Comparison of 2 USB Mics

Here are two samples from two different USB microphones.

This will work much better if you put on headphones before listening.

Sample A

Sample B

Both mics were recorded at the same desk in the same untreated (no acoustic panels, etc.) standard bedroom with bare walls. I read the same short passage from a book into both mics.

The only thing I did post-production was to manually (no compression) make the loudnesses the same. Sometimes a louder audio will be perceived as “better” based on that alone.

Other than that these are raw audio files with no editing – no noise reduction, EQ, compression, de-plosive, de-reverb, etc.

I thought it would be fun to see people which sample people think is which mic (Sample A or Sample B), and maybe your thoughts about it. Leave a comment below. At some point I will reveal what mics these are :-).

So What Mics Were these?

Sorry about that! I did mean to leave the revelation to the end. but I didn’t intend to delay this by 7 months :-P.

This was a comparison of the Audio-Technica ATR2100x and the much maligned Blue Yeti mic (now owned by Logitech). Drum roll please………..Sample B is the Blue Yeti.

On a Facebook Group I belong to, people generally believe the Blue Yeti sounds terrible, especially for how much it costs (seems to vary between ~$100 and ~$149). I disagree with the idea that the mic just sounds bad. I am convinced that any poor audio you hear that was recorded by a Yeti is due to improper use of the mic.

Be that as it may, one VERY popular podcast production company has such hate for the Yeti that if a remote guest ONLY has a Yeti, this company will BUY them an ATR2100x because they believe it will be worth it to avoid crappy audio from a Yeti.

This sounds pretty extreme to me. The ATR is only ~$20 cheaper than the Yeti. But they feel it’s worth it to NOT have to spend time editing to improve the Yeti’s audio, which CAN have more room reverb and noise. And if the user doesn’t know how to use the “gain” knob on the Yeti, they can easily cause the audio to overload, causing a horrible buzzy distortion in the audio.

The ATR is already a cardioid pickup pattern (see my post Improve The Quality Of The Audio You Record At Home – Tip 2 for more about this), which helps to reduce room noise and reverb. Whereas the Yeti has a knob that the user can switch to a different pickup pattern that can increase noise and room sound. Plus, the ATR doesn’t allow the user to tamper with the input gain because there is no “gain” knob on it. So it’s less likely to distort.

The Yeti CAN Sound Far Superior

So what this means is NOT that the Yeti is incapable of producing professional sounding audio. But rather that if used improperly, its audio CAN suck. All they would have to do is talk to their prospective guest and explain how to use the Yeti to get superior sound. Or they can send them to my article showing how to do just that :-). See Quickly Improve The Audio Quality Of The Blue Yeti. I guess that podcast company thinks it’s worth the money to accept not-very-good audio (review Sample A above), than run the risk of getting truly bad audio if the guest doesn’t know how to best use the Yeti.

But as you heard in the audio samples above, The Blue Yeti used properly produces MUCH better sounding audio than the Audio-Technica ATR2100x.

2 comments on “Comparison of 2 USB Mics”

  1. I like microphone comparisons,
    and I’m just wondering, when comments will be published?

    1. Wow, you were right! I didn’t intend to wait 7 months to reveal the details :-P. thank you so much for reminding me to do this. I just now updated the post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *