Live band recording techniques using Blue Yeti USB Microphone

I received a question from a reader of this site:

I have been trying to record my buddy’s band practices so they can use the audio to remember things in the creative process as well as practice from home with the whole track. I wanted to try to keep it simple so I pick up a Blue Yeti USB microphone to record with my laptop. As far as software I’m using Sony sound forge 10. The room is small, and since it’s a rock band its very loud. The audio I’m recording sounds terrible and im not sure what settings can be used to clean up live full band audio. Not looking for CD quality obviously but wed like to get something without having to track and mix all the instruments individually. Thanks for any help you can provide.

My Reply:

As simple as recording the rehearsal is very important which is a common practice used by top recording producers to get the best musical arrangement out of the song. It is always a smart move to record everything during the rehearsal. It helps a lot in the songwriting process and a great input for any recording producers. Of course, since this is a live recording of the band, your primary objective is not to produce CD quality recordings. You are using a Blue Yeti USB microphone which of course is great enough to handle this kind of job in a home recording situation. You are having a sound recording quality related issue. Below are some of the recommendations to get the best result out of your current configuration:

1.) First when recording a band rehearsal, the most recommended microphone is at least something that has omni directional characteristics. This means that it will be able to pickup signals coming from all directions. Fortunately, you can use this microphone to pickup omni directional signals. To do this; at the back of the microphone you can see options for polar pattern selection. And turn/switch it to point to the one with a circle symbol for omni directional settings (inside the red box is the omni directional polar pattern option):

Polar pattern option USB Yeti microphone

Polar pattern option USB Yeti microphone

2.) The next thing you should do is to optimize your microphone placement. For best results you should face the “front of the microphone” directly in front of the main sound source (for example the vocals). This tip is provided by the microphone manufacturer in the manual. If you like to know where the “front of the microphone” is, it is the one with the “Blue” logo. For example, in the screenshot below, you are directly facing the front of the microphone because you see the “blue logo” (inside the red box):

Front of the USB Yeti microphone

For best results, I recommend the following configuration in your small room where the band will be playing (top view perspective) (the yellow arrows are the direction of different instruments sound source you wish to capture):