If there’s one name synonymous with live streaming setups, it’s Blue. In a marketplace that is awash with choice, Blue’s range of microphones is a go-to option for anybody who wants an assurance of quality. Yet, with at least 7 USB options already available from Blue, is there room for more choice? Blue seems to think so, with the release of the Blue Yeti Nano.
Billed as the smaller of the Yeti species, the Yeti Nano is an obviously paired down version of the Blue Yeti and Yeti Pro, which Chris reviewed last year. It comes in the same secure packaging and professional box that you’d expect from Blue. Granted this doesn’t come in the same swish veneered box as the Spark but this is an entirely different beast. This particular iteration is visibly smaller than the full sized Yeti, losing around half an inch in height, even while connected to its stand. The Nano also manages to feel significantly lighter than its namesake, weighing barely 1.39 lbs when hooked up to its stand. While this is true, the Yeti Nano does not feel like a budget option when you get to grips with it.
IN THE BOX
Getting things out the box and setup together isn’t particularly difficult and the Yeti Nano immediately feels solid when freed from its protective foam. The Nano has a more tapered form than the Yeti but it is just as sturdy. Metal construction provides a premium feel to the young pretender and this continues with the solid base stand that simply screws into the mic. This all makes for a relatively simple setup and if you, like far too many of us, simply discard the manual you would be hard pressed to botch anything with the Yeti Nano.
The USB powered mic comes with just a few external controls. A pronounced volume button on the front of the mic controls volume and acts as the mute, while two smaller push buttons on the back vary the microphones polar pattern. The bottom of the Yeti Nano houses a micro USB port, a screw thread that will fit most tripods, and a 3.5mm headphone jack for monitoring purposes. While Blue recommend downloading their Sherpa software, connecting the Yeti Nano is as simple as depositing the device on your desk and plugging it into a compatible USB port. If a boom stand is available, then Blue provide a 3/42 mount that fits most standard arms and shock mounts.
- Microphone Type: 2 Propriety Blue Condenser Capsules
- Polar Patterns: Cardioid and Omnidirectional
- Frequency response: 20-20Khz
- Sensitivity: -37db (1Khz, 1Pa, 0dB=1Va/Pa)
- Max SPL: 110dB
- Sample Rates: 16 bit and 24 bit
- Connectivity: USB 1.1/2.0/3.0
- Power Requirement: 5V 50.5mA
Once it’s hooked up and recording, the Yeti Nano manages to handle sound almost as well as its larger relatives. Sitting somewhere between the Blue Snowball and Yeti, it houses two of Blue’s own condenser capsules. Like all of Blue’s streamer focused range, these condenser capsules are fantastic for vocal recording, podcasting, and streaming. My own Blue Snowball houses two of these condenser capsules, but the Nano is far from a reskin of that distinctive piece of kit. The Nano, like the Yeti, can record audio at 24 bit / 48kHz while the Snowball only manages a maximum of 16 bit / 44.1Khz recording.
This makes the Yeti Nano an obvious setup up from the Snowball and makes it somewhat indistinguishable from the Yeti. While the full-size Yeti and Yeti pro provide a slightly warmer tone you’ll be hard pressed to tell them apart in most podcasting scenarios. The Snowball produces a harsher sound, putting the Yeti Nano nearer its bigger relatives than anything else. For a bit of fun, I recorded a couple of quick samples of the Yeti Nano and Snowball side by side to demonstrate.
Despite the fantastic audio and a premium feel, the Nano does make some compromises. With just two condenser capsules the Nano is capable of recording in two distinct polar patterns, as opposed to the Snowball’s three and the Yeti’s four options. These are, however, the two modes any podcaster is most likely to use. As expected cardioid polar mode means front facing vocals are crisp and the omnidirectional configuration allows for ambient 360-degree audio pickup in situations like live performances, multi-person podcasts, and conference calls. For single streamers, this is not going to feel like a compromise in any way. By opting to dispense with niche settings like the figure of 8 pickup and cardioid -10dB, which I’ve rarely seen anybody use, the Yeti Nano cuts back on complexity without making any real-world dip in quality from the Yeti.
By trimming back on the full-fat Yeti, the latest Blue mic made for a perfect traveling companion while the team hopped over to Gamescom for the week. With a laptop for a studio, we were able to throw the Yeti Nano in a spare bag without any real hassle and quickly record voiceover work. It’s also worth noting that in a pinch we also had the option of utilizing an OTG cable and an android phone for audio action. Simply put, if you travel lots or simply have limited desk space this makes for a great addition to your setup.
All in all, the Yeti Nano reproduces the same exceptional performance and build quality that defines the full-size Yeti, without any extraneous features. There are no hidden XLR slots, no extra connectors, and no strange polar modes thrown in. The solid construction and fantastic audio quality make it an appealing feature for your desk. If you are looking for quality recording without the fat, then make space for the Yeti Nano.
- great construction
- same great sound as the Yeti
- portable form factor
- some loss of functionality