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When it comes to audio recording equipment Blue is a name you’ll have probably heard of. With 25 years of experience under its belt, the company produces a great range of microphones for streamers, podcasters and content creators of all shapes and sizes that perform pretty well.
The headline product of the range is the Blue Yeti X, which you’ll probably recognise from many of your favourite streamer videos as it’s hugely popular among Twitch and YouTube stars, offering great quality audio capture and advanced software to get exactly what you need without third-party plugins. It is expensive, so does it offer enough to tempt budding streamers and podcasters? For me, the answer is yes – but it depends on what you’ll be getting out of it.
Design and features
There’s no denying that the Blue Yeti X is a great-looking condenser microphone that’d complete the look of many a streamer’s setup. Compared to the original Yeti, the Yeti X is slimmer and all-round more premium, sporting a new two-tone look complete with black body and shiny silver accents on the microphone grille and base.
The Yeti X is unsurprisingly larger than the aptly-named Yeti Nano, and it will take up a bit of space on your desk, but you have the option of removing it from the weighted base and attaching it to a moveable mic arm if you desire. There’s a 5/8in thread at the bottom of the mic to provide this functionality, but I’ve been successful in using the microphone’s smaller side-mounted holes too.
Flip the Yeti X around and you’ll find a single button to change recording patterns, a step away from the physical knob on the original, and it uses LED indicators to let you know which mode you’re currently using. It’s a slick-looking upgrade that keeps with the premium aesthetic, but it’s admittedly not quite as easy to change recording modes without looking at the rear of the mic this time around.
Speaking of recording patterns, you’ll find the same four recording modes – Stereo, Cardioid, Omnidirectional and Bi-directional – as its predecessor, making the Yeti X a capable mic whether you’re livestreaming on Twitch, recording a two-person podcast with a single mic or recording a band practice.
That’s all well and good, but the most interesting feature for many will be the flurry of LED dots that surround the centrally placed volume knob on the front of the mic. The 11-dot LED meter lets you know how loudly you’re talking at a glance, and with a quick press of the knob to switch modes, you can also adjust your headphone volume – if using the 3.5mm headphone jack built into the microphone – and your monitoring levels too, allowing you to hear as much (or as little) of your own voice when recording as you want.
Each mode has a different set of LED colours, making it easy to differentiate between each mode, and you have the option of customising the colours using the Logitech G Hub software for PC.
The Logitech G Hub software is also where you’ll gain access to Blue’s VO!CE software, providing a host of optional features to further improve the experience on offer from the Yeti X. The go-to for audio novices will likely be the presets, but if you know a thing or two about audio, you’ve also got the option of creating your own by tweaking the low, medium and high frequencies of the mic.
For example, enabling the Broadcaster preset within the VO!CE software can your voice sound noticeably fuller, while the AM Radio preset adds an intentionally canned sound effect that makes your voice sound like it’s coming out of an old radio. You’ve got the ability to record a short audio sample in the app, allowing you to instantly preview the effect of the various presets on offer.
The coolest part is that these presets and custom audio profiles can be switched on-the-fly via keyboard macros, making for interesting mid-stream effects, but the catch is you’ll need to use a Logitech G keyboard compatible with G Hub for PC.
Like with custom audio effects, there are plenty of other bits and pieces to play around with if you’re more audio-savvy than the average consumer. These range from adding a high-pass filter to cut out lower frequencies and a noise reduction toggle for blocking out background audio, ideal for those using a clicky mechanical keyboard when streaming.
You’ve even got a built-in equalizer for the audio output built into the microphone, allowing you to either tweak each sound band individually or apply presets like Bass Boost, Cinematic and even game-dedicated modes for FPS and MOBAs.
Behind the shiny metallic microphone mesh you’ll find a four-capsule condenser array, a slight jump from the three-capsule of the original and much more than the two-capsule array of the Yeti Nano, and that essentially means that the Yeti X records audio impressively well.
Recording audio via Audacity and using the Yeti X as my mic during various Fast Charge livestreams, I’ve found my voice to be crisp, clear and loud, and that’s further enhanced by the presets available via the VO!CE software for PC. It’s a treat for my multiplayer buddies on Discord too, with several remarking on just how clear my mic sounded during sessions of No Man’s Sky and Call of Duty: Warzone.
If anything, it’s a little too good, picking up a lot of background noise like the click-clack of my keyboard and mouse and sometimes even the fan noise from my gaming laptop. This is lessened by using the correct recording pattern and using the advanced features available in the VO!CE software, of course, but it won’t be perfect for all settings straight out of the box.
Blue Yeti X World of Warcraft Edition
As well as the standard Blue Yeti X, you’ve also got the Blue Yeti X World of Warcraft Edition to consider. The updated microphone, released in October 2020, features the same hardware as the standard variant, but there are a handful of WoW-inspired design elements and some fun software features on offer too.
Alongside the tweaked gold and grey colour combination on offer, you’ll notice the World of Warcraft logo on the rear and runes sprinkled not only around the base, but on the LED indicators on the front too. It’s certainly WoW-themed and fans will appreciate the minor details on offer, but importantly, it’s not tacky or in your face. After all, chances are you’ll be using the mic for more than simply streaming WoW, and you don’t want it to look too out of place.
But while the Warcraft aesthetic is appealing, it’s the software features that’ll get fans of the franchise excited. The headline feature is the ability to enable voice modulation effects that’ll make you sound like a variety of the game’s characters, from orcs to imps and even the Lich King himself, which can help improve storytelling on a livestream – especially when built into a macro on a Logitech-branded keyboard, allowing quick and easy access to the various effects on offer. You’ve got plenty to choose from, and just like the standard EQ settings, you’ve got the freedom to create custom voice modulation profiles too.
Alongside voice modulation is a huge library of HD audio samples from the World of Warcraft Shadowlands expansion that you can use mid-stream, which is cool but arguably less useful than the voice modulation tech on offer. You can add your own samples, though, which may come in handy for some.
It’s important to note that the voice modulation and audio sample features are exclusive to the World of Warcraft Edition for now, meaning you’ll have to pay the extra £30/$30 for the WoW-themed microphone if you want access to those features, but I can’t imagine it’ll be too long before the functionality – without the WoW effects – comes to the virtually identical Blue Yeti X.
The Blue Yeti X is a capable USB microphone ideal for streaming, podcasting and just about anything else audio-related you’ll need a microphone for, but with that capability comes a high price tag. While the Yeti Nano is focused at the budget market, the Yeti X comes in at £159.99/$169.99 for the standard edition and £189.99/$199.99 for those that want the World of Warcraft Edition.
That’s much more than the likes of the Trust Gaming Fyru and HyperX SoloCast, so make sure that you’re going to make use of the additional recording modes and software features exclusive to the Yeti X, or you could save yourself a bit of cash.
When it comes to USB microphones, the Blue Yeti X is the one to beat. It’s more premium than many entry-level options available, but with that cost comes not only a great bit of kit made from premium materials, but it’s versatile too.
The four-capsule condenser array provides four different recording modes to choose from, from cardioid for solo recording sessions to stereo for recording two-person podcasts with a single microphone, and the on-board levels and controls provide easy access to key features without the need for PC software.
That’s not to say the Blue VO!CE software baked into Logitech’s G Hub software isn’t a joy to use though. It’s full of presets to change the style of recording, and as well as being able to create your own, you can use them on-the-fly via macros on a Logitech keyboard too. That’s further enhanced by the World of Warcraft Edition, offering unique voice modulation tech and a range of WoW-themed audio samples to choose from too.
So yes, it is premium, but it’s also one of the best options for those starting a podcast or livestream project.