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How to setup a Blue Yeti microphone

Having issues with your Blue Yeti microphone? This is a good place to start.

Image: Blue Microphones

I’ve heard people say how a microphone ain’t that important in a gaming session. I just roll my eyes so hard at that, cause, why argue? Now, for the sane lot of you, I can safely say that this is…well, you know what.

There’s a heated argument out there on why it is important to have a microphone, no wait, why it is important to have a good mic, and people suggest all sorts of things.

Now, we can all agree that the blue yeti microphone is definitely among the best, if not the best budget microphone out there.

And as you can probably guess, what comes next is a detailed procedure on how to set up the Yeti Microphone and fully enjoy its sound quality.

A Brief Detour

OK, I know you want me to go straight to the facts. But, before I do that, I need to give you some general facts on the Yeti Pro stereo microphone.

The Yeti microphone from the Blue Microphones family is typically advertised as the world No. 1 USB microphone that can be used for all sorts of things. Still, advertising is one thing and practice another.

However, as someone who’s had the blue yeti USB microphone for quite some time, I can safely say it’s good for all your purposes. Nay, excellent.

I’ve used it for recording, streaming, gaming, video calls. Hell, my sister even used it for some of her blog videos. This thing really gets the job done! I’ll stop praising it right now and will just focus on some facts. So…

Specs and Key features

I’m sure you checked these already if you considered purchasing a mic as an addition to your gaming equipment. Though, can’t hurt to repeat it here so you have all the facts together.

USB Cable Yeti Pro Stereo Microphone Specs

As for the yeti stereo microphone belonging to the condenser microphones group, these are some of the facts you need to take into consideration.

  • Dimensions (with corresponding stand): 4.72″ (12cm) x 4.92″(12.5cm) x 11.61″(29.5cm)
  • Weight (yeti mic): 1.2 lbs (.55 kg)
  • Weight (stand): 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
  • Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo
  • Required Power / Consumption: 5V, 150mA
  • Sample Rate: 48 kHz
  • Bit Rate: 16-bit
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Capsules: 3 Blue-proprietary 14mm condenser capsules
  • Max SPL: 120dB (THD: 0.5% 1kHz)

As we can see, the Blue Yeti or the Yeti microphone ain’t that compact. It will take some space on your desk so you need to plan carefully where you’ll put it.

Even though it is mostly recognized as a Yeti stereo microphone, the Yeti mic actually works in different polar patterns. Let me explain. (Briefly, I promise!)

Polar Patterns of the Blue Yeti Mic

If you have any uncertainties on what these are, then know that this is actually the space around the mic capsule where the mic is most sensitive to sound sources. In layman’s terms, this is where the mic gets sound from or sends it to.

If you wonder why this is important to you as a gamer, well, think about this – you have to know this so as to set up the microphone properly later on. Now, the Yeti Condenser Mic operates in four different modes as indicated in the specs above.

  1. Cardioid mode – this means that the mic is the most sensitive at its front side, lesser to the sides and the rear is completely disregarded. This is why this mode is the best for gaming, cause you’ll have to speak directly into the mic.
  2. Bidirectional mode – I think the name says it all. The sound goes two ways. Great for interviews.
  3. Omnidirectional mode – Yeah, exactly, the sound comes from and goes in all directions.
  4. Stereo mode – this would be your best option when you need the clearest possible separation of the sounds coming from the left or right side.

As you can see, the yeti pro works in all modes. Still, for gaming purposes, the cardioid mode will most likely be your first (and best) option.

Other

Now that I’ve introduced you to the microphone specs and functionality features, let me just share a few more details, so you can better understand later on how to actually set up the blue yeti mic.

Headphone Jack with Volume Control

Among a variety of USB microphones (plugged in through a USB cable) that you opt for, always make sure that it has a headphone jack.

This will be highly useful if you want to, let’s say, monitor the recording or stream without any delays (of course you want).

Another reason why I like these blue microphones (Yeti) is that they feature the headphone volume knob right on the front so it’s easily accessible and you don’t have to pause your gaming session.

Mute Button

Ah, this is a great one! You get excessively annoyed and you just don’t want the audience to listen to your ranting; well, just mute the microphone.

Yeti Pro has this excellent feature/button followed by a red LED that flashes when the microphone is muted. When the microphone is operating normally, the LED signal will be constantly on.

Gain Control

For the unaware ones, when we talk about mic gain, we are talking about microphone sensitivity. In the case of our Yeti Pro stereo microphone, we’re discussing here, this feature is controlled by a special dial (gain knob) placed at the back of the microphone.

In the majority of cases (i.e. other microphones connected via USB cable) you would have to go for a software addition to regulate the gain. Luckily, with the Blue Yeti microphone, the gain knob is already included so you have quick access.

If you aren’t sure why this is important, well just imagine a sudden background noise irrelevant to your gaming session (people getting loud, let’s say). In this case, just turn the gain knob down, diminish the background noise and avoid peaking and/or overloading your microphone.

You’re welcome!

Plug&Play

Did I mention before that blue yeti or the yeti stereo microphone is connected to the pc systems by a simple USB cable?

Why of course I did! Now you will ask and why the heck is this relevant? Well, for one…you will need no drivers or software to use Blue Yeti. Yeah, it’s rather simple to set it up is what I’m trying to tell you.

Once you plug the USB cable into the right USB port, just select Yeti stereo microphone from the audio settings and you’re good to go. And, for those who want more from their Blue Yeti, Blue also offers software that enables you to get various microphone updates (gain, pick up, etc.).

Any Additional Power?

No. If you wondered whether our little yeti requires any phantom power, I am more than thrilled to say No. The cable it comes with does all the job, so you’re good.

Now that we’ve dealt with the facts and details of the blue yeti mic, it’s finally time to deal with the blue yeti microphone settings. Let’s go.

Setting Up the Blue Yeti – How To?

yeticaster broadcast microphone kit
Image: Blue

From all the previous writing, I believe you already have some ideas about what happens after you hit the microphone cable into the right USB port. It’s setting time! So, how do you do it?

You can’t but think whether system preferences have any impact, do you need any software (let’s say recording software), and what about the XLR adapter, et cetera, et cetera. Naturally, you need to thing hardware and software set up with any microphone, Blue Yeti included. One step at a time!

Hardware Setup

On multiple occasions throughout the text, I mentioned that our blue yeti, AKA yeti microphone, is simply plugged in via USB cable. In practice, this means that with PC and Mac systems, we’re talking about a typical plug&play microphone.

Accordingly, this member of the blue microphones family is compatible with MAC OS X (10.4 and higher), XP Professional, Windows 7 and 8 (8.1 included), XP Home Edition, and Windows Vista.

To sum up, in terms of hardware settings, you will simply need to plug the USB cable of the blue yeti into the USB port and you’re done. As simple as that!

Software Settings

Before I go into details, there is one thing I need to point out. Many of the reviews and tips on how to use the Yeti Mic will tell you that you will need to download the drivers and then restart your computer.

However, this ain’t true. The Yeti stereo microphone works without these. Now, after you’ve plugged it in, let’s see what the next steps would be. Of course, these will slightly vary depending on what kind of operating system that you’re you using, not to say your system preferences.

Setup Example – Windows

OK, seeing how Windows software products are similar (oh, what a blasphemy!), I will not waste your time by going through the variations. You’re smart, you’ll get the hang of it.

After you’ve successfully plugged in the yeti mic, your next step will be to get to the control panel and select control panel, whether through the Start menu or the Charms bar.

Once you open control panel, click or double click Hardware and Sound or just Sound (represented by the speaker icon). After you select Sound, select the playback tab first and select Yeti stereo microphone. Pay attention that under the playback tab, some Windows software will require to set yeti as default.

Then, click the recording tab and choose Yeti stereo microphone. Some Windows products will require you to set yeti as default in the recording tab too. After you’ve done this, just press OK, and that’s about it.

Setup Example – Mac

Just for the sake of comparison, these are the steps that you need to follow in the case of mac. Once the USB cable of the Blue Yeti microphone is connected, you need to click the Apple menu and then click System Preferences.

After this, select sound (as represented by the speaker or sound icon), and in the output tab choose Yeti stereo microphone in the field Select a device for sound output.

Repeat the procedure in the input tab (click it, select yeti microphone as a device for sound input) and exit preferences. You and your yeti microphone are now all set! But, don’t worry, we’re not nearly done!

Setting Up Blue Yeti Mic for Streaming

blue yeti nano
Image: Blue Microphones

Cause, that’s what we’re here for! As said in the intro section, streaming without a microphone ain’t complete, whichever of the streaming software that we’re talking about.

The audience wants and needs to hear your ranting when facing the latest overlord (and, being beaten by it). If you mean business, such streams will attract more audience, so good for you. Here we go – step by step!

  • Choose the right mode.

If you aren’t sure which one that is, well, cardioid is the one to go for.

I explained earlier all the modes that the Blue Yeti operates in, but the optimal setting (audio-wise) for streaming with the right sound quality for your audience is this mode.

You will find the knob that regulates modes at the back of the microphone, so just set it at a seemingly heart-shaped symbol. This one represents the sound and audio reception and distribution ways so your audience can hear you properly.

  • Regulate Noise Sources

Clean audio without an undesirable sound source is a prerogative. Just as an example, you’re fully committed to a quest, and your audience is all engaged in your narrative, but instead of hearing your voice and your voice only, they also hear your keyboard clacking. Such a turn-off!

I will now safely assume that you’ve set the mode to cardioid which is excellent at “ignoring” these side sounds. However, if you still think that some ambient sounds might be an issue, you better take care of it. A clock ticking? Just remove its batteries. Better safe than sorry!

  • Speak Into the Mic Side

Whether the mic is attached to a recording device or gaming equipment, you should always speak into its side. Yes, you do need to speak into the dome – not into its top though, but into its side where you see the Blue logo.

This is actually the definition of a side-address microphone, seeing how Blue Yeti is one of them.

For example, if you were to use the Blue Yeti to make a recording of you playing the guitar or any other musical instruments, you would also place the mic so the front side (where the headphone jack and mute button are) faces the instrument.

  • Mind the Gap!

Yeah, the distance is crucial. You don’t want to be too close (you’ll kill the audience with (ex)plosives), but you don’t want to sound distant either. The tolerated distance is 4 to 10 inches (100 mm to 250 mm), but the ideal one is 8 to 10 in. (150-200 mm).

If you are within this optimum range, the audio recording that you make will be clearer since you can turn the gain at the lower values and the background noise will be eliminated.

  • Seek More Gain

And ye shall be given! Ever heard of people complain about their sound, i.e. audio, recordings sound bad? That’s because they can’t set the gain right. It’s sad, but it’s true.

Some might say the more the merrier, but in the case of gain, the higher gain level is better for the recording studios where all the background and ambient noise is eliminated.

Seeing how most of you will record and stream from your home, to make great audio, the practice shows that turning the gain knob halfway between the minimum and half the strength is best, provided that you sit just a tad closer to the mic.

The proper sound source (in your case, sources) will be a-plenty and the gain regulation will help you here.

Let’s say you turn the gain to the highest. In this way, yeti will pick up ALL the sounds, leaving one big mess and too much sound to be processed and your sound card might not take this.

This is why you should turn the gain to let’s say a quarter of its pre-designed gain levels and with such an optimal setting eliminate any redundant audio input.

  • Make Your Yeti Soar

Seriously, take it off of your desk! You bump your leg on the desk, the cooling fan is vibrating, you fidget on the chair and clack away on the keyboard – this is just the unnecessary noise inevitably picked up by Blue Yeti.

The consequence is the audio recording of poor quality with plenty of impurities. By lifting the mic, the majority of these issues are solved and you are left with impeccable audio recording. The best thing of all – the mic already has the required mounting holes so you don’t have to make science about it.

  • Give a Shot to Blue Sherpa

Seriously, this companion app (i.e. software) is an excellent addition to your mic. Besides allowing for the mic to update at regular intervals, it will also help you establish better control over monitoring levels and gain. Of course, the final result will be an audio recording of higher quality.

  • Use Protection

For your mic, dummy; I’m talking about your mic. When you make an audio recording of any kind, you want it to be as clean as possible. You also want all the sounds you pronounce to be heard equally.

Yes, I am referring to the plosives issue – t, d, p, and b sound. These are a blast! To get a clean sound and protect the ears of your listeners, the blue yeti already has the mic grill installed.

But, take my word, this won’t suffice. Get a pop filter and get it now. This will diminish the strength of plosives and will make your audio and sound recording more pleasing to the ear.

  • Get Headphones Too

This output device will be a welcoming addition since it will help you monitor your sound. See it as self-criticism.

It’s better to monitor your audio recording yourself and see if you’re making any mistakes than to see a comment about how your streams are great but your audio sucks.

The headphones will help you check the playback volume and output volume so you know what’ll work best for your audience. Practically, you’ll be one step ahead.

  • Test, Test, and ALWAYS Test

Seriously, before you go recording live with the latest blue yeti stereo mic, make sure to run a trial recording. I ain’t kidding. This will tell you if you set the mode right if the gain is at the right level or the mic picks up more than it should.

Also, you will know if the pop filter is doing its job, et cetera, et cetera. So, a test recording is your best friend in this case.

Final Word

So, my friend gamers, if you wondered whether the Blue Yeti is all worth it and whether it does the job, I believe I helped you draw the right conclusion – it is and it does.

Most of all, I was happy to share with you how to set it for use generally and moreover, how to set it up for streaming, cause that’s why we’re here. Now, grab one Blue Yeti right now and give your audience memorable audio!

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

Editors’ Recommendations:

Editor’s Note: Stefan is a long-time content creator and one of the Stream Mentor’s co-founders. He’s a tech geek and a Dota 2 player (not even good) who wanted to help others become professional streamers and earn from the comfort of their home.

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