this thing's incredible

The USB Microphone That Made Sophia Amoruso Like the Sound of Her Voice

Photo: Courtesy of Sophia Amoruso

Remember talking to people face-to-face? You know, like in person? I certainly don’t — and I’m kind of okay with that. Not that I don’t enjoy human interaction, but online life has its perks, and I definitely don’t miss the time suck that is L.A. traffic. And who doesn’t like wearing comfy sweats while looking put together from the waist up? I’m totally here for what I like to call a “mullet outfit.”

Now that I’ve mastered a WFH routine, I feel like my productivity and creativity are only increasing. But that wasn’t always the case. When I first started working from home, I had a pretty undesirable setup: an external monitor hooked up to my closed MacBook Pro, meaning any time I’d join video calls or podcasts, I’d essentially be talking into a closed laptop. The awkward struggle that is trying to talk at a machine coupled with the laptop’s always-whirring fan didn’t exactly scream “professional.” I felt like a rookie — which is not exactly how I wanted to come across on calls coordinating the launch of my new online course, Business Class, or when making guest appearances on podcasts like Second Life and That’s So Retrograde.

It was my tech-savvy boyfriend Galen, a director, who first suggested I look into a microphone. He assured me that his favorite, the Blue Yeti X, would give me studio-quality sound at home — no crispy mouth noises, vocal fry, fuzziness, or echoes. I was initially a bit daunted about how easy a professional-quality mic would be to use and set up; I’m not a sound engineer, and I thought it would be more of a hassle than it was worth. But after a few more embarrassing tech fails — the number of times I’ve shouted “Can you hear me now?” should earn me a gig as a Verizon spokesperson — I decided to take his advice and invest in the microphone. And after a bit of nagging, I even got him to help me set it up.

As it turned out, though, Galen didn’t need to do much. The Blue Yeti X is super simple to set up — it just plugs into a USB port and is fairly compact, not clunky at all. Honestly, its size makes it quite a cute desk accessory. The mic is similarly easy to use: You just turn it on and start speaking. I’m a big fan of the LED display that lets me see whether I have to dial up or down my speaking volume in real time; it means far less shouting. The mic also picks up noise from pretty far away, so I never sound like I’m talking through a wall. There’s a mute function and also a switch I can flip to turn the microphone off. This is a particularly thoughtful detail that frees me from worrying about people listening in when they shouldn’t be.

Another plus: Using the Blue Yeti X makes me actually like the sound of my voice. Listening to myself talk isn’t as cringeworthy if I’m doing it face-to-face, but on a video call, I think way more about what I sound like. Speaking into the mic — and knowing I am being heard — has given me newfound confidence. I’m no longer worried about my words being less articulate than my thoughts because I know everyone — from colleagues to podcasts hosts to even my future Business Class students — can hear me now.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

This Microphone Made Me Actually Like the Sound of My Voice