The Blue Microphone company first released the Yeti mic in 2009, and since then, its popularity has only increased.
But what is it good for? It’s popular with podcasters and content creators, but how does it hold up when recording singing?
The Blue Yeti microphone is great for recording vocals. Though it was originally designed for spoken word, singing into the Blue Yeti is not only possible but can end up sounding great. This is thanks to the four different polar patterns in the Blue Yeti. This allows you greater control regarding what kind of vocal you want to record. For recording your singing, the cardioid setting is ideal.
Table of Contents
- Blue Yeti Microphone – An Overview
- Singing With the Blue Yeti
- Blue Yeti Accessories Suitable for Singing
- Blue Yeti Alternatives for Singing / Recording Vocals
Blue Yeti Microphone – An Overview
The Yeti mic from Blue Microphones has caused quite a stir in the music and podcast scene since its release.
Its affordability and USB connectivity was relatively unheard of, with most microphones either requiring an interface in order to be used with a computer or costing a significant amount.
But the Blue Yeti changed all that. Let’s look at some of its major plus points.
Four Polar Patterns
As I mentioned earlier, it’s this ability to cycle through different polar modes that qualify the Yeti as suitable for many different recording applications. These are the patterns you can choose on the Blue Yeti microphone:
This is the polar pattern that is ideal for recording singing and solo voice. Your Blue Yeti will pick up sounds directly in front of it.
In this mode, the microphone will use both its left and right channels to pick up a balanced recording of a wide space. Great for acoustic guitars or choral performances.
Omnidirectional means the mic will pick up sounds coming from all directions. This is ideal for recording background noise, group conversations, or field recordings.
As the name suggests, the microphone will open two channels, one on either side, to allow directional recording for two participants. Ideal for duets or one-to-one conversations.
Most microphones need an XLR cable, which needs to run into an XLR port on a digital music interface or soundboard. The Blue Yeti needs a USB cable, making it more portable and able to be plugged directly into your computer or laptop.
The Blue Yeti mic can be found online at an affordable price. Now, while it may be proficient for spoken word and home studio style singing, the Blue Yeti is by no means a top-of-line vocal mic, nor can it be used for performing live.
The equipment for those kinds of things can set you back many hundreds of dollars. The Blue Yeti is great at what it does, and it does it for a very reasonable price.
Singing With the Blue Yeti
So, you want to record some vocals for your home recording music project. Maybe you’ve just bought a Blue Yeti, and you want to know how to set it up for singing. Here’s how:
Adjust the Gain
The gain level will determine how much sound the mic will pick up and if the mic will boost or dampen it. If you have the gain at max, the mic will amplify the sounds it records.
If you have it turned lower than the volume you play at, the microphone will make your recorded sounds quieter. Simple!
To find out what level of gain you require to record vocals in your Blue Yeti, first sing into the mic without recording and see how the volume levels respond on your software.
If they are clipping (going into the red), you may need to turn the gain down on the mic to compensate for your high volume.
If the volume levels are barely responding when you sing, you might want to boost them a bit and turn the gain up. Just make sure you keep the levels around 0db for a clean, full sound.
Select the Right Polar Pattern
As mentioned earlier, the best polar pattern for singing is cardioid.
This narrows the recording channel of the microphone to only pick up what is directly in front of it, making for a cleaner sound with less interference from background noise.
You may want to consider using the omnidirectional or bidirectional modes if you are recording a group or a duet, respectively.
While this is not technically a setting, it is massively important for your recording quality! Place the mic in front of your mouth at a comfortable height so you don’t have to stretch or stoop to sing into it.
Make sure you’re not too close or too far away, as this will interfere with the gain level you carefully set up earlier.
This will take a bit of trial and error, and the best way to find out the best placement is just to record a few takes with the mic in different locations and see what leaves you with the best quality recording.
Is the Blue Yeti a Condenser Microphone?
It’s important to note that the Blue Yeti is a condenser mic. This means it is far better suited to a quiet recording situation as opposed to a live performance, where a dynamic mic would generally be used.
Condenser mics have a wider frequency response and dynamic range, meaning they’ll pick up the nuances of your vocal performance.
They also respond better to a direct input, so get close to the mic, hold the ideal position, and your recordings will sound great.
Blue Yeti Accessories Suitable for Singing
If you’re not convinced, you may think that a USB microphone just can’t live up to the quality of a proper XLR mic plugged into an interface unit. And you may be right, but that doesn’t mean the Blue Yeti is without merit.
Here are some accessories that can improve the quality of your recordings and some alternatives if you want to try something different.
A pop filter is a great little addition to any budding producer’s arsenal. It cuts down on sibilance, excess background noise, and sharp high-end frequencies. Foam shields are another option, and they’re often a little cheaper.
A suspension mount is a great way to stabilize your Yeti for use in any recording situation. The stand will isolate the Yeti microphone from shock, excess noise, and ambient vibrations.
Blue Yeti Alternatives for Singing / Recording Vocals
Perhaps you’d rather try something other than the Yeti, and that’s fine. As I mentioned, while the Yeti is great for recording vocals and singing, it’s not specifically engineered for that purpose.
Note: some of the following alternatives won’t be USB mics and will require a preamp interface in order to use with your computer or laptop.
The Rode NT1 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone, and it boasts impressive specs and an ‘extremely low noise’ claim. Recordings done with the NT1 are super crisp and professional, but the price tag reflects that.
While the NT1 is an XLR mic, requiring an interface, Rode also makes the NT USB, a USB compatible version of the NT1. The NT USB is cheaper, and comes with a pop filter, desk stand, ring mount, and storage pouch. But it lacks one major thing – a gain dial.
Compared to the Blue Yeti, it only has one polar pattern, and that’s the cardioid setting for direct front facing pick up.
Shure is possibly the best-known brand when it comes to microphones, and the SM58 might be the jewel in their crown. It earned its place by being tough and durable, having a built-in pop filter, a cardioid polar pattern, and a well-balanced frequency response.
It also has replaceable parts, so if anything should break or get lost, you don’t need to buy a whole new mic.
And it’s pretty inexpensive! But again, it is an XLR mic, So, yet again, you will need an interface to use it.
Perhaps the most important thing to take away from this article would be the fact that there are plenty of mics out there for your specific needs, but not many that can cover many bases in one.
The Blue Yeti can do that. And yes, it may only be USB and lack some of the high-fidelity sound quality that comes with more expensive XLR mics, but it’s perfect for beginners and bedroom producers who just want a quick and inexpensive way to get their singing down.
My advice would be to start with a USB condenser mic like the Blue Yeti if you’re a beginner or hobbyist. Save your money for the high-end stuff, when you really need it!