Last year I reviewed the Yeti USB microphone. At the time, I really liked the microphone, and over the last year using it, my opinion of it has only improved. Honestly, when it comes to my needs, the Yeti was definitely a 10. When they released the Yeti Pro, I was intrigued to see what they did to improve on it, and fortunately I was offered the opportunity to review one.
So, as the philosopher Nigel Tufnel once observed: “You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, … Where can you go from there? Where?” Where indeed. Let’s take a look at the Yeti Pro, and see how it compares to it’s non-pro cousin.
The Yeti Basics
Just like the Yeti, the Yeti Pro has a triple capsule design that can be used to cover four different recording patterns:
The Yeti Pro Additions
The first thing you will notice about the pro is color. The pro is decked out in black instead of the silver finish of the original Yeti.
The black finish is a nice touch, and the stand on the Yeti Pro also has a titanium finish. There is no longer a THX logo on the front of the microphone. I asked about this, and the rep explained that the THX certification for microphones is not continuing, but all the specs on the Yeti Pro meet or exceed the Yeti.
A less cosmetic change are the connections. The Yeti Pro has the USB and Headphone jack of the Yeti, but also adds a stereo XLR jack on the bottom.
It also retains the standard threaded mic stand mount.
As with the Yeti, and other blue products, a lot of thought and design went into the packaging. The Yeti comes with a short manual, an XLR breakout cable (for the right and left channels of the XLR output) and a USB cable.
Not only is the packaging design attractive, it is also very informational. They include a nice chart to break down which of the four recording patterns are best for different applications.
Having XLR outputs is enough to label this a Pro, but they also bumped the specifications of the microphone. Here are the specs for the Yeti Pro, with the Yeti’s in blue and parenthesis where different:
Power Required/Consumption: 5V 500mA (USB)/48V DC (analog) (up from 150mA)
Sample Rate: 192 kHz (up from 48 kHz)
Bit Rate: 24bit (up from 16bit)
Capsules: 3 Blue-proprietary 14mm condenser capsules
Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Sensitivity: 4.5mV/Pa (1 kHz)
Max SPL: 120dB (THD: 0.5% 1kHz)
Impedance: >16 ohms
Power Output (RMS): 130 mW
Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 22 kHz
Signal to Noise: 114dB (up from 100dB)
As with the Yeti, setup with the Yeti Pro was fairly simple. It is a little different in terms of drivers, but I was able to plug and play on my MacBook Pro, and after installing the driver for Windows 7, had not issue using the microphone with Bootcamp on my MacBook Pro.
The Yeti Pro has a dial to control gain (sensitivity) and the recording pattern on the back of the microphone:
The front of the microphone contains controls to mute the microphone and to control the volume on the headphone:
These controls only work when you are using the microphone in USB mode. If you are using the XLR connections, the headphone volume and mute do not work. The Blue tech I talked to explained that the this part of the microphone is powered by the USB port, so naturally they are not available in XLR mode. This should not be an issue, though, as all those functions are better controlled on the mixing board when using the XLR connections.
When using the USB connection, a solid red light on the mute button means the microphone is on and working, a blinking light means that mute is on. I find this an odd way of displaying the information. If the the LED was not on the button, I think it would make more sense. It does not take long to keep that straight, though. Also, since volume can now be controlled digitally, the volume button does not have a clear minimum or maximum setting. You simply turn clockwise to make it louder, and counter-clockwise to make it softer.
I have replaced my Yeti with the Yeti Pro and have had no issues with the new microphone. I think my demonstration from my review of the original Yeti on recording patterns still suffices for those features.
Unfortunately, I am not a pro, so I can’t really show off the difference in quality. My primary use for a microphone is to record audio for web-delivered content. Frankly, the higher sample and bit rates offered by the Yeti Pro are not going to be readily apparent in my use of the microphone, since I tend to compress the audio and was not utilizing the full quality from the Yeti. I guess the best analogy is my dSLR. Sure I take a 10 Megapixel picture, but by the time I resize them for the web, you are not getting the full effect. However, it captures more information when I first take the picture, so the end-result is better than my camera phone.
Is It One Louder?
As I mentioned up top, I was a huge fan of the Yeti, and I wondered how will they would improve it. Did it go to 11? Actually I think it goes to 12. The bump in specifications (even if I can’t fully exploit them for my applications) takes it to 11, and then the addition of the XLR output takes it to 12.
I am not a professional musician, but I have good friends who are. I have also filled in on sound boards at times, so I know professionals can get a little sentimental about their microphones. The flexibility of using this microphone as a USB mic in casual settings, and then turning around and hooking it up to a professional sound board should be appealing to pros and semi-pros.
Is It Worth It?
The answer to this is the universal answer: it depends. If you are looking to have the best microphone you can for USB, Blue has taken their top-of-class Yeti and made it more responsive. If you are looking for the ability to go beyond USB and hook up your microphone to a professional sound board, the stereo XLR output will be worth it. If you need a microphone for recording podcasts, and you don’t need the XLR outputs, then you are probably better off saving a $100 and sticking with the Yeti. You are not really settling with that microphone.