From the company that brought you the Snowball, and the Snowflake, comes the Yeti-a $149 USB microphone destined to ravage and plunder desktop-recording studios.
If you're wondering why Blue Microphones would name its microphone after a mythical abominable snowman, then you should see the Yeti in person. This thing is huge-like, disturbingly huge. It measures a foot tall, weighs 3.5 pounds, and makes most microphones look like Happy Meal toys.
From a features perspective the Yeti offers zero-latency headphone monitoring, headphone volume control, and a handy little mute button that's perfect for those times when you need to clear your throat. On the back, you have a knob that allows you to directly control the mic's gain. Beneath the gain dial is the real crown jewel of this mic: a multipattern selector switch with four recording modes. Like the Snowball, you have an omnidirectional mode, for picking up sound from all directions, and a cardioid pattern, for focusing on sound directly in front of mic. Because the Yeti uses a unique, three-capsule design (instead of the two included on the Snowball or the single capsule used by most other microphones), the microphone offers two more recording patterns: a stereo mode, and a bidirectional mode that pulls sound from directly in front or behind the mic.
To give a better sense of the stupefying size of the Yeti, we photographed it with two of the more common USB mics on the market: the Snowball (left); and the Samson G-Track (right). The Yeti towers over both.
While not as flashy a feature as capsule count, the solid-metal man-shaped stand does a better job than the G-Track or Snowball at placing the microphone at mouth level. That said, if the cutesy-ness of the stand is overwhelming, a standard mic mount is also included on the bottom of the Yeti.
I'd call it the best camera for that price. I'd go for it.
FYI, Downsides are:
* Limited lens compatibility (no autofocus motor, so many Nikon lenses won't work)
* Autofocus is slow enough to be completely useless in live view mode (try it in a store)
* Video mode isn't up to par with Canon and friends. You get limited resolution, awkward frame rate, horrible audio (11kHz with low quality built-in microphone, and no microphone input, and the kit lens will give you lots of image stabilizer noise).
Stepping up, Canon 550D is an amazing camera (albeit without the pivot LCD)