It was the summer season of 2017. I used to be just a few episodes into beginning up a brand new podcast and determined it was time to step up from my reliable however tiny Samson Go Mic in favor of one thing somewhat extra skilled. I had been eyeing the universally beloved $129 Blue Yeti microphone for some time, and as quickly as an Amazon Prime Day deal hit, I pulled the set off with out pondering twice. I didn’t understand it on the time, however I had simply made one in all my finest tech purchases ever.
What I initially purchased as a instrument to make higher podcast recordings ultimately become one of many centerpieces of my digital life. Once I determined to get extra into Twitch streaming just a few years later, I already had a wonderful microphone for laughing and shouting together with my viewers whereas dropping at Mortal Kombat. And when the pandemic pressured my colleagues and I into everlasting work-from-home life, I used to be greater than properly outfitted to steer conferences and minimize high-quality voice-overs for movies.
Even after I examined greater than a dozen alternate options for our greatest microphone roundup earlier this 12 months, the Yeti nonetheless emerged as essentially the most spectacular of the bunch — beating out mics which might be a lot newer and flashier. Right here’s why the Blue Yeti ($129; bluemic.com) is the very best gadget I ever purchased, and why it’s nonetheless the very best total mic for most individuals.
There are just a few the reason why the Blue Yeti has stayed in my setup for near 4 years, chief of which is that it merely sounds nice. Blue’s USB microphone constantly picks up my voice warmly and precisely, producing crisp recordings which might be largely freed from any fuzzy distortion. Whether or not I’m streaming on Twitch or recording voice-overs, I’ve discovered the Yeti to pack essentially the most professional-sounding audio you could find for its worth, and it sounds even richer than some rivals which might be costlier, such because the HyperX QuadCast.
There’s additionally one thing to be mentioned concerning the Yeti’s understated design. I opted for the all-black mannequin, which has blended seamlessly into numerous variations of my dwelling workplace setup with out wanting distracting or cheesy. And in order for you your Blue Yeti to pop extra in your desk, there are many enticing two-tone colour choices on the market, together with Midnight Blue, Satin Crimson and the gray-and-black Slate.
The Yeti’s easy controls — a light-up mute button and quantity knob up entrance, and knobs for acquire and recording modes within the again — are nonetheless among the finest round, and I like that it’s tall sufficient to get near my mouth with out me needing to purchase a separate mic arm. It’s additionally extremely properly made, with a rubber underside that retains it from sliding round on my desk and a weighty aluminum construct that’s survived many journeys in my backpack.
A part of what makes the Yeti probably the greatest mics in its class is its 4 recording modes, which embody cardioid (for recording proper in entrance of you), bidirectional (for recording in the back and front directly), stereo (for capturing a large left-to-right soundstage, particularly excellent for music) and omnidirectional (for recording in each route for issues like convention calls).
I admittedly use the Yeti nearly solely in cardioid mode, since I’m sometimes streaming, recording or conferencing on my own in my room more often than not. However the Yeti’s bidirectional mode has turn out to be useful on a number of events after I recorded a two-person podcast with a good friend, and I’ve taken benefit of stereo mode when enjoying reside acoustic guitar for my Twitch viewers. The truth that the Yeti is provided for numerous solo and group eventualities provides it a bit extra total worth and flexibility than opponents just like the Elgato Wave:3 and the Razer Seiren X, which solely report in cardioid mode.
The Blue Yeti isn’t with out its cons, after all. As a condenser microphone (that are thought-about extra correct but additionally extra delicate than dynamic fashions just like the Shure MV7), Blue’s microphone can decide up a good quantity of background noise. As such, I are inclined to hold it near my mouth with the acquire as little as doable. It’s additionally a fairly chunky mic at simply over 3 kilos and nearly a foot tall, so these in search of an particularly travel-friendly choice could also be higher off with the smaller (however nonetheless great-sounding) $99 Blue Yeti Nano.
Whereas I nonetheless swear by the Blue Yeti to this present day, I’ll admit that it hasn’t been my solely go-to microphone as of late. Within the midst of burying myself in all method of microphones for work, I developed a passion for the $169 HyperX QuadCast S, a equally high-quality mic that options some snazzy RGB lighting. Whereas it simply missed making our present listing of prime picks, it’s change into a fixture in my setup for just a few noteworthy causes.
For starters, the QuadCast S simply appears cool. Whereas I like the subtlety of the Yeti, I additionally take pleasure in having a microphone that may glow each colour of the rainbow to match the already shiny Logitech G915 TKL keyboard and Logitech G203 mouse at my desk. However the true killer function of the QuadCast S is its brilliantly easy muting performance — all it takes to mute the mic is a delicate faucet of the highest of the microphone, which may also flip off the RGB lights to let the mic is inactive. It’s only a tiny bit extra intuitive than the Yeti’s button-based muting, and it’s particularly helpful for silencing myself throughout conferences and streams with out having to achieve for my mouse.
However as a lot as I like the QuadCast, there are just a few causes I see myself ultimately bringing my Yeti again into my setup. Except for its wonderful mute button, I discover the QuadCast’s different controls to be a bit missing — its acquire knob isn’t fairly as exact because the Yeti’s for controlling how loud your voice is, and its rear-facing ports for energy and headphones are a little bit of a ache to achieve. And whereas audio high quality between the 2 is comparable, I nonetheless suppose the Yeti sounds barely brighter and extra true to life, which is why I proceed to plug it again in every time I have to report some narration for a video.
One other different I’ve grown to actually take pleasure in is the Elgato Wave:3, which is our favourite microphone for streamers. On prime of manufacturing extraordinarily clear recordings which might be even higher at isolating noise than the Yeti, the Wave:3 satisfies its content-creation area of interest extraordinarily properly by providing among the finest companion software program we’ve used on a mic.
Elgato’s Wave Hyperlink app provides you a central hub for controlling all your audio sources (similar to your recreation, music and microphone quantity), which is the sort of factor you’d sometimes want an costly bodily mixer for. Nevertheless, this robustness can be what’s saved me away from the Wave:3 as my day by day mic — whereas you are able to do a ton with it, the microphone additionally requires an excellent quantity of guide configuring so as to absolutely make the most of its many options.
After a four-year span that’s included tons of of hours of Twitch streaming, dozens of revealed podcasts and numerous work-from-home conferences, I can confidently say that the Blue Yeti is the very best gadget I’ve ever purchased. When you’re in search of an ideal microphone for any of the above use circumstances (to not point out informal music recording and video voice-overs, simply to call just a few others), you simply would possibly find yourself feeling the identical after nabbing one.
There are many strong alternate options value contemplating, as made evident by my current flirtation with the $159 HyperX QuadCast S. People who need one thing flashier to enhance their RGB-laden setup will discover so much to love in HyperX’s mic, whereas fanatic streamers prepared to get their palms soiled with a sturdy set of audio instruments will most likely love the $159 Wave:3. And if you happen to want one thing smaller for journey, the $99 Yeti Nano presents the identical nice audio high quality inside a extra compact measurement with much less recording modes.
Nonetheless, even after spending important time with all of those nice microphones, I’ll by no means fairly overlook my first. Particularly when it’s nonetheless higher than nearly something you should purchase proper now.