ASMR has become a very popular form of online entertainment in recent years. Many people find it to be a very relaxing, almost therapeutic experience.
This has led many people to become ASMR content creators. But to create the best ASMR experience for the listener, you need the right microphone.
Here are a few of my best picks for ASMR microphones that won’t break the bank.
Best ASMR Microphones - Sensitive Mics!
1. AKG LYRA Multi-Pattern
AKG is one of the most recognizable names in the audio industry. Their high-quality studio headphones and monitors are some of the best around.
Their LYRA USB microphone carries on that tradition of quality, but at a much more budget friendly price. It is a great-sounding mic with some unique features.
The LYRA sounds quite good, even without any post processing added. The voice sounds clear and smooth, and the mic filters out p’s and b’s quite well.
The mic is also quite sensitive, I was able to still get clear audio from about a foot away from the mic. Of course, if you are going to use it for ASMR, you are going to be fairly close.
There is some slight popping when you get right up to the mic, so a pop filter is definitely a good investment. Since the LYRA is so sensitive, it does tend to pick up background noise quite easily.
Every little bump of a desk or AC hum is going to be picked up by the mic. Turning down the gain does help to reduce noise, but you will want to make your room as quiet as possible before recording.
The LYRA has some convenient features as well. All of the important controls are found directly on the mic itself.
It has both a volume control for headphones and a gain control. You can also set the mode of the mic between Front, Front & Back, Tight Stereo, and Wide Stereo.
Tight Stereo would be my choice for doing ASMR. There is also a Mute button on the front of the mic.
The control knobs are a bit too big for my liking, they make the mic look a bit bulky. And the mute button does make a lot of noise when you press it.
2. Blue Yeti
Perhaps the most common entry level microphone, the Blue Yeti is a great choice for anyone starting out. It's an extremely popular choice among ASMR artists, as seen on various online communities such as the ASMR subreddit.
The Blue Yeti is a fairly straightforward mic. This makes it easy to set up and use for someone who might not be as familiar with mics and audio equipment in general.
You simply connect the Yeti to you PC or Mac, select it as your audio input device, and off you go. For recording ASMR, you also just need to have it selected in the audio software you are using - like Audacity.
While the Yeti does sound good, especially for a USB mic, I would definitely recommend using some post processing and EQ with it.
The mic is a bit bottom heavy out of the box, with the sound not being very crisp. Noise is also a bit of an issue. Plosives (p, b) are noticeable and tongue slaps are especially audible. I would say a pop filter is a must with this mic, especially if you are going to be up close to it.
For added control, I would also suggest downloading the Blue VOICE software from Logitech’s G Hub. This software provides some HD audio samples for a quick and easy set up.
The mic does have all the necessary controls onboard. A headphone volume knob and mute button are at the front, while the gain control and pattern selector sit at the back.
Having three cardioid diaphragms, the mic is able to switch between four polar patterns. Cardioid, stereo, bidirectional, and omnidirectional - which is what you will likely use for ASMR.
While the Yeti certainly isn’t the best ASMR mic out there, it is still a great mic for such an affordable price. It is also perfect if you are just getting started and still need to learn how to set up a good mic sound.
3. Earthworks ICON Pro
Earthworks’ ICON Pro microphone is impressive right out of the box. Its stainless-steel body, while quite weighty, feels sturdy and durable. The mic also looks great, with a very sleek design.
The mic is straightforward enough to setup, basically being plug-and-play. It is also easily mountable on a mic stand due to the included ball-swivel mount.
As for the sound, I can only describe it as balanced. The low end has a nice bit of weight to it, while the highs are bright without being harsh.
The sound is also quite detailed. Small, subtle sounds come through clearly, perfect for ASMR.
Noise is a bit of a problem up close. Plosives and breaths are fairly noticeable any closer than about 4 inches from the mic.
Even though it only has a cardioid polar pattern, it does seem to be a bit wider. This gives you a bit more freedom to move around the mic and you don’t have to stick to speaking directly into the front.
Background noise isn’t too much of an issue. While the mic does pickup some background noise, most of it is loud, while soft hums and taps are rejected quite well.
The ICON Pro doesn’t feature any onboard controls. That means that everything from volume, to gain, to muting has to be controlled either through software or an audio interface.
Speaking of, an audio interface will likely be your best option since you will need one to use the mic anyway. The ICON Pro uses an XLR connection, so no connecting it directly to your PC or Mac through USB.
You will also need an audio interface that can provide phantom power, as the mic requires 48V to operate.
The ICON Pro does sit at the higher end of the price range. But considering the high-quality build and sound you are getting, its price tag is certainly justifiable.
4. sE Electronics sE7
sE Electronics is another well-known brand in the audio space. Their mics are highly regarded as instrument mics, but they work just as well with vocals.
The sE7 is a great example of such a mic. It is more commonly used as an over head mic for drums, but can capture vocals just as well.
The sound is crisp and clear. There aren’t any frequencies that stand out more than any others, although I will say that it leans a bit more to the bright side.
The sE7 is what is sometimes referred to as a ‘shotgun’ or ‘pencil’ mic. This is in part due to its shape, but also due to the way it captures sound.
These types of mics are very directional. This means that they will on pick up sound from a point that they are directly pointed at.
Obviously, sound coming from outside that point will still be picked up, but to a much lesser degree. This design makes shotgun mics incredibly good at rejecting background noise.
Since this is a matched pair of sE7s, you are definitely going to want to set them up in a stereo configuration. And being two separate mics, you can set them up in almost any way.
For ASMR, two great ways of setting them up is by having both mics pointed at the same spot. Any movements or sound made in that spot will then sound much fuller.
Or, you can angle the mics away from each other. You can then move a sound source between the two mics, simulating the movement of sound from one ear to the other.
The sE7 does require 48V of phantom power. And since this is a pair of sE7s, you will need to make sure you can provide both mics with phantom power.
5. HyperX QuadCast S
The HyperX QuadCast S is an interesting mic. HyperX is a company that is more known for making gamer focused peripherals like keyboards and mouses.
That means that, while the QuadCast S is designed to have good audio quality, it does have a lot of gamer flair.
This is most notable with the RGB lighting that spans the entire filter of the mic. While this certainly looks cool, the whole design of the mic is quite nice, it is a bit unnecessary.
This is especially true if you intend to use the mic for ASMR. While many people probably only listen to ASMR content, there are those who enjoy the visual aspect of it as well. I think they might find the RGB lights on this mic a bit distracting.
But of course, the really important thing is how the mic sounds. Luckily, HyperX hasn’t poured all of there time just into the looks.
The QuadCast S sounds great. It has a very present bottom, while still leaving more than enough room for the highs to shine through.
This is also one of those mics that you can almost just plug in and be ready to go. I was very impressed with how good it sounded straight out of the box.
This is a very good thing to. The included Ngenuity software that is used to control the mic is rather barebones when it comes to audio.
While the software is great for setting the RGB the way you want it, it doesn’t offer much for adjusting the actual audio of the mic.
You will definitely have to use other software like Audacity if you want to do any meaningful adjustments to the audio. This does feel like a bit of a strange oversite, but isn’t too serious of an issue.
6. Rode NT1-A
The Rode NT1-A is hands down one of the best vocal mics you can get. It offers incredible sound at an extremely affordable price. No wonder so many professionals swear by it. It is the mic of choice for many professional vocalists, and can be found in countless studios around the world.
So, what makes the NT1-A such a great mic? Well, unless you are paying thousands of dollars, its audio quality is simply unmatched.
It has a flat frequency response, which means that no frequencies are being boosted. Lows, mids, and highs are even across the board.
This is also a very sensitive mic. With a sensitivity of -31.9dB, this mic is going to pick up the slightest sound. That does mean that you will want to use it in a very quiet room. AC hum, the movement of clothes, the slightest breath, this mic is going to pick it all up.
While this makes it great for ASMR, it also means that plosives, sibilance, and breaths are going to be an issue up close. Luckily, a fairly decent pop filter is provided.
The mic is also quite directional. Any sound will pretty much have to be made directly into the diaphragm. Moving away or to the side results in a fairly steep drop in volume.
I doubt this will be much of an issue if you are doing ASMR, but it does mean that you will need to be a bit more aware of your movement. Especially if you want to avoid any unnecessary noise.
Like with other XLR mics, 48V phantom power is also required. So, you will need an audio interface to use the NT1-A.
One thing I do appreciate is the extras that come with the mic. It comes with a shockmount to help prevent noise from bumping the mic stand. It also comes with a very nice carrying bag to keep the mic looking brand new.
7. Audio-Technica AT2035
The Audio-Technica AT2035 has been around for quite some time now. It was designed specifically for home and small projected users.
It is meant to provide small creators and musicians with professional level audio, without the high price of entry. And it certainly delivers on that promise.
It isn’t quite as plug-and-play as some of the other mics on this list. While it does sound fairly decent out of the box, I would definitely do some minor EQ and post processing before jumping straight in to using it.
The AT2035 has a fairly flat frequency response. So, no frequency is being boosted, giving it a natural sound.
Its frequency response isn’t quite as fat as the Rode NT1-A, and I did notice some slight boosting in the high frequencies. It isn’t too noticeable and I don’t think will be much of an issue.
Overall, the mic doesn’t add much coloring to any sound. Rather, it just recreates sound as accurately as possible.
Combined with its rather impressive sensitivity, the AT2035 is a great mic for ASMR. It also rejects background noise quite well for such a sensitive mic.
It does suffer the same noise issues when getting up close to the diaphragm. A pop filter is recommended, but you should really always use a pop filter with any mic if you are using it for vocals.
The design of the mic is also fairly sleek and simplistic, meaning it won’t distract from the main focus when it is on camera.
While it does require phantom power, it does have a rather smart feature. The AT2035 has something called an electret.
Without going into too much detail, the electret is simply a way for the mic to store a charge inside it permanently. This just means that it doesn’t require higher spec equipment to work, adding to its versatility.
Choosing an ASMR Mic
Before going out and buying any old mic, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Every mic is different and not every mic is going to work for ASMR.
Condenser vs Dynamic Mic
When talking about mics, there are generally two types to consider: dynamic and condenser. Each type has its own pros and cons, and are usually better suited to one task or another.
Dynamic mics are often the simpler of the two types. They are more straightforward to set up and use, and don’t require any external devices to operate.
They are usually also much cheaper than condenser mics, as well as being more durable. They also don’t require phantom power to operate.
Dynamic mics are less sensitive, however. While this makes them good at rejecting background noise, they aren’t as good at picking up subtle sounds.
Condenser mics are the more expensive of the two types. They also usually require phantom power, provided by a mixing desk, audio interface, or other power source.
Condenser mics are also less durable than dynamic mics. They can be damaged quite easily from being dropped or bumped, and can be expensive to replace.
They are much more sensitive, though. While this does mean that they can pick up background noise much easier, this also makes them much better at picking up subtle sounds.
Since ASMR revolves around making small, soft noises, condenser mics are much better suited to doing ASMR.
The polar pattern refers to the direction that a mic captures sound from. Generally speaking, there are three main polar patterns:
One, Cardioid, which just means that it only picks up sound from directly in front of the mic, while rejecting noise from the back. Two, Figure-eight, which picks up sound from the front and back of the mic, while rejecting sound from the sides. And finally, omnidirectional, which means that it picks up sound all around the mic.
The polar pattern of your mic is very important when it comes to doing ASMR. While cardioid is very good at rejecting unwanted sound, it is quite limiting.
You will have to be careful with the way you move, as moving too far to the sides will cause dips in volume.
Figure-eight is great for simulating sounds in the left and right ear. You can easily move between each side, creating a panning effect. Or you can have two different sounds playing in either ‘ear’.
Omnidirectional is similar to figure-eight, since it can also be used to create panning effects for a more 3D sound. The big advantage it has over figure-eight is that your sound will be the same level, no matter where you are around the mic.
This ties into the sensitivity of a mic. Self-noise refers to the noise that the mic makes.
This is usually a result of the phantom power flowing into the mic. This can obviously cause issues during a recording.
That is why you will see condenser mics having their self-noise listed in their specs. A lower self-noise means that they don’t pick up as much of the noise they produce.
In other words, a low self-noise means that they are sensitive enough to pick up on subtle sounds, but not sensitive enough to pick up on the sound that they produce.
XLR vs USB
This is the connection type used by the mic. Regardless of whether a mic uses a USB or XLR connection, it will usually be powered through that connection as well as sending its audio signal.
The benefit of using a USB mic is that you can just plug it straight into your PC or Mac. This lets you use it either directly through your operating system, or through software.
XLR mics on the other hand can only be connected to something that has an XLR input. This is usually a mixing desk or audio interface.
If you are going to use an XLR mic, you will obviously also need an audio interface, or some way of connecting and using the mic with a PC or Mac.
The big advantage that XLR mics have over USB mics is their audio quality. While USB mics can be good, and the ones on this list are good, XLR mics just tend to be better.
This is simply due to the higher output quality of XLR cables over a USB cable.
When it comes to mesmerizing ASMR content, a good mic is key. But you also don’t need a gimmicky, thousand-dollar 'binaural' mic with fake ears attached.
Any of the mics on this list will be more than enough to compete with the biggest ASMR channels. And they will help you to keep your audience entertained and blissfully relaxed.
In the end, the ASMR content can only be as good as its creator allows it to be!