Which Blue Mic to Get? Yeti or Snowball?

If you do any serious or semi-serious audio recording you’ve probably heard of Blue Microphones. Blue makes some of the best mics in the biz and all my experiences with them have been awesome. For the podcaster/home recording person who is looking for a simple USB mic that also sounds awesome, Blue has two mics for you the Snowball and the Yeti. Brad wrote a great review of the Yeti a bit a go, but what I’ve been wondering is whether I should upgrade from my Blue Snowball (which I’ve had for a couple years) to a Yeti. Well I think I have an answer for you now…

This morning (after finally figuring out what was causing an annoying hum in my recordings!) I set up theSnowball and Yeti side by side and opened GarageBand. I tried to keep everything as default as possible. Since the Yeti is a stereo mic, GarageBand defaults to it recording in stereo. The Snowball is a mono mic, so should I have recorded the Yeti in mono? I don’t think so because I think most folks will just keep it in stereo and enjoy.

Here is how the setup looked:

Here are the GarageBand export settings:

And here’s what the recording sounded like:

Snowyetiball by trishussey

Buying advice: If you’re on a budget, you can’t lose with the Snowball. It’s s great mic and I’ve recorded a ton of quality screencasts, podcasts, and voiceovers with it. However, if you have a little extra room in your budget the Yeti is worth every penny and more. The extra options for stereo, omnidirection, interview, and solo, plus the gain knob and the huge awesomeness of the sound make this a stellar mic for a range of uses. Well except for recording opera singers in the same room. My wife (even “marking”-holding back) blew out the mic even six feet away and with the gains cranked down. The quality … yeah it was awesome though.

Originally posted on the Future Shop Tech Blog

Comments

      • D.B. says

        @Tris: Excellent review! This was one of my deciding factors as to why I should upgrade my Snowball to a Yeti.  I picked up for a snowball on Ebay last year for around $50. I’m satisfied with its sound quality for the money I put into it. I’m not happy that it doesn’t work with Windows 7 Os (they had a bad batch in the beginning.) Works fine with Windows XP as I use it on a separate computer. Just purchased a THX labeled mic off ebay for $100. Excited!  I’m happy about the gain knob and the what I heard and read in your review. Dude, the Yeti just sounds better from what I see here!

        • says

          Do you know what?  I haven’t used the yeti yet – I love the idea of the gain knob. But I love my snowball. Granted, blue are absolutely useless at customer interaction – rather arrogant I think – but I did find a firmware update online, which remedies the glitches with the initial products & which also may help with your Windows OS problem DB.

          It is a quiet mic for sure – less sensitive perhaps – definitely compared to my AT. You have to position youself quite close. But I have actually opted to use it to record a professional audiobook of some 14hrs duration. I don’t use headphones (why would I – I wouldn’t be able to hear myself anyway with the snowball) & I like this as it makes the narration less self-conscious, as it would be if I were wearing cans. It is producing a very nice record. It is definitely not a redundant mic. I love it.

  1. says

    I’m not convinced that your test is totally valid. Every microphone has a “sweet spot” for positioning for voice work. You may have been in the sweet spot for the Yeti, but you were definitely not in the sweet spot for the Snowball. Granted, the Snowball is harder to use because of its awkward shape, but it can sound better than your test. You were far enough away from the Snowball that the room acoustics and lack of proximity effect were quite apparent. Also, was the Blue in cardioid?

    Nevertheless, thanks for the test. Just don’t take the Yeti as carry on for an airline.

    • says

      I agree that my test probably wasn’t perfect. I still think the Snowball is a great mic and now that I can use it with my iPad again, I’m happy to carry it around as part of a podcasting rig on the go.

      I’ve found that locating the sweet spot on the Snowball to be a challenge. Yep, I’ve found it before but often I know I’m just missing it. Also the fact that I can’t independently control on the gain on the Snowball makes it hard to even compare levels. It might not have been the best test, but I think it’s pretty good at giving you an idea of the differences.

  2. says

    The Snowball is a much older design, Blue’s first cheapie consumer mic, but while cool looking, I find it hard to think when I would recommend it over the Yet except on pure cost (tip: this post needs prices!) — and even then, a headset might do a better job for many people’s applications.

    That said, unless you just can’t stand or transport the extra wires, a standard XLR (pro connector) microphone and a separate USB interface — again, more cost — is vastly more flexible in so many situations. You usually get better D/A converters in a separate interface, have even more control over gain and other tweaks, and can even insert inline effects like compression or limiting before digitizing, which can save a lot of work for voice recording later.

    Plus, if you have an opera singer hanging around, you can get a high-quality dynamic or condenser microphone that can handle the high SPL (sound pressure level) — also generated by drums, guitar amps, brass, and so on. Other than testing, I haven’t found myself using a USB mic in the real world in years.

  3. S1ndydoll says

    Hmm. Well a stereo function is not relevant for a voiceover for instance.
    If the settings were left the same, no wonder the Snowball came out the poorer. You need to adjust your gain.
    The Yeti is newer sure, but it doesn’t discount the fact that the Snowball is a good mic, & happily used by professional VOs on the go.
    For boys who love their toys, newer is always better.
    But in reality, they are both excellent, but one has a gain control & a headphone jack (?), which are very handy functions.

  4. S1ndydoll says

    Hmm. Well a stereo function is not relevant for a voiceover for instance.
    If the settings were left the same, no wonder the Snowball came out the poorer. You need to adjust your gain.
    The Yeti is newer sure, but it doesn’t discount the fact that the Snowball is a good mic, & happily used by professional VOs on the go.
    For boys who love their toys, newer is always better.
    But in reality, they are both excellent, but one has a gain control & a headphone jack (?), which are very handy functions.

  5. S1ndydoll says

    Hmm. Well a stereo function is not relevant for a voiceover for instance.
    If the settings were left the same, no wonder the Snowball came out the poorer. You need to adjust your gain.
    The Yeti is newer sure, but it doesn’t discount the fact that the Snowball is a good mic, & happily used by professional VOs on the go.
    For boys who love their toys, newer is always better.
    But in reality, they are both excellent, but one has a gain control & a headphone jack (?), which are very handy functions.

    • says

      I agree, the Snowball is an essential part of my on the go recording toolkit and I still recommend the Snowball for basic recordings. So, no, the comparison isn’t exactly apples to apples, but if people are wondering what the difference sounds like, there you are.

  6. says

    Thanks for the review… this is what I had been looking for. For me, I think the Yeti seems to be the better option. On Amazon it’s $90 and the Snowball is $60… and the stereo ability alone is worth the extra $30.

  7. DehiXeM says

    I’m sorry for your mic xD Your wife has a powerfull voice!
    Thanks for the tip, I was hesitating between both and I think I’ll purchase the Yeti :)

  8. N_thu says

    Superb analysis, thank you. Invaluable in making a decision on which mic to buy, very noticable difference between the two mics.

  9. Rachael says

    hey did you ever figure out opera settings? i had the same issue, either w/ operatic recordings or full chest voice belting out, the yeti just totally putters out w/ this, suggestions?

  10. John says

    how did you find the hum… thats the problem im having with my macbook pro.. in mode 1 and 2 i get a buzz and on the 3 its perfect.. thanks

  11. stephenrdbuss says

    Thank you for this. Great example. I really wasn’t sure. Is the Yeti any good when recording with a group of people and would you suggest a few popper covers for each person?

  12. Claude Fratto says

    I also thank you so much for the comparison. Have been looking for a new mic for my voice-over, on a budget. I really like the snowball, but with the differences noted, and the sound, I’ll have to “splurge” for the yeti. It’ll be worth it though, I’m sure. I want to use it with my iPad, so I have all the connections I need, I think.
    Not sure if I’ll use garageband, or something else. Any ideas?

  13. jonathan says

    i was thinking on getting the snowball because it was cheaper but now hearing the difference i think im gonna get the yeti.

  14. says

    Thank you, You’ve helped me to make the final decision. I’m doing video marketing tutorials on my blog, and your review helped me to get the yeti mic.
    Thanks again.

  15. Freddie Daniells says

    Thank you so much for this…as a novice to the whole area and wondering whether I should pay up for the Yeti, you have clearly given me my answer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>