ASMR – Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – has rapidly scaled the popularity charts on YouTube and similar platforms in the past two years. ASMR is a ‘feeling’ – a static-like tingle – that courses in our upper body, starting from the scalp through the neck to the upper back.
In fact, it is a scientific term that refers to a relaxing experience that a person may feel with visual, aural, or sensory triggers like a whisper, a head massage, or crackling sounds.
If you’ve felt sleepy while getting a haircut or while listening to a podcast, you’ve experienced a trigger.
‘ASMR-triggers’ are subjective.
By that, I mean that different people can react differently to the same experience. Yes, a majority of the triggers have a common effect on audiences and are used to create relaxation videos and other trending content in the ASMR subculture.
ASMRtists And Zoned-Out Audio
There are hundreds of dedicated ASMR channels that upload videos viewed by people who want to ease anxiety or insomnia. While some viewers enjoy ASMR because it is relaxing, others find it stimulating – it helps them focus.
As a creator, a good microphone is axiomatic to creating engaging ASMR content. Audio is one of the most important aspects of the experience. A high-quality microphone will greatly improve the impact of your relaxing sounds.
You can choose between a dynamic and condenser mic, but we recommend a condenser because it is capable of superior performance. A stereo condenser microphone will help you localize a sound source to some extent but it is not as effective as a binaural microphone.
Binaural microphones, at heart, are two omnidirectional mics with one mic at the pinnae of each ear. This allows the recording artist to identify the sound they hear, and record it in the same manner. This portrays the same headspace and a very intense and involved feeling.
Check out the video that accompanies this article on the stampsound Youtube Channel.
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I have written the ultimate guide to getting started with your own ASMR channel. You can read it here.
Is A Blue Yeti Microphone Good For ASMR?
The Blue Yeti USB mic is one of the most beginner-friendly microphones if you are new to creating ASMR content. Besides having fantastic specs, it is highly recommended because it is easy to set up and use. The USB connection eliminates the need for an audio interface (or soundcard) and any additional cables.
All you need is a reliable pair of cans (headphones) and you are good to go!
Here are some of the product highlights:
- Multiple patterns for recording audio
- Excellent sound quality
- Plug ‘n Play – Easy to Use
- The headphone jack is built-in
- No installation and beginner-friendly
Check out the ever-popular Blue Yeti here on Amazon.
The stellar sound quality and plug ‘n’ play aspects make Blue Yeti a viable option for content creators. More advanced ASMR artists opt for mics like the 3Dio Free Space.
If you’ve been watching ASMR videos, you’ll know that the Yeti enjoys a solid reputation among podcasters and content creators as well.
While many argue that a binaural mic is mandatory for ASMRtists, one of the most popular YouTube ASMR channels has hours of content that features the Blue Yeti. It shows that with the right knowledge and technique, you can create content that gives your audience goosebumps or a ‘flow state’ with a budget mic.
Check out this popular ASMRtist. (My personal favorite!)
How To Use The Blue Yeti For ASMR:
Your main focus will be on learning the art of creating auditory triggers.
You can start experimenting with simple options like turning the pages of a book or swiping a brush on the metal grill of the mic. These actions involve slow and relaxed repetitions with a delicate volume.
The Blue Yeti has multiple recording capabilities and switchable polarity patterns ranging from Omni to cardioid to stereo and Bi. Of these, the stereo pick-up pattern – all the way to the left – is the best suited for ASMR audio. This will work best for whispers and role-playing as well.
- Stereo recordings can create a more ‘immersive experience for your listeners.
Ideally, you’d want to use a binaural microphone for more detailed headspace. Since the Yeti isn’t a binaural mic, stereo is your only option to use left-to-right and approximate a 3D sonic landscape.
Luckily, the Blue Yeti is intrinsically great at capturing ASMR-sounds like water drops, mellow narration, and up-close whispers.
The protective hatched-metal grill is also ideally suited to create brushed or finger sounds. It also captures lip sounds and soft breathing pleasantly. I attribute the warmth in the up-close recordings to its ‘bassy’ tone coloration.
You can add compression, followed by EQ when you process the audio. Use the compression wisely as it can raise the noise floor, which will increase the background noise. The EQ should be tweaked to balance your voice and highlight the nuances of it.
Every voice has a unique strength, timber, and tone. It may not be useful to give generic advice on EQ as it will vary with the context, taste, and tone. However, you can generally benefit by identifying the harsh mid-range frequencies and de-emphasizing them. I would also advise you to add some zing to the high end (around 6-10kHz) based on your voice type.
- I have even written an article that shows how to record ASMR on an iPhone, you can find it here
Tips For Recording ASMR Audio With Blue Yeti USB:
The following tips can help you create ASMR recordings that are on par with pro standards:
Good ASMR stimuli should be clear and with little-to-no background sound.
You can drastically improve the quality of your recordings with a good shock mount that prevents table jostle. In addition, you also need a high-quality pop filter and/or foam windscreen.
I recommend getting a bundle from Amazon that includes a Boom Arm Stand, Pop Filter, and Shock Mount. If you want something more basic, you can get the Knox Blackout Bundle with a desk stand, Pop Filter, and 4-port USB hub.
Check out my article on using your Blue Yeti with a shock mount. Read it here.
If your room is not sound-treated or soundproof, ensure that you record with minimum background noise. The Blue Yeti (with high gain) can pick up sounds from outside the room such as street noise, noise from the floors above or below, and noise from behind the walls.
It will also pick up innocuous sounds like the tick-tock of a wall clock, the humming of a computer (fan, buzz, etc.) air conditioning ducts, or electronic or mechanical humming or buzzing sound. Make sure that you don’t have any such sounds leaking into the audio.
Switch between the stereo and omnidirectional mode to complement the style of sound you are trying to record. You won’t find much use for cardioid as it is better for focused sounds that involve vocals or voiceovers. Omni is better suited for room sounds or multiple sources.
What Is Internal Noise:
Every microphone has internal noise – some more than others.
Usually, most entry-level options are inferior in quality and thereby have more of it. Internal noise (often called self-noise) is created by the preamp circuit of the mic. It will increase when you boost your signal gain and decrease when you reduce. The amount varies based on the make/model of the microphone.
How To Reduce Background Noise On Blue Yeti?
Use one of the following methods – a) turn down the gain knob that you’ll find on the back of the Yeti microphone and turn up the input in your software or DAW, or b) turn up the gain knob and reduce the input volume on your DAW, computer, or relevant software. You may have to tweak the parameters until you find a sweet spot.
Reducing the gain on the mic will reduce background sounds but it will also reduce the volume.
If you reduce it too much, you may not be audible as the audio will be too quiet. Similarly, if you boost the gain too much, you will get a richer sound that is more sensitive to background noise.
Plus, you will need a high-quality pop filter to avoid sibilant events and unwarranted sounds from leaking through.
Other Top Picks For The Best ASMR Microphones
The Blue Yeti is not a true binaural mic or ambisonic mic.
Such microphones are designed specifically for VR and binaural sound recording. They are a must-have for ASMRtists. Binaural audio differs from regular audio because it makes a listener feel like they are present in the sonic landscape – this is more involved ‘being there’ experience.
Here are our top three recommendations for a binaural mic:
- 3Dio Free Space
- Roland CS-10EM – Microphone & Earphone Bundle (link)
- Zoom H3-VR
As ASMR continues to climb the ‘Chillboard’, you will find the community to be one of the most welcoming on YouTube.
It is, after all, all about relaxing, feeling good, and having a great time. I hope this article has given you a simple but effective introduction to the matter.
I recommend that you take some time to explore the field and develop a following before you commit to expensive equipment and advanced techniques like capturing HRTFs and recreating headspace.
Until then, the tingle-inducing tones of the Yeti are sufficient!