The Blue Yeti is a USB condenser microphone that is particularly popular amongst podcasters, live streamers, and other content creators. With four onboard polar patterns, it is versatile enough to also be used for musical purposes.
Is the Blue Yeti good for recording instruments?
The Blue Yeti Is good for recording instruments. With four switchable polar patterns, extensive frequency response, and good sensitivity, the Blue Yeti can be used to record some instruments clearly and effectively.
However, being a USB condenser, it is more compatible with certain instruments than others.
When it comes to recording instruments, there are no concrete rules that must be followed.
Many interesting recordings come from experimenting with different microphones and other audio equipment. Although the Blue Yeti is predominantly designed for vocal recordings, its versatile design also makes it suitable for capturing a range of acoustic instruments.
Everything you need to know on this topic will be discussed in the following guide.
Can You Record Instruments with The Blue Yeti?
The Blue Yeti microphone is best known for its ability to record podcasts, live streams, singing, and other types of vocals. Its convenient USB design makes this microphone a practical addition to any home recording setup.
In addition to its voice-capturing capabilities, the Blue Yeti can also be used to record instruments. A condenser microphone by nature can capture all of the details of an instrument’s sound, particularly those of the acoustic variety.
Condenser microphones are used to record a range of sound sources.
Most commonly they are used for recording vocal tracks, due to their extensive frequency response high sensitivity, and attention to detail. However, many musicians and recording engineers use condenser mics to also record a range of instruments.
The Blue Yeti is more versatile than your average microphone, thanks to its quartet of onboard polar patterns. Each polar pattern affects the directionality of the mic capsule, causing it to capture sounds from different angles.
When using the Blue Yeti microphone, users can switch between the four polar patterns to find the one that best suits their recording. The impact that the different polar patterns have on the overall sound of the recordings shouldn’t be underestimated.
Equipped with a tri-capsule makeup, the Blue Yeti can be used with any of the following polar patterns:
Specific polar patterns suit the recording of certain instruments better than others.
For example, when recording vocals or an acoustic guitar, it is most common to use the cardioid polar pattern as this pickups up sound from directly in front of the capsule.
The Blue Yeti microphone also has an extended frequency response which ranges from around 20Hz – 20kHz. This is another reason that it is suitable for recording instruments, as most guitars, pianos, and other acoustic instruments fall into this frequency range.
Recording Piano with The Blue Yeti
Getting a good recording of an acoustic piano is no easy task. Pianos have a vast dynamic and tonal range, therefore it’s common for them to be recorded using multiple microphones which are positioned inside the lid, close to the strings.
Many recording engineers like to use a pair of stereo condenser microphones to capture the sound of a piano, as this results in the full frequency range of the instrument being captured with equal prominence.
Using two microphones also makes it easier to mix the sound of the piano retrospectively.
One of the challenges faced when attempting to record a piano with the Blue Yeti microphone is that it is usually secured to a desktop stand when recording vocals
While it is possible to record a piano using the Blue Yeti as a room mic, to capture the detailed tones and transients of the instrument, it would be better to position it closer to the strings.
Thankfully, there are several microphone stands that the Blue Yeti can be mounted to so that it can be angled closer to the piano for more detailed recordings. It’s a good idea to experiment with different mic placements when recording piano with the Blue Yeti.
Placing the microphone further toward the right side of the piano strings will cause the treble frequencies to be more prominent, and vice versa.
If you want to achieve an ambient, spacey piano recording, using the omnidirectional polar pattern is probably your best bet.
For tighter sounding, focused piano recordings, it’s better to stick with the default cardioid polar pattern.
This will ensure that the attack from each note is captured by the microphone, as it focuses the sound towards the front of the capsule rather than allowing the spill to enter from the sides.
Check out this Youtube video that shows how to record instruments with a blue yeti.
Recording Guitars With The Blue Yeti
Like the piano, a guitar produces a wide range of frequencies. The Blue Yeti microphone is suitable for recording guitars but performs better with acoustic instruments rather than an amplified electric guitar.
- Condenser microphones like the Blue Yeti are capable of honing in on the slight nuances of an instrument.
The finer details of an acoustic guitar’s sound are what make it sound so unique, therefore it is advised that a condenser is used, especially on close-up recordings with no effects or amplification.
To record an acoustic guitar with the Blue Yeti, simply place it in front of the soundhole, or in front of the 10th fret. These two positions produce slightly different sounds, so depending on what type of recording you want to achieve, it’s worth experimenting with them.
For recording electric guitars, it is possible to use the Blue Yeti but you will probably need to turn down the gain of the microphone otherwise clipping may be an issue.
Due to the sensitivity of the Blue Yeti, it won’t be able to handle very loud, amplified guitar, so you’ll need to set the levels accordingly.
Another way that the Blue Yeti can be used to record guitar is as a room microphone. Room mics are used to pick up the general sound of the recording space, rather than being positioned in close proximity to the instrument or amplifier.
Some guitarists like to use a dynamic microphone to record the close-up sound of an amplifier, then position a condenser somewhere else in the room to pick up the acoustics and resonance of the sound reflections bouncing off the walls.
Recording Trumpets with The Blue Yeti
Recording a trumpet can be challenging, due to the loud dynamics and strong sound of this brass instrument. The Blue Yeti can capture trumpets with impressive clarity, thanks to its high SPL handling capabilities.
When recording trumpet, one of the most important qualities of the microphone you choose is that it must be able to handle the high sound pressure that the instrument outputs. Dynamic microphones offer this, but they also sacrifice some of the clarity and detail offered by condensers.
The Blue Yeti can handle the high sound pressure levels of a trumpet, making it a good choice for this purpose.
Additionally, its four switchable polar patterns offer trumpet players more options when shaping the sounds of their recordings.
If more than one trumpet needs to be recorded simultaneously, you can use the stereo or omnidirectional polar pattern.
The former allows you to use the Blue Yeti in conjunction with another stereo condenser microphone, and the latter will cause sound to be picked up equally from all sides of the capsule.
When recording a trumpet, some EQ will inevitably need to be applied in the mixing process. Providing you get a clear, clean recording of the trumpet using the Blue Yeti, you should be able to smoothen out any tonal inconsistencies or minimize any problem frequencies by using EQ on the recording.
Applying some subtle effects to the trumpet recording can also improve its sound. Reverb can be used to add space to the recording, and you can also use compression to ensure dynamic consistency throughout.
The position that the Blue Yeti is placed in when recording trumpet will also have a large impact on the way the recording sounds. Placing the mic further away from the instrument will capture more of the room sound while placing it closer will pick up more detail.
Why is my Blue Yeti so quiet?
If your Blue Yeti microphone is too quiet, there are a few possible reasons for this. Firstly, it may be the result of a malfunctioning USB cable, which is causing a poor connection. Alternatively, you may need to increase the input gain of the microphone.
How far should you be from the Blue Yeti when recording vocals?
The Blue Yeti isn’t overly sensitive, and it doesn’t produce much noise. Therefore, you should be positioned around 5-10 inches away from the microphone when recording vocals.
Is the Blue Yeti good for ASMR recordings?
No, the Blue Yeti is not the best microphone for recording ASMR audio. This is because the microphone doesn’t fall into the categories of ambisonic or binaural microphones, which are considered the best for recording ASMR.