Do you need a USB microphone? I imagine the answer for many people would be no. But an increasing number of applications — everything from iMovie to Skype — let you use a separate USB mike to capture sound at a much higher-quality level than what you’d normally get from the one built into your laptop computer. How much better? Well, the Yeti Pro, which sits at the top of the Blue Microphones desktop USB mike lineup, captures sound at a 192-kHz sampling rate with 24-bit resolution. That’s quite a bit higher than CD quality. High-rez sound capture might be overkill for Skype (one of Blue’s less pricey USB mikes would work better for that), but if you want to record live music or any other sonic event worth preserving, the Yeti Pro delivers as handily on sound quality as it does on the ease-of-use front.
The sizeable Yeti Pro’s solid aluminum base provides knobs to lock in the level of microphone tilt. Controls located on its side let you adjust gain as well as switch its condenser-capsule array between four recording patterns (Stereo, Cardioid, Omnidirectional, and Bidirectional). The flip side provides a mute button and headphone volume control. (A headphone jack for monitoring the mike’s output is located on its bottom. There’s also a USB port and a 5-pin connector for an included stereo XLR adapter that’s used to hook up to outboard analog gear.)
I checked out the Yeti Pro’s performance by using it with Apple’s GarageBand to record, well, my garage band. With the mike switched to Omnidirectional, the sound of guitars and vocals had much better detail than on the practice recordings we normally make with a Zoom H2 audio recorder. The kick drum, too, had better extension and punch, and vocals were noticeably clearer. Basically, the Yeti Pro made everything sound better — by a significant margin.
Know someone in need of an easy-to-use, all-in-one, great-sounding USB mike solution? I can’t see how anyone fitting that description would be unhappy to get their hands on a Yeti Pro. – Al Griffin
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