Best ASMR Microphones in 2019 for Crisp and Immersive Sound
ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos have swept over the internet in the last few years, captivating millions of people around the world. These videos often include soft whispers, specific ambient noises, and binaural sound.
If you’d like to start your own ASMR channel, the first thing you’ll need is a proper recording microphone. Keep reading for reviews of the best ASMR mics on the market and a quick buyer’s guide.
7 Best ASMR Microphones for Sound Quality
1. Blue Yeti
A good microphone for recording ASMR videos should be easy to control on the fly. Features like onboard gain and volume controls, super-low latency, and the ability to mute the mic can come in quite handy. The Yeti by Blue is a great beginner’s option, as it offers all of the mentioned features and is a breeze to use.
The Yeti is a pretty substantial microphone. It is on the larger side and boasts a metal casing. The microphone also has a sturdy desk stand. There are 3 condenser capsules on this plug & play USB mic for a super-detailed sound.
Onboard controls include the volume knob and mute button in the front and polar pattern and gain knobs in the back. The featured polar patterns include cardioid, stereo, bi-directional, and omnidirectional. You can select them via the polar pattern knob.
Some ASMR video artists like to use shotgun microphones due to their exceptional in-line focus and superior off-axis noise rejection. Also, shotgun mics tend to be very quiet. If that’s what you have in mind, the Audio Technica AT875R might be a good choice.
The AT875R is a short shotgun mic, measuring less than 7” in length. This is a lightweight and sturdy XLR model with a very narrow acceptance field and an excellent off-axis noise blocking. Additionally, it has super-low self-noise, making it a great option for ASMR artists.
The microphone doesn’t have any built-in control knobs or switches. There’s no headphone jack for real-time monitoring, unlike many USB models. If you’d like to hook up this mic to a computer, you’d need to buy an XLR to USB adapter.
Many ASMR artists use dual microphones in their recordings to achieve the stereo and 3D effects. Some use separate mics, while others opt for binaural models. If you’d like to try recording binaural ASMR videos, the LyxPro SDPC-2 might interest you.
The LyxPro SDPC-2 is the second generation of LyxPro’s famous SPC binaural mic. This is actually two perfectly matched microphones in one. They come with standard XLR connectors and condenser construction. There are no built-in controls on the SDPC-2 microphones.
This model has three interchangeable capsules, each with its own polar pattern. You can choose between cardioid, super cardioid, and omnidirectional. The package contains two mics, two windscreens, an aluminum case, and 2 smooth-tilt clips.
4. Rode NT
USB microphones are also popular with the ASMR crowd as they are very easy to use and compatible with a wide range of operating systems. They are usually plug & play, meaning you don’t have to install any additional software or drivers for them to work. USB mics generally have headphone jacks and most of them have at least basic onboard controls.
The Rode NT is a great USB microphone. It is a condenser model with a cardioid polar pattern and a pretty clean recording, even at high decibels. This is a plug & play model and it’s compatible with a range of operating systems.
The microphone delivers crisp, well-defined sound, while the pop shield that’s included in the package takes care of plosives. The NT is very quiet and the onboard controls include computer/headphones panning and headphone level knobs.
The AT2020USB+ is a plug & play USB microphone with side address design and condenser construction. The polar pattern is cardioid, meaning this mic is great at picking the sound from the front and rejects the side and back noise well. The recorded sound is superbly clear and CD quality.
If you’re recording your ASMR videos through a computer, a USB microphone can make the entire process much easier. While some models are compatible with a limited number of devices, the Audio Technica AT2020USB+ works with both Windows and Mac computers.
The mic is equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack for real-time monitoring. The controls include monitor and headphone level knobs. The package also includes a sturdy tripod stand, 10’ cable, and carrying pouch. The AT2020 is also very popular for recording instruments like guitar in the studio.
These are the things you need to consider before buying a mic for recording ASMR videos.
Polar pattern plays a huge role in determining what type of recordings you can use a particular microphone for.
The ASMR crowd uses a wide range of patterns, with cardioid, shotgun (lobar) and omnidirectional being the most popular. Super-cardioid, hyper-cardioid, and bi-directional microphones are used to a lesser extent. Let’s take a look at the popular patterns and their main characteristics.
Cardioid polar pattern is universally popular and used pretty much everywhere. A cardioid microphone mostly picks up sound from the front. While not as efficient as a shotgun mic in this regard, a cardioid model is good at rejecting noise from the sides. However, it excels at rejecting the noise from the back.
If you opt for one of these, minor environmental noises shouldn’t be a problem if you position the microphone well.
Lobar polar pattern is the most directional of all common microphone polar patterns. It has a super narrow acceptance field in front and is great at rejecting off-axis and side noises. A microphone with lobar pattern cancels pretty much all noises from the back as well.
If you need to cancel out substantial background noise, a shotgun microphone with lobar pickup pattern might be the right one. However, you should be careful not to move too much to the sides when recording.
An omnidirectional microphone picks up sounds from all directions equally. It is a great feature in quiet environments and for recording interviews with multiple participants. However, omnidirectional microphones are prone to environmental feedback.
If you opt for an omnidirectional microphone, it is recommended to isolate the room you are recording in. Also, if you’re into binaural recording, a pair of omnidirectional microphones is a must.
Condenser or Dynamic
Construction-wise, there are two main types of microphones on the market today – condenser and dynamic. The choice between the two is up to your preferences as both types offer high quality models, even at lower price points. Here are the main characteristics of both types.
Condenser microphones require an external power supply to work. Also, they tend to be more fragile than their dynamic counterparts, as they are more susceptible to humidity and structural vibration. On the other hand, they have good sensitivity across the frequency range.
Dynamic mics are comparably simpler and sturdier than the condenser mics. They don’t require an external power unit to work and are more resilient to humidity and vibration. Dynamic mics also tend to be a bit more affordable than the condenser variety.
Binaural recording is a huge part of the ASMR community and many artists make them. These videos offer the maximum sonic immersion and are very popular with the audience.
However, if you’d like to get on the train and shoot binaural videos, cardioid and lobar models can’t help you. The only proper way to do it is with a pair of omnidirectional microphones – one for the right channel and the other for the left.
That way, instead of creating the plain stereo sound, you’ll get the proper 3D sound in both channels. Viewers will have the impression as if they’re a part of the video.
You can opt to buy two separate omnidirectional microphones or you can buy a matched pair. If you opt for the former, make sure you buy the same model.
All microphones pick up some noise. That noise is called self-noise and it varies from model to model.
When it comes to shooting ASMR videos, you should aim for a microphone with a low self-noise ratio. Anything under 15dB is acceptable, though the best mics for ASMR have around 5dB.
You should also pay attention to the microphone’s signal to noise ratio (S/N). That’s the relative level of signal and noise. If a microphone has an S/N of 50dB, it means the signal is 50dB stronger than the background noise. Here, you should aim for an S/N of over 80dB.
Getting the right recording microphone for ASMR videos is no easy task. You should pick a microphone or microphones with a good tone and proper self-noise and signal to noise levels.
You should also consider the mic’s construction. If you’d like to make binaural video clips, pay special attention to the available polar patterns.