As in any other recording situation, the use of different microphones on the same sound source will give you different results.
In the world of ASMR this is not only a matter of taste but a matter of effectivity.
Never lose sight that ASMR is one of the most listener-oriented genres out there. What ASMRtists do is trigger this response in their audience. So, the best microphone for ASMR is going to be the most effective in the niche you work at.
For example, it is not the same to work with brushes than doing it with food. Maybe you are into binaural, 3-D audio, or soft whispering. Each of those will benefit more with one microphone than others.
Let’s dive deep into this subject so you can choose the microphone that suits your needs perfectly.
Dynamic VS Condenser Microphones For ASMR?
This topic is an endless highway leading straight to confusion for most people. After working among microphones for over fifteen years I have a thing or two to say about it.
So which is the best type of microphone for recording ASMR?
Most people prefer condenser microphones for recording ASMR audio due to the increased sensitivity, this can be problematic when working in noisy environments however and for this reason, many people choose to record ASMR with a dynamic microphone.
As a general rule, dynamic microphones are best for loud sources because they can take the pressure of high volume. It is very common to see them on stages because they are great for isolating unwanted noises. If you equip a rock band on stage with condensers, the result can literally be unbearable.
On the other hand, they are less sensitive and warm.
Following the same (very) general rule, condenser microphones work their best on quiet sources because they pick up subtleties in the sound much better. This is closely related to the fact that phantom power delivers 48v to the capsule and amplifies the resulting sound further. On the other hand, they are capable of picking up all sorts of unwanted noises.
By now you must have guessed which the more indicated one for ASMR recordings is.
The entire ASMR recording concept is based on this feature.
When you read that microphones are “cranked” to create the ASMR effects, this means that the sensitivity is taken to the extreme. The more sensitive a microphone is, the lower the threshold of sound picking. This is a feature that can make your ASMR video drastically better or not. Let’s take a look at some case scenarios.
In fact, I have written an article on how to start your own ASMR channel. You can read it here.
Dynamic Microphones And ASMR Recording
If you happen to live in a place where noises are unavoidable, then you will have to go for a dynamic and very close-to-mouth approach. Also, the mid-range in microphones like the legendary Shure SM58 makes some voices stand out. You can then work your EQ to do a cut on each extreme of the spectrum and get rid of all the unwanted noises in other frequencies.
Good Dynamic Microphones For ASMR
The best dynamic microphone for ASMR recording is the radio best-seller, the almighty SM7B by Shure. It is an incredibly responsive dynamic microphone that comes with a huge windshield and is basically a benchmark in audio.
If you can’t afford to go that far, you can always start with an SM58 and a good windshield. This will allow you to do ASMR without a condenser microphone and avoiding quotidian noises that will get your viewers out of the ASMR trance immediately.
Good Condensers Microphones For ASMR
To say it in simple terms, the world of ASMR recording is owned by condenser microphones. These are what most ASMRtists work with on a daily basis. The main reason is the amazing sensitivity they can achieve.
Besides that, the higher the quality of your condenser, the more you can crank it and the more your audience will feel that powerful, soothing proximity effect.
If you have a quiet place (at least at night time) you can make the most out of a condenser microphone’s lower frequencies and sensitivity.
Let’s talk patterns
The pattern of a condenser microphone indicates how many sides it can capture sound with. Not all ASMR recordings benefit from every pattern; let’s take a look at them:
· Directional – A directional condenser microphone is the closest you can get to a dynamic microphone because it captures the audio source only from the front. This is ideal for people with audio-editing knowledge that can save some bucks and do the panning afterward.
· Bidirectional – As it names implies, this type of microphone captures the audio from the front and the back. For example, this is great if you want to capture two people whispering in front of each other or two different kinds of sounds on each side.
· Omnidirectional – This type of condenser microphone works capturing sound in a 360-degree spectrum. You can do all kinds of sounds around it and even move around and it will capture all the subtle nuances.
Top Rated Condenser Microphones For ASMR
The list could go on forever in this subtitle. I would say that if you are a beginner, the Rode NT-1 is a rather inexpensive condenser that sounds great and is virtually noiseless. For a 360-degree microphone, you can use a Blue Yeti for similar results.
If you can invest a little more money, the Audio Technica 4040 is a great condenser as well. In fact, this category hasn’t got a limit in terms of price. You could record your ASMR videos with a $20,000 Telefunken M80.
The Audio Technica AT2020 is a very popular condenser microphone to get started in ASMR recording.
Hand-Held Recorders For ASMR Recording
This is absolutely great to get started with your ASMR recording.
Some models like the H1N by ZOOM can fit in the inside pocket of your jacket. Mostly, they come equipped with an SD-card slot to record the sound and then take it to your DAW for further processing and panning. The TASCAM DR-07X is also excellent in this class.
Why are hand-held recorders equipped with condensers?
Wait a minute, didn’t you say that condensers are sensitive to noise? Then why are hand-held recorders made for field recording equipped with them?
The answer is very simple: they are equipped with sensitivity or gain control. Also, you can buy a windshield for it. Adjusting the gain or level you can get rid of most noises while retaining the sound quality and warmth. The X-Y disposition of the microphones avoids phase issues and also makes stereo recordings simple and easy.
Specific Microphones For ASMR Recording
So far, we have spoken about microphones that are suitable for multiple endeavors, but what about specific ASMR recording gear?
There are some brands out there that have been manufacturing specific gear for this kind of artist for some time. If you are looking for a true pro option microphone that is purely dedicated to ASMR recording then check out the 3 DIO FS Pro 2 on Amazon.
Let’s take a look at the brand and models you could be looking at if it fits your budget.
3Dio ASMR Microphones
This family business, created in the year 2000 has 20 years of research applied to 3-D audio recording. You can buy specific gear from them to do binaural or 3-D audio recordings.
FS Series ASMR Microphones
The FS Series features three different models that are very characteristic because they have a replica of an ear on each side. You might have seen it in videos like this one.
This line features dual omnidirectional condensers (one on each side) that deliver a sensitivity of -28dB and a self-noise of 80dB while covering 100 Hz to 10 KHz in the frequency spectrum.
What does all this jargon mean?
It means that you can crank it really loud and don’t get any noise from the device itself allowing you to pick up most frequencies offered to it. Finally, the bass roll-off is great for some scenarios in which the overwhelming presence of bass frequencies can ruin the ASMR experience.
Omni Binaural ASMR Microphones
If the FS series looks strange to you, this microphone looks like it’s out of a Salvador Dalí dream.
It features two pairs of ears that capture the full range of sound coming from all directions.
It can be synced with a 3-D camera for the ultimate immersive experience. Here is a great example of how it is used in a video by the company itself (listen to it with headphones).
Those ASMRtists who work with 3-d experiences like going to the hairdresser or a spa and have the cash to buy one of these will take their fans to a whole different dimension without moving from their chair.
The idea behind ASMR recording is to be effective with the triggers you are pursuing. All through this post, you can find several good options depending on your budget. Don’t forget that you can always start with the one microphone on your camera or phone to take your first steps and then perfect your technique as you grow.
Never let the technical aspect of your artistic endeavors put a brake on inspiration and passion. Choose wisely, and most importantly, practice, practice, practice!
Happy (immersive) recording!