If you are looking for a USB mic, the only two options you commonly come across are Blue Yeti and Blue Snowball. These are the most popular mics you would see in almost any YouTube video and perfectly suit beginners with their high quality, simple setup, and affordable price.
While we’ll cover the Blue Yeti and Blue Snowball in detail in this guide, we also have another piece on the best studio mics if you want to explore even more studio microphone options.
Also Read : Best Studio Microphones
Blue is a well-known brand that is trusted because of its budget-friendly and reliable studio mics that gives excellent performances without breaking the bank. Blue Yeti and Snowball are two of their most popular products that are the number one choice of YouTubers, podcasters, and streamers.
Choosing between Blue Yeti and Snowball can be confusing if you know little about studio mics. To help those beginners, we have designed this article to make a detailed comparison of Blue Yeti vs Snowball. We will discuss their different features and try to make it easier for you to choose from. Let’s review the features of each microphone one by one.
Blue Yeti Vs Blue Snowball
Let’s look at a few similarities before we dig deep. Both Blue Yeti and Snowball are considered budget-friendly options of a studio mic. Both are condenser microphones. Yeti and Snowball both are USB mics and offer simple setup. All you need to do is to connect the USB cable with your system, and you are ready to go. Both mics are excellent choices for beginners providing good audio. Both are visually appealing mics that look great in video recordings as well.
Both Blue Yeti and Snowball are beautifully designed. These are studio mics with great visual presence. Both have their own individual grace that makes them stand out between all the other studio mics. Still, both are far from similar. These are simple mics without any complicated system. Snowball even does not have many buttons at all. The Yeti does have some buttons and knobs, but they are purposeful in design and rather than complicating things, it makes the controls pretty clear and easy to handle.
The Blue Yeti comes with a retro-style look. It’s not a small mic and will cover some space on your desk. The mic has a sleek and modern design.
It is also a very sturdy mic with all-metal construction. The mic also has a metal grill on the upper part of the mic that filters the audio eliminating the noise. The Blue Yeti is available in four astonishing colors. You can choose the color that matches the color scheme of your studio setup.
Blue Snowball does not resemble Blue Yeti at all. As compared to Yeti, Snowball is a small mic. The size makes it more portable and an easy to carry option. It has a small ball-like shape that has a classic look. It comes with a sturdy tripod that keeps the mic stable on your desk. It is easy to adjust and holds the mic in an optimal position. While the mic is fully adjustable, it is limited in height, that means it will sit pretty low on the desk. The Snowball is available in three distinct colors.
If we compare both Yeti and Snowball in looks, then both have their individual presence on the desk. The Blue Yeti is huge, but it gives a retro-modern look. The Blue Snowball, on the other hand, has a more classic look. The Yeti looks more durable and stable as compared to Snowball, which looks like a ball on a tripod that is prone to more accidents. The Yeti has a sturdy build and stable base. Blue Yeti is also 3-4 inches taller than the Snowball and will take up more space on your desk.
• Mic Stand
Both microphones come with their mic stands. However, both stands are completely different. The Snowball is mounted over a tripod stand. The Blue Yeti has a more solid base. It does not come with a tripod but a solid stand that is less likely to move or create any trouble while recording. Blue Snowball has more possibility of knocking over than Blue Yeti. The Yeti has a solid circular base that distributes the weight evenly and is less likely to move easily.
Both Blue Yeti and Snowball are USB mics. That means they offer a simple plug-and-play system. The mics can be connected to your PC through a USB cable, and you are ready to go live. The USB mics send the audio as digital files, you don’t need an audio interface for these mics. So having a simple Plug-and-play system is a big advantage of both Blue Yeti and Snowball. These mics are perfect for beginners. Both of these mics can be connected with USB 1.1, 1.2, and 3.3.
• Frequency Response
The Blue Yeti has a better frequency response as compared to Snowball. It features three capsules and picks up a wider range of frequencies. It allows you to produce audio between 20 Hz to 20K Hz.
The Snowball has less frequency range as compared to Yeti. It can capture audio between 40 Hz to 18 Hz. Both mics provide excellent quality audio, no matter if you are recording vocals or instruments. But the Yeti takes the lead by having better frequency response and giving sharp and clear lows and highs.
• Polar Patterns
This is where both mics differ completely. The polar pattern is the ability of a mic to pick up sound from a direction. Blue Yeti is more versatile as compared to Snowball when we compare the polar patterns. Yeti is a multi-pattern microphone that offers versatile performance. You can make use of it for many purposes.
The Blue Yeti offers four multi-patterns that make for a very versatile studio microphone. The four patterns it offers are:
- Cardioid: The most common pattern in USB and XLR mics is a cardioid pattern. It means the mic can pick up sound right from the front. The cardioid pattern does well for rejecting the background noise. For those who don’t have a well-treated room, a cardioid pattern is an excellent choice after dynamic mics. The mic picks up sound from the front.
- Omnidirectional: Omnidirectional pattern picks up sound from all around. It is perfect when you are recording a meeting and want to capture audio coming from all the sides. The pattern is also great when you need an ambient noise along with the audio.
- Stereo: The stereo pattern picks up sound from the right and left sides. It works well when you have people by your side or have co-hosts.
- Bidirectional: Bidirectional pattern picks up the sound from both the front and the back. It is a good choice when you have one to one talk show or a co-host sharing the mic that is placed between them.
These are the patterns that make Blue Yeti a multi-purpose microphone for studio recordings. Blue Snowball, on the other hand, does not offer the same versatility. It offers only three patterns that are referred to as 1, 2, and 3. These patterns are:
- Cardioid: As we said, it picks up sound from the front, rejecting sides and rear.
- Cardioid with 10dB: Pretty much the same as the cardioid pattern, except it lowers the volume 10dB than the cardioid pattern. The difference is more obvious in instrument recordings.
- Omnidirectional: It picks up audio from all around equally well.
So Blue Yeti has the upper hand when we compare the polar patterns of both microphones. The Yeti can be used in a variety of applications. Both microphones do well for canceling the background noise, but Blue Yeti does that more effectively. The Snowball does reject background noise, but it is still noisy and needs a pop filter for better performance.
A drawback Blue Snowball has is lack of clarity. The polar pattern switch of the mic only has three options indicated as numbers. You don’t get a clue what is what unless you read the manual.
• Sound Quality
Both Blue Yeti and Blue Snowball are good quality microphones that provide crisp and detailed sound.
The Blue Yeti produces a clear and natural sound. It has a better frequency range and does well for recording instruments. The Snowball also produces good quality sound, albeit not as well rounded as the Yeti. Compared to the Yeti, the Snowball has less frequency range, and the quality of sound is not as crisp.
The Yeti has less booming and hissing sound. Due to its different polar patterns, Yeti fits in almost all types of audio recording situations and programs. The Snowball is more limited in this regard, but the sound quality remains good. If we don’t have to compare the sound quality to Yeti, the sound quality of Snowball is excellent.
• Gain Control
Gain control helps you to control the noise from an audio recording. The Blue Yeti provides an ultimate gain control for giving you crisp and clear audio. It comes with an easy to access gain control knob for adjusting the audio.
The Snowball offers -10dB attenuation as well, But if you are looking for a gain control like Yeti, then it does not give one. Overall, Yeti provides better clarity and gain control than Snowball.
• Mic Control
Blue Yeti provides full control in your hand. The mic comes with all the options readily available right on the microphone. You can mute the mic any time, and a red indicator lets you know when the mute button is on. Other than that, you have a headphone jack under the mic as well. It allows you to monitor the audio in real-time while recording. The mic also allows you to increase or decrease the audio while recording as per your choice.
In terms of the audio recording control, unfortunately, the Snowball does not have to offer much. You don’t have any mute button on the mic so you cannot turn off the mic when live streaming or recording. Also, no headphone jack or volume control is offered. It offers the polar pattern switch, but that too is labeled in numbers, and you have to figure out which pattern is each through its manual.
Here, the Blue Snowball takes the lead. This one comes with a minimalist design. The mic can easily be packed in a handbag and is easier to carry. The Blue Yeti is a bit heavy and larger than Snowball. It is not a very portable mic.
Budget is the main concern for many beginners. Both Blue Yeti and Snowball are budget-friendly mics in their own way. If we have to compare then certainly Snowball offers more convenience. It is a very cost-effective mic and available under $50. The Yeti costs almost double but then it offers better features and sound quality.
Pros & Cons
Here is a quick round-up of the pros and cons:
Both the Blue Yeti and Snowball are great microphones and provide excellent audio. Both mics are easy to use and come with a simple plug-and-play system. The Yeti has a more prominent presence and also provides better performance and versatility with its four polar patterns.
Both microphones are ideal choices for beginners. If we have to choose one we will recommend Blue Yeti due to the edge it has over Snowball in terms of sound quality and versatility. But having said that, the Blue Yeti costs more than Snowball. If the price seems too much, you can choose the Blue Snowball without a second thought. You can still have great audio quality and a simple setup. Yes, it may not be as versatile as Yeti, but it does the purpose well.
All in all, the Blue Yeti and the Blue Snowball are competent microphones in their own right, and you can’t go wrong with either.
Jeremy has been running several online businesses behind his laptop for the past 5 years and he has worked as a freelance web developer previously. A trained marketer by profession, he also has Ruby on Rails and web development knowledge. His forte lies in eCommerce, SEO and content marketing. He’s been featured on Vice, Thrive Global, YFS Magazine, Forbes and several other publications. He prefers to connect with people on LinkedIn.