ASMR is one of the most popular, if not slightly unusual, entertainment trends of the last several years. ASMR creators attempt to trigger the listener’s “autonomous sensory meridian response”—a tingling sensation that begins at the scalp and moves down through the spine. Using a mic for ASMR, people will whisper, crinkle paper, tap their nails, and make other sounds directly into the microphone in an attempt to elicit a pleasant response from listeners.
What is an ASMR microphone?
Great news for anyone interested in recording ASMR is that it doesn’t require a specific mic. You’d generally just want to use anything that’s good for recording vocals, or any sensitive mic that can pick up low-level sounds in detail. Usually a large diaphragm condenser would be the go-to choice for an ASMR microphone.
Another consideration—and you may find yourself in this boat—is that ASMR creators are often video producers and not necessarily audio enthusiasts. With that in mind, a USB mic would be an excellent choice for someone who doesn’t want to shell out additional money for an audio interface, XLR cable, mic stand, pop filter, etc. Going the USB route would also be a great way to find yourself a cheap ASMR mic that sounds good enough for this recording style.
How much is an ASMR microphone?
As anyone who’s ever shopped for microphones knows, the price can range from sub-$100 to several thousand. You definitely don’t need a $4000 ASMR mic, because you can get amazing results from something right around a hundred bucks.
If you plan to record instruments and other stuff in the future, you don’t have to get a cheap ASMR mic and can invest in something a bit fancier, but that’s ultimately up to you. It’s absolutely possible to get a ton of mileage out of an affordable mic. And luckily, there are tons of affordable condensers that sound fantastic. We’ll aim to keep every mic on this list under $500.
9 Best ASMR Microphones
Here are our picks for the best ASMR mics, many of which will double as excellent vocal/instrument microphones for musical recordings as well. The choice is all yours, and like most “best of” lists, there is no single winner, but rather a variety of options for everyone’s individual needs.
Blue Microphone’s Yeti is one of the top-selling USB condensers out there. It’s been a staple choice for many content creators, including ASMR producers and live streamers. A USB mic’s simple connectivity is attractive since it doesn’t require any extra gear.
This one is feature-rich, and even has switchable polar patterns—pretty awesome for a hundred-dollar ASMR mic. Omnidirectional could come in handy for capturing sound all the way around the mic when you’re busy crinkling and tapping and whispering away!
Now here’s something you don’t see everyday—a stereo condenser microphone that connects straight to your iOS or Android device. You’ll use the Shure MOTIV app to control stereo width, compression, EQ, and more right from your phone.
Stereo also works great for ASMR. The sound will envelop listeners a bit more than a mono recording.
The AT2020 is one of the best cardioid condensers you can get for a hundred dollars. Its quality is just excellent, making it one of the best values out there.
We’re moving on from USB/mobile stuff now and getting into standard XLR microphones. If you’re a first-time ASMR recorder, you’ll need to get yourself an audio interface and some basic mic accessories like an XLR cable and stand. Luckily, with how affordable this thing is, you’ll have money left over to get a full starter kit. Plus, with the AT2020, you’ll have not only a great, cheap ASMR mic, but a great all-around mic as well.
6. Rode NT1-A
The Rode NT1-A is an unbelievably popular choice. It has some of the lowest self-noise of any microphone, which means you can crank the gain on your preamp to record those ultra-quiet ASMR whispers without amplifying the mic’s own electronic noise. The NT1-A is also known to have a bright high-end, would is perfect for capturing the detail of various ASMR sounds.
5. AKG C214
AKG’s C214 shares similar DNA as the lauded 414, but it’s more affordable. Overall, this is just a great large diaphragm condenser for ASMR, vocals, and instruments. It’s the priciest on the list so far at $349, though that’s still an excellent value for the caliber of mic you’re getting. This guy comes with a hard carrying case, a shock mount, and a pop filter.
Unfortunately, Behringer is the butt of a lot of recording industry jokes. Still, you just can’t deny that a $45 condenser mic is an astonishing value. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive, which means average users love the sound they’re getting out of such an affordable mic.
It’s definitely one of the best cheap ASMR mics, if not thee best, considering its rock-bottom price tag.
The LA-220 from Lauten is just a fantastic all-around large diaphragm condenser. It excels on vocals (or ASMR whispers) and acoustic instruments, so it’ll be a studio staple if you plan to record more than just ASMR. Switchable high- and low-pass filters are a nice touch when you want to control a bit of the sound on the way in.
2. Shure SM7B
I’m conflicted about listing the SM7B here. Due to the sensitive and delicate nature of ASMR recordings, normally a condenser mic works best. But I also can’t just not list one of the most famous vocal/broadcast dynamic microphones ever made. The fact is, it’s an awesome microphone and can be great for ASMR as well if you treat it right.
By that, I mean get yourself an inline gain booster like a Cloudlifter or sE Dynamite. The SM7B requires a lot of preamp gain to drive it properly, and you’re going to be recording very quiet sounds. It’s likely your interface won’t have quite the right amount of gain to get it up to an adequate level, so I’d say an inline boost is required for doing ASMR on an SM7B.
I may have implied earlier that this list of the best ASMR microphones was in no particular order. That’s largely true, though this one really does come in at number one. And that’s because this binaural mic recreates how humans actually hear in the real world, simulating an incredibly natural listening experience.
With the sensitive mics on either side, ASMR creators can quite literally whisper in your ear. For that alone, a binaural mic is a no-brainer for ASMR.