The Blue Yeti is a popular choice for affordable, plug and play USB microphone. Yet, although the Blue Yeti mics are very reliable, it doesn’t mean it’s 100% free of technical and sound issues.
There can be cases when your Blue Yeti sounds bad like it’s muffled or as if it is underwater, and sometimes it just sounds bad!
But figuring the cause to fix the problem can be a hassle, so we’ve researched this topic in-depth, and in this guide, we will provide the answer along with additional tips for you.
If your Blue Yeti mic suddenly sounds bad, there are generally four possible reasons:
- using the mic too close to your mouth or using the wrong settings
- using a USB hub
- software-related issues such as in your DAW
- a physical issue with the mic like faulty cable or bad cable connection which can cause crackling sounds or distortions.
As you can see, there can be various potential reasons for your Blue Yeti to sound bad, and figuring out the real culprit can be quite daunting. This is why we elaborate on it all in this guide.
Keep reading, and below we will discuss several potential causes as well as other tips to improve your Blue Yeti’s sound quality and performance.
My Blue Yeti Sounds Muffled
Potential Reason 1: Using the wrong setting
First things first, the Blue Yeti Has four different modes: Stereo, Cardioid, Omnidirectional, and Bidirectional. Here are some basic descriptions of them:
Stereo: the Blue Yeti utilizes both the right and left channels to capture a realistic sound image.
Cardioid: the favorite setting for podcasts, singing, instrument mic-ing, and other needs that require direct-mic-ing. Cardioid records sources that are directly in front of the mic.
Omnidirectional: in this setting, the Blue Yeti will pick up sounds equally from 360 degrees all around the mic. Best used if you want to capture the ambiance, but also useful for conference call or multi-person podcasts.
Bidirectional: the rear of the mic, useful for two-person podcast/interview, recording a duet, etc.
If your Blue Yeti sounds bad in one way or another, try using the right setting according to your current needs.
For example, if you are podcasting, then typically you should put the Blue Yeti on Cardioid mode. The Cardioid setting can also eliminate noises coming from the back and sides of the microphone, so it can improve the overall sound.
Potential Reason 2: Bad microphone positioning
Getting too close to your Blue Yeti mic can pick up excessive breathing, pops from plosives (letters like P and T), mouth noises, and in a worst-case scenario can cause distortions and crackling sounds.
You can also get an issue known as the ‘proximity effect’. this causes a deeper more muffled tone due to you being too close to the microphone.
On the other hand, talking too far away from the microphone can cause more room noise, harsh tones, and reverb to enter the mic. Speaking too far away can also cause muffled sounds and so your Blue Yeti might sound like you are talking from underwater.
In general, hold the microphone between 1-2 inches (2-5cm) from your mouth.
Make sure you talking past the mic instead of into the mic. Position it properly so you don’t talk directly into the mic which can cause the most plosives. You can also speak from the Blue Yeti from the side instead of speaking directly into the top of the Blue Yeti.
If you are struggling to do this you can invest in a pop filter. These fairly cheap pieces of equipment act as a shield to stop the puffs of air which are expelled from your mouth when you make P sounds.
Make Sure The Mic Is Stable
Avoid any movement of the microphone and make sure it’s stable. Any movement can produce background noises or inconsistent volume levels which can cause muffled sounds. Put the Blue Yeti on its stand on your desk or any stable position, and make sure it doesn’t rattle or move around when you speak into it.
Get Rid of Echo As Much As Possible
Hard surfaces and sharp angles in your recording room can cause excessive reverbs and echo. You can get rid of this issue by investing on absorbent surfaces, and audio foams are now very affordable and easy to get. Form the audio foam into a semicircle surrounding the mic when you can.
If you don’t want to create a soundproofed studio and perhaps you are just set up in the corner of a room then a small acoustic shield like the one shown below can be a good option to reduce echo.
If you want to up your game further and sound even more professional there are portable vocal booths you can buy. For more info on portable vocal booths, you can read this article.
My Blue Yeti Sounds Bad
Potential Reason 1: Connection issues
Since the Blue Yeti is a USB mic, then you should check the USB connection. Sometimes, your Blue Yeti can sound underwater or crackled just because of small errors related to connections.
Make sure to plug your mic into the right USB port. If you are plugging the mic into a desktop PC, try to use the USB ports on the back of the case instead of the front. Typically the front USB ports are just rerouted from the real USB ports on the back.
Likewise, if you are using a USB hub, try bypassing the hub and see if that makes any difference.
Try using different USB ports or try other equipment in those USB porta Check whether the connection is loose, and try switching to another cable if you have any.
Potential Reason 2: Software issues
Software-related issues is a common reason why equipment might sound bad. This can be a pretty broad subject to discuss since you can have a lot of software and apps that might cause errors.
In general, however, here are some key steps to consider to fix software-related issues that cause your Blue Yeti to sound bad (for Windows):
- Make sure your Blue Yeti is not disabled
- In Windows, go to the volume icon in the taskbar
- Right-click on the icon, and select Recording Devices
- Right-click on the empty space
- Select “Show disabled devices” and “Show disconnected devices”, and see if your Blue Yeti is detected. Enable it if it hasn’t already.
- if necessary, upgrade the driver manually using your Device Manager
- Right-Click on the Windows icon
- Select Device Manager, and locate your Blue Yeti mic
- Right-click on the problematic device
- Select Update Driver. your Device Manager will then search online for your driver
- Select “Search automatically for updated driver software”
Potential Reason 3: Too much or too little gain
Gain is the level of electrical energy that is allowed to enter the mic, which translates to the level of sound input that can go into the Blue Yeti. The higher your gain level, the more irrelevant noises will be captured by the mic.
On the other hand, if you turn in to zero gain, you won’t capture any sound. In general, set your gain as low as possible but make sure the input is not too little according to your needs.
If you have the input gain set too high within your DAW or on the Blue Yeti itself then you may notice distortion or clipping. You may notice when you speak or sing into the microphone the meter goes ‘into the red’. This will cause a distorted sound as the soundwave is clipped.
You can see this in the image below. The input from the microphone is too high and so the sound wave goes beyond the maximum amplitude and so is chopped off.
Turn down the input gain to make sure this doesn’t happen. You are better to record too quietly and turn it up after because once the sound is clipped there is no getting those lost soundwaves back.
Use Appropriate Software To Record Your Sound
The Blue Yeti is quite sensitive and can pick up a lot of background noise. So, in general, you’d want a recording/DAW software where you can apply noise reduction. Most DAWs even free ones like Audacity can effectively do this. Also, make sure the software doesn’t clash with other apps or your drivers.
Potential Reason 4: Hardware Issues
If you’ve implemented all of the above but you still get bad sounds from your Blue Yeti, then it might be caused by hardware-related issues. This can be broken/loose USB port so your Blue Yeti is not connected properly, broken IC/PCB or broken receivers.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about this except taking the Blue Yeti for repair or replace it if it’s still under warranty.
To summarize, here are what we should do make sure the Blue Yeti get the optimal sound quality and prevent it from producing muffled or underwater sounds:
- Eliminate as many background noise as possible (for example, turn off the fan/AC, turn off your laptop’s fan, and try and use a room with less echo or get a vocal shield)
- Buy a pop filter to stop plosive sounds or talk past, not into your Blue Yeti
- Use the right setting/mode according to your needs. In most cases, try the Cardioid mode.
- Turn down the gain setting as low as possible while making sure you can still get an adequate level of sound
- Update drivers and all your apps regularly