If one name is synonymous with game streaming, Blue might be it when it comes to audio. The microphone company is one of the most widely used brands for streamers, podcasters and budding recording artists alike. The Blue Yeti microphone is one you’ll see used time and time again when flipping through the Twitch channels. But can you improve upon what is considered as the standard for most streamers?
Enter the Yeti X, the latest USB microphone from Blue. At first glance the mic doesn’t look much different than the traditional Yeti, but the X does have some features that make it worth a glance for those who are serious about their recording needs.
- Power required/consumption: 62 mA – 203 mA
- Sample/bit rate: 48 kHz, 24-bit
- Capsules: 4 Blue-proprietary 14 mm condenser capsules
- Polar patterns: cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, stereo
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
- Max SPL: 122 dB
- Impedance: 13 ohms min, 16 ohms typical
- Power output (RMS): 72 mW RMS per channel
- THD: 70 dB (0.03%)
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
- Signal-to-noise: 100 dB
- Dimensions (extended in stand): 11 cm x 12.2 cm x 28.9 cm (4.33" x 4.80" x 11.38")
- Weight (microphone and stand): 1.28 kg (2.8 lb)
- Weight (microphone only): 0.519 kg (1.14 lb)
- Price: $169.99 pre-order Best Buy (estimated release October 2019)
At first glance, the Yeti X looks almost identical to its cheaper counterpart. However, on closer inspection the difference are apparent. The Main gain knob is on the front of the mic as opposed to the back and is surrounded by LEDs to give metering info to the user. Instead of a separate mute button, simply press the gain knob to silence the Yeti X. On the back are the different modes – but instead of a knob a button is in its place. A press cycles between the four patterns – cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, stereo. The Yeti X also uses four condenser capsules to the Yeti’s triple array.
However, what truly helps set the Yeti X apart from its cheaper counterpart is how it’s fully customizable using Logitech’s G Hub software – specifically the VO!CE software. Within the software you can customize everything from setting up custom or pre-made voice profiles down to the individual LED colors on the mic itself. It can be a bit daunting for those who don’t really know what they are doing, but the level of control the software gives makes learning what each slider does well worth the effort.
I really enjoy the different presets as well. The idea of creating a podcast that sounds like an old AM radio broadcast has always interested me – and with the VO!CE app I can easily do so now. If someone wants to create their own custom sound profile, or take our unwanted hiss using the de-esser feature, the new VO!CE software provides plenty of options for audiophiles to go nuts.
But how does it sound?
In my initial testing, I found that the mic was gating itself – using the cardioid setting for streaming or calls for work I was told by those on the other end it was cutting off the end of each sentence. Once I was able to figure out the gain settings and the distance the mic needed to be from my mouth, however, that stopped. What I was met with was crystal clear audio – in fact, audio that sounded better than my original Yeti. You can check out the audio clarity in a recent stream we did for MMORPG where I used the Yeti X as my microphone.
That isn’t to say it won’t pick up background noise either. Indeed as I type this I can see the meter moving with each keystroke – as well as when a loud portion of the anime my daughter is watching next to me flares up. But during real-world use I found it to be minimal compared to its predecessor, which is a marked improvement for me.Background noise is also at a minimum, which is something I really wanted to ensure the Yeti X was blocking. Even the Yeti would pick up the fan in my office or the clacking on my mechanical keyboard. However, the Yeti X barely picked up the keyboard and I couldn’t hear the fan at all – which is a marked improvement over the Yeti. Part of this could be attributed to the set-up – I have the Yeti X on a boom arm in front of me, meaning the mic array the cardioid setting is using is simply pointed directly at my face only. However, being able to monitor the levels of the mic while I’m using it at a glance helps when determining the gain during any major moment. If I noticed peaking, I can easily tweak this to compensate.
My friends who stream with me constantly also noticed a improvement in clarity, mentioning the mic sounded better than the Yeti I was previously using. And when all the bells and whistles of the mic are set aside, that is the portion that is most important – does the mic sound better than the cheaper Yeti? In my experience it does.
If you own a Yeti already, should you upgrade to the Yeti X? It really depends. For some it may not offer a substantial enough improvement over the Yeti that dropping $169.99 on a new mic makes sense. However, if you’re in the market for your first broadcaster mic or in need of an upgrade, I can’t recommend the Yeti X enough. Its clear audio and ability to finely tune every aspect of your mic makes it a standout in the under $200 range. For those looking for a top quality microphone for their gaming or content creation needs, the Yeti X is definitely one of the mics to have at the top of your shopping list.
- Excellent sound quality
- The LED meters on the mic help give real-time info on your voice levels
- Blue software integration gives a ton of minute control over your audio and mic profile
- Software might be a bit complex for a novice user to jump into