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Audio-Technica ATR2100 vs Blue Yeti, Who’s Better?

As of July 2020, there are over 1 MILLION podcasts with 29 MILLION episodes around the world! 55% of Americans have listened to a podcast in 2020. (Statista)

That means the world of podcasts is attractive and gaining momentum. So, what microphone are they all using and which is best?

The ATR2100 on a mic arm

This is my mic, the ATR2100, the original with an old style USB interface. I’ve traveled all over the country with this mic in my backpack.

If you’re in the world of sound, you might be looking for a microphone. And if you’re starting, you likely don’t have a whole system set up in a recording studio. Nor are you looking to invest an arm and a leg into your equipment.

I’ve got two GREAT microphones that will get you your bang for your buck.

The Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Microphone and the Blue Yeti.

Our Pick
Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Mic

For a beginner mic, the 2100x is relatively cheap, produces professional sound quality with other attractive features. Honestly, it’s a fantastic mic even for pros and audio connoisseurs.

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I’ll quickly go through their specs and then dive right into their differences, similarities.

Then we’ll list their pros and cons, the ATR2100 vs the Blue Yeti, discuss who should use which mic.

ATR 2100x-USB Microphone Specs

The Audio-Tech ATR 2100x – USB Microphone looks like your traditional hand-held mic, sitting on a tripod desk stand.

This great entry-level microphone records and produces professional-quality sound with USB and XLR outputs and is only cardioid dynamic (explained later).

It comes with a desk stand so you can immobilize the mic and station it wherever you want.

It’s also got a headphone output jack with level control and a built-in analog-digital converter. So you can monitor the audio coming out of the mic.

The ATR2100x is 1.61 lbs in weight with dimensions of 10′ x 7′ x 3′ and runs on USB cord power.

The 2100x gets sold with accessories:

  • stand clamp
  • tripod desk stand
  • mini USB cable
  • XLRF-Type to XLRM-type cable.

For a beginner mic, the 2100x is relatively cheap, produces professional sound quality with other attractive features. Honestly, it’s a fantastic mic even for pros and audio connoisseurs.

See the ATR2100 on Amazon

The Blue Yeti USB Microphone Specs

As the name suggests, the Blue Yeti USB Mic is beefier in design, specifically made to be “placed” rather than held. Its neutral position is upright and can be tilted toward the speaker.

The Blue Yeti has:

  • a tri-capsule array for multiple polar pattern selections (cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional & stereo) with gain control
  • a mute button
  • headphone output
Our Pick for In-Person Interviews
Blue Yeti USB Mic

If you need to interview multiple people with one mic, then the Yeti has versatile settings to do it.

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If you don’t know what this means, don’t worry, it is explained in the later sections.

The Blue Yeti is 3.51 lbs in weight with dimensions of 4.92 x 4.72 x 11.61 inches and requires one lithium-ion battery.

The Blue Yeti can be more expensive. Comparatively, the price is proportional to the extra features you are getting with the multiple mic settings depending on what and how you’re recording.

See the Blue Yeti on Amazon

Differences

Alright, that was a lot of technical wording in describing the two microphones. Let’s explain further and break down their differences.

Design

Unlike the 2100x, you can’t hold the Blue Yeti like an ice cream cone. By this design alone, the 2100x allows for more flexibility in its mobility if your podcast (or if you use it for other purposes like singing) requires or has a component of moving around with the mic.

The Blue Yeti is almost twice as heavy as the 2100x. The lighter weight of the 2100x makes it a much more portable-friendly mic if you are on the go or don’t have a specific recording studio yet.

The Blue Yeti stand is circular and petite in design when compared to the 2100x who sits on a tripod that requires adjustment.

Aesthetically, the Blue Yeti has a circumference consistent from top to bottom.

The 2100x, on the other hand, is like your traditional microphone.

The body (handle) becomes skinnier, the closer to the bottom you get.

Functionality

The Blue Yeti is USB-specific, whereas the 2100x has both USB and XLR output connectors.

The added XLR output of the 2100x allows for mobile podcasting for those who are on-the-go to plug in directly into a digital recorder, like the Zoom H4n Pro or H6. Or any other interface that accepts an XLR, like a mixer.

The Blue Yeti is confined to use on laptops or heavier-duty recording systems.

Perhaps the most significant difference between the Blue Yeti and the 2100x is their condenser vs. dynamic difference. The Blue Yeti receives noise and sound through a 3-capsule condenser. Condenser mics naturally are best at capturing delicate and multiple tones. A condenser is more sensitive and made to obtain all sounds within the room.

A dynamic mic, on the other hand, is specific to one focused sound being fed directly into the mic. It is less sensitive to details and sounds around.

The polar patterns of the 2100x and Blue Yeti differ and are closely related to their condenser and dynamic differences.

The three capsule condenser of the Blue Yeti allows for user control between 4 different noise and audio patterns.

  1. The stereo pattern optimizes recording one voice and a few instruments.
  2. The cardioid function can is used for a single voice facing the mic.
  3. Bi-directional pattern records two people, sitting face-to-face, on opposite sides of the mic.
  4. The omnidirectional pattern picks up noise and audio being picked up by the mic from every direction.

The dynamic cardioid pattern of the 2100x, on the other hand, optimizes audio being fed into the mic directly from the front. The 2100x is limited to the single design of the cardioid, maximizing one speaker.

While the condenser feature of the Blue Yeti makes this mic much more sensitive, it has a gain dial control for increasing or decreasing audio input. The Blue Yeti also has a mute button for temporary short-cutting audio input. Both of which features the 2100x does not have.

Both the Blue Yeti and 2100x have headphone jacks, which allows the speaker to plug in headphones to hear what is recorded through the mic. The difference between the Blue Yeti and the 2100x is the headphone volume control that the Blue Yeti has.

Finally, the 2100x mic is powered through a plug-in, while the Blue Yeti requires a lithium battery.

Similarities between the ATR2100 and Yeti

There aren’t too many similarities between the ATR 2100x and the Blue Yeti, although they both produce professional sound quality for their relatively cheap prices.

The two microphones both come with their own stands, so you don’t have to make additional purchases to begin your podcast.

Their relatively small size allows for ease of portability for podcasters needing to move around from space to space between interviews.

The two microphones both have the headphone jack features so you can plug in your headphones to hear how you sound and the quality of what’s recorded. This allows the speaker to adjust their audio input (distance from the mic, the volume of voice, etc.) as needed.

The 2100x and the Blue Yeti are both USB mics, so podcasters can plug their mics directly into their computers and recording devices — no upload required.

Pros and Cons of ATR2100x

Pros

  • Portability – Small size and weight
  • Hand-held – some speakers prefer holding their mic to be closer. Others like to pace while they speak
  • Lightweight – Easier for travel purposes
  • Simple usability – Single function with high quality
  • Optimized for one-directional sound input
  • Plugs directly into a computer
  • Plugs straight into mobiles and tablets
  • Plug-in power
  • Headphone Jack – You can hear yourself being recorded
  • Cardioid pattern reduces background noise

Cons

  • Limited to dynamic cardioid polar pattern
  • The stand is very cheap in quality
  • Sound input isn’t as sensitive. If you are too far, you might lose some content.
  • The on/off switch is heavy and can cause loud sounds in audio recording.
  • You can’t share this mic between multiple people.

Pros and Cons of the Yeti

Pros

  • Portability
  • Versatility: Multiple polar patterns perfect for almost any setting
  • Adjustable sound-input sensitivity (gain control)
  • Adjustable headphone volume
  • Mute Button
  • USB connection
  • Share mic between you and at least one other speaker

Cons

  • Heavier to carry
  • No hand-held option
  • Design flaw: when mic tilted toward a direction, the cord gets caught and is bent (possible damage)
  • Requires batteries
  • No XLR – can’t use it with XLR devices.
  • Can be too sensitive in picking up other noises
  • Users have reported that the mini USB cable isn’t great.

Who should use the ATR2100x?

The ATR2100x is perfect for podcasters recording a single voice with no background audio requirements. Its simple cardioid polar pattern allows for the new podcaster with little editing experience to begin a professional-quality sounding podcast. The cardioid polar pattern by nature reduces background and auxiliary noises not directly fed into the mic.

Inspiration can hit you at any time. You might be on the go and would like to record a small clip. The 2100x accommodates this by way of its lightweight and portability and compatibility with mobile and tablet devices.

A new podcaster without a specified recording room/studio can benefit from the portability and easy set-up of the 2100x. The natural reduction of background noise helps you ensure some consistency if you are recording in new spaces.

For podcasters whose interviews occur online and you need only one microphone, this is the perfect mic for you. The simplicity of the 2100x is all you need. Because of its cardioid pattern and natural background noise reduction functions, the 2100x will reduce or not pick up computer noises as you likely need to be close to your computer for online interviews.

This mic is also perfect for solo vocalists and gamers who can fix the microphone close to their faces for pure vocal input while reducing background noise.

Finally, some people like to pace and stand when they talk to help optimize their thinking. The hand-held feature allows these podcasters to move about freely as they record and interview. The cardioid pattern benefits this greatly to eliminate and minimize movement noises.

It’s a great microphone, not to mention that it’s a cheaper alternative.

Who should use the Blue Yeti?

The condenser mic and multipolar patterns of the Blue Yeti make it the perfect mic choice for podcasters who interview in person.

Its bi-directional and omnidirectional patterns allow you to share one mic between you one other interviewee or multiple interviewees speaking from various directions. The condenser sensitivity allows for the various speakers to sit quite a ways away from the Blue Yeti and still pick up the sound inputs adequately.

The Blue Yeti is also perfect for podcasters with some experience of sound editing who wish to use background noises and audio fed into the recording. Audio and sound editing will be necessary with the Blue Yeti because its sensitive nature will pick up any background noise, including the fan of your computer.

Due to its more substantial and sensitive nature, the Blue Yeti is perfect for those who have a designated room/studio that is at least acoustically fair in quality and doesn’t need to move around consistently.

The Blue Yeti is also suitable for recording multiple vocalists and gamers who don’t need to be right up close to the microphone.

What Mic is Better than Blue Yeti?

Blue Yeti is one of the best mics on the market, however, there are some companies that outshine the Blue Yeti in some categories, such as the AT2020. The AT2020 has better sound output quality than the Blue Yeti, however, the Blue Yeti outshines the AT2020 in a variety of other ways.

Similarly, the ATR 2100x is better than the Blue Yeti mic in some categories, including weight and portability, constant power connection, and limited design flaws.

But overall the Blue Yeti is one of the best microphones available for people who want to start or already have a podcast as it is excellent at recording multiple different vocals without everyone having to crowd around the microphone.

So while some mics might be better in some categories, overall the Blue Yeti is one of the best options on the market.

Are Blue Yeti worth it?

Due to the high price point that comes with a Blue Yeti microphone, you might want to consider all of the benefits of this microphone before you make a purchase, and might be asking yourself, ‘is it worth it?’.

In short, we would say yes, the Blue Yeti is worth the cost of purchasing it. For the price that you are paying, the Blue Yeti is packed with wonderful features and this is why it is such a popular choice among professional gamers and those who host podcasts which they record themselves.

It has an excellent sound quality that is in no way overpowering and instead perfectly compliments the host without hurting the ears of those listening.

However, it is worth noting that the Blue Yeti has a design flaw that causes the power cord to catch when the microphone is placed in certain directions, so you should always be careful when using this mic.

Is Blue Yeti good for vocals?

Yes, as we have established, Blue Yeti is by far one of the best microphones if vocals are important to you. Blue Yeti microphones are incredibly versatile which allows them to record audio in a wide variety of situations without their ability being damaged.

Blue Yeti microphones are excellent for recording podcasts with one person or with multiple people. They are also great for recording musical instruments being played, voiceovers for videos, and recording audio that is created by the environment rather than the human voice.

It is due to this microphone’s excellent ability at recording vocals that it has become one of the most popular USB microphones that money can buy, especially for professional recordings.

So if you host a podcast and want a good microphone to help you record your vocals for the show, then a Blue Yeti microphone is always a safe choice.

Final Thoughts

If you’re just beginning, these are both great microphones to get started.

Choose the mic that will support your long-term trajectory and consider your supporting devices and recording systems.

Depending on your purposes and situations, either of these mics will produce quality recordings that podcasters, both novice and masters, are using.

Further Reading from the manufacturers: Blue Yeti and AT2100x