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Blue Yeti USB Microphone

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by StrategyNTactics, May 14, 2014.

  1. StrategyNTactics

    StrategyNTactics Active Member

    So I bought this one for 80 USD on ebay because I wanted to get clearer sound on my recordings and I figured the wireless headset I was using would not cut it. Turns out whenever I tried to record with that one, you could hear a humming noise in the backgrounds but I can still hear it when I use this new microphone. I thought it was the room I was in so I switched to another more quiet one and it was still there. I tried to check the gain and additional decibel settings on Windows > Control Panel > Sound but it all seemed to be vain. I then tried to setting the mic to cardioid, put it inside an isolation box like this one

    And the bloody background noise thing was still there! I'm out of ideas now, I've effectively cancelled the noise with Audacity but it would take for me to separate the audio track from the video and I'm afraid I have no experience synching such things. Ideally, I would like to just get a clear sound while recording and roll with that, specially since I plan on doing streamed video at one point.

    Here's what it sounds like.

    Here's what it sounds like when I cancel a recording's noise with Audacity and a bonus noise after the stuff I say to compare.

    Problem is I can't cancel that noise while live streaming and I don't know what's causing it.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Where is the computer located relative to the microphone? The noise sounds like computer fan or drives.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "The noise sounds like computer fan or drives."

    yup. You are getting a lot of room.

    I know nothing about the Blue Yeti. Does it have a pickup selector switch? If so, is it set for cardioid? You don't happen to have it set for Omni do you?

    And you're sure you are speaking into the correct side?
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Either the computer fan as Donny Said or the pickup patern is also a valid point.
    Also, the mic picks up interferences from the wireless signal of the headphones.
    Or a ground problem or computer powersupply (specially with laptops)

    Tests to do :
    1- if it's a laptop, run it on battery (unplug power supply).
    2- power down the headphones and record
  5. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    The noise cancellation also wrecks the audio quality from the mic - leaving it phase and nasty.

    To me it sounds like you're too far away, or as said you're speaking into the back of the mic and the gain is just bringing up the room sound. I'm not hearing interference or mains noise - just not enough voice and too much room.
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You are getting similar effects from two different types of microphones, which for me rules out an electrical or orientation problem with either microphone. It could be that, until you hear it in a recording, you have become deaf to the room noise generated by the computer or some other mechanical device.

    Try recording with the microphone right next to the computer (but still located in its pickup pattern) and see if the recorded noise is a similar type but at a greater level.
  7. StrategyNTactics

    StrategyNTactics Active Member

    I have two computers but I've only had the chance to record with my laptop since my desktop can't handle the stuff I wanna record and it doesn't have a copy of Sony Vegas I can edit videos with.

    At the time of that recording I posted, the mic was 12 inches away from my laptop or so. It was positioning to its side, almost behind it. It's possible it's a fan noise, but I didn't think it was loud enough for it to be that. I will try doing a plain recording on my desktop later today to see if the noise is there too(the CPU is inside a cabinet so the fan noise might not leak as easily.

    Yes, it's set to cardioid like I said on my first post. I am positioned in this manner:


    The box is about 12 inches from the laptop but it could go as far as 20 with the desktop, I think.

    The headphones were off last night when I recorded it. I will try to get a recording with my unplugged laptop and see if it changes.

    Well, I am not directly talking to where the mic is positioned. The gain on it is set to nothing and the volume's below 50% so maybe that's why is sounds so low. I will try and tweak it.

    I will try to record the mic from the right side and further away to see if the noise chances then.
  8. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    I think the snag is that you've created a home-made version of the popular foam recording devices, but not realised that these need you to be VERY close to the mic - usually lips to grill maybe 6"? They need a popper stopper too for the plosive breath sounds. If the mic is off to the side, then it's going to be off-axis to your voice, so your voice will be quieter - and it's quite possible the noise is being physically transmitted through the table, via the small stand, but also the cable - and the masking effect of the foam added to the distance is the problem. These types of mic device are great when the room is very boxy and has hard surfaces, but you need to get close in for them to work properly. Do you actually need it? You say you are doing live streaming? Just your spoken voice? If it was me - I'd put the mic on a boom stand, and point it at my mouth from slightly above my eye line, over the top of the computer - and see what it hears on cardioid. If you can get the computer into the mics null, then any noise from it is reduced, and having the mic in close gives you a warmer sound and more of it. If you put the headphones on, then all these things should be clearly evident. Keep in mind that a cardboard box sounds like a cardboard box if you speak into one, and the foam just reduces the cardboard effect at mid to high frequencies - the cardboard effect can also produce the sea shell phenomena - like when you put a shell to your ear and people think it sounds like the sea - when all it's doing is being a collector and reflector. Dump the box and do a comparison. Mic off to the side is absolutely a poor technique - put the mic where your mouth 'points'.
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    what is your distance from the mic? You need to be fairly close in order to increase the ratio of your direct voice vs the room's reflections of your voice...

    "these need you to be VERY close to the mic - usually lips to grill maybe 6"? They need a popper stopper too for the plosive breath sounds. If the mic is off to the side, then it's going to be off-axis to your voice, so your voice will be quieter -"

    whoops! sorry, Paul already asked that.
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    In every room that is anything but an anechoic chamber, a room will have a sound to it, all by itself. Your brain filters it all out. Your brain is the most powerful signal processor ever created. And microphones, in general, don't hear like our ears do. They pick up everything. Every piece of trash you don't need, they pick up. Condenser microphones are the worst offenders at doing that. Dynamic microphones are not only less sensitive, their frequency response is more bandwidth limited than that of condenser microphones. So they are more immune to the very highest interfering sounds and frequencies and less sensitive to frequencies below 50 Hz. Where, condenser microphones are good down to 20 or lower. This picks up trash outside vocal and most other instrumental frequencies. One really doesn't need 20-20,000 where 50-15,000 can actually sound better.

    Now you understand this is a Side address microphone? Right? And you're singing in the direction of the name plaque, on the microphone? Or talking/speaking/announcing?

    If you're announcing, reading out loud, lecturing? Stick your thumb on your chin and point your pinky at the microphone. Bring the microphone grille up to your pinky. Engage in a low-cut switch your microphone might have. Do not engage any pad switch your microphone might have i.e. anything that shows " -10 " or, higher.

    I'm not real familiar with this microphone? It is I believe a USB type? Now, some USB microphones use the standard audio protocol of 16-bit, 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz sampling. No external drivers are needed for that. Of which, all of the controls, controlling your record levels and playback monitor levels, may be controlled from the Windows mixer. But then the sound card manufacturer may have included their own mixer applet? Of which, generally parallels the Windows mixer with or without added enhancements.

    For USB devices that are capable of Higher Resolution recording capabilities such as 24-bit, 8.2/96 kHz sampling, all require a dedicated, company produced, specialty driver. And along with that specialty driver might be the companies own mixer applet? This can get very confusing when you have more than one much less 3 LOL. Many of these applets have separate controls for recording sources and play back listening sources. Which can also be confusing when you are tweaking the output instead of the input. It takes a bit of getting used to. And that changes with every computer, every operating system, every manufacturer of every audio gizmo that plugs into a computer.

    If this were that easy? Everybody would be recording engineers or brain surgeons. My favorite was Brain Salad Surgery. Which is what I had, almost 9 years ago.

    A house, a ball and a glass of milk.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Clearly, you are too far from the mic. You should speak or sing directly to it, from around 6''.
    A voice is a very directionnal sound, at 6'' even a 45degree angle will drop the signal 5 to 10db. So if your voice is faint (from distance and angle) you need to push up the preamp to get good levels and therefore get alot of room noises.
  12. StrategyNTactics

    StrategyNTactics Active Member

    Sorry for the late replies guys, I was evacuated from my home in Carlsbad last week because of the fires so I was staying elsewhere and I just had enough time to pick up my essentials(documents, change of clothes, dog and family pictures). Anyway, I'm back to normal so let's pick this up from where we left it.

    Yes, I plan to do live streaming but mostly sticking to recording things and uploading them to YT later on. It's not just going to be spoken voice but also other people talking and I will need to record some sound generated by the computer. The Yeti Mic comes with a little stand but I don't know how I'd go about replacing it with something better. I could google it later.

    The mic is already set to Cardoid. I will record one with the box and one without to test how it sounds like you say but with a fixed position relative to the mic(in front, not to the side).

    Ok, I recorded these very close to the mic and not at an angle, just in front of it.

    Plugged to my Desktop, a little further away from the next one but still within the 6 inch range.

    This was a little closer but the mic was inside the box thing.

    I didn't notice much of a difference and the background buzzing thing is still there.

    This is the mic I got. It is indeed a USB mic and it came with no drivers. I just plugged it both to my laptop and my desktop. Bam. It was ready to use with no need for me to install anything.

    I don't know about the room noise, but it seems to be in every recording I make regardless of room.
  13. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    In the first one, I can hear real room sounds - sounds to me like a fan or something mechanical, and in the second one, it's less boomy, and cleaner - but both also have the characteristic sound of data on a computer bus. The USB mic is using it's internal converter, and I suspect the digital noise is being generated inside. The only way to confirm this is to use a different computer. If the noise is the same on a different computer, then sadly, the mic is a bit, er, rubbish - the converter may just be poor, and the mic good - but not much you can do about that. If it's better on a different computer, then the problem is pointed at the first. This is very unlikely, because once the digitised audio arrived via USB, it's immune from interference.

    I suspect your mic could indeed be the culprit. USB mics are so limiting that few people who really care about their audio want to use them. They can be good - I have one that's fine, but I don't use it because I usually want to adjust distance and gain - and you can't!
  14. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I did a quick spectral analysis on a non-vocal part of your last sample, and the humming noise is almost exactly 120Hz. This could be acoustic noise simply being accurately recorded or it could be unwanted external signals coupling in. Assuming you live in a 60Hz mains area (you don't give a location in your profile), it is likely to be mains-locked noise rather than something like a free-running fan, but if there were that amplitude of actual acoustic noise present, I feel sure you would have said you could hear it.

    Exploring the signal coupling possibility suggests you should be looking at troubles due to rectified mains frequency getting into your analog signals either electrically or magnetically, while ruling rule out conventional switching power supplies such as that in your computer as being the source of the problem. The lack of significant harmonics in the hum would bias the search in the direction of magnetic coupling, but not at the exclusion of electrical interference.
    DonnyAir likes this.
  15. StrategyNTactics

    StrategyNTactics Active Member

    I live in Carlsbad, CA. My Laptop fan is audible but the noise I recorded from my desktop was done while the laptop was off so it seems to be related to the mic. How can I check if it's a power supply/electrical issue?

    I already used it on a different computer. The sound from my first post is recorder with the same mic from my laptop. These new ones are from my desktop(first outside of the box and second inside). So is it the converter then?
  16. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    If I look at the clips in my audio editor, two things are apparent. Your recording level is VERY low, and almost certainly this is the old no adjustment problem - the gain is preset for your lips touching the mic, speaking in a loud voice. The details reported by Boswell are accurate - there is a very prominent low frequency whine - again, it will be the USB converter in the mic. Do the test again, go right into the mic and project - then with your voice near to full scale, the noise will be down really low. You are hardly tickling the meters, and at the bottom of the scale is the noise - you're just hardly getting over it. The room sounds can be heard, but don't even think about messing with the filter box if you cannot produce enough output. Look at where the peaks are, way, way down, with bags of headroom. I suspect the mic just isn't much good for your type of use - you want quieter delivery, at a distance, and the mic can't cope. Sorry.
    DonnyAir likes this.
  17. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    StrategyNTactics ; you haven't confirm some important details :
    1- Do you still use those wireless headphones and if so, did you try without them (they could make some interference)
    2- Did you try to run the laptop on battery (doing so will bypass AC problems and help you know it's an electric problem)
    3- Did you check the recording level and microphone boost option in windows ? (control pannel, sound, recording, right click on the mic for properties : check the tabs)
    4- Last thing, the mic may be defective, bring it to the store where you bought it and make them test it. (or borrow a working usb mic to make tests)
  18. StrategyNTactics

    StrategyNTactics Active Member

    I will do one last round of testing then. If it comes down to it, what kind of microphone would you recommend for recording in a quiet, large sized room? The layout would be tough to describe so maybe I can take some pictures of my apartment so I can get something more fitting.

    1- I do use the headset from time to time but it wasn't on at the time I recorded.
    2- I didn't try the battery thing yet but I can do it today. I think it might be just related to the mic like Paul says since the noise carried over to the desktop recording.
    3- Yes. I made sure the gain/DB thing was set to 0 and everything else was set to default. The volume was between 50 for the mic.
    4- That might be a problem. I got it off ebay and it's been a while since I bought it. I don't think I can get a refund at this point and I didn't get a warranty for it. Maybe the ebay guy had a warranty policy or something, I'd have to contact him but again, it's been months since I bought it.
  19. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    The DB thing set to 0 ...? Know that, in your recording software (audacity) when you record, you should check the level meter on the track input. It should read around -12db to -6db when peaks accurs. If you are lower than -20db on peaks, you will be near the normal electronic noise of the equipments. So when amplified to the listening level you're bound to ear a lot of noise. View attachment 4163

    Please go back in the options of the mic (my point 3) and de activate the micro boost if activated and put the input level Higher than 50.
    Let us know if it sound better.
  20. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Try this - it will set your mind into the right mode. Sing into the microphone, really close - and adjust the gain on your software recorder so you don't go over maximum level. You'll find that you may have to lower the input level to stop it going into distortion. Up to '0' is ok, hitting '0' means distortion. The advice to find a peak level that is a bit less gives a little extra space a the top. Then, do the close up speaking with a strong speaking voice - the level on the meter will be lower than singing, so raise it to give the near to '0' level. Then move back a bit, and turn the level up again, and then maybe a bit further. Experiment with the record level control. Your quest is to get maximum signal, but never over. Your mic's internal analog to digital converter is producing a fixed amount of noise - the nasty electronic sound we can all hear, so as this level is fixed - the only variable is the difference between this noise and your voice - this is the signal to noise ratio - you need minimum noise and maximum signal. Because your internal converter is basic, you have no control over this ratio, apart from making more volume from your voice and getting closer - that is it.

    You can buy an external A/D unit that has XLR inputs and a USB output, plus often headphones sockets and maybe a few switches for not too much - I like the Lexicons, but all the ones mentioned in this topic and others are pretty good - certainly as good as the mixers we've been using for years. You plug headphones in, and you can hear exactly what your recording will sound like. There are all sorts of quite nice, budget priced mics - dynamic and condenser. Just remember you need phantom power for a condenser, which may influence which preamp you buy.

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