My ongoing involvement in the VoIP Users Conference has me occasionally pondering my home office equipment. While I make my living in the broadcast television equipment business, in truth, audio was my first love.
The VUC can easily be joined using any phone, but sometimes a phone…even my long-time companion Polycom IP650…doesn’t feel like the right tool for the job. So last year I put a microphone on my holiday wish list, the Yeti from Blue Microphones. Seeing an opportunity to address the my voip-geek habit, my wife decided to put one under the Christmas tree.
The Yeti is in many ways special. It’s a USB-attached microphone, so it plugs directly into a computer. That means that the critical electronics of the pre-amplifier are housing in the mic itself, away from the harsh electrical environment of the computer’s internals.
Further, the Yeti has three microphone capsules under it’s wire mesh head. The output of the three capsules can be mixed in various combinations resulting in several directivity patterns; omni-directional, cardoid, stereo (left-right) or figure-eight (front-back.) This makes the Yeti very adaptable to different situations.
There are a variety of USB microphones on the market. However, one feature that seems to be unique to the Yeti is that it includes a headphone output. Most USB microphones are just microphones, providing only an audio input to the computer. The Yeti includes a headphone jack supporting zero latency monitoring of the audio being recorded.
What this really means is that any application on the computer sees the Yeti as a USB sound device. For example, I have used the Yeti with a Counterpath soft phone when joining a VUC call. I plug my little Etymotic headphones into the Yeti and have a very high-quality audio solution.
The Etymotic ER6i headset is not really appropriate. The wire is too short and it’s fiddly taking the in-ear drivers in or out. Eventually I’d like to add some old school headphones when budget permits.
The Yeti has front mounted headphone volume and mute controls, as well as a rear mounted microphone level adjustment. I think that it is extremely well designed for podcasting.
But it’s not perfect. It’s physically large and comes with only a desk stand. It’s also a bit on the heavy side. Since I’m not typically announcing baseball games from my desk I often need to put it aside and get some real work done.
To make this a little bit more convenient I recently ordered a Heil Sound PL-2T Silent Professional Microphone Boom
and a Sabra SSM-1 Universal Shock Mount. This should allow me to mount the Yeti on a arm that can be easily and quietly swung out of the way.
I inquired with Blue about a shock mount specifically for the Yeti. They tell me that they have one in the works, but it’s not yet available.
In truth, the boom arm and shock mount cost as much as the Yeti itself. That said, I’m hopeful that it will make my desk feel a little more like a studio space.
If this new arrangement works out then it will likely drive me to purchase some more traditional “cans” like the AKG K-240s that I used back in school. However, I must take such steps one budgetary indiscretion at a time.
I don’t see how my wife can complain, as it’s all driven by the desire to finally put her gift into service. Right? I thought so, too.