Price (RRP): $299
Manufacturer: Blue Designs
I review a lot of stuff. And it’s rare that I actually fall in love with the object of the review. But the Blue Yeti X microphone is something that I’ve truly fallen in love with.
So why do I love the Blue Yeti X microphone?
It’s not its styling that has made me fall in love, although it looks fine. Neither is it the Blue Yeti X microphone’s features, although they’ve very strong. Nor, even, is it the microphone’s performance, which as we shall see is first class.
No, it is the Blue Yeti X microphone’s reliability.
It has been plugged into my computer for weeks. During that time, I’ve done video conferencing several times with, seemingly, the other end demanding the use of different software on each occasion. And every time the microphone has just worked. Each time I’ve finished off the discussion by asking the other end what they thought of the audio quality from my end. And each time they’ve been pleased with it.
Audio stuff has a habit of needing occasional disconnection and reconnection to work reliably. Not the Blue Yeti X. It seems that it just sits there, always ready.
Blue Yeti X description
Well, you can see where I’m coming from in this review. But what is it that am I talking about?
You will recall that the Blue Yeti is a line of USB microphones, particularly popular with podcasters. That is, with people who want high quality desktop microphones which are affordable, reliable and easy to use. Indeed, we’ve reviewed some other models in the line over the past couple of years, here and here and been impressed.
The Yeti X is a step up from the main Yeti model. It has four 14mm condenser capsules rather than three. This permits it considerable flexibility in pickup pattern. Indeed, there are four patterns. The default is a cardioid pattern, more or less directional. This uses the capsule on the front. Stereo uses a capsule on the left side and one on the right side. Bi-directional uses the capsules on the front and back. That mode is useful when you’re interviewing someone across the table from you using just the one microphone. Finally, omnidirectional engages all four microphones.
You switch between the patterns by pressing the button on the back to cycle through the four options, or by choosing the pattern in control software on your computer. I’ll return to the software shortly.
When it’s just you, this is a front-address microphone. You don’t speak into the end of it like a stage mic, but into the front of it.
It comes installed on a desktop stand, upon which you can set its vertical angle. Or you can unscrew it and attach it to a microphone stand. It’s large and proud and weighs a little over half a kilogram.
Blue Yeti X microphone connections and control
The Blue Yeti X microphone is for computer users, full stop. There is no analogue microphone output. You plug it into a USB socket. The cable is provided. The microphone end uses Micro-B USB. This also powers the microphone. When it’s plugged in, it’s on.
The Blue Yeti X also includes a headphone amplifier. On the bottom of the microphone is a 3.5mm socket for headphones. What you hear is a mixture of audio from the computer and directly from the microphone. You can adjust the balance between the two.
In fact, the one knob controls all of this. By default, it sets the microphone level. As you rotate it, a set of up to eleven blue dots around the volume knob light to show you the level you’ve set. Down low, only the first few will be lit. At max, all eleven will glow. Briefly, that is, while you’re adjusting the level. Press the knob and it mutes the microphone. Press again, and the microphone is back in action.
Built in level meter
As the microphone picks up sound, the formerly blue LEDs now glow green to show you the actual recording level. At least, the first seven of them do. The next three glow yellow if it gets that high. And the eleventh glows red, indicating signal clipping.