Field Report: Blue Microphones Yeti Pro

October 6, 2011

Blue Microphones always have a unique silhouette to their mics, but the company puts as much thought into the sound as it does the appearance. This shows in all its products, but it actually glows with the latest mic, the Yeti Pro. While attached to the included stand, it is almost a foot tall; with textured black and silver metal enclosing the body, the massive grill and Blue logo, it almost looks like a mic from the early days of studio recording. Yet it maintains a completely modern look.

Blue Microphones Yeti Pro

Moving on from how cool this mic looks, I put it to test. The Yeti Pro mic is a USB and XLR mic in one. It includes a stereo mic cable. The USB connection requires Mac OSX (10.6.4 or higher) or Windows XP or higher. If you use the mic on one of the Windows systems, a driver (available through the Blue Mic website) must be downloaded.

When using the mic in XLR mode phantom power is required. I should also note here that the mic operates one mode (XLR or USB) at a time, so only have the mic plugged into one destination at a time. All mic functions operate in digital mode, while in analog mode, the mute (which is activated by a button mounted on the front of the mic) and headphone out functions do not operate.

Once I had the driver installed and mic plugged in I went straight to my production software and started recording. I first explored the various settings/patterns for the mic: stereo, omni, cardioid and bi-directional. What grabbed me most was the quality of the stereo setting. I listened to the playback using the built-in headphone jack (the headphone amplifier works like a charm, it's almost like I had a complete studio with just this mic and my computer) and the stereo separation was perfect. I set the mic in the center of my living room and recorded a few minutes of audio. At one point in the recording a grandfather clock chimed, and the mic was set in place so that the clock was to the right. From where I was sitting the clock was on the left, but when I heard the chime on the recording, I was startled and looked to my right trying to find the clock. The sound was so clear that it was as if I was placed back in time to the time of the recording.

Performance at a glance
15Hz-22kHz frequency response
Multiple mic patterns
Up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution
Convenient access to mute and headphone volume
USB or XLR operation

The other settings work great in recording various aspects. For my vocal recordings I used the cardioid for recording straight scripted audio (in a podcast and for vocals for a spot to be aired) and the pattern worked great at eliminating side noise. It worked so well that I have now made this the permanent mic for my studio. I have a standby USB cable extension ready to use for when I want to directly record into my computer for tasks such as my podcasts. Blue just recently came out with a shock mount named the Radius. It is sold separately but works like a charm. The custom shockmount for the Yeti and Yeti Pro USB microphones combines cool vintage styling with rugged durability. The Radius isolates the microphone from ambient vibration. Used in conjunction with "the Pop" (Blue Mic's pop filter/windscreen) makes your recordings come out clean.

When I first started working with this mic I was using it in USB connection mode. I first thought that the mic was a bit much for USB. It is extremely rugged, in fact it feels like the casing is cast iron. The base that comes incorporated with the mic structure makes the mic have even more of a fixed mic system. But then I started using the mic in the XLR mode and I became overwhelmed with the excellence and versatility of this mic. Using the Radius shock mount, the Yeti Pro looked now like it was built exclusively for the studio and the sound captured by the mic further enforced that aspect.

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Handy uses

Use with table-top stand or shock mount

Use with table-top stand or shock mount

This mic came in handy when recording music because of the versatility of the settings: stereo for instruments or live recording, cardiod for vocals. The bands I recorded seemed impressed with the quality they were getting from just one mic. All we had to do was move one mic around rather than have several different mics to manipulate. I really liked the portability that the USB connection provides, in that I could just hook it up to my computer and do a multi-track recording literally in the field.

The omnidirectional mode was a feature I used while conducting an interview. When I heard the playback I was impressed by the entire ambiance sounds captured without over emphasizing the hisses and buzzes around the room. Even better was when I switched the mic to bi-directional figure 8. I conducted an interview with the mic between the subject and myself and nearly all ambient sounds were excluded and the interview sounded as if I was using two different mics.

When I recorded musicians I found out the mic was being limited to 16-bit/48Hz by the software. I quickly changed it to 24-bit/96Hz and the difference hit me like a brick wall. The sound coming out of the finished recordings with the higher resolution was a wall of sound hitting me.

Blue Microphones

This microphone is a pure professional microphone. Whether at home podcasting, producing audio via the USB connection, or in a studio using the XLR stereo out (with phantom power required), it reproduces true sound, looks good and is durable. This mic will be the choice mic for any production professional.

Wilson is an announcer, producer, webmaster and promotions guy at WAKO-AM/FM, Lawrenceville, IL, and an independent producer/voice talent.

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