Blue Microphones Yeti Blackout Edition Review

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Hear me now…

Taking into account all the audio recording I do here at NGB, a good microphone is pretty much essential. Podcasts, video voiceovers and livestreams just wouldn’t be the same without you guys being able to hear my soothing tones ever so clearly. Okay, the soothing part is subjective, but you get what I mean. It’s a good thing then that I’m lucky enough to have the Yeti Blackout Edition from Blue Microphones at my disposal. Upgrading to this beast from the bog standard Microsoft chat headset was like going from my old Vauxhall Astra to a sexy new BMW 3-Series. Hey, don’t judge me, it’s a valid comparison! Basically, what I’m trying to say is that the Yeti is the best microphone I’ve ever used.

I’m no audiophile, but I’d like to think I know the difference between high quality audio output and medium or low. You just need to listen to our latest podcasts compared to some of the early ones to hear for yourself the difference using the Yeti has made to the audio from my side. It’s gone from okay and kind of tin-like to crystal clear. I never knew I could sound so good! I’ve also been using it for our recent barrage of video content on YouTube and the majority of livestreams on Twitch. The fact that some you have commented during livestreams, highlighting the improved quality of audio speaks volumes. Seriously, just click those links and have a listen.

The quality of audio aside, one of the best things about the Yeti is that it’s so easy to get up and running. You simply plug it into your PC, Mac or laptop and you’re pretty much good to go. Every single computer I connected it to via USB (this includes my PS4) picked it up within a few seconds and I was ready to record with the software of my choice (Audacity mainly). The same can be said about the different pattern settings too, of which there are four to choose from. Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional and Stereo are the choices, with a handy manual explaining which one to go for depending on what you’re doing. For me, it was mainly cardioid, meaning the microphone picked up sound directly in front of it. Given the main use for me was podcasts and video voiceover recordings over Skype; this was the most used setting. That said, occasionally, I did use omnidirectional or bidirectional when recording in a room with multiple people as these patterns allowed the microphone to pick up audio from different directions. It’s so easy to switch too, a simple twist of the dial, so you can play around a bit and test out what works for you.

Another handy thing is that you can plug headphones into the Yeti (3.5mm jack) and listen to what you’re recording in real-time. There’s absolutely no delay, meaning you can adjust settings on the fly if something is not to your liking. You’re in complete control, and that’s a consistent theme with the Yeti. Backing up the four patterns settings, you set the headphone volume, mute whenever you like and even playing around with the microphone gain. You can pretty much have the audio exactly to your liking, a feature I welcomed given the quality of microphone I was using before.

As mentioned briefly, I used the Yeti with my PS4 as well. It worked extremely well for livestream voiceovers, but wasn’t exactly the best option when playing online multiplayer. It had nothing to do with the quality of audio; that was great. All my friends could hear me clearly, but it wasn’t the most practical solution. You see, given the nature of the microphone, it picked up audio from my TV a little too well. This meant my friends heard me and the sounds coming from my TV, something that’s not great if you’re intending on having a long session of Destiny. I know the likes of Turtle Beach own the market, but I’d love to see Blue Microphones step in as a new contender with a dedicated gaming microphone/headset combo. The audio output via the microphone is great, so the base to work from more than is there.

The only other slight niggle is that the Yeti isn’t the most portable microphone. The device itself is pretty weight already, but throw the stand into the mix and you might struggle to carry it around if you’re looking for audio on the move. Apart from that though, the design is pretty slick, especially the Blackout Edition that I was went to put through its paces. The lovely all black metallic finish is simply gorgeous, standing out and looking great on any desk or table. It looks and feels like a proper piece of kit, complimenting the high quality of the microphone itself really well.

VERDICT

At £99.99, there a few microphones out there that will match let alone beat the Yeti Blackout Edition in terms of quality. Sure, it’s not the best solution if your sole purpose for it is online gaming with friends, but for everything else it’s pretty much faultless. It looks great and gives you plenty of options to tweak audio output to your liking. If you’re looking for a new microphone to satisfy your YouTube or livestreaming needs, look no further than the incredible Yeti Blackout Edition.

 

THE SPECS

Microphone and Performance

  • Power Required/Consumption: 5V 150mA
  • Sample Rate: 48 kHz
  • Bit Rate: 16bit
  • Capsules: 3 Blue-proprietary 14mm condenser capsules
  • Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Max SPL: 120dB (THD: 0.5% 1kHz)

Headphone Amplifier

  • Impedance:16 ohms
  • Power Output (RMS): 130 mW
  • THD: 0.009%
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 22 kHz
  • Signal to No

Specifications

  • Dimensions (extended in stand): 4.72″ (12cm) x 4.92″(12.5cm) x 11.61″(29.5cm)
  • Weight (microphone): 1.2 lbs (.55 kg)
  • Weight (stand): 2.2 lbs (1 kg)

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Windows

  • Windows 8 (Including 8.1), Windows 7, Windows Vista, XP Home Edition or XP Professional
  • USB 1.1/2.0
  • 64 MB RAM (minimum)

Macintosh

  • Mac OSX (10.4.11 or higher)
  • USB 1.1/2.0
  • 64 MB RAM (minimum)

Joint Editor-in-Chief of this wonderful place. Over 10 years of games industry experience on all sides of the fence and more! Huge Metal Gear fan and all-round geek.

@AsimTanvir

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