Does the old adage, “Good things come in small packages” hold true for the Blue Yeti Nano? This mini reboot of the wildly-popular original attempts to retain the overall sound quality of the original in a smaller package while removing a few features specifically designed for recording singing vocals or musical instruments. Blue’s hope is that the Nano will be your go-to mic for voice recording, podcasting, or streaming. Having bought one for myself, I put it through its paces.
For someone whose always found the gargantuan size of the original Yeti to be off-putting, the form factor of the Nano is a notable selling point. Though the Nano isn’t small per se, its compact design makes it easier to incorporate into your setup. For streaming in particular, its smaller footprint makes it easier to prop on a desk or attach to a boom arm without having it eat all of your screen space. Versus the Snowball, its more conventional form factor makes it easier to travel with.
Even at its smaller stature, the Yeti Nano is a treat to look at. Its metal casing and classy paint job make it look like a premium product. Unlike the absolutely worthless stand that the Snowball comes with, the Nano one adds to the overall look of the mic. Its heavy base will help keep the mic grounded while allowing you to tilt the mic along an axis. The stand also adds a decent amount of height to the mic, making it easier to position close to your mouth.
For my purposes, I have it mounted to my existing boom arm. While the mic itself doesn’t use a standard size thread, it comes with an adapter for a more common size. Getting it off the table will help minimize unwanted noise from using your keyboard or hitting the desk, but it will create a nasty noise if you hit the arm or the mic itself. If you can get one, a shock mount should prove handy.
In terms of features, the Yeti Nano sits snugly between the plug-and-play Snowball Ice and the robust Yeti. The Nano allows for real-time monitoring of your microphone audio through its 1/8 inch jack. You can control the monitor volume with the knob on the front of the mic, but it won’t have any impact on your output. For that, you can download the Sherpa software and control the gain that way. If you need to mute the mic, simply press the volume knob in and the circle of light around the button will glow red instead of green to indicate that it’s muted. On the back, you can toggle between one of two polar patterns: cardioid or omnidirectional. Most streamers will only use the cardioid pattern, but omnidirectional is handy during instances when you need to pick up the voices of multiple people sitting around a table with just one mic.
Where it comes up short against the standard Blue Yeti is that it’s lacking the original’s stereo and bidirectional recording modes. For the purposes of streaming and podcasting, you won’t miss these too much. Even so, the Nano has its bigger sibling beat in the sense that it can record at a 24-bit sound rate vs. the Yeti’s 16.
All of that said, how does it sound? Based on my time with it, I think its sound quality is great. There’s a crispness to my voice that comes through the Nano that I really enjoy. It’s a step above the Snowball and from what I’ve heard of the original Yeti, it’s at least in that range at a lower price. While all Blue mics – including the Nano – can be tough to get a handle on due to how sensitive they can be with ambient noise, much of that can be mitigated with noise gates and a compressor.
As great as it sounds, the Yeti Nano didn’t blow me away relative to the the Blue Snowball. The difference aren’t glaringly obvious, and in an environment such as streaming, where your voice is competing against music and game sounds, the quality improvement might be negligible. If you’re doing produced videos or podcasting, the quality jump should be more apparent.
The Blue Yeti Nano in an interesting proposition. It provides a premium-looking and sounding microphone without the premium price tag. The cut features won’t be missed by streamers and podcasters. Meanwhile, its smaller footprint should be a win for almost anyone in the market for a microphone. This is a mic that can take you very far before moving up to an XLR setup. For those who are using headset mics or the ones built into your laptop, this is a phenomenal value at this price point.
However, if you’re like me and you already have a microphone like the Blue Snowball Ice, this might not be the upgrade you’re looking for. The Yeti Nano sounds better, but not to the point where it makes sense to ditch the Snowball outright. Unless you really need the omnidirectional recording and real-time monitoring, the Snowball is still a viable alternative that sounds good enough for the purposes of streaming. Will keep my Nano for the marginally-improved sound quality, extra features, and the beautiful look, but there’s no shame in buying a Snowball or saving up for that XLR setup.
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