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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 worldwide! 55% of Americans 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.

You might be looking for a microphone if you’re in the sound world. 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 review their specs and dive into their differences and similarities.

Then we’ll list their pros and cons, the ATR2100 vs. the Blue Yeti, and 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 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.

The ATR2100x is 1.61 lbs in weight with dimensions of 10’ x 7’ x 3’ and runs on USB cord power. 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 2100x gets sold with accessories:

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

The 2100x is relatively cheap for a beginner mic and 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.

This model 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

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 compared to the 2100x, which 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 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. On the other hand, a dynamic mic 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. A 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.

On the other hand, the dynamic cardioid pattern of the 2100x 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.

The Blue Yeti and 2100x have headphone jacks, allowing 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 low prices. Their relatively small size allows for ease of portability for podcasters needing to move around from space to space between interviews. The two microphones come with their own stands, so you don’t have to make additional purchases to begin your podcast.

The two microphones have headphone jack features, so you can plug in your headphones to hear your 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 the mic is 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.

What makes the ATR2100 suitable for podcasting?

The ATR2100 is an excellent microphone for podcasting for several reasons. First, it is a USB microphone, which can be easily plugged into a computer for recording. Additionally, it is an XLR microphone, which can be used with a more professional recording setup if needed. It also has a built-in headphone jack, which allows you to monitor your recording in real-time.

The Audio Technica ATR2100 is a dynamic microphone, which is ideal for podcasters who don’t have access to a sound-treated recording studio. The ATR2100 produces high-quality audio, which is convenient for both beginner and experienced podcasters.

Finally, the ATR2100 also allows for mobile podcasting, making it a versatile option. And last but not least, it comes at a relatively low price tag compared to other models on the market.

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 want to record a small clip. The 2100x accommodates this because of its lightweight portability and compatibility with mobile and tablet devices. A new podcaster without a specified recording room/studio can benefit from the portability and easy setup of the 2100x. The natural reduction of background noise helps ensure consistency if you are recording in new spaces.

For podcasters whose interviews occur online and 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 and one other interviewee or multiple interviewees speaking from various directions. The condenser sensitivity allows the different speakers to sit quite a ways away from the Blue Yeti and still adequately pick up the sound inputs.

Because of its sensitive nature, the Blue Yeti will pick up any background noise, including your computer’s fan.

Due to its more substantial and sensitive nature, the Blue Yeti is perfect for those with 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 close to the microphone.

What Mic is Better than Blue Yeti?

Blue Yeti is one of the best mics on the market. However, some companies 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. It is excellent at recording multiple 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.

Is 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 you 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 you are paying, the Blue Yeti is packed with wonderful features, which is why it is a popular choice among professional gamers and those who host podcasts that they record themselves.

It has an excellent sound quality that is not overpowering and 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 specific 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 one of the best microphones if vocals are important to you. Blue Yeti microphones are incredibly versatile, allowing them to record audio in various situations without their ability being damaged.

Blue Yeti microphones are excellent for recording podcasts with one person or 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. Due to this microphone’s excellent ability to record vocals, it has become one of the most popular USB microphones that money can buy, especially for professional recordings.

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

User experience

Audio-Technica’s ATR2100 and Blue’s Yeti are two popular choices when it comes to microphones. But which one is the better option? Both microphones are popular for podcasters and streamers, but there are some significant differences to keep in mind.

User reviews indicate that there are pros and cons to both mics. Namely, the ATR2100 can be more finicky when it comes to proximity; users have to be careful not to be more than one foot away from the mic when recording and should always crank the gain up.

The Yeti, on the other hand, is known for having fantastic voice clarity but can sometimes pick up every keystroke if you’re typing nearby. According to users, if you have a computer fan or constant noise Yeti could pick it up. It’s important to know that, out of its three internal mic capsules, only one is active in cardioid mode, which can mean some wasted value.

Final Thoughts

If you’re just beginning, these are great microphones to start with. 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 both novice and master podcasters use.

Further Reading from the manufacturers: Blue Yeti and AT2100x