USB mic windows 10 settings

Noob here (plan on using audacity but first have a question)

I just picked up a blue yeti for cheap.
It has a gain knob.

To set up the mic, should I turn the gain on mic to zero, then turn the mic level in Windows to 100% and then start turning up the gain on the mic till I’m loud enough?

I’m old, slow and hate tech

then turn the mic level in Windows to 100%

Yes, Windows & Audacity should be at 100%. (Sometimes with a USB connection the recording volume is “stuck” at 100%).

then start turning up the gain on the mic till I’m loud enough?

I’m old, slow and hate tech

Depending on what you’re recording and how predictable the levels are, we usually shoot for around -3 to -6dB. With live music you may need to record lower (more headroom).

If you remember analog tape, digital is “different”. We don’t have any tape hiss so low levels aren’t a problem unless they are VERY low. We can boost the volume later, after recording, with the Amplify or Normalize effects.

It is important to get a strong acoustic signal into the microphone to overcome room noise and any electrical noise from the preamp built-into the mic, but turning down the knob doesn’t hurt anything.

On the “loud side” digital is actually less forgiving. Tape can go over 0dB and then starts to soft [u]clip[/u] and there are other characteristics of tape that tend to “smooth” the distortion. Your analog-to-digital converter has an absolute hard-limit of 0dB and it will hard-clip if you try to go over.

Nothing bad happens when you get close to 0dB… That -3 to -6dB of recommended headroom is for unexpected peaks. An occasional-slight hard-clip isn’t the end of the world and it may not be audible but it should be avoided if possible.

Your digital-to-analog converter (for playback) and most file formats are also hard-limited to 0dB. However, for all practical purposes Audacity itself has no upper (or lower) limit. So for example, you can boost the bass in Audacity and the peaks might go over 0dB… As long as you reduce the level before exporting you can avoid clipping. BTW - When Audacity is set to “Show Clipping”, it’s showing potential clipping. It’s just looking at the level and it’s not checking the wave shape.

start turning up the gain on the mic till I’m loud enough?

That decision may have been taken out of your hands. Home Microphones record with low volume. That’s Marketing and Publicity talking. Producing a low volume but clean recording makes the performer think it’s their fault and keep the microphone. Recording at normal or slightly high volume can produce evil sounding clipping and overload distortion and makes you want to send it back.

No contest.

I’ll be very surprised if you get good volume voice recordings with everything cranked all the way up.

Shoot for roughly like this.

The early Yetis came with a broken instruction book. Nothing wrong with the actual microphone.

You speak into the side of the microphone, not the rounded end.

There are additional tricks depending on what you’re doing.