THX Test Bench recently sat down with Brian Biggot, CTO and Ken Niles, Creative Czar at Blue Microphones to get the real scoop behind the company, its creative culture and new line of THX Certified Microphones.
Brian Biggot, CTO at Blue Microphones: One of our founders, Skipper Wise, was an accomplished jazz musician and producer with over 100 albums to his credit. He had been searching far and wide for a microphone that would give him “the sound.” A solution was born when he met Martins Saulespurens, a thirty year veteran of the recording industry and Chief Sound and Technical Engineer at the Music Academy in Riga, Latvia. Blue Microphones was founded in 1995 by Skipper and Martins from a desire to create quality, hand-built, innovative microphones for fellow musicians.
Brian Biggot, CTO at Blue Microphones: In an age of indistinguishable, cookie-cutter mics, Blue’s designs are as unique as the artists who use them. Blue is 100% committed to getting the very best microphones in the world into the hands of those who have a passion for high-quality audio. Understanding that great sound enhances every environment, Blue has leveraged its pro-audio DNA to launch microphones catering to life outside of the studio. These include high-quality USB products for both Mac and PC, iPhone/iPod accessories, and now the world’s first THX-certified microphone.
Brian Biggot, CTO at Blue Microphones: Blue Microphones saw THX Certification as a great opportunity to share with our customers the story of how our USB microphones are designed, built, and used at a professional standard. Just like our professional studio microphones, our USB microphones are custom-developed from scratch, incorporating our own circuit designs and using high quality electrical and mechanical components that are combined to create a great recording tool for the user. As a result, we believe our products are capable of delivering raw performance and a user experience that exceeds other products on the market. We were excited to pursue the THX Certification as a testament to consumers that our USB microphones would provide the quality of audio experience expected from THX.
Brian Biggot, CTO at Blue Microphones: The THX Certification process was a valuable addition to the Yeti microphone’s development cycle. THX’s holistic approach to performance evaluation, as well as their array of sophisticated testing equipment and processes, allowed us to fine tune the microphone’s performance and user experience, enabling further refinement of the microphone’s polar pattern consistency, off-axis frequency response, and tuning of capsule sensitivity across the capsule array. The sum of all this work is a product that provides the user with truly high quality recording capabilities in a convenient USB solution.
Ken Niles, Creative Czar at Blue Microphones: One of Blue’s core beliefs is that we cater to essentially a creative audience, and our products should be as distinctive and individual as our users. Thus, unlike other microphone companies, Blue has always refused to follow accepted convention by naming its products after a series of seemingly random letters and numbers. Instead of the C110-EX, we have the Cactus. We eschewed the DT5000 Series in favor of the Dragonfly, the Mouse and the Kiwi. We named a universal shockmount (a device that suspends the mic and dampens surrounding vibrations) with the sublime moniker of “Ralph the Wonder Mount.” And so on.
The Yeti is the latest in a series of names that derive from cold climate conditions, beginning with our USB Snowball and Snowflake mics and again with our Icicle XLR-to-USB adapter. Naming sessions involve a select group of Blue creative-types who sit in a small room and throw out literally every name they can think of. Sometimes this involves beer. I don’t actually recall who mentioned the name “Yeti,” but it was written down and only later, after review, did it strike people as uniquely fitting the shape of the mic. It also fit nicely into the “cool” theme of names, although we did not set out to specifically to name this product in that same vein. But in retrospect, seeing as how global warming is slowly shaping our lives, I think it’s fitting that Yeti joins the ranks of nouns that are legendary, if not someday extinct.
Ken Niles, Creative Czar at Blue Microphones: The Yeti is a big hit with consumers! But don’t take our word for it, check out some of the reviews:
“The Yeti sounds good, packs plenty of gain, and offers a lot of value and versatility in a $150 USB mic.”
“Compared with similar microphones, such as Samson G-Track or even Blue’s own $99 Snowball, the Yeti’s sound quality offers noticeably better depth and detail…the Yeti is redefining my expectations for a $150 microphone.”
“But unlike its Himalayan counterpart, Blue Microphones newest USB podcasting mike is most definitely real. Better yet, it also soaks up fantastic, professional-quality vocal recordings, and its flexible settings make it a viable tool for a smattering of audio apps like recording music…In fact, the Yeti makes other lesser USB mikes look downright abominable.”
“The first of its kind to achieve THX certification, this USB mic will make your YouTube rants about 2012 sound even more clearly insane, thanks to a triple array of premium condenser capsules. Its classic styling is great for pretending you’re a talk show host.”
“If the art of recording sits just outside your range of concern or abilities (but doesn’t weaken your desire for good quality), the Yeti could be your new best friend.”
“I can’t believe the Yeti offers this much versatility in recording patterns and such high quality recording capabilities for only $150.”
–Ben: consumer, podcaster, musician