in style with a classic recording equipment design that looks...
  • #1 Premium USB microphone brand: Based on independent sales data (April '19 - March '20) of PC...

Last update on 2022-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Audio Technica AT2020 USB+

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This condenser USB mic is great for speech, vocals, and music. It has lovely clarity and good sensitivity.

It’s an all-metal design that feels like a pro mic in your hand. But the thumbwheel dial controls for headphone volume and monitor mix are a bit of a negative for me. They’re like something I’d expect on a 20th-century transistor radio. I would prefer twist knobs with a pointer mark and a scale on the mic body.

The mic sounds pretty good, with a full frequency response. Consequently, vocals, speech, acoustic and electric instruments sound good. However, the cardioid polar pattern isn’t super-tight. That plus the fact that the mic is a sensitive condenser mic might mean it can be a little lively when it comes to background noise like keyboards.

Unfortunately, there’s no gain control on the mic body, so you’ll have to control the gain on your computer. The maximum bit depth and sample rate are also a little disappointing, even so, I admit the mic does sound good.

Specs and Features:

  • All metal construction with a nice weight.
  • Mic cartridge type: Condenser.
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid.
  • Frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz.
  • Max audio resolution: 48kHz sample rate /16bit bit depth.
  • Connections: USB-B, 3.5mm headphone.
  • LED power indicator behind the grill.
  • Built-in headphone output for zero-latency monitoring.
  • Controls for headphone volume and headphone monitor mix between mic and computer audio.

Included in the box:

  • 1x AT2020 USB+ microphone.
  • 1x USB-B to USB-A cable.
  • 1x 5/8-27 to 3/8 inch mic stand adapter.
  • 1x Desktop tripod stand.
  • 1x Padded microphone carrying case.
  • 1x User’s manual.
Sale
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone, With Built-In...
  • Condenser microphone with USB output for digital recording
  • High quality A/D converter with 16 bit, 44.1/48 kilohertz sampling rate for superb audio
  • Headphone jack with volume control allows you to monitor the microphone signal with no delay
  • Mix control allows you to blend your microphone signal and prerecorded audio

Last update on 2022-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Shure MV7 USB/XLR Microphone

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The MV7 sounds good, with a darker tone compared to the Yeti. The MV7 has an agreeable warmth of tone and a quality that can be adjusted in the free ShurePlus Motiv software. You can have the sound flat or add a high pass filter, presence boost filters, plus a limiter and compressor.

One of the stand-out features of the MV7 is its dual outputs.

On the base of the mic, you’ll find both XLR and micro-USB sockets. But you don’t just have the choice of one or the other, you can use both outputs together.

You can send the unaltered audio from the dynamic capsule to an audio interface or digital recorder via the XLR out, while the MV7 sends digital audio to your computer via USB.

The dual output is a kind of futureproofing. If later, you decide to move to an audio interface recording system or need to plug it into a sound mixing desk you can carry on using your Shure MV7 microphone.

To get the best from this mic, I’d recommend getting close, since it uses a dynamic capsule. However, the foam windjammer that ships with the MV7 could do with an upgrade. Use the much better foam windjammer from an SM7b or get a Stedman Proscreen Pop Filter available on Amazon.

Although the MV7 isn’t the cheapest of USB mics because it is a dynamic mic the sensitivity falls off rapidly with distance from the mic. That might suit you if you have a background noise issue.

Specs and Features:

  • Rugged build quality with all-metal construction.
  • Mic cartridge type: Dynamic.
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid.
  • Frequency response of 50Hz-16kHz.
  • Max audio resolution: 48kHz sample rate /24bit bit depth.
  • Connections: micro-USB, XLR, 3.5mm headphone.
  • Hybrid dual XLR/micro-USB outputs.
  • Built-in headphone output for zero-latency monitoring while recording.
  • Touch button controls for gain, monitoring volume, headphone mix, and mic muting.
  • Includes adjustable yoke for easy positioning and mounting on standard 5/8″-27 threaded stands or booms.
  • Customizable Sound Signature using ShurePlus MOTIV app.

Included in the box:

  • 1x Shure MOTIV MV7 microphone.
  • 1x 10 ft (3m) USB-A cable.
  • 1x 10 ft (3m) USB-C cable.
Shure MV7 USB Microphone for Podcasting, Recording, Live Streaming &...
  • USB OR XLR CONNECTIONS: Dual USB;XLR output allows digital or analog recording
  • CLOSE MIC APPLICATIONS: Great for podcasting, recording, live streaming, and more
  • INTUITIVE TOUCH PANEL CONTROLS: Intuitive touch panel for control over gain, monitoring volume,...
  • BUILT-IN HEADPHONE OUTPUT: The Built-in headphone output allows for direct headphone monitoring...

Last update on 2022-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When you might want to consider alternatives to a Blue Yeti Mic

First, let me say I like the classic Blue Yeti and the more recently upgraded and even better Blue Yeti X. But I also have issues with these USB microphones. Let me explain why you may be better off looking for a Blue Yeti alternative microphone.

The Blue Yeti’s design encourages mistakes by inexperienced users

This mic is pitched at new content creators who understand they need to improve their audio quality. Unfortunately, the Yeti’s design makes it easy to make a good mic sound bad. Consequently, almost as many folks hate the Yeti as those who love it.

Let me summarize how the Yeti is misused.

The Yeti comes with a heavy desktop stand so naturally, you put it on your desk. Mistake 1.

But because it’s a big lump of metal you can’t see your computer monitor or reach your keyboard, so you move the Yeti to the side and about 4ft away. Mistake 2.

Then you notice that the Yeti can be tilted on the desktop stand, so you adjust it until the top of the grill points toward you. Surely that’s got to be right? Mistake 3.

Finally, you remember you bought the Yeti because the advertising blurb said something about the Yeti having four polar patterns, which must mean the Yeti is 4x as good as mics with only one polar pattern. But you’re a gamer or streamer and not an audio engineer, so you don’t adjust the polar pattern according to how you will be using the mic. Mistake 4.

If you start recording with the setup I’ve just described, you’ll believe you’ve been given bad advice about the Yeti. And sure, if you set up the mic that way, it will sound bad, so you’ll believe it must be a bad mic.

Now I’m not trying to ridicule anyone, because if you don’t know about microphones then you’re just like everyone else who started out and needed to improve their audio. Believe me, we’ve all been there.

All you need is a little help to get things sounding the best they can. Use the following link to read my article How to set up and use a Blue Yeti microphoneOpens in a new tab..

You probably don’t need all those extra polar patterns

If all you are going to do is record yourself speaking, then the Yeti has more features than you need. What’s more, if you don’t know a lot about audio it is easy to get confused and not know what to do. Trust me, I’ve worked in audio studios for 40 years and have seen people make the same mistakes over and over.

The Yeti offers four different polar patterns, each one suited to a certain type of use. You are unlikely to need more than one or maybe two of those patterns.

Most successful creators stick to one niche and develop their expertise in that niche. For example, a YouTuber who reviews camera lenses is unlikely to need the polar pattern that’s appropriate for recording interviews, singing, or group conference calls.

The result is you’ve paid for features you’ll never use.

A better approach is to decide what you need and get a microphone that is designed to do that. If it’s versatility, then a Blue Yeti is fine. But if you only need a USB mic with a cardioid polar pattern then maybe you could spend the same amount of money getting a better mic with fewer features, but features you will use.

If you’re unsure of how to use the different polar patterns or mic modes, here’s a summary for you.

  • Cardioid mode: This mode is applicable primarily for people recording a single voice, usually their own. So that’s YouTubers, Streamers, Podcasters, or someone on a Zoom or Teams call. I’d estimate this is how the Yeti is used 90% of the time.
  • Stereo mode: If you’re recording an instrument, singing a duet, or capturing ASMR audio then this is the mode for you. If you’re like 90% of other users, where only you are talking, don’t use stereo.
  • Bi-directional mode: This mode is basically for recording things like interviews, where you have two people facing each other, one in front and one behind the Yeti.
  • Omnidirectional mode: This mode makes the Yeti sensitive to sounds from all directions. That’s OK if you have a small group of people around a table on a conference call or recording a group of people with a single mic, but not so good if you’re just recording yourself. The Omni polar pattern will make the Yeti pick up both you and every other sound in the room.

When you record interviews but think the Blue Yeti audio sounds bad

You’ll have read plenty of reviews, and even the Blue Yeti advertising, that says you can use the Blue Yeti to record interviews. All you need to do is select the bi-directional mode and place the mic between you and your guest as you sit opposite each other.

Yes, you can do that, and it will pick up your conversation. But the audio won’t sound great even though the bi-directional mic pattern rejects sound from the sides. You’ll end up feeling frustrated, disappointed, and asking yourself why your recordings or podcasts don’t sound like professional recordings or like the guys on talk radio.

There’s a simple reason, and it’s not that recording studios and radio stations don’t use Blue Yeti mics, although generally, they don’t. It’s because they know each guest around the interview table should have their own microphone, and that each of those microphones will probably have a uni-directional or cardioid mic pattern. I know this from 40 years experience of working in broadcasting and having set up more recordings than I care to remember.

Although you can get away with recording interviews with a single Blue Yeti, you’ll need to get on well with your guest. That’s because when you record speech, the microphone should ideally be about 6-8 inches from the speakers’ mouth, and certainly no more than about 12 inches. Sitting around an interview table with a single microphone in the middle, everything will be too far from the microphone.

Only use a single Blue Yeti for interviews if you really are on a tight budget. The ideal alternative to using one Blue Yeti (or any other single mic) for an interview is to have a separate microphone for each person. The mics should have a cardioid pick-up pattern and have XLR connectors. The XLR connectors are necessary because you’ll need to plug them into an audio interface and not a USB socket on your computer. That’s because, generally, only one USB microphone can be selected as an audio source when connected to your PC or Mac.

Look for alternatives to the Blue Yeti if background noise is the problem

Some types of microphones are better suited to certain environments than others. That’s not because any mic is bad, it’s just because each has been designed to fulfill a specific purpose. In the case of the Blue Yeti, it was designed to answer the needs of the widest range of creators who need a sensitive, good-sounding, and affordable USB mic.

The problem for many people is that, like most condenser mics, the Yeti is “sensitive”. That means it can pick up background noise if you’re not careful or you can’t avoid background noise.

Ideally, you should be recording or streaming from an acoustically treated room, but that’s not always possible. In which can, a dynamic mic might be better than a condenser mic. The sensitivity of a dynamic microphone falls off rapidly with distance but the sensitivity of a condenser mic (like the Yeti) does not. So, if you get a Yeti, place it 4ft away and crank up the gain, you sound louder (but dreadful), but so does all the background room noise.

With a dynamic mic, it’s a different story. You need to get close, even when you turn up the gain. Sound sources that are further away either remain quiet or aren’t picked up.

One problem with dynamic mics is that their output levels are low compared to condenser mics. That’s OK with USM mics because the electronics sort that out, but with XLR mics you’ll need additional equipment, like a preamp and audio interface, which come at a financial cost.

Therefore, there’s always a balance that needs to be struck between cost and what you need the equipment to do.

Tosh Lubek runs an audio and video production business in the UK and has been using the Canon EOS R since it was released in the Autumn of 2018 and the Canon EOS R6 in 2020. He has used both cameras to shoot TV commercials broadcast on Sky TV, promotional business videos, videos of events and functions, and YouTube creator content. He has also won several international awards for his advertising and promotional work. You can meet him by visiting his “video booth” at HashTag Business Events across the country.

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