How to use a Yeti Microphone with the iPad 2

How to use a Yeti Microphone with the iPad 2
Quick Mac Tip, 20 November 2011

Many people think the iPad is just for reading books or watching movies. Guest author Pat Rice-Moule uses her iPad for making music. For best results she connects a professional quality microphone: the Yeti from Blue Microphones. But there’s a catch! Find out from Pat what you need to do to make it work.

Pat Rice-Moule. Pat Rice-Moule is a musician. Her
new website, parimo music, showcases her own original material and other song covers.

My name is Pat Rice-Moule. I’m a musician and I recently launched a new website to promote my music on the internet — parimo music.

An iPad for making music

The main reason I got an iPad was so that I could use its music production abilities. Up until the iPad, in recent years I’ve used a Tascam Digital Portastudio for recording music, and going even further back to the 1980s, a 4-track tape deck.

I wanted something even easier than the Tascam and when the iPad came along, it fitted the bill 100%.

Garageband for iPad

So, having used the iPad to record a few trial songs, I made my first “proper” recording (it’s on my website) with it using Apple’s GarageBand app. What a brilliant piece of software that is, too.

GarageBand for iPad.

GarageBand for iPad.

An external microphone gives more professional quality

So, why the need for an external microphone?

Well, the iPad does have a built-in mic and it’s perfectly adequate for general use. But, because I want to make recordings that sound as professional as possible I need a good quality mic.

GarageBand for iPad.

GarageBand for iPad.

The first thing to note is that it has to be a USB mic.

There are a number of them on the market and I chose the Blue Microphones Yeti. There are a few stores where it’s available in New Zealand, for example, the Apple Store has it for NZ$299.95. I did, however, get mine from the USA, where it was cheaper.

The Blue Microphones Yeti

The Yeti is multi-patterned, with four settings:

  • stereo
  • cardoid
  • omnidirectional
  • bidirectional.

This makes the Yeti very versatile for use in different recording situations. The mic comprises of the following:

  • mute button / status light
  • USB connection
  • 5mm standard headphone output for monitoring recording in real time
  • headphone volume control
  • it comes with its own stand but can be attached to any mic stand with a standard threaded mount.

Use the Camera Connection Kit and a powered USB hub

Connecting the mic to the iPad is relatively easy but involves having to have a couple more pieces of equipment, namely the Camera Connection Kit and a powered USB hub, to make it all work together nicely.

Yeti Microphone with the iPad 2.

Yeti Microphone with the Belkin hub and iPad 2.

The Camera Connection kit enables a USB connection to the iPad and the hub is needed because the iPad doesn’t have sufficient oomph to power the mic by itself.

Using the mic with a MAC or PC doesn’t require a powered hub.

There is one notable pitfall and it’s this, not just any old powered USB hub will do, as I found out.

I bought a Digitus 4 port hub for NZ$22 and it wouldn’t work. I tried an old Dick Smiths’ one that I’d forgotten I had, that was no good either.

Then I had a look through various iPad related forums and YouTube videos and they all confirmed that some powered hubs do work and others just won’t. Some of the reviews recommended the Belkin USB 2 Powered Hub White.

In New Zealand the only one I could find was a Belkin USB Plus Four port 2.0 Hub for NZ$75, which I decided to buy, given that I wanted something that would surely work. Note: I had to get an international power plug adapter because this Belkin model had a US power plug included, not a NZ one.

Connect the Yeti to the iPad

So, the connection sequence is:

  • plug the powered USB hub into a power socket
  • plug theYeti into the powered USB hub
  • connect the USB cable from the hub to the camera connection kit
  • plug the camera connection kit into the iPad
  • open the music app (it can be already open, it doesn’t matter)

Flip the power to make it work

So, having got all the components together, now came the ultimate test. I had it all set up and switched on — nothing happened.

Lots of tsks! from me but after a couple of minutes the mic’s status light lit up and it was good to go. Big sigh of relief!

I’ve found that does happen when the mic is first started but after that, if the power is unplugged and then a few moments later plugged in again, it switches on immediately.

Blue Microphone’s Yeti is a good choice

So, if you’re looking for a good quality USB microphone I can recommend Blue Microphone’s Yeti, it’s versatile and has excellent sound quality.

Tell us in the comments how this Tip helped you.

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One Comment;

  1. Ashley said:

    I bought a 4 port belkin powered hub, did all the things listed above but for some reason I am getting a horrible buzz in my headphones?? Is the hub not powerful enough? Help!!

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