Back at the end of 2010, Pocket-lint got its hands on a Blue Microphones THX-certified Yeti USB mic and was extremely impressed. For its £129.99, it offered studio quality audio capture at a fraction of the price of a professional equivalent. It was a podcasters' dream. Until now...
The company has upped its game further, with a refreshed, higher-end version of the mic, the Yeti Pro. Weighing in at £229, it's not cheap, but neither are its talents.
Blue Microphones claims that it is the world's first USB microphone to offer 24-bit/192 kHz digital recording resolution with an analogue XLR output, and is therefore as comfortable in an amateur podcaster's bedroom as it is in a bone fide recording studio.
It comes with a similar weighty adjustable stand to the normal Yeti and can also be hung from a boom, but it adds a separate analogue stereo path to a proprietary analogue to digital conversion chip in order to keep captured audio pure when fed through into a top class mixing desk.
Like its older brother, it also offers numerous multi-pattern recording modes to select, each with their own unique properties. There's a switch on the back that can be set to record in stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional or bidirectional, each of which giving a different ambience as well as being able to pick up sounds from multiple directions.
If you're on your own, for example, you'd perhaps stick to stereo, where your voice would hit either side of the mic and be separated in your recording software of choice. If you have guests sat around a table, however, you may want to choose omnidirectional, so that everybody's speech is picked up evenly. In short, it's as versatile as you'd like.
The other knob on the rear is for gain control, but we found it worked best at dead centre and volume should be controlled in a recording suite.
The volume control on the front is for attached headphones, should you be so inclined, and the mute button is handy if the microphone doubles for Skype or such like.
In use is where the Blue Microphones Yeti Pro comes into its own. The audio quality that can be achieved by this consumer device is staggering. Having worked in radio and TV in the past, we can safely say that, with the right software, professional standards are not just achievable but consistently so. Indeed, any loss of clarity you'll find comes from a conversion of lossless audio to an mp3 for podcast duties, not the mic itself. And that's through USB. Hook it up to an analogue desk or preamp via the included XLR cables and bravissimo!
You only get stereo through analogue but it proves that the "Pro" ain't just for show.
The Yeti Pro is compatible with both PC (Windows 7, Vista or XP, with 256MB RAM minimum) and Mac (OS X 10.6.4 or higher, with 256MB RAM minimum) and is plug and play. It's available now.
Or you can download the small mp3 file here (right click and save)
Pocket-lint is also offering one lucky reader the chance to win their own Blue Microphones Yeti Pro USB microphone. All you have to do is follow Pocket-lint on Twitter (@Pocketlint) and retweet this hands-on test including the hashtag #plyeti.
We will draw the winner from the qualifying tweets after the closing date of 3 February. The successful candidate will then get the mic, simple.
Please ensure that you read Pocket-lint's terms and conditions, and we must point out that this competition in only open to entries from the UK and Ireland.
NOTE: The competition is now closed, you can carry on retweeting this fine hands-on if you like, but you will no longer be in with a chance of winning the Yeti Pro.
The winner of the Blue Microphones Yeti Pro USB microphone is (as drawn completely by random from all the qualifying tweets)... Dum, dum, dum... @lexplex_. We will be contacting you shortly via Twitter (direct message) in order to get your details. Congratulations!