If you’re into game streaming or sound recording, then you know well enough about the importance of great audio quality.
Excellent audio quality means dampened background noise, better voice quality, crisper audio, and a more refined final product!
We’ll be reviewing two top-performing USB microphones that fall under a similar price range — the Elgato Wave 3 and Blue Yeti.
Who stands on top? Let’s get to it.
Elgato Wave 3 Overview
The Elgato Wave 3 is an underdog, but despite this, it rose to the occasion to become a MUST-HAVE USB microphone for many audiences.
Setting up the Elgato Wave 3 is very easy. All you need to do is plug and play — no extra steps needed! You can instantly get started on your vocal content within MINUTES.
TAKE NOTE: The Elgato Wave 3 is great for various recording needs, but it’s really made for streaming content.
Don’t worry, though. You can still use it for your vocals!
In addition to this, the Elgato Wave 3 is great at picking up the intricacies of vocal recordings in quieter settings. The recordings occur in the shape of a heart.
What does that mean? Well, the Elgato Wave 3 picks up sound mainly around the front and sides and less in the back. That means LESS noise can interrupt your recordings from behind the mic.
While it only has one recording pattern, it’s still capable of getting a high-quality recording. It would be great to accessorize your Elgato Wave 3 with a shock mount to avoid physical noises.
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid polar pattern
- Frequency Response: 20Hz- 20kHz
- Sample Rate: 48kHz/96kHz – 24-bit
- Max SPL: 120dB
- Sensitivity: -25dBFS
- Weight: 280g
- Clip guard to prevent clipping
- High pass filter
- Capacitive mute button
- Wave Link Software for more in-depth control of the audio
- Condenser capsule with a tight cardioid polar pattern
You can access the features of the Elgato Wave 3 through the Wave Link app that comes with the mic.
Producing content with good sound quality has never been so easy for the gaming and streaming community!
You can capture audio with clarity and detail with the Wave Link app, control Wave:3 plus up to seven other audio sources, and create two independent mixes!
The Wave Link software is very easy to use, benefiting Twitch streamers, gamers, and other people for music production needs.
However, the Elgato Wave 3 isn’t perfect. There are other options to consider, like the Blue Yeti Mic, which we’ll go into detail about next.
- Has an audio clip guard to help prevent clipping when the signal gets loud
- Easy-to-use Wave Link software
- Light build quality
- Great sound quality
- One recording pattern
- Partially plastic build quality
- Pop filter not included
Blue Yeti Overview
The very famous Blue Yeti is a definite crowd favorite. The company has established this product as one of the BEST microphones on the market.
The Blue Yeti features studio controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute and microphone gain — putting you in charge of every level of the recording process.
It comes equipped with a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack that allows you to listen to what you’re recording in real-time, without latency delays.
In addition to this, the software Blue VO!CE provides DSP presets that can add effects to optimize the sound of your audio for streaming, podcasting, or musical recordings.
NOTE: The Blue Yeti will also work perfectly on both Windows and Mac OS.
If you want the flexibility to record in different polar patterns, have an onboard gain control, and have a quiet space to record, the Yeti is a great choice.
It has great features you can find on an external microphone for different purposes.
You should likewise pair your Blue Yeti with a high-quality boom arm to get it into an ideal position. Once you have this all set, you are ready to go!
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid, stereo, omni- and bidirectional
- Frequency Response: 20Hz- 20kHz
- Sample Rate: 48kHz/16-bit
- Max SPL: 120dB
- Weight: 1.2 lbs
- Multiple Pattern Selection: Blue Yeti uses a tri-capsule array, allowing switchable mic patterns. You change the pattern at your convenience, but generally, the cardioid pattern is used.
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Omnidirectional mode
- Stereo mode
- Headphone Volume Control: The Blue Yeti has a headphone volume knob on the front.
- Gain Control: Most USB mics don’t have this feature, but the Blue Yeti is one step ahead. You can easily and quickly adjust the gain control.
- Mute Button: The mute button is another nice feature you can’t find in most USB microphones. The Blue Yeti has a red LED that goes from solid when not muted, to flashing when muted, so you know which setting it’s in at a glance.
- Metal construction makes it look more premium
- Provides great sound quality
- Versatile with four different polar patterns
- Ideal for home setups
- Plug and play
- Zero-latency headphone output
- Picks up a bit of background noise
- The mounting stand is built a bit awkward and doesn’t come with a shock mount
- The controls feel a bit flimsy
Elgato Wave 3 vs Blue Yeti: Performance Review
To further see how great of a USB microphone these two are, we’ll be doing a side-by-side comparison.
We’ll look at the build and design of each mic down to its respective prices. The battle between the Blue Yeti vs. Elgato Wave 3 begins now!
#1 Build and Design
The Elgato Wave 3 has a very simple design — most of the body parts of the Elgato Wave mic are built from plastic which may cause it to look cheap and flimsy.
It comes in a sleek black color that’s commonly used in most microphones. This aesthetic fits well with most gaming and streaming rigs.
Despite this, the Elgato Wave 3 has been proven sturdy and compact — a good microphone at that!
The mic of Elgato Wave 3 is made of black metal with hard plastic brushed to have a matte finish.
Moving on to Blue Yeti, the build quality is great! The mic’s body is built with metal and comes in a variety of colors you can choose from.
It’s important to note that the Blue Yeti is a heavy microphone. So, it won’t work with just any desktop stand. You’ll have to find the right one to keep it upright.
#2 Ease of Use
What the Elgato Wave 3 and Blue Yeti have in common is that both are super easy to use!
The Elgato Wave 3 is VERY user-friendly. Recording has never been so easy — all you have to do is plug it into your computer, and you’re ready to go.
The mic itself actually uses USB-C, don’t freak out on us just yet, because connecting it to those ports is pretty straightforward as well.
For the Blue Yeti, you pretty much have the same thing. Just take it out from the package, plug it, and start recording.
The Blue Yeti microphone also doesn’t require any technical skills to be configured.
Your computer will detect it pretty quickly, and you can start using it as a recording device in any audio software, like Audacity, Audition, or Alitu.
This is PERFECT for beginners, but it can be a bit limiting for those who’d like to gradually hone and improve their audio skills.
#3 Sound Quality
The Elgato Wave 3 is tailored for spoken word, streamers, audio content for YouTube videos, and possibly even for conference calls.
It’s not really the best microphone for music recording, but it is good enough for video conferencing!
Plus, if you want to get rid of some of the low end, you can always engage the high pass filter for less background noise.
The only issue we found in the Elgato Wave 3 was that the desk stand doesn’t really help reject any noise coming from the desk itself.
For the Blue Yeti, the sound quality is pretty good. You’ll get a great sound given this mic’s versatility because of its four different pickup patterns.
With all of these pickup patterns available from the Blue Yeti, you can easily record however you want without any issues.
You can easily purchase the Elgato Wave 3 and Blue Yeti online on Amazon and other stores.
The Elgato Wave 3 microphone costs around $149.99, while the Blue Yeti microphone is priced at around $129.99.
NOTE: These prices may differ depending on when and where you buy them
As you can see, the Elgato Wave 3 is slightly more expensive than Blue Yeti, but for all the right sound and audio reasons.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is the Stereo Pattern So Useful?
A polar pattern determines the sensitivity at different angles. It is essential to understand the basic principles of polar patterns to get the best out of every recording.
A stereo pattern defines how much of the signal will be picked up by the microphone from different directions.
When you select the right pattern, you’ll be able to avoid any unwanted sound sources bleeding into your signal.
The Blue Yeti has this feature, while the Elgato Wave 3 does not.
What Is the Difference Between the Wave 1 and Wave 3?
The main difference between the Elgato Wave 1 and Elgato Wave 3 are the following:
- Elgato Wave 1 has the typical sample rate of 48kHz, while Elgato Wave 3 offers a more detailed 96kHz spec.
- The Elgato Wave 1 has a headphone volume dial on the front that doubles as a press-to-touch mute button, while the Elgato Wave 3 has a capacitive sensor on the top — just hold your finger on it to cut your signal.
How Do I Use My USB Mic With Speakers?
To plug a mic into a speaker, you must identify the speaker input connector and then use the proper long cable adapters to send the mic output signal to the speaker input.
TAKE NOTE: Without amplification, the mic level signal is far too weak to drive a loudspeaker.
Final Verdict: What to Pick Between the Elgato Wave 3 vs Blue Yeti
We’ve finally reached the end after much deliberation about the sound, audio quality, and noise control of each mic.
So, which one should you get between the Blue Yeti vs. Elgato Wave 3?
Get the Elgato Wave 3 If…
Your idea of a great microphone for audio includes the convenience of direct USB connectivity, lightweight portability, and ease of use.
Getting the Elgato Wave 3 makes a lot of sense in these aspects!
The company that created Elgato Wave 3 caters to live streaming content creators in the gaming and podcasting world. If you fall under this, then the Elgato Wave 3 is the way to go for your money.
It has a big, precise sound in a petite package. It looks fairly good on the outside and conceals some valuable technology on the inside.
If you have a thing for recording audio and streaming, then this should be a definite buy!
Get the Blue Yeti If…
You are an aspiring and early-stage podcaster, know little or nothing about an audio or cardioid pattern, and are just looking to get good-sounding content without a steep learning curve or complex setup.
To add to this, the ideal use scenario for Blue Yeti is for solo recordings and online/remote conversations. It CAN be used in more ways than that – just not very well.
If you want a sleeker design, then the overall packaging and appearance of the Blue Yeti are superb!
Both microphones have their strengths and weaknesses, but it all boils to what YOU actually need them for.
If you’re looking for something that offers the better sound quality, then the Elgato Wave 3 is your best bet because of its clip guard feature.
However, the Blue Yeti does offer more polar patterns, which means you could run a podcast with just one mic and make it work since you can set it to omni- or bi-directional modes, unlike the Elgato Wave 3.
If you don’t see yourself using the different pickup patterns, the Elgato Wavve 3 USB microphone might be just what you need to stream or record.
But if you think you will put those patterns to good use, then we suggest going for the Blue Yeti.