Microhpone advice needed: Blue/Yeti vs Rode NT-USB

HI folks,

I have used Audacity for years to record LPs to FLAC, and I was active on this forum around 2017-2018 when I was getting started with this endless (but fun!) project. However, right now I could not remember my login info, so I re-registered. In any case, this forum was greatly helpful to me in the past, so I’m back with a new set of questions/interests.

I am a university professor (biology), and even before the pandemic I was teaching in-person as well as fully asynchronous (fully web-based, no set class meeting times) classes. When we went completely online last March, I was pretty well prepared, but underestimated the amount of time it would take me to manage three online classes instead of just one. Most of this time burden is due to the time I find necessary to edit my screencast lecture recordings.

In any case, back in 2018, when I taught my first fully online class, our Instructional Technology office recommended that I buy a Yeti-Blue condenser USB mic for my screencast lectures (Powerpoint with voiceover). I am happy with the sound quality, however, I spend a TON of time editing the audio in Camtasia (a buggy disaster of a program–Looking for something else!). This mic is very sensitive, and even though I am using an Auray pop filter, the Yeti picks up every inhalation, exhalation, lip-smacking, and other non-speech noise that issues forth from my body as I’m speaking. (It is also really good at picking up the sound of crickets outside my window). I spend a LOT of time editing out all of this audio detritus because I’m a perfectionist with these lectures, and I re-use many of them semester after semester.

In talking to a few recording-savvy people, I am advised by all of them that a condenser mic like the Yeti is the WRONG choice for recording voice in a home office with imperfect acoustics. I want a dynamic mic, I am told, something like a Rode NT-USB.

I already own the Yeti as I mentioned, and I use the cardioid pattern with a pop filter (~18" from my mouth), but my question is this: Will buying a Rode instead minimize the intensity of non-speech noises that make it into my audio? If not, what would you suggest that I can do to minimize the intensity of these sounds? What microphone would you recommend? I am not willing to spend much more than about 150$ (it’s the department’s money actually, but still…) and I want USB and simple setup.

Should I get the Rode or some other dynamic mic? Any other advice on cutting down on the time needed for editing out non-speech noises would be greatly appreciated!


I find necessary to edit my screencast lecture recordings.

Editing, as a fuzzy rule, takes five times the length of the show—and that’s if everything goes well. This is why people who need to dash off show after show are desperate to avoid editing. I have a favorite YouTube channel I’m about to abandon because they started to post unedited trash.

The audiobook publishers call this “distraction.”

What’s a good microphone? That should be pretty simple [cough, cough].

The microphone types in your post are famous for picking up every single nuance and delicate sound. It’s not unusual for a presenter to want to filter most of the nuances out before the final show. See: DeClicker, DeEsser, and DeSibilator, Punch and Go editing.

Most of those sounds go straight in front of your face. So don’t put the microphone there. Oblique placement (B) has two advantages.

It allows you to get louder which many home microphones need, and it’s much less likely to receive P-Popping and other mouth noises.

But that’s not how I did it.

I shot my fake podcast with a head-mounted microphone similar to this.

This was a first-pass engineering test and not to be considered a final in any way. Most of the technical challenges worked out. Denise and I are four time zones apart and she sounds like she’s sitting on the sofa beside me.

Fair warning “gamer headsets” are usually terrible. I have an “affordable” gamer headset I used once and put it in a box in the garage.

Most people want to write a check for a microphone and and go home, but without question the best thing you can do is throw soundproofing around. Nothing says kid recording a podcast faster than echoes of recording in a bathroom or kitchen.

Also see: good at picking up the sound of crickets

If you never actually appear on camera, you might make good use of a Kitchen Table Sound Studio.

If you’re not handy at all, several people make good pre-baked studios. The one I made is a copy of this.

And there was another recent posting I think I wrote down…somewhere.

I do have an actual microphone recommendation. The Shure SM7b is a terrific microphone and paired with a Cloud Lifter volume booster appears on many podcasts. It’s an analog microphone so you need a small sound mixer and digitizer.


That’s it in front of Joe Rogan.

He is not the poster child for good microphone hygiene. He likes to swallow the microphone and the sound people have all they can do to deal with his mouth noises. But you can see those poking up in podcasts and Youtube postings.

If you do settle on something, run it by us before you write a check and we’ll tell you all about the problems.

I personally think you can do with what you have with revised microphone placement and a few furniture moving pads.


In my personal opinion (others may disagree), the Rode NT USB is a better mic than the Yeti, but …

The Rode NT USB will also do that. It is a condenser mic, and will pick up a lot of detail, including mouth smacks etc.

Good quality “dynamic” USB mics do exist, but they are rare. One that comes to mind is the Samson Q9U USB (I’ve never used one so I don’t know what they are like).

Condenser mics tend to be a lot more popular because the condenser mics tend to have greater clarity and detail. The downside of that “clarity and detail” is that they also pick up every lip-smack and breath. It could be likened to the difference between a low resolution photograph and a high resolution photograph.

Re. background noise.
There will always be some background noise. The “trick” is to make the voice level much higher than the background noise level, so that the background noise is insignificant.

The first, and most important step in reducing background noise, is to chose a recording location that is a quiet as possible, and substantially free of echoes. Echoes can be reduced by soft furnishings, heavy rugs on walls, heavy curtains, carpets …
If you don’t have a quiet room, then you need to avoid being too fussy because compromise is unavoidable.

The second aspect is to maximize the level of the voice. Get close to the mic - I’d suggest no more than 20cm away from the mic, with the pop shield about 5 cm from the mic.

A word on terminology.

“Condenser microphones” work by making your voice vibrate two very delicate pieces of metal foil, a “condenser.” This is also why you should never, ever blow into a microphone. That’s a good way to make microphone-shaped trash.

Dynamic microphones make your voice vibrate a teensy coil of wire next to a powerful magnet. That’s it. I guess it’s “dynamic” in the sense that this microphone type is almost impossible to overload or break. That’s why they appear in front of rock bands.

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Found it.



Koz, I am looking for “a head-mounted microphone” similar to this. I have a wireless unit, but I am looking to also get a wired mic. May I ask which one do you use ?

I don’t have a recommendation but [u]here[/u] are some “professional headset mics”. (They tend to be expensive.)

Thanks. Now you see my dilemma. All but one or two of those mics have proprietary connectors and/or are intended for wireless operation. Perhaps I’ll check out the Pro8HEx. I’d still like to hear what koz is using… :smiley:

Oops… Amazon reviews suggest the Pro8HEx is not good for singing. :frowning:

If money was unimportant, and I needed a new headset mic, I’d go for a DPA mic. I’ve used them on musical stage productions, and they’re the best headset mics I’ve ever used (but rather expensive).

Even with a really good headset mic, there are problems:
Mic positioning is quite critical.
Movement of the cable against clothing can be picked up by the mic.
For “sound reinforcement” jobs, feedback rejection is much lower than close mic’ing with a traditional hand held dynamic mic.
Not possible to “work the mic”.
They may move during a performance without the artist noticing.
A lot of performers hate them.

Still goin’ with what you got and a couple of moving blankets. That can be effective and pretty cheap. Harbor Freight had good blankets.

As it says in the studio posting, Home Depot, last I checked had pre-cut pipes and the install doesn’t use glue. Stick it together and knock it apart when you’re done.

What’s a good microphone? That should be pretty simple.

May I ask which one do you use ?

You may, but I may not be able to come up with a ready answer. Looking.

That’s it sitting on the left-hand Mac.

Can you make out the name? It’s possible that even if it does turn up, it’s going to be no longer made. I have a lot of stuff like that.

I do remember it came with an interface box which would do a number of neat tricks. The obvious trick was adapting from the actual tiny microphone cable to XLR. You could put batteries in it and run that way, or you could configure it to run from 48volt phantom power sent up from the mixer. No part of this runs on USB.

But that’s not a killer. I like my Behringer UM2 interface.


There is one odd shortcoming. It doesn’t overload at the same place that Audacity does. It’s a couple of dB off. Pay attention to the UM2 lights.


That’s the UM2 in full “Studio” configuration. That’s actually my outside photo studio, but it’s identical to an actual shoot.


So by my count, for about $30 usd and a little microphone management, you could have a tiny portable studio and sound terrific.


Yes, rather. :wink:

Not even when I squint my eyes. :wink: Thanks for looking. :smiley:

Thanks for the advice guys. I will post a more in-depth reply later when I am able.

For now, it is good (in a way) to learn that editing typically requires 5x the length of the recording itself. I was wondering whether I was being horribly inefficient in this process, and if there was some way to save time. I guess there’s no way around it if one wants to produce a high-quality product (Crickets be damned!)

Anyway, in terms or mic placement, if I put the Yeti off-axis as illustrated in the first reply, should I then switch from cardioid to some other pickup mode (stereo?)?


switch from cardioid

No. Cardioid (heart-shaped) or kidney-shaped is good. Omnidirectional will allow you to pick up the crickets much clearer and louder. Figure-Of-Eight will allow you to pick up only some crickets clearer and louder.

This is the cardioid pick-up pattern for a rock band microphone, but you get the idea. The performer is typically inside that pattern facing the microphone. There is a “dead” spot directly behind the microphone and you can make good use of that if you have two people by putting each person in the dead zone of the other. This only works well if you have a quiet, echo-free room, and it doesn’t work near as well with three or more people.

Since you have no “studio” or controlled environment, you want to record the least room sound possible. As in the post, most popping, spitting and ticking sounds go straight in front of your nose. Don’t put the microphone there. The company name should still face you, even with the microphone off to the side.

If you have a quiet, echo-free environment (the word “studio” frightens people), you can get almost any microphone to work. I’m still on-and-off working on getting a phone to work as a stand-alone recorder. They make it extraordinarily hard to do that.

editing typically requires 5x the length of the recording itself.

Sure. Watch. The first trip through the show is listening to make sure you know where the errors and trash are and the last trip through to make sure you got them all and the show flows smoothly after your corrections. That’s two out of the five and we haven’t done any corrections yet.

There’s no shortage of forum posters saying things like: “I have a nine-hour podcast. What’s the fastest way to filter out all the mistakes.”

That’s adorable. There’s no one-button push (except on April First). The successful performers are all doing what you’re doing. “That’s a serious P-Pop. Let’s cover that one up.”

You can take longer. There was a forum poster who assured us he was going to edit his presentation word by word. He’s probably still cutting it years later.

I wrote up a product called Professional Audio Filter (PAF) where you could record complete trash and it would come out a perfect, professional studio presentation after applying the filter. But only on April first.

There are Academy Awards® for editing. I’m not making this up.

Oh, there was one item in the repair arsenal. These microphones can be subject to “Essing.” That’s where each SS sound in a sentence is boosted and sounds like it could cut wood. There is software to help with that. DeEsser and Desibilator.


There is a desperation method. Record in the back of your car. Park in a quiet place and set up shop. I tell of a producer who routinely turned out good or at least workable voice tracks. I asked how he did it. He said “My Toyota.”


Hi kozikowski. Thanks very much for your thoughtful posts! I am happy with the sound quality on the Yeti (at least for voice), and will hold onto it for now unless someone can suggest something that would be appreciably better for my application. Regardless, it sounds as if a different mic will not save me much time in editing.

We are 100% remote since March 2020 and I cannot even work in my quiet office at work, so I record my screencast lectures at home at night. This is because I’m a nightowl, and it’s generally quieter at that time (no lawmowers, leafblowers screaming kids, etc.). The crickets are not a huge deal, and I think very few of my students care about the finer points of audio quality and editing. Nevertheless, I try to do my best to make the audio as clean as possible–hence, editing out inhalations, exhalations, lip-smacking, etc. Because I have very sensitive hearing, those things annoy me a lot!

Interestingly, when I first started doing the screencast lectures in 2018, I would start with a enough slide material for a 50 minute lecture, and by the time I edited everything down, it ended up being about 20 minutes. I explain to the students that these lectures are hence very concentrated–no time for questions, discussion, funny little stories, water drinking, inhaling, etc.

In any case, we are looking at getting new windows here–double-pane, soundproof, and better climate control. I am also interested in other desktop modifications. I have the round Auray pop filter, but it does not seem to make much difference to me. I also think that the monitor itself causes a bit of echo/reverb, as it sits right behind the mic, as currently set up. I would think that setting the mic off axis would minimize that as well.

Thanks again.

Also, tried to send you a PM, but I am not allowed yet.

I try to do my best to make the audio as clean as possible

Good thinking for two reasons: Who demands better respect and attention? Somebody in BBC voice, perfect diction, impeccable accuracy, and smooth presentation, or someone who sounds like they dashed off the class between episodes of Gilligan’s Island?

But there’s another layer as well. I know you don’t do this, but nothing drives me to homicidal fury faster than watching a “How To” video that makes a mistake and then makes me sit through them correcting the mistake.

I also think that the monitor itself causes a bit of echo/reverb

Do you have a speaker/monitor running in the room while you’re presenting? You’re supposed to be wearing wired headphones plugged into the Yeti while you’re announcing.

That does wonders for smoothing out your live volume and expression. No you can’t plug into the computer and you can’t use wireless headphones.