Whether you are new to podcasting or are looking for an upgrade in quality, a microphone should be one of your first considerations.
While there are a lot of options out there at any point on the budget, sound, or features spectrum, we want to highlight two popular models: Blue Snowball vs Yeti.
Both of these models have done a lot in the way of boosting what a microphone can (and should) be doing for you as a podcaster—but which one is right for you?
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Blue Snowball vs Yeti
In order to create an unbiased and straightforward comparison, we used criteria we found to have not only drawn on the defining and unique features of each, but also to lay down a simple "need to know" narrative.
So, there is less of the fluff and more of what you need to know to make a solid decision.
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The Snowball is one of Blue's more popular models. It is a USB mic, which means less set up for you and easier portability.
It comes with a handy desk stand and is built to be functional without you needing to be right in front of it, which means you can sit like a normal person instead of leaning or hunching to be right in front of the mic.
Overall, this is a simple mic that is great for traveling users. It is also easy to just plug in and go, and it does not take up a lot of space.
In terms of sound, the Snowball has two settings. Its cardioid setting captures sound from the front, which is perfect for podcasting and vlogging, and it has a sub-setting that will capture loud sounds as well.
The second setting is omnidirectional, meaning that it will pick up sound from all directions.
The Snowball is a condenser type microphone with a frequency response of 40Hz to 18kHz. What this means is that you may not be getting the crispest vocals out of it.
It does its job for podcasting and voice-overs, and if you are on a budget, this is definitely a good mic to look into. However, you do get what you pay for with this mic.
We cannot knock it too hard though, because it's not like the quality is bad; and for an on the go option, this is a great travel microphone.
We would say this is a good back-up mic or travel mic, or a starter for beginners because it is simple to use and it is definitely miles ahead of a standard microphone.
The round design of this model gives it some pros and cons. Ergonomically, it is more durable than the design of the Yeti or other models. However, it is also easy to knock over if you are not careful.
While this mic may be sturdy enough to handle the fall, it will be frustrating to constantly edit out all the rolling around.
Its shape also makes it easy to pack and fit in most places without worrying about breaking it. It is compact, so there are not a lot of little pieces that could catch or snap.
In terms of what you may picture in your head when we say "microphone," this may be a little out there. It is entirely round—similar to a grapefruit—and comes with a neat tripod table stand, which makes it look slightly like a spaceship.
Its design helps its omnidirectional function and its portability and durability, so we are not complaining. It is fairly sleek for a ball, too. They have done a good job at smoothing everything out and giving it an edge, without actually giving it any edges.
We have touched on these, but we will go more in depth here. With only two directional recording options, it fills most needs but leaves out a crucial group: interviewers.
That is not to say that a side-by-side interview style is not doable or popular, but it does confine you to that method which some podcasters may find uncomfortable—you may not want someone reading all your notes over your shoulder either.
We were a little disappointed to find that the Snowball does not have a mute button, which many users in loud or unpredictable environments will covet as it allows quick muting and un-muting to minimize the interruption.
This model also does not have a gain knob, which essentially helps you find and balance voice and sound levels to match what you want.
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
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It would not be a Blue Snowball vs Yeti comparison if we glossed over the Yeti, would it? Blue also designs the Yeti, and it is one of the more popular models they offer, though it is a little pricier.
The Yeti is also a USB microphone, meaning that portability and simplicity are heightened, as you can just plug it in and go. The Yeti also brings a little more to the table in terms of features and specs that you may find you need for your work.
With 4 recording settings, you have more options for the type of recording or podcasting you will be doing. However, unlike the Snowball, you do need to position yourself fairly close to the mic to get clear sound.
This microphone employs a condenser and has a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz. That does mean you get better sound quality, even if it is at the sacrifice of leaning into the mic or stacking the mic up closer to you.
The Yeti also uses 4 recording modes instead of 2: the standard cardioid and omni-directional, as well as a stereo mode for music recording and a figure 8 mode which records from the front and back, which is great for interviews.
While this microphone is still portable, it is shaped like a normal broadcasting microphone.
This means that it is a little easier to have small pieces break off in travel or if you knock it off the table. It is not round—so no rolling, thankfully.
We did find that the stand is a little more durable than that of the Snowball too.
This microphone is slightly larger than the Snowball, though it is a familiar shape. How much that impacts your decision is up to you, though we will say that it is well designed and fairly sleek like the Snowball.
Although the Yeti comes with a stand, it is easily transferable to other stands. This may or may not appeal to every user, but it is useful if you are on the go or already have a stand you are fond of.
This seems to be where most of the meat of the comparison is. We have already mentioned the 4 recording pathways the Yeti offers, which will be useful for a lot of users.
The Yeti also has a gain knob so you can even out, balance, and adjust various levels to get the sound you want.
There is the coveted mute button as well, so if you are often in a chaotic or unpredictable environment, or you just need to pause every once in a while to gather your thoughts, this mic has you covered.
Why a Microphone Is Important
First, let's dive into why a good microphone is important. Even if you are not strictly using it for podcasting (perhaps a YouTuber), this is a crucial member of your sound quality team—and, to be honest, your sound quality is a keystone of your overall quality.
It is the main physical and literal method to connect with your audience. If your sound is on the fritz, or even on the line, you could lose many potential listeners.
It may be obvious, but to achieve what you need, you simply cannot rely on a standard microphone, so no laptop or headset mics—your audience will know.
Though it may seem like just another extra piece of equipment, it is not optional. Plus, you will probably feel a little more legit with a cool mic, so really there's no downside.
Product Specs to Evaluate
Not every microphone out there is the same. It has become a fiercely competitive market with how big vlogging and podcasting have become recently.
This means that there are a lot of options out there, but it can be hard to dig through them all to find the one that best fits your needs.
Instead of pushing through long lists of potential microphones, we are just going to jump right in with a couple of the top options: Blue Snowball vs Yeti.
Some specs to keep in mind as you consider these mics (and others) are the where, what, and how of your needs. We will go more in depth on each of those below:
Where Will You Be Using the Mic?
This is an important factor to consider if you have a loud recording environment, an unpredictable one, or will be traveling often with your gear. Different mics will offer different solutions to each of these.
Some mics are designed to automatically detect and muffle outside sounds, like computer humming, rustling, or background noise. This can be a nifty feature if you need it.
If you plan on being on the go, then you will want something smaller like a USB microphone that does not need a lot of equipment and wires to set up and plug in.
USB microphones are the typical choice among podcasters as is, which is why that is the one consistent feature between Blue Snowball vs Yeti.
What Will You Be Recording?
Whether you are podcasting, vlogging, or recording music, this will determine what specs you need from a mic. For our purposes, between Blue Snowball vs Yeti, we would recommend both for podcasting and vlogging, but not for recording music to sell; uploading to YouTube may be fine though.
How Will You Be Using the Mic?
What we mean here is: are you mainly going to be recording yourself, or do you plan to do interviews or more encompassing recordings? What you want to get at here is whether you need a mic that can record cleanly in one direction, two directions, or from all directions (or maybe have the option of any of those).
Most mics will do at least one direction (front face recording), and a lot will do two (front and back face recording), but finding a mic that has an optional all-direction and can toggle between each direction is a little harder to find.
Conclusion: Blue Snowball vs Yeti
While we hesitate to give a solid winner in our Blue Snowball vs Yeti review, given that everyone's needs will be different for podcasting, vlogging, or whatever else they are doing that requires a microphone, we do have some suggestions for users.
It is Blue Snowball vs Yeti after all—one of them has to come out on top in some way or another.
If you are new to the field of podcasting, travel often with your gear, or are in desperate need of a budget-friendly microphone that will not give out or produce poor quality sound, then we recommend the Snowball, hands down.
It will give you good sound and easy setup and durability that you will need in the beginning.If you have more to spend and already have a stable set up, then definitely consider the Yeti.
It is a staple for users within the Blue company and will give you the variety and quality you are likely looking for. It can be portable as well too, so there is a little crossover between the two.
Featured Image via Pixabay