Precise volume settings for the Yeti Blue microphone and Windows settings to reduce background noise

A Yeti model microphone from Blue

The Blue Yeti USB microphone is very popular, but its sensitivity can overwhelm you. Photo (CC) by LTD team

The downside of Yeti Blue USB microphones for podcasting

Yeti Blue microphones are very popular for podcasting and home audio recording. They have a big drawback of being too sensitive. They pick up too much background noise even when the gain is lowered. I know this because I bought one for my own podcasting and video streaming and I struggled to get good sound with it.

Bad advice

Most of the advice I have found online says to turn the Yeti's win button down to the absolute minimum. This avoids picking up too much background noise, but then the sound is really quiet and almost unusable. Then the board says to amplify that sound on the computer or in your software.

The resulting sound I got using this board was what I would call hollow.

The opposite advice that works better

Some online opponents say to turn the gain knob higher and lower the input level on the computer. It worked for me. The sound was much richer, but without picking up any background noise.

The adjustment knobs on the back of the Blue Yeti microphone. The top button is labeled

The gain button is located on the back of the Yeti. Most boards say to drop as low as possible. This advice is wrong. Photo (CC) by LTD team

  1. I plugged my best headphones directly into the Yeti to be able to control the sound while I was adjusting.
  2. I completely turned the gain knob on the back of the Yeti. I could hear everything.
  3. I opened Windows audio settings by typing "audio settings" in the Windows search box.
  4. In the audio settings, I scrolled down to the input devices.
  5. I checked that the Yeti mic was selected and then clicked on Device Properties.
  6. I adjusted the volume to around 50.

Much better!

I adjusted the two settings a little bit in each direction, until my voice sounded the best I could and I couldn't hear my wall clock spinning.

I ended up with the Yeti gain button down about a quarter of the way and the Windows volume set to 75.

You don't have to do it every time

I made these changes once in the audio settings, and now Windows seems to remember me. Whenever I plug in or plug in my Yeti, it's ready to go. I have nothing more to do.

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About Becky McCray

Becky launched Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share stories and ideas about rural business and community development with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.

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