Blue microphones are the industry standard for podcast/streaming audio capture, and the Blue Yeti has long been the brand's flagship item. The Blue Yeti is ubiquitous among content creators, from video game streamers to podcast hosts, as well as amateur musicians and ASMR. The new Blue Yeti X doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it does offer an iterative upgrade over the older Yeti and Yeti Nano, while adding a suite of subtle features that make it easier to use and quicker to adjust in the heat of the moment.
At a glance, the X unit – which was sent by Blue to Screen Rant for the purposes of this story – looks similar to the classic Yeti, if a bit sleeker and slightly more angular in its design. The biggest visual difference between the two mics is not only aesthetically exciting, but also practical and useful: a ring of LED lights around the front mute button. These lights offer real time feedback on the audio that's coming in, so if it's too loud, the lights will indicate that you need to turn down the gain on the microphone. This, of course, is easy to do by just turning the button, which is also a knob.
The Blue Yeti X uses a four capsule condenser array for capturing sound, rather than the traditional triple capsule method of previous models, and the 24-bit/48kHz audio resolution is higher than the old Blue Yeti's 16-bit audio. That might not mean much to most people, but the proof is in the audio quality, which is remarkable. Hardcore audiophiles are always going to turn their noses up at USB microphones, but not everybody has thousands of dollars to spend on audio capture equipment, to say nothing of the technical know-how to get the most out of their extravagant purchases. With the Yeti X, it's as simple as plugging in the microphone and playing with the gain until you're happy with your levels.
We recommend getting in close to the mic and turning the gain as low as possible, since it will otherwise pick up too much ambient noise. Of course, it also depends on your room and tone of voice, but that's where the Blue Vo!ce app comes in. It's only available on Windows so far (with Mac support coming "soon"), but the app essentially acts as a way to fine tune the mic's settings for optimal recording. You can also change the color of the LED lights, which is a nice touch, particularly for the colorblind. There are a ton of options for audio fanatics to play around with, but it's not at all necessary to use Blue Vo!ce to have a fantastic audio recording experience with the Yeti X.
Like the classic Yeti, the X allows users to switch between four different modes: omni-directional, stereo, cardioid, and bi-directional, each of which have their own uses depending on the needs of any given content creator. Combined with the powerful Blue Vo!ce tools, the Blue Yeti X an extremely versatile piece of equipment. Whatever your needs may be, the Yeti X might not be the absolute number one best choice for any one of those needs, but it can definitely go a great job at all of them. That's why Blue has a reputation as the go-to choice for any type of content creator.
Overall, the Blue Yeti X is a decent step up from the classic Yeti. It offers all the functionality of the original, but at a higher bit rate for the best possible audio quality. It's still a USB plug-and-play microphone, for better or worse; it lacks some of the premium functionality of serious top-range mics, but it offers stellar quality than anyone can easily learn to use. At $170, it might not be worth upgrading from the traditional Yeti if you're already comfortable with your existing setup, but for newcomers looking to dive into the culture of streaming/podcasting/YouTube, it's hard to find a microphone easier to recommend than the Blue Yeti X.
The Yeti X was provided by Blue for review purposes.