Hi friend and Welcome!
Let’s start with a quick comparison!
Here are the 3 best reasons to get a Blue Yeti over a Snowball!
- Sound. The Yeti sounds much better and a whole lot more professional. It sounds like a mic that should be priced much higher while the Snowball sounds like the price would indicate.
- Features. The Yeti has a ton of features and is extremely versatile. Gain Switch, Volume, No Latency Monitoring Jack for Headphones, 4 Polar Patterns, and a Mute Button. The Yeti is also easier to fit a Windscreen with. You can use a traditional Pop-Filter, a Sock, or the Windscreen that it was made for.
- Build Quality. The Yeti has a rock-solid build and an extremely durable stand.
Before we get started with this Blue Yeti vs. Snowball Comparison, grab a snack, sit back, and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
Never before has it been easier to plunge headfirst into the world of audio.
Back when I was growing up, it wasn’t possible to purchase a USB microphone, plug it into your computer, and record audio within 5 seconds using something like the free Audacity.
Nowadays, it is.
I love a good XLR condenser, don’t get me wrong.
But the versatility that a USB microphone offers is so invaluable in today’s fast-paced world, where time is of the essence.
Many XLR condensers will provide a sort of beefier, radio-type broadcasting sound depending on the microphone.
With those, you’ll have to invest in something like an Audio Interface, XLR Cables, etc. and for many people, it’s just not practical given their unique situation.
You’ll really enjoy the added benefits of being able to quickly and easily set up a USB mic in seconds.
Not only that but…
the sound is also excellent and does rival a condenser in many ways.
The sound quality of something like a Yeti is pretty much on par with that of an entry-level condenser.
You’re getting the same amount of detail in a more convenient package.
You can also tweak the sound to your liking via the polar patterns and gain knob, and there’s always EQ for later.
With an XLR, it’s pretty much bare-bones. You get the mic and that’s about it.
Everything else will have to be purchased separately unless you buy a bundle.
That said, I do enjoy both. It just really depends on what I’m doing in the studio.
With that, let’s take a look at these mics!
In The Box
Blue Yeti USB Microphone (Blackout)
Limited 2-Year Warranty
- Microphone Type: Condenser.
- Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Omni-directional, Stereo, and Figure 8.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Max SPL: 120dB SPL. What is SPL?
- Signal-to-noise ratio: 100dB
- Colors: Many, varies.
- Connector: USB.
- Weight: 1.2 lb. 2.2 with the stand.
- Impedance: 16 Ohm
- Sample Rate: 48 kHz. Bit depth vs. sample rate.
Inside you’ll find:
Limited 2-Year Warranty
- Microphone Type: Condenser. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic.
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid or Omni-directional. What is a cardioid capsule?
- Frequency Response: 40Hz – 18kHz.
- Color: Silver, White, or Black.
- Connector: USB.
- Weight: 460 g.
- Included Accessories: USB Cable, Stand.
Now that the technical stuff is out of the way, let’s discuss the build.
The Yeti without the stand still feels durable but it’s also considerably lighter.
All of the knobs and buttons feel solid.
When you put this puppy in your hand, you’ll know where your money went almost immediately.
The value here is remarkable considering this thing hovers around $100 most of the time.
I do find it a tad cumbersome to turn the polar pattern knob on the back unless I’m in a position of great leverage.
If I’m in a hurry and need to switch patterns, it does take a bit longer than I would like.
You kind of have to push your fingers in, and then turn. If you just try to turn the knob it’s a bit more difficult.
This is an extreme nitpick, but I have to mention it.
“My Fingers HURT! Yeah? Well, now your back’s gonna hurt too because you just pulled landscaping duty.”
If you want to use the mic with a separate mic stand, you can take it apart.
However, disassembling it can also prove cumbersome since there are 10 washers/bushings you’ll have to contend with.
- Note: This issue was rectified in the upgraded Blue Yeti Nano, so definitely take a look at that post as well!
Still, this is more of a testament to the care and thought put into the unit than anything else.
You can use it with any other mic stand, so it’s extremely versatile in that sense too.
I was able to quickly take it apart and mount the mic on my desktop stand for this 3-way shootout video between the AT2020, Samson C01, and Yeti.
Keep in mind I have scissor arm stands nowadays (highly recommended) and wouldn’t recommend the setup I Jerry Rigged together for this video. 😛
I love the overall build of the Yeti and can’t recommend it enough.
BUILD SCORE: A+
Comparison to the Blue Snowball
The Snowball is a little bit different, in that it feels and resembles a grapefruit in both size and weight.
While the overall build of the Snowball is also excellent, the tripod stand it comes with does feel pretty cheap.
It’s light but gets the job done.
It kind of feels like something you’d find in a toy store, but the rubber feet make up for it and it won’t move around at all once you get it into place.
*Redneck voice* The Snowball itself, however, is hefty like one of them female softball players. Haha.
I don’t have a softball handy, but I do have a few baseballs.
The Snowball is a bit heavier than a baseball, and I would imagine it’s exactly the weight of a typical softball.
I wouldn’t trust myself with the Snowball if I was ever really really pissed off at someone.
I may go full-on Randy Johnson with this thing and pitch a strike right into their schnoz.
Remember that time he accidentally killed a bird with his fastball? Yeah, I wouldn’t want to mess with that guy.
Seriously, if there was an intruder in your home you could get the upper hand by hurling this thing at him.
It’s weighty enough for such an affair, and would probably knock said intruder out cold. Lol.
But enough with the shenanigans.
KNOCK IT OFF JULES.
Let’s talk about features…
We alluded to some of the Yeti’s features, but let’s take a more in-depth look.
Self-explanatory. Admittedly, I haven’t really used the one on my Yeti too much, but your mileage may vary depending on your situation.
The bad thing is that you may accidentally press the button while trying to record only to find out later nothing got recorded.
Yeah, it’s happened to me, and will probably happen to you too.
Just make sure that bad boy is always Red.
This really comes in handy if you’re going to be doing a lot of YouTube videos, Podcasting, etc.
I usually keep it around halfway so as to avoid clipping later.
I find the sound itself is extremely crisp on its own and stays true to my voice while also giving it some extra character and articulation.
No Latency Monitoring with headphones
This is something you’ll also like if you plan on doing some guitar/vocal, or voice tracking.
- Recommended: What is latency?
I was a bit skeptical about whether or not it was truly no latency, but I was amazed to find out that you can indeed hear your voice in real-time.
This is actually really important because even a tiny bit of delay will leave you wanting to pull your hair out.
It’s kind of hard to explain, but imagine saying something into the mic and not quite hearing it until a millisecond or 2 later.
It’s one of the weirdest phenomenons ever, and may cause you to slow down your speech pacing considerably, or even slur your words!
Ability to mount on a separate stand
This will also really come in handy if you plan on using the Yeti with a separate mic stand such as a scissor arm, standard boom, or even a desktop stand.
As mentioned before, I was able to quickly screw on the Yeti to mine, although it’s not very practical for long-term use.
Because the stand doesn’t adjust upwards all the way, you’re limited in that regard unless you place the stand on top of something.
This is what I did in the above shootout video although you can’t see it because of the camera angle.
This is what the Yeti looks like in my studio before getting ready to record:
A scissor arm is highly recommended!
You’ll never have to hassle with getting the mic set up and it’s super convenient when you want to rap, record a video/voiceover, etc.
When I’m done, I just swing it around to the back and it’s completely out of the way.
4 Polar Patterns
The best part for last!
If you want to record some birds, ambiance, or other sounds, just set the pattern to Omnidirectional.
Great for field recording, etc., and really came in handy for me in recording outdoor sounds for my channel.
- With this mode, the mic picks up sound from all directions.
This is the standard pattern that comes with 99% of microphones.
Obviously, you’ll want to make sure you’re directly in front of the unit and are speaking loudly enough.
Don’t go too crazy here and start screaming, but you get the idea.
Experiment with the placement of your mouth as well.
You’ll find that it does well about 5-6 inches away at normal speaking volume.
Of course, you can really play around with the gain, as well as the recording level inside Audacity to find a nice sweet spot.
- With this mode, the microphone picks up sound from the front, rejecting the back and sides.
This will come in handy if you want to record two separate things at once, such as your vocals with a guitar.
I tried it out a while back and really enjoyed the raw sound. Keep in mind this wasn’t EQ’d but still sounds really good!
Song: Beatles – Day in the Life (Verse 1)
- With this mode, the mic picks up sound from the left and right channels, creating a nice effect for acoustic guitar or choir.
This is great if you’ll be doing a lot of one-on-one, interviews, podcasts with a friend, etc.
- With this mode, the mic picks up sound from the front and back.
FEATURES SCORE: A+
Comparison to the Blue Snowball
If you plan on getting the regular version of the Snowball, it does come with:
- Cardioid. Meaning it receives sound only from the front, as discussed above.
- -10db Cardioid. Same as the cardioid setting, but reduces the volume by 10dB. Great if you plan on recording a video in which you anticipate getting kind of loud. I tend to yell a lot in my videos. Not really. QUIT YELLING!
- Omnidirectional. Picks up sound from all directions. Works very well with interviews, podcasts, and any situation that has multiple persons speaking. Also discussed above.
Keep in mind that there is a switch on the back for each of these settings, but it’s labeled 1, 2, and 3.
One reviewer found that to be a little irritating because they don’t actually tell you which is which. I will though!
Blue Snowball vs. Ice
The ICE version (the one pictured in this review) does NOT come with these features.
Something to keep in mind before purchasing as well.
One thing to know about the Snowball is that it isn’t well suited for actual vocals or singing.
In these instances, it is used as a backup for the Blue Yeti.
This is yet another reason to save a bit more cash and take the plunge on the Yeti.
I could imagine myself carting around the Snowball much easier because it’s a bit more compact and smaller in size.
You’re going to be able to transport it a bit better because the tripod stand folds up nicely and all you’ve got left is a big ball to worry about + a USB cable.
The Yeti is fairly large, tall, and heavy, and does not do as well on the go.
I was able to use mine in a few different circumstances (namely shooting the HD600 video), but all in all, I always kind of dread packing this thing up.
But how do they sound?
The sound of the Yeti is very crisp, clean, neutral, cold (ish), and sterile.
The Yeti, while it sounds excellent, does tend to pick up quite a bit of background noise, ambiance, dogs barking, fans, the sound of your neighbor’s explosive diarrhea, etc.
You could theoretically never use any treatment and get a pretty stellar recording in your room with something like the Samson C01 or AT2020.
For instance, I live near a highway and in that shootout video above that I linked to, cars were whizzing by the entire time.
Notice how neither the C01 nor AT2020 picked up much of anything except for my voice.
Fast forward to the Yeti portion of the review and you can clearly hear some fuzz/static, noise, and other undesirables going on.
It’s definitely not a deal-breaker but is something to keep in mind.
That said, I love the crisp sound of the Yeti and it’s been my workhorse mic for YouTube since I started the channel.
When I do get a new camera set up it will likely be retired, but I still will probably keep it around for other stuff on my desktop.
Comparison to the Snowball
In my mind, there is no comparison.
I think once you hear both you’ll immediately realize why the Snowball is cheaper.
Let’s be honest, this is a $40 mic that sounds exactly like a $40 mic.
It’s not as clear or professional, lacks heft, weight, and body, and does kind of sound a bit distant.
It actually kind of sounds like you’re recording inside a tin can.
It picks up more noise than the Yeti as well, and overall just doesn’t measure up.
Check out my side-by-side comparison!
Keep in mind I was employing a pop filter for each of these and was pretty close to each.
I would say around 4 inches away.
This is a raw recording with no EQ, to give you a true idea of how these sound.
The Yeti sounds much cleaner and more professional to my ear. What do you think?
I can also hear the cars a bit more in the Snowball recording.
Similarities & Differences
- The Yeti is more expensive than the Snowball.
- They are both USB-powered plug-and-play.
- They both stand on your desk and take up quite a bit of space depending on who you ask.
- Both mics do exceptionally well in voice-over applications.
- Both mics can be very sensitive, picking up a lot of outside ambient noise. The Yeti helps to eliminate this if you’re very close to the mic. I would recommend some Acoustic Sound Treatment though.
- Both mics are easily recognized by your laptop/CPU.
- Both can be taken off of their respective stands and used with a different mic stand.
- Neither mic has an on or off switch.
Consensus-wise and overall, the Yeti sounds better and fuller than the Snowball.
This might explain why some people advise going straight for the Yeti if your budget allows it.
I also experienced the same issue; the Snowball per my raw test sounded horrific.
I’m not sure if I got a bad unit but I would pretty much never use one and ended up selling mine.
The Blue Yeti resembles a mini spaceship, while the Snowball is round, and resembles a grapefruit both in size and shape.
The Snowball comes with a tripod, while the Yeti has its own built-in stand, allowing the mic to “swivel” top to bottom if you will.
The tripod that comes with the Snowball feels kind of cheap, but it does have rubber feet and supports the microphone quite nicely despite how lightweight and plasticky it is.
The Snowball can incorporate a standard pop filter, while the Yeti uses a custom-fitted windscreen as it’s a defense against plosives and your nasty spit. 😛
It should be noted that the Yeti can be fitted with a standard pop filter as well. As for plosives?
They are simply the consonants in speech that contribute to those harsh “P” and “S” sounds that you hear when you don’t have protection for your beast.
The Blue Yeti has a mute button, while the Snowball does not.
The Yeti has 4 patterns
- Stereo. Uses both the left and right channels to capture a wide, realistic sound image—perfect for recording acoustic guitar or choir.
- Cardioid. Picks up sound directly in front of the mic. This is the standard pattern that most microphones have. It rejects sound from the sides and back pretty well.
- Omni-directional. Picks up sound from all directions. This is great if you want to record some ambient noise outside or something. I used my Yeti for this very purpose. During the spring and summer, I like to record the birds outside, as well as other miscellaneous cool noises that I can use in my YouTube videos.
- Bi-directional. Picks up sounds from in front and back. Good for duets or interviews, etc.
The Snowball (non Ice Version) has 2:
- Cardioid. Picking up sound from the front
- -10db Cardioid. Same as cardioid except it helps to capture louder sounds while still maintaining good sound quality.
- Omni-directional. Picking up sound from all directions.
The Blue Microphones Yeti is an astounding package of quality, versatility, features, and ease of use.
It stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of price-to-performance ratio and sound in the USB category or otherwise.
There’s simply not much else you would ever need as far as mics go, and without spending your life savings you’ve got an incredibly crisp-sounding piece of equipment that’s extremely easy to hook up.
The 2 things that holdsthe Yeti back from being an A+ are:
- The background noise issue we discussed and
- It’s pretty sterile; to the point where it kind of sometimes sounds like you’re recording in a giant empty room.
Because of those things, I think it deserves an A or A-.
The Yeti pretty also destroys the Snowball in nearly every category and I’d never use one for any serious recording work.
If you were planning on investing in the Snowball because you didn’t quite have enough to drop on the Yeti, just save some more money and be patient.
It’s certainly worth it.
You’re going to be much more satisfied in the long run with this decision.
If you can afford to splurge a little, I would most certainly recommend the Yeti without hesitation.
Overall the Blue Yeti’s sound is better than the Snowball’s. Is the sound a marked improvement? I think so.
It sounds more lush and detailed while remaining a bit more clear. If you were going to buy the Snowball, just don’t.
As alluded to earlier, I really loved the Yeti Nano and think it’s a solid upgrade over the original.
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed my comparison review of the Blue Snowball vs. Yeti, and walk away with a clearer understanding of the benefits as well as the shortcomings of each microphone!
Which of these do you feel is the better value? What are your thoughts on the Blue Yeti Nano? Let me know!!
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out down below or Contact me!! I very much look forward to hearing from you. I’m about to head out like a newborn, but…
All the best and God bless,