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How to Make Blue Yeti Less Sensitive — 10 Possible Solutions to Reduce Background Noise

Wondering how to make a Blue Yeti less sensitive? Learn the tips and tricks about how to adjust sensitivity to reduce background noise.

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By Scott Winstead

blue yeti mic sensitivity

If your Blue Yeti picks up everything — background noises, ambient noise, mouth noises, hums, keyboard noise, other unwanted sounds — you’re not alone. Even though I’ve been recording in studios for decades now as an instructional designer creating eLearning modules, I’ve encountered the same challenges with the Blue Yeti.

It’s a fantastic microphone for its versatility and quality, but its sensitivity can sometimes be too much of a good thing, especially in less-than-ideal recording environments.

In this article, I’ll share some tried-and-true methods I’ve picked up over the years to tame the Yeti’s sensitivity. These tips will help you achieve clearer, more professional recordings, whether you’re working from a home studio, an office, or any space not specifically designed for audio recording.

To assemble these tips, I talked to other recording engineers, microphone manufacturers, and even designers like those types who could have worked on the Blue Yeti design team.

The Problem with Blue Yeti Sensitivity

The Blue Yeti mic has three condenser capsules that offer four different, switchable pickup patterns. The choice of pickup patterns includes cardioid (heart-shaped), omnidirectional and bidirectional.

Blue Yeti's Polar Patterns

The problem is the Blue Yeti mic is extremely sensitive even in a quiet recording space, especially when set on the omnidirectional pickup pattern. If your Blue Yeti picks up everything from ambient sounds to breathing noises, rest easy knowing it’s a common problem, but it’s one that’s solvable.

In my reviews of omnidirectional mics, the Blue Yeti was my top choice in this article. However, if not used properly, the mic will pick up many unwanted background noise and room noise.

Omnidirectional Mic Catching Background Noise

Almost everyone will run into problems with the sensitivity of this microphone until they learn the best ways to reduce and eliminate the problems caused by mic sensitivity.

The Sources of the Problem and Possible Solutions

Let’s look at common problems, their causes, and solutions to adjust Blue Yeti mic sensitivity.

1. Loud Home Background Noise

When the background noise is louder than the speaker, you have a gain problem.

Background Noise Sources

Solution: The way to fix this problem is to use the cardioid pickup pattern to help suppress background noise. Also, speak louder and speak closer to the mic from the correct side (not top) of the mic. Adjust the gain on the mic until it records the correct level of voice, and the background noises, which the mic captures, are reduced.

2. Proximity Effect

The proximity effect causes your voice to have more low-end than is desirable. Your voice sounds “boomy” if you speak too close to the mic.

Speak Too Close to the Mic

Solution: The solution to fixing any unwanted proximity effect when recording is to back away from the mic. Try to stay about six inches away. Use a closed fist to estimate the proper distance. Put your fist between your mouth and the mic.

3. Mic Is Picking Up Wind Noise

This happens when using a mic outside in a windy environment.

Windy Environment

Solution: Use a “dead cat” (also known as a wind muff) mic cover when recording in a windy environment.

4. Mic Gain

There is a gain knob on the Blue Yeti mic that may need adjustment. Too much gain will cause the audio levels to peak and the sound to distort. Too little gain will cause the mic not to pick up sounds well enough or cause a steady unwanted background hum.

Mic Gain

In this video, produced by Burnt Rawe, the narrator shows how he dealt with a steady background hum that came from his gain setting on the Blue Yeti mic and his computer settings. He went into the properties settings of the microphone on his computer, set the volume to 20%, and turned the gain up on the mic to full.

He shows how he does this on his Windows computer by opening the recording devices, selecting the microphone, selecting properties, and then using the levels tab to find the place to reduce the microphone input volume to the computer to a setting of 20%. Then, he turned the gain knob on the Blue Yeti microphone up to full.

There are two opposite trains of thought regarding using the mic gain on the Blue Yeti microphone.

One says to turn the gain all the way down and use the computer mic input volume up. The other is the opposite and says to turn the gain all the way up on the mic and turn the computer input volume down.

The Balance Between the Gain and Input Volume

The point is that the balance between these two settings, one on the mic and one on the computer, makes the vocals sound better. Try different settings with your voice until you find the ones that you like the best.

Solution: Gain is adjusted on the mic by a knob. The gain adjustment can be turned all the way down and then added a little at a time to find the correct amount. On the recording side (the input to the computer), the microphone volume input needs to be adjusted to control any volume added by the computer.

5. Input Level

If the input level is too high, the sound will peak and distort. If the input level is too low, the signal will not be strong enough, and adding gain to the signal will introduce more unwanted noise.

Input Level Settings

This video, produced by Hazelnuttygames, shows six tips for getting the best vocal sound out of a Blue Yeti mic.

She shows how to adjust the gain knob on the mic. She shows how to set the pickup pattern to cardioid.

She shows how to use good mic skills and to speak directly into the front of the mic from about six inches away.

She recommends putting the mic on a boom stand and not using the desk stand that comes with the mic. Alternatively, if you want to use a clamp arm, use a shockmount. Get a pop filter.

Using Pop Filter

The last step is post-processing and using the software on your computer to clean up the sound.

Solution: Using the tips in the video to adjust input levels will help you find the “sweet spot” for recording vocals and voice-overs. The input level comes from a combination of how close the person is to the mic, how much gain is set on the mic, and the input volume setting on the computer.

6. Using the Wrong Pickup Pattern

The Blue Yeti has three condenser microphone heads and four choices of pickup patterns.

Choosing Cardioid Polar Pattern

Solution: The best pickup pattern to use for voice recording is the cardioid pattern shaped like a heart. This pattern focuses on the sound that comes from directly in front of the mic.

7. Noisy Environment

If you are trying to record in a noisy environment, you will probably pick up unwanted background noise. Get rid of traffic sounds by using the cardioid pickup pattern.

Noisy Neighbours and Traffic

Solution: If possible, record in a quieter environment or record at a quieter time (in the middle of the night). More tips about making your home studio recording environment quiet include using padding, acoustic foam panels, and blankets.

If this is not possible, you may want to use a different microphone with a very tight pickup pattern to avoid having unwanted background noise and room sounds in your recordings. You may also be able to use noise gates and audio filters to remove unwanted sounds.

8. Keyboard Noise

You do not want to record unwanted keyboard sounds and the clicking of the keys when typing.

Keyboard Sound

Solution: Here are some things you can try to solve this problem. Mount the mic on a boom stand instead of using a desk stand. Use a shock mount to cut down on any unwanted vibrations reaching the mic.

Record your voice by standing up away from the desk. Do not type while recording. Get a keyboard that makes less keystroke noise when typing.

9. Wrong Mic Positioning

You may have bad vocal sound because of not being in the proper position in relation to the mic.

Desk Stand vs Boom Stand

Solution: The best spot for mic placement is about six to eight inches from the mic. That is the width of your fist.

Address the mic from the side (not from above the mic) and speak directly in the front of the mic. You can try different distances and vocal volumes to see what sounds the best.

10. Recording Software

Audio recording software can be helpful to condition the voice. Use filters to block out unwanted sounds.

Blue Voice Software

In this video, produced by Huke, the narrator shows how to use a Blue Yeti mic and set it up properly to work with the collaborative forum software called Discord.

The settings he uses include that the gain knob on the mic is turned all the way down. He speaks directly into the mic with the distance from his mouth measured by his fist.

He sets the pickup pattern on the mic to cardioid (the one that looks like a heart). He uses Voicemeter banana software to add low-end to his voice.

Discord servers allow users to communicate using text, instant messaging, voice calls, video calls, and share media files.

After all the physical setup is done, you may need to use audio filters and software to fine-tune the microphone sound. Consider using software like Blue VOICE or the open-source software OBS Studio.

In this video, produced by CalumXGames, the narrator works with OBS studio software for making audio recordings.

If you are a user of OBS Studio software, then the narrator shows how to use OBS compressor settings and other audio filters when recording to improve the sound of what is captured by the microphone.

Useful Resources

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, with all the tips and tricks I gave you, you now have the knowledge you need to fix any problems you have about how to make Blue Yeti less sensitive.

Remember, the Blue Yeti is a condenser mic, so it’s going to be pretty sensitive by nature. But if you follow the steps above, you can better control it and get a really great sound from this mic.

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