What we bought: How the Blue Yeti Nano finally earned a spot on my desk

It only took me years of remote work to invest in a good microphone.

Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Despite primarily working from home for years before the pandemic hit, I hadn’t thought too much about my WFH setup before 2020. I went as far as investing in a solid monitor, mostly because I was sick of squinting at a 13-inch laptop screen for eight hours each day. It actually wasn’t until earlier this year that I decided to upgrade my workspace in a meaningful way.

I chalk this up to being someone who constantly talks themselves out of buying things. I’m a fairly frugal person, but I have no problem buying things that I know will make a big impact on my day-to-day life. So, I invested in a good pair of ANC headphones when I could snag them on sale; a full-sized mechanical keyboard for a more comfortable (and more fun) typing experience and the Blue Yeti Nano microphone for increasingly more frequent video calls.

I’ll admit the Yeti Nano was probably the lowest priority item out of those three things, despite being a long-time favorite in the microphone space. However, it’s proven to be a smart investment, mostly because I have more video meetings now than ever. In pre-pandemic times, I had maybe one video conference per week, and that was during the busiest of times. But now, for many reasons ranging from the wide acceptance of remote work and the progression of my own career, I typically have a number of video calls each day. And I believe in putting my best face (and voice) forward as much as possible: I try to turn my Logitech Streamcam on for most every video call I take and I wanted the quality of my voice to match that of my video feed.

The Blue Yeti Nano microphone on a black desk riser in front of a laptop and a computer monitor.
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

The Yeti Nano mic delivers on this in a fantastic fashion. In my initial messing around after I unboxed the thing, I could immediately hear the difference in my audio when I recorded a few test samples in Audacity. My voice sounded clearer and stronger and the audio lacked the subtly fuzzy quality that I typically hear when I use my laptop’s microphone.

The Yeti Nano supports cardioid and omnidirectional polar patterns, but I usually keep mine on the former since I’m the only one using it on the daily. However, I like the fact that I have the option to start a roundtable podcast in the future without needing to spend more money on a better mic. I also like that the Yeti Nano will come in handy during the few times a year I get to be a guest on the Engadget podcast. Previously for those occasions, I would use an external mic that I acquired years ago, but it didn’t come with a sturdy base like the Yeti Nano. It would be a struggle to get that mic in the right position on my desk for optimal podcast performance, and I don’t anticipate the same struggle with the Yeti Nano.

I have known for a while how popular Blue microphones are with budding podcasters, game streamers, remote workers and the like, so the brand was the first I turned to when I went looking for an upgrade. Out of the many devices in the company’s lineup, I ultimately decided to buy the Yeti Nano in part because of its design. It’s just compact enough to sit on my standing desk converter next to my monitor without obscuring the screen too much, and it’s still in a great spot for video calls. Initially I waffled between the Nano and the full-sized Yeti, but I ultimately decided that the few extra bells and whistles that come with the latter – namely stereo and bidirectional modes – weren’t necessary for my regular use. I was also able to pick up the Yeti Nano while it was on sale at Amazon, so instead of spending $100, I only dropped $80 on it. That means I can put a few extra dollars toward the next piece of tech that I decide will make my desk setup even more functional.

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