Microphones are an important part of a home studio, so it makes sense to invest your money in a product that gives good returns and is bang on for the money you pay.
But finding the right product that not just fits your needs, but also gives a good return on your investment is difficult. There are many companies out there and each of them produces mics that are of good quality. So, how do you pick the ones that are ideal for you?
For starters, reviews like this help. Another way is to look at the company making a mic because each company carries a certain reputation based on the line of products it has.
Going by this aspect, Blue designs is a company that produces excellent quality mics that perform well and at the same time, do not cost much. Most times, they are a good value for your money.
To give you a better idea of the products that this company makes and also to show you two great mics that are available today, we will be reviewing Blue Yeti and Blue Yeti Pro in this article. As the name suggests, the latter is the next version of Blue Yeti and comes with certain additional features.
In order to get a detailed understanding of both these mics, let us delve into the comparison right away.
Blue Yeti vs Blue Yeti Pro – A Comparison
Table of Contets
In this section, we will be comparing the two product against different parameters to give you an in-depth understanding of which products perform well in which aspects.
Blue released its microphone called Yeti in 2010. This mic had some of the best features when compared with other mics of that time. It had a great sound quality, ease of use and versatility that made it instantly popular. This mic was also reasonably priced, so people really loved it.
Yeti came to be used not just for recording sound, but also for Skype calls and conferences. This mic could be easily plugged into a USB port and this further added to its popularity.
In 2011, Blue decided to come up with another mic called Yeti Pro that was nothing but an upgraded version of Yeti. In fact, both the mics were similar in design and performance because Blue did not find the need to change anything from its Yeti model. The only major addition in Blue Yeti Pro is that it had the ability to record sound four times faster than Yeti. Also, it came with an XLR cable besides the USB port.
Many people found these two aspects useful, so they made the switch to Yeti Pro while others simply decided to remain with Yeti. So, what should you do? Should you upgrade to Yeti Pro if you already own a Yeti. If you’re planning to buy one of the two, which one is a better choice?
Let’s find out.
The first thing you have to do set up the mic to make it a part of your audio system.
Now, there is a world of difference in how you set up both these mics.
In Blue Yeti, all that you have to do is open the package and do a simple plug and play. That’s it! You’re all set to start using your mic.
But keep in mind the same procedure doesn’t work in Yeti Pro. It is best you read through the instructions once as the manual is comprehensive and gives all the information you need for setting up your mic.
To set up Blue Yeti Pro, you have to download a driver. This driver could change depending on the operating system and version you have. These drivers are available only from XP to 7 in Windows and in Mac, you should have an operating system version of 10.6.4 or higher. These drivers do not work in any other device.
Once you download the driver, the rest of the setup process is more about adjusting the driver to meet the specifications. All this information is contained in the user manual, so refer to it when you are in doubt or if something doesn’t work the way it should.
If you’re wondering why there is so much difference in setup, you have to keep in mind that the transition between digital and analog is long and requires many changes from your end. Since Yeti Pro comes with an XLR cable, it also means that it has both digital and analog side to it. This is why its set up is complicated when compared to Yeti.
So, this long setup process doesn’t mean it is completely bad. It is just that the digital to analog process takes more effort and it is important to understand this aspect before jumping to any conclusion.
This is why we don’t think Yeti scores better than Yeti Pro when it comes to ease of setup. As said before, the setup process of Yeti is definitely simple, but Yeti Pro requires a little more effort for its analog side.
The design is an important aspect because this is what creates the first impression of a product. Every manufacturer spends considerable time and effort in coming up with an attractive design for their products, and Blue is no exception.
Both the mics, Blue Yeti and Blue Yeti Pro, look attractive and appealing in their own way. However, they are not identical despite being two consecutive versions.
In fact, there are many distinct differences in their design and appearance. Blue Yeti Pro has a retro black studio finish that gives a nice touch of luxury to it. In many ways, this mic looks similar to a 1960s tube processing equipment, except that is has a brassy patina. The design is overall different and appealing.
The standard Yeti mic also looks good. It has a silver finish and not exactly the retro black finish of Yeti Pro, but still, it looks nice and attractive.
One aspect that we don’t like in Yeti is the knobs and buttons. Somehow, they seem to be of a much lesser quality when compared to that of Yeti Pro, and it is also a little loose as well. This is a drawback in the standard version.
Another difference is that the volume controls on Yeti Pro is digital. it also spins infinitely, and the best part, your operating system remembers your last headphone level. All these simple aspects add a nice touch to the overall user experience. Unfortunately, none of this is present in the standard Yeti mic.
That said, the letterings on the standard version are big and easy to read, even in low light. This is particularly a useful aspect if you’re older in age and find it hard to read small lettering.
Other than this, many of the other design aspects are fairly similar. Both the mics have a bright red mute button that is hard to miss. This button can be quite handy when you’re recording music and want to mute out noises. This mute button blinks when in use, but only in the USB version of Yeti Pro and not in the cable version. So, this is something to keep in mind.
This discussion brings up the question of which of the two mics is better in terms of design. Yeti Pro is slightly better than Yeti in terms of build and the overall design. The idea of a retro look makes these mics more appealing than the standard ones. Also, the digital volume controls add a nice touch of usability to the mics. For these reasons, Yeti Pro is the winner.
Now comes another important metric used to figure out the better device.
We tested both the mics on equal ground. What we did is to record different sounds from different locations to see which of the two performed better.
After considerable testing, we find that Yeti Pro is smooth and flat whereas the standard Yeti has a little bit of bump, especially in the mid to high range. The Cardioid polar pattern in Yeti seemed to pick up sibilant sounds more readily than Yeti Pro. When it comes to recording voices though, both mics seemed to have the same self-noise level, though the Pro had a slightly smoother touch than the standard Yeti mic.
That said, both these mics did not do so well in some patterns, especially figure 8. The imbalance between the front end and rear end was visible evidently, so this is not something ideal for recording duets. This imbalance was present in both low and high bit rates, so this pattern is not something we would recommend with these mics.
Another test that had significant difference was the acoustic guitar. On the Pro, it was warm, smoother and we could easily identify that it was the acoustic guitar being played. But on the standard Yeti model, we heard a little bit of coloration and this even sounded harsh at higher volumes. Overall, we would not recommend the standard Yeti model for acoustic guitars as they sounded a little unpleasant.
Next, we tested with higher bit rates for the Pro and this is where the differences were huge. The standard Yeti model tends to be louder at higher-end frequencies and this is why there is substantial coloring and distortion. Yeti pro, on the other hand, uses higher quality ADC, which means, the distortion levels are quite low and the frequency is more balanced than we thought it would be. Overall, the Pro version definitely sounded better at higher bit rates.
When it comes to self-noise, both the mics performed well, though there were minor differences in sound output. Pro seemed to have a richer and smoother tone and felt like a large diaphragm condenser while the standard version sounded flat.
The final test we did was on vocals. On Yeti Pro, vocals sounded warm and like a professional condenser microphone. But on the standard one, there was a little bit of self-noise and the sibilance factor was also obvious. Also, the standard did not sound as warm as the Pro.
Now, here is a surprising finding. The standard version has a better output gain than the Pro version. Let’s say you record something in USB mode in standard Yeti mic, you have to turn up the gain on Pro to get the same level of recording. In other words, the standard model gets the same level of output at less than half the full volume whereas, in pro, you need to turn the volume to the maximum.
There is a difference in headphone monitor circuits as well between the two versions. Yeti comes with only a noisy and breezy low gain headphone amp, which means, it requires maximum gain for decent output levels. The Pro, on the other hand, had a dynamic and rich sound, and you do not have to turn the volume all the way up for this output.
So far in this comparison, Yeti Pro seems to score over Yeti in many areas. But before we conclude, we also decided to test the analog side of Yeti pro.
First off, the fact that Yeti Pro has both a digital and analog side gives it a ton of versatility. The mic’s noise level in analog is much lower when compared to the digital side. This means the analog output requires only a little bit of preamp gain.
Another huge advantage of tapping into the analog side of Yeti mics is that you can use EQ, pads, and filters on your console to give you the best possible output. This is no small feature because these mics double up as a digital mic too. What we mean to say is that Blue has not compromised on the analog side of Yeti Pro while working on the digital side. Both the aspects are equally balanced, so as a user, you have the option to switch between digital and analog, based on your recording needs.
One thing to note though, the mute and headphone button of Pro does not work when you are using the analog version.
Overall, the performance of both the mics is excellent, but if we have to decide between the two, it is Yeti Pro. The huge aspect is that it can record in both digital and analog formats and that is sure to give you a ton of flexibility. In addition, the overall recording sounded better on all our tests. The tones were richer and warmer when compared to Yeti, and this is something that substantially improves the quality of a recording. In addition, there was no distortion at the highest levels, unlike the standard Yeti, and this is another aspect that tilted the choice in favor of Yeti Pro.
Blue Yeti retails for a lower price whereas Yeti pro is more expensive. The big question is it worth paying this extra money for Yeti pro?
Depends to a large extent on your personal preferences, but Yeti Pro is worth the extra money because of the flexibility it offers. As we said before, Yeti pro works well in both digital and analog mode and this versatility can help you get more out a mic.
Besides versatility, the sound quality is also amazing. You can get rich and warm tones for the most and there is no distortion or coloration even at the highest volumes and these aspects enhance the overall quality of a recording.
All this doesn’t mean that the standard Yeti model is bad, it’s just worth spending more for a Yeti pro because of the many cool features that come with it. Yeti also justifies its price tag, as you get good value from the money you pay for these mics.
So, there is no winner here because both the mics offer excellent features for their price tag and are worth spending.
6. Blue Yeti vs Blue Yeti Pro – Pros and Cons
Let’s now quickly have a glance at the list of pros and cons of each product. This information can help you make the right decision, even if you are short of time.
Blue Yeti Pros
Advantages that come from using Blue Yeti are:
- Excellent sound quality.
- Flexible design.
- Multiple microphone patterns.
- Ideal for a home studio setup.
- Competitively priced.
- Setup is simple and easy.
Blue Yeti Cons
The shortcomings of the Blue Yeti are:
- Picks up quite a bit of sibilant noise.
- Mounting is tough, especially on uneven surfaces because the mounting stand is built a little awkward.
- Controls are flimsy.
Blue Yeti Pro Pros
The pros of Blue Yeti Pro are:
- Super versatile as it can be used for acoustics, vocals, singing, Skype, conference calls and so much more.
- Works great in both digital and analog modes.
- Sound quality is top notch with rich and warm sounds that are sure tot ake recording quality to new levels.
- The built is sturdy and is likely to last for a long time.
- The black retro finish adds a nice touch to these mics and they look attractive as well.
Blue Yeti Pro Cons
The cons of the Blue Yeti are:
- Takes a bit of time to set up because you have to configure it for both the digital and analog modes.
- It is quite large when compared to standard Yeti and other similar models available in the market today for the same price range.
Overall, we hope these pros and cons give you a quick idea about each product.
Blue Yeti vs Blue Yeti Pro – Final Verdict
Now that we have come to the end of this review, it is time to decide which of the two is better.
Going purely by performance, build and design, Yeti Pro is definitely the better choice and is the winner. Since it can be used both in digital and analog formats, it adds considerable versatility on how it can be used. The top-notch sound quality and the build also make it a worthy buy.
Though the standard Yeti model is not bad either, a handful of features in the Pro version makes the latter a better choice.
Yeti pro, however, is a little expensive, especially when compared to the standard Yeti model, but we think the price difference is worth what Yeti pro offers.
For these reasons, Yeti Pro is the winner of this review today.