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Blue Yeti - Voice not clear?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by TycraneVG, May 25, 2013.

  1. TycraneVG

    TycraneVG Active Member

    Hey guys, just posting on this forum as I've been having a bit of trouble recording with the Blue Yeti mic that I just got a week ago from amazon.

    I do gameplay commentaries and I wanted to step up my game by buying this mice as I only had the Turtlebeach PX21's for recording my voice.

    I've been noticing that the audio quality is poor in my recordings, been trying it out in different settings but I stuck with Cardioid mode as it was the recommended setting for voice overs and such. I recorded this little sample test in a small room and I've noticed that it was picking up a lot of background noises even at 0 gain:

    Vocaroo | Voice message - Quality dumbed down when I uploaded it to Vocaroo but it's not far off from the original .mp3 file I made in Audacity. (i have a pop filter but didn't use it for this recording)

    Been trying to get the best settings for the mic (talking to the sides) and people recommended me that I learn closer to the mic to improve the quality. However, it just picks up too much of my voice and sounds bad. I don't know these people are getting such good quality out of their Blue Yeti as they always sound clear and crisp even when talking close at the mic:

    I don't know if you need to do any audio tricks to turn down gain even more on the PC but I just need some tips on how to get the clearest voice possible while reducing background noise without using Audacity or other programs. I'm thinking about moving into a smaller room to get better acoustics and having a mic boom so it doesn't pick up the tappings of my hand. It also picks up me typing on the keyboard and my mouse clicks which I'm not that fussed about.

    Here's my PC specs: (if it matters)

    CPU-Z Validator 3.1
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    The example you provided shows that you are distorting somewhere... either on the mic itself or through the audio I/O or pre that you are using to get the signal into your computer.

    I have no experience with the yeti but it's apparent that you are over driving some part of your gain chain. If the mic has a built in volume control or pad, you should work with this to decrease the gain on the microphone end. If you are also busing this mic through a separate pre amp or audio I/O, you should make sure that your input volume on the pre isn't such that you are over driving or clipping that stage as well.

    A smaller room probably isn't going to help you, in fact, it could make things worse - in that if it's an untreated space (a poor sounding room), you'll be more likely to pick up the poor acoustics of the room itself.

    You need to stick to cardioid as your pattern. This will be your best bet for decreasing the mic's tendency to pick up other noises when used in the other modes like Figure 8 or omni.... but...As far as the mic picking up extraneous background noises - like keyboard tapping -regardless of the pattern you select, any mic will pick that stuff up, if it's prominent enough.

    What is your input/gain stage? Mic ---> (pre amp?) -----> (audio I/O?) ----> USB?
  3. TycraneVG

    TycraneVG Active Member

    I'm not really experienced with these sorts of things so pardon me if I sound like a total noob haha. I don't actually know what pre amp is or audio i/o all I know is I just plugged the Blue Yeti directly through my computer's USB slot. I have not tampered with the settings so I'm not really sure how to increase or decrease pick up gain (i don't even know if you can with the Blue Yeti). But thanks for the pointers and I'll see what I can do to improve the acoustics in my room. I'm buying a mic stand soon so will it help reduce the background noise as it will not be sitting in my desk and will be closer to my voice. I've seen a lot of people who do gaming commentaries like Immortal HD, UberHaxorNova, etc. who have outstanding audio quality in their videos though they use different mics and maybe have a pre amp set up to make their voice sound much more clear and crisp. For me I don't have the money to buy all those stuff as I'm still a student but managed to buy a blue yeti and I want to get the best quality I can get out of it.

    Again, thanks for the feedback. :)
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    from the manufacturer's product description:

    Perhaps you should read the documentation that came with the mic?

    Mics and pre amps will effect the overall quality in a huge way. I'm not saying that your purchase of that USB mic was a bad one necessarily, for what you are doing it may be just the ticket... but you can't compare that mic to a nice condenser or dynamic through a nice pre amp, in a room that has been acoustically treated and tuned.

    And ...as far as your room goes, your chain is only as strong as your weakest link. If you are recording in an inferior environment acoustically, then regardless of the price or quality of the mic or pre, you'll only ever get results based upon that weakest parameter.

    If your room needs that much work, and the improvements it would require far outweigh the money you have to make those improvements, then at some point you may want to consider getting a nice dynamic mic instead of a condenser. Dynamics are, by and large, a little more "forgiving" than condensers are in terms of of inferior acoustic spaces.

    And, you'd be much better off using a nice dynamic, like a used - but nice - Shure SM7, or an EV RE20, as opposed to one of the brand new, cheap, trashy and harsh $200 Chinese condenser mics that are currently flooding the budget market.

    But, in either case, you'd still need a mic preamp - audio I/O device to get that mic and it's signal into your computer's recording program.

    For the most part, and with very few exceptions, you get what you pay for.

  5. TycraneVG

    TycraneVG Active Member

    Oh, I already know about the gain control outside the mic, that's why I put it on the lowest. I was talking about gain control internally like in the computer.

    Thanks again for the feedback, I'll see if I can change the layout of my room to make it more "acoustic friendly". Though, what do you think of putting the Blue Yeti on a shoebox surrounded with foam, will it increase audio quality or furthermore decrease it? Also, do you know any reasonably priced mic pre amps on amazon that I can buy and/or audio I/O device?
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    It won't probably won't matter either way. Your problem is most likely in your room, in that reflections - called "flutter echos" are hitting your mic at the same time your voice is, and the smaller the room, the more tendency there will be for this to happen in an untreated space... your best bet for a quick fix it on the cheap would be to use packing blankets or other absorbant material that will attenuate those frequencies from 1k and up. Is it a solution? Not the best, but it's better than nothing.

    But the most apparent problem at hand, based upon the sample you posted, isn't really one of acoustic environment, it's that you are over driving the mic. You need to back off the gain on the mic to pad the input. If the mic also has an output volume control, you might need to adjust this as well. It doesn't matter what your gain setting is internally on your computer, if the signal is being over-driven at the source.... you'll get distortion. This is where gain structure comes in, and the ability to adjust the various ins and outs of your gain stage so that no distortion occurs. In short, you don't want an input too hot - while an output is too shy.

    Might I suggest you give this article a read? It might help you understand the topic better:

    Ins & Outs Of Gain Structure

    As far as pre amps and audio I/O's, there are a hundreds available, from bare-bones, basic budget models to multi thousand dollar boutique devices. It would help to know your price range.

  7. TycraneVG

    TycraneVG Active Member

    Alright, I'll go ahead and give that article a read.

    Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll see what I can do to get the best sounding room as possible. :)
  8. travelrider

    travelrider Active Member

    Did you ever figure out what to do with your Yeti? I found your thread because I'm having some Blue Yeti issues of my own, but in your case, it could also be a computer setting. Did you tweak the microphone settings in the Windows Control Panel?

    Start -> Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Sound -> Recording Tab -> Select the Yeti Microphone -> Properties -> Levels

    Play with the db sliders in that menu to see if you can make your computer happier with the sensitivity of this microphone. I turned mine WAY down along with turning down the gain on the microphone itself. (I'm still not happy personally, but this may be good enough for your situation).

    Good luck! I'm thinking about returning my Yeti.

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