When time came to buy some good microphones at work, I jumped at the opportunity to try Blue's Yeti. As two-person recording would be a focus, I naturally decided to get two microphones at once. I did some quick experiments in Audio hijack, confirming two-microphone recording in the app was joyfully simple, then placed my order.
We got the blackout version of the Yeti, and they both look and feel great. Super-solid build, easy to use and with nice long USB cables included. I tested both of them, then we headed into the studio for the first recording.
Things suddenly fell into a sinkhole of strange. Both microphones were connected and active, but there was only one listed in Audio hijack. A test recording confirmed that sound was only coming from one of them, and a detour into system sound preferences confirmed that only one of the Yetis showed up there too.
I disconnected one. The other kept working. I disconnected both, then connected the one I disconnected first. Now that one was working. I connected the second one. Only the first one was working.
It took some searching, but the cause was as surprising and strange as it was annoying. Turns out USB devices have a number of information fields which an operating system checks. One of them is an optional serial number. If there is a serial number, the operating system (at least in the case of Macos, I just checked a Windows computer and there both microphones are picked up separately) uses it to uniquely identify each device. I assume this provides convenience such as undertstanding if the device is disconnected and plugged into a different port. Anyway, for some reason the Yetis do have a serial number. And all Yetis have the exact same serial number! Thanks to this, the operating system will only see and be able to use one at a time.
I found a post from someone who ran into this problem a year or two ago. The solution was to send one of the microphones back to Blue and get it flashed with a different serial number. Now that I knew what I was looking for, I actually found a FAQ on Blue's site confirming this as the one and only official solution to the problem.
I sighed. I wondered why Blue decided to add a serial number, and not make it unique if they did need one. I wondered how many people run into this. Clearly Blue do not expect, or want, really, people to buy more than one of their microphones for one computer. Clearly, they decided it is cheaper to ship a few microphones back and forth than to actually fix the problem.
I sighed again, contacted their support and eventually posted the microphone back to them. We had to pay the shipping too.
Then we waited, a surprising number of weeks considering the shipment was only going to Blue's logistics partner in the Netherlands.
Finally, a new microphone arrived at the office yesterday.
I happily unpacked, connected things up, ran a quick test and …
Well darn. Somebody slipped up, because they had simply sent us another Yeti. No new serial number, no dice.
I have sent another mail to support, keeping my fingers crossed for a quick resolution of the problem.
In the meantime, I only have good things to say about individual Yetis:
The microphones, alone
Like I said, the Yeti both looks and feels great to me. It is a very solid piece of gear and has all the right options as far as I can think of. A standard thread for mounting on arms or stands, a headphone jack with volume control, gain adjustment (although I keep it turned all the way down) and no less than four different settings for how it picks up sound. For standard one-person recording the cardiod setting is what you want, but it is also a very nice for recording a two-person across-the-table conversation when set in the bidirectional mode. There are also modes for stereo and omnidirectional, but I have not had an opportunity to use them yet.
A pop filter is a good investment, as so often, but other than that I am extremely happy with the Yeti out of the box. I am not sure if it is just me becoming more experienced, but I feel as if it is easier to get good sound recorded from the Yeti than my Røde podcaster. I also find it easier to get a good balance between my own voice and the sound of other speakers when I use headphones connected to the microphone.