The Blue Yeti condenser microphone is perhaps one of the most widely used and most loved microphones at its price point. It is commonly used by artists, vloggers, and talk-show hosts alike. But, how can you get the absolute most out of your purchase? This article will cover how to get started with your new microphone, how to reduce noise with free software, and more.
Getting Acquainted with the Hardware
After unboxing the microphone and plugging in the micro USB cable, you will want to get associated with the hardware. When recording, do not face the top of the microphone directly towards you. Instead, have the top facing vertically. This is because the microphone is inside the device’s line parameter – making it what is known as a “side address microphone.”
The microphone offers two adjuster knobs on the side of the microphone stand to fold it inwards for storage or outwards for recording. On the front side with the Blue logo, you will find the mute button which glows solid red if audio is not muted. Below that you will find the headphone volume control. This controls the level of the volume output to headphones plugged into the microphone’s 3.5mm jack. On the backside there will be a knob for adjusting gain and one below it for changing the recording pattern. On the bottom of the microphone you will find a 3.5mm audio jack and a mini USB port.
Gain, simply put, is the level of allowed sound input to the microphone. This is as volume would be to speakers.
Gain can be adjusted via the central knob on the backside of the microphone and should be centered to start. The indicator will be vertical if gain is centered. Plug in a pair of earbuds or headphones to the bottom of the microphone (preferably noise canceling) to monitor the live audio feed. If you hear static or noise, adjust the gain down until the audio is more clear. Likewise, if directed audio is not crisp, bring the gain up. For a clearer listening experience, turn up the volume knob.
Stereo – Blue describes stereo as providing a “realistic sound image.” With the left and right channels active, any sounds from the front or back will not be too loud or overpowering. In a way, this is the best mode for a cleaner sound with more subtle highs. It is commonly used for recording sounds like guitar solos.
Cardioid – This mode uses the front-facing microphone to record directly in front of it. Its area of influence spans out like that of a cone and does not pick up well on sounds beside or behind it. This makes it one of the driving modes for how-to guides on the computer, gaming commentary, and monologues.
Omnidirectional – Omnidirectional uses all microphones within the dome to capture all sounds around it in an equal amount. This is great for recording live music or nature sounds.
Bidirectional – This mode is perfect for interviews. It uses the front facing microphone (where the logo is facing) and the one directly behind it to capture sound while disabling the two side microphones.
Recording Audio and Reducing Noise in Audacity
Audacity is free software for Mac and PC that allows for the simple functions of recording audio and reducing noise. The Blue Yeti can really pick up quite a bit of background noise, so while recording monologues in a quiet place to start is a great idea, you will want to apply a noise reduction to double up.
1. Start by downloading and running Audacity.
2. Select the Blue Yeti as the recording device from the drop-down menu. If it is not there, re-plug in the Yeti and restart Audacity.
3. Verify that the Yeti’s mute button is glowing solid red and press the red Record button in Audacity.
4. Wait about five seconds, then begin speaking. When you have finished recording, press the Stop button.
5. Now, click and drag to select the first five seconds of audio. This is the “silence” before you began speaking.
6. Click “Effect” from the menu bar, then “noise reduction.”
7. Select “Get noise profile” from the window.
8. Now select your entire audio track by clicking “Edit,” “Select,” “All.” Alternatively press “Command + A” (or “Control + A” for Windows/Linux) on your keyboard.
9. Again, select “Effect” from the menu bar and then “noise reduction.”
10. This time select “OK” from the menu box. That is it! Audacity will now reduce the small waveforms that were visible before the speech waveforms start.
With knowing the basics of using the Yeti, you are now ready to start creating. For overall better sound, you may wish to purchase a wind screen to prevent a loud “popping” when speaking in certain pitches. Also, consider a microphone stand to speak while standing. But, all in all, the Blue Yeti is nearly perfect for anyone looking to get started with sound.