Are you an ASMR content creator looking to take your videos to the next level? Are you a first time creator looking for a cheap yet effective microphone? Don't worry, you're in the right place.
This article will talk you through the technical stuff and help you pick the best microphone to give your listeners tingles in no time!
Before we get to the microphones, let's talk about additional accessories you may need to complete your ASMR set-up.
A pop filter reduces unwanted popping noises, like b, p and t sounds. Sharp sounds can startle the listener and a pop filter will soften these harsh sounds.
Depending on which microphone you purchase, a microphone stand may be required if you want to go hands-free.
The popular Blue Yeti microphone is attached to a table stand, however, when placed on a table, the sensitive Blue Yeti tends to pick up pesky noises if you accidentally bump or knock the table when recording.
Alternatively you can get an arm stand.
The table stand is great for when you record videos with little movement like whispered rambles, however, if you wish to stand up to record a video like a haircut role play, where you move from side to side, or walk around the microphone, an arm stand may come in handy.
Reduce the vibrations that travel up the microphone stand by isolating the microphone.
Your microphone won't pick up the noises made by you moving around, knocking the stand or desk the microphone is placed on, which leaves you safe in the knowledge that your ASMR video won't have any surprise sounds.
If you're new to creating ASMR a shock mount is not essential, you can make fantastic content without one.
Connecting your Microphone
Your microphone will need to be connected to your camera and computer/laptop.
Some mics plug straight into your PC or Mac via a USB cable while others need a separate audio interface to process the audio.
Some recorders will even save audio files to an internal memory. These can be exported to your computer with a SD card.
Be sure to keep connectivity in mind if you want a hassle free set-up.
USB compatible microphones are often the simplest option and will get you recording in no time.
Microphone Patterns: How the Microphone Picks up Sound from Different Directions
Microphones can record in mono or stereo.
Mono: where the ASMR audio recording will play the same recording out of both speakers or both sets of headphones. The sound comes from one single channel. You only need one microphone to record in mono.
Stereo: gives the listener perspective and space. Emulates natural hearing (how you hear the world around you normally). Stereo is heard from multiple directions creating a 3D effect.
To record stereo sound, you will need two microphones (two channels)
Recording two channels at one time is great for ASMR because you create realistic sounds and can experiment with loads of videos including ear-to-ear whispering, hair salon role plays, soundscapes and more. It also gives the ASMRtist and viewer more intimacy.
Polar patterns also dictate how microphones record sound. This means how sensitive a microphone is, depending on which direction the sound is coming from.
Omnidirectional is where the sound is picked up the whole way around the microphone, equally.
Cardioid captures sound mainly from the front of the microphone, and minimises the sound coming from behind it.
Bi-directional captures sound equally from the front and back, like a figure 8. This is ideal for interviews where you are opposite each other. The microphone minimises sounds coming from the sides of the microphone.
Polar patterns have a purpose in ASMR depending on which style of video you choose to make and ultimately, your personal preference after a bit of experimentation.
So, which microphone is best for you?
Blue Yeti - USB Microphone
For those looking for an easy and budget-friendly entry into ASMR recording.
This microphone is SUPER popular in ASMR video production. Why? Because it's cheap and easy to use.
It's a plug-and-play mic, but what does this mean? It means that you can connect it directly to your computer's USB port without having to download any software.
Remember polar patterns? The way a mic picks up sound from different directions. Well, this USB microphone has four:
You will find two buttons on the front of this microphone: a mute button and headphone volume control dial. Yes, you can plug your headphones directly into the mic so you can monitor your sound levels in real time. Nice.
You will find two dials on the back of the microphone: the gain control dial, allowing you to adjust how sensitive the microphone is. It also has the polar pattern dial so you can choose which patten best suits your video: cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional or bidirectional.
You can also connect the Blue Yeti to your phone using a lightening to USB cable -perfect for live-streaming, although you tend to hear a bit of interference when you plug your Yeti into your phone.
Average retail price: $129.99
Here it is in action:
For those wishing to try ASMR, without breaking the bank.
You can think of the Blue Snowball as the little sister of the Blue Yeti. It features the same plug-and-play compatibility to get you recording quickly.
It offers two polar patterns (the way a mic picks up sound from different directions):
1. Cardioid, with an additional cardioid -10dB pad - this means it reduces the sensitivity of the mic by minus 10db. Why? For loud instruments or shouty pod-casts.
2. Omnidirectional - captures sound the whole 360 degrees around the mic.
The Snowball is a great entry-level ASMR microphone. If you just want to try out recording, you can always buy a second Snowball later to upgrade to stereo sound.
For those who like to roam.
This cutely named lapel microphone should not be underestimated. When you purchase this microphone it comes with a whole kit, including: a 3m (9.8ft) extension cord; mini USB adaptor; 2 ring adaptor; fuzzy windscreen; an extra clip and a cute little velvet pouch.
This stereo mic lets you plug and play allowing for maximum device compatibility with smart phones, MacBook, iPad, PS4, DSLR, desktops, laptops, camcorder, GoPro and more!
Here it is in action:
On-the-go recording of ASMR content/ audio interface for other mics.
Now it’s getting a little more complicated.
The Zoom H4n Pro has two stereo condenser microphones built-in, and allows you to record directly to the device (you’ll need 2 x AA batteries and SD card up to 32 GB) so you can grab it and take it with you if you plan to record anywhere outside of your ASMR studio.
On top of that, with its two input jacks, you can connect more microphones so you can create wonderful, tingly soundscapes.
If you’re feeling experimental, you can use the multi-track function which allows you to record over an existing recording so you can make layered audio or soundscapes – how cool!
Remember, you will be recording directly onto the device so you will need to transfer the files to your computer after recording.
This little box of magic also mounts to a mic stand or tripod.
Here it is in action:
For the dedicated ASMR enthusiast.
Rode is well-known in the professional recording industry for making high-quality and long-lasting products, as evidenced by this microphone's 10-year warranty.
If you can find the NT1-A package deal with the included pop shield, cable and mic mount, this can be a valuable package to begin ASMR recording.
This condenser-style microphone has an incredibly low noise level and records crisp audio that will give your listeners tingles. However, it does not feature USB output, meaning you'll need an external audio interface or recorder.
It's also on the pricier end of options and can only record in single-channel, meaning it's best suited for the committed ASMRtist who is willing to invest in a complete system.
Here it is in action:
For the dedicated ASMRtist who records in binaural stereo.
No ASMR microphone list would be complete without the 3Dio Free Space Binaural Microphone. No avid ASMR viewer will have escaped listening to sounds recorded on this mic.
Visually, this unique mic looks like somebody has chopped the ears off a person and stuck them on a metal box. But there is method behind this madness.
The replica human ears capture sound just how we would hear the sound in reality.
You may wonder why ASMRtists tell you to put your headphones on? Well using headphones or 3D enabling speakers allows the viewer/listener to experience the sound exactly as it did when it was recorded.
And that my friend, is binaural.
‘’Binaural recording is a method of recording sound that uses two microphones, arranged with the intent to create a 3-D stereo sound sensation for the listener of actually being in the room with the performers or instruments.‘’
‘’True binaural audio requires a microphone with human-shaped ears in order to capture and replicate how we hear the natural world. The ears are spaced about 6" apart to mimic the average width of the human head’’.
This mic does not have a USB output, so you cannot directly connect it to your computer. You will need to buy an audio interface, like the Zoom H4n Pro and connect it via the a stereo 3.5mm (1/8") output jack on the 3Dio.
The 3Dio also runs off of battery so this will eventually need to be replaced.
This mic is brilliant for ear cleaning/ cupping videos and realistic roleplays.
Average retail price: $399
Here it is in action:
Every ASMRtist will have their own, unique recording setup, depending on their budget, technical skills and where they record - the combinations are almost endless!
That doesn't mean choosing a microphone has to be difficult. If you consider the features and options described here, you'll be on your way to creating tingles and relaxation in no time.
Some microphones are bundled into packages which include some or all of the required accessories, so watch out for the best deals!