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February 19, 2010 - Dave Hecei
An external microphone is not something that everyone needs. If you just want to chat with a buddy across the country on iChat or Skype, the built-in mic on your Mac works just fine. If you need something a bit more professional sounding, maybe you are narrating a presentation or your latest photo slide show, then an external mic is the best way to go. Blue Microphones make some great products that work flawlessly on the Mac. Their latest product is the Yeti, a desktop USB mic with the honor of being the first to get THX-certified.
This is not a small mic, it stands 10-inches tall, on the included tabletop stand, and weighs about four and a half pounds. What makes this mic stand out is its versatility. Most microphones have a pickup pattern, or the direction and range it picks up sound. Mics used by radio station DJs have a narrow zone so that it doesn't pick up extraneous room noises. Then there are mics that pick up everything, which are called omnidirectional. The Yeti actually has four different modes it can work in: Stereo mode - picks up a left and right channel; Cardioid Mode - picks up sound only directly in front of the mic; Omnidirectional Mode - picks up everything; and Bi-directional Mode - picks up sounds in front and behind mic, which is great for doing interviews.
The Yeti does all this by having a three capsule array. It’s like getting three microphones in one package. Looking at the front of the Yeti there is a volume knob and a mute button. The bottom has a threaded stand mount, a mini USB port and a headphone jack, which allows you to monitor the sound output with zero latency. On the back there is a gain control knob and the 4-pattern selector.
Being a USB mic, the Yeti works with both Mac and Windows PC systems without any special drivers or software to install. It draws power from the computer so there are no batteries needed. Being THX certified means that the Yeti should have excellent sound quality capable of both voice and musical instrument recordings.
Yes there are less expensive models to choose from, but there are much more expensive ones too. The Yeti is moderately priced for the performance it provides, especially when you take in to account its ability to operate in multiple modes. For all you budding Podcasters and musicians, check out the new Yeti from Blue Microphones.
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