First off, if you need some help in deciding on a microphone, check out my article: How to Choose a Microphone. This is part of a studio series on various types of equipment you may be interested in!
As for today..
I will be “rolling” towards you with my Blue snowball vs. Yeti comparison!
Get it? Rolling? Because snowballs .. ah that was really corny 😛
But sit back, relax, and kick your feet up anyway. Grab some popcorn as well because this will be quite a comprehensive comparison..
If you’re craving information, you’re not only a smart person, but…
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
I’ll start with the Similarities & Differences so you can quickly make a decision. After that, the Introduction. then I’m going to outline the Blue Yeti in full and compare each category to the Snowball. We’ll see if the Snowball “stacks” up. Haha!
Now without further ado, let’s get “rolling!” Lol.
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.
Sound. Consensus wise and overall, the Yeti sounds better and fuller than the Snowball. This might explain why some people advise to just go straight for the Yeti if your budget allows.
Style. The Blue Yeti resembles that of a mini spaceship, while the Snowball is round, and resembles a grapefruit both in size and shape.
Stand. The Snowball comes with a tripod, while the Yeti has it’s 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 light weight and plastic feeling it is.
Protection. The Snowball can incorporate a standard pop filter, while the Yeti uses a custom fitted windscreen as it’s 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.
Mute. 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 your 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 sound from in front and back. Good for duets or interviews, etc.
The Snowball 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.
It should be noted that these features of the Snowball are only available in the “Ice” version. The regular Snowball does not have any extra features.
For this reason, and because the Yeti does indeed sound better, it’s our pick today. It’s got a mute button, gain switch, headphone jack for live no latency monitoring (works great in my experience), an extremely rugged built in stand, and 4 polar patterns as opposed to only 2 for the Snowball Ice. It’s simply a more versatile microphone and you’ll always have some sort of use for it. I don’t see this one leaving my studio anytime soon.
See it for yourself on amazon:
If you’re so inclined for the best and most in depth comparison, read on!
Never before has it been easier to dive right 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.Related:How to Record in Audacity!
Many XLR condensers will provide a sort of beefier, radio type broadcasting sound depending on the microphone. Both my Samson C01 and Audio Technica AT2020 have a warmer, less clinical sound than the Yeti.
But with those, you’ll have to invest in something like an Audio Interface, XLR Cable, etc. and for many people, it’s just not practical given their unique situation.
You’ll really enjoy the flexibility that a USB mic provides because not only is it easier to set up, but the sound does rival a condenser in many ways.
The sound quality of something like a Yeti is pretty much on-par with that of a condenser. You’re getting the same amount of detail in a more convenient package. Not only that, but you can tweak the sound to your liking via the polar patterns and gain knob.
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.
That said, I do enjoy both. It just really depends on what I’m doing in studio. I will say that out of the 4 microphones that I currently have, the Yeti takes on 95% of the work capacity.
What’s in the Box?
Not a bunny
Inside you’ll find:
Limited 2-Year Warranty
Inside you’ll find:
Limited 2-Year Warranty
So to start off, you’re getting about the same accessories in each.
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.”
I’m sorry. Lol.
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 quite a bit of washers and circular padding things you’ll have to contend with.
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.
Please leave me some love! 🙂
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 a bit on the cheap side.
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 as 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 their 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 you out cold. Lol.
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.
This really comes in handy if you’re going to be doing a lot of YouTube video, Podcasting, etc.
It will help when you want to get that perfect level out of the mic in conjunction with Audacity. There’s really no need for EQ, but some people will want to employ some after the fact.
I normally just play with the levels a bit and the Yeti takes care of the rest. I find it’s an extremely crisp sound on it’s own, and stays true to my voice while also giving it some extra character.
No Latency Monitoring with headphones
This is something you’ll also like if you plan on doing some guitar/vocal, or voice tracking. What is latency?
I was a bit skeptical on 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. Pretty cool!
Just plug your headphone into the 3.5mm jack and away you go.
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.
4 Polar Patterns
The best part for last!
If you want to record some birds, ambience, or other sounds, just set the pattern to Omni-directional. Great for field recording, etc. and really came in handy for me in recording outdoor sounds for my channel. You can hear the sounds over the various graphics I created.
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 sweetspot.
With this mode, the microphone picks up sound from the front here, 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 awhile 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 with this pattern on.
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!
Omni directional. Picks up sound from all directions. Works very well with interviews, pod-casts, 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!
The ICE version does NOT come with these features. Something to keep in mind before purchase 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. Another reason to just 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 + USB cable.
With the Yeti, it’s 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.
Let’s take a break and watch a comparison!
My Comparison Video
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Click to see the Yeti and Snowball
Click to see the relationship! 😛
Note: I put watermarks on them because people have been using my images without asking.
The sound of the Yeti is very crisp, clean, neutral, cold (ish), and sterile.
These are all adjectives I would use to describe it.
The only thing I don’t like as much about a USB condenser is it’s propensity to pick up a lot of extraneous background noise and stuff.
An XLR condenser does do a lot better in this regard. You could theoretically not ever 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 or 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 at 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. It’s not that it sounds bad.
In comparison to the Yeti, it just doesn’t sound as professional or clear. The Snowball definitely does lack some body, heft, and weight, and does kind of sound a bit distant.
On it’s own it’s pretty good, but side by side the Snowball kind of sounds like you’re recording inside of 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.
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.
There’s really nothing that holds the Yeti back from being an A+, so I’m going to give it one.
The only reason I would ever buy a Snowball over a Yeti is if I was on the go A LOT, and needed a mic conducive for such affairs.
Otherwise, the Yeti pretty much destroys the Ball in nearly every category.
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.
What’s the word?
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. You can’t go wrong with either option however. If money is a bit tight, the Snowball may be a good choice. I’d much rather see you save some money and go for the Yeti, as it’s the best USB microphone on the market and isn’t that much more expensive.
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? Which one do you simply like more? 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..
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.