The prefix "nano" calls to mind something microscopic. Tiny robots invisible to the eye, or an iPod many orders smaller than its predecessors. When I hear the word I expect tiny. Apparently when Blue, the respected studio microphone maker that has spent nearly a decade producing great USB mics, hears the word "nano" it expects “slightly smaller than the big guy”.
The Blue Yeti Nano, which was announced today, is the smaller sibling to Blue’s Yeti microphone — a popular tool for streamers and podcasters. Few microphones can match the Blue Yeti for that near-perfect mix of price, quality, and ease of use.
It’s also hefty, weighing 1kg and standing 29.5cm tall. It can be alarming to see in person, but the size allows it to fit larger microphone capsules inside, allowing you to capture better audio.
Blue claims that though the Yeti Nano shaves 370g off the weight and 8.4cm off the height, it still manages comparable performance to the original Yeti. We haven’t had a chance to test it, so we can’t say how good the audio is, but the Yeti Nano does have many of the same features of its bigger sibling.
There are two modes for capturing audio: Cardioid for capturing a single source (such as you talking into the mic) and omnidirectional for capturing multiple sources at once (say an entire room of you and your friends). The mic can also be muted with the press of the button, has a headphone jack for directly monitoring audio, and volume control — so you don’t go deaf listening to what the microphone captures.
Those features all set it apart from Blue’s smallest microphone, the Snowball, and puts it more in line with its larger sibling, the Yeti. It doesn’t quite replicate all of the features and performance of the larger mic (it has one fewer capsule, a narrower frequency response and no selectable stereo/bi-directional polar patterns), but it is considerably smaller and it should cover most of the needs of regular people.
The Yeti Nano sells for $159 starting today.
Update: An earlier version of this article had the Australian RRP at $136.