COMPANIES TO WATCH
|Blue has enhanced the top-selling Yeti with onboard DSP effects.
Marking ten years of innovation with new Yeti X professional USB microphone.
TEN YEARS AGO, Blue introduced the Yeti, perhaps the first professional-quality USB condenser mic. Acceptance of the groundbreaking new mic catapulted Blue revenues from $10 million to over $50 million, transforming what had been a specialized pro-audio company into a leading microphone and headphone manufacturer. To celebrate a decade of Yeti success, Blue has introduced the new Yeti X, a flagship USB version designed for professional music recording and content creation. The latest incarnation of the Yeti is defined by Blue VO!CE technology, onboard DSP that enables musicians and content creators to dial up professional vocal effects and custom presets at the push of a button. Paired with Blue audio quality, additional features such as hi-resolution LED metering and a multi-function “smart knob” make Yeti X the perfect tool for creators who want to deliver professional recordings faster and more easily than ever before. The new X is likely to sustain the Yeti’s decade-long run as the world’s top-selling USB microphone and the leading choice of content creators all around the globe.
“We created Yeti X based on feedback from content creators all over the world—from aspiring musicians to podcasters to gamers—who need fast and easy-to-use tools that help them sound their very best,” says Blue Microphones President and CEO John Maier. “Yeti X with Blue VO!CE gives creators the ability to quickly and easily customize their sound using high-quality effects and presets. The high-res LED metering and the multi-function smart knob make it easier than ever to deliver professional results for YouTube production, livestreamed performances, and SoundCloud EPs.
Founded in 1995, Blue Microphones first came to prominence with high-performance professional microphones that delivered an aesthetic alternative to the standard “gray stick.” The company’s $4,000 flagship “Bottle” tube mic, with its unconventional bright blue body, warm audio quality, and interchangeable capsules, quickly became a favorite among topflight recording studios worldwide. Following the introduction of Apple’s Garage Band in 2004 the company became one of the first to anticipate the potential for microphones with USB connectivity. This led the Blue team to develop the Snowball, a unique mic that addressed the growing numbers who were creating audio content on their computers, and created an entirely new product category in the process. The runaway success of the Snowball led to the creation of the Yeti, a higher-priced, higher-performance model.
Building on this mission to provide tools for content creators, Blue subsequently entered the headphone market with a product line that boasts distinctive industrial design and high functionality. Blue’s Mix-Fi headlines have a purpose-built audiophile amplifier, much like those used in monitor speakers, and deliver a lifelike listening experience in the studio or in a live setting. Aside from a unique design, Mix-Fi is also the first headphone to win an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development. Blue’s flagship Ella headphones are designed for the most discerning audiophiles and feature Planar magnetic drivers, which more evenly distribute the audio signal to the speaker driver for greater clarity.
In retrospect, adding USB connectivity to a microphone proved to be one of the more profound insights of the past decade. Consider that in 2017, nearly 17 million people in the U.S. earned income posting content online compared to only about 12 million manufacturing workers. Maier is confident that the growth in “content creators” shows no signs of slowing down, which makes him bullish about future prospects for Blue. With the new Yeti X, and a full line of USB mics, the company is uniquely positioned to address this burgeoning market, which includes users ranging from podcasters to aspiring rock stars hoping to grow their audience. Logitech, the leading manufacturer of computer peripheral and audio devices, took an equally bullish view, acquiring Blue for $117 million last year.
Maier attributes Blue’s market-beating growth over the past decade to a straightforward strategy: identifying the next generation of content creators, and then developing tools to make their jobs easier. The new Yeti X embodies the company strategy. It gives creators easy access to a variety of professionally tuned presets and effects including noise reduction, expander, gate, de-esser, EQ, compression, and limiter. In turn, these effects, combined with Yeti’s four-capsule condenser array, make it possible for any user in any setting to achieve studio-quality audio.