Updated on Apr 14, 2021
Finding the best ASMR microphone is an essential step to delivering high-value content through your channel. Whether you’re a beginner looking for the best place to get started, or a veteran of the ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) space looking to upgrade your equipment, you’ve come to the right place. Microphones are what we know best, and in no time, you’ll have all the facts laid out in front of you to help guide you on your ASMR microphone purchase.
We will start by running you through our list of favorite microphones for ASMR, and then we’ll discuss different recording techniques & what components we consider to be most important in an ASMR microphone. Our list caters to all budgets, but if you're looking for more high-end choices ($400+), skip on ahead to either the Shure SM7B or Neumann TLM 102.
The Audio-Technica AT2020USB is listed as our best choice overall, as it offers the greatest balance between price and quality. Being one of the most popular microphones for podcasters, the AT2020USB works incredibly well for capturing vocal recordings, whether it’s speaking, singing, or whispering.
The Audio-Technica AT2020USB is a side-addressed microphone, meaning rather than speaking into the top, the condensers pick up audio from the sides. The USB capabilities of this microphone allow you to plug it into your laptop for major convenience. It also comes with a headphone jack with volume control for delay-free monitoring.
The tone of this microphone on higher frequencies is incredibly crisp, which is why it’s my preferred ASMR microphone. The results when recording whispered ASMR sound natural and present as if you weren’t even listening to a recording.
Overall, the versatility and crisp sound of the Audio-Technica AT2020USB paired with the convenience of plug and go make it really easy to see why it’s so popular. As we’ve said in other articles, this microphone is very well priced for the value it brings. And if you sing or play guitar, you’ll quickly find it has more uses than one.
The Blue Yeti series is one of the leading brands of USB microphones, offering a massive level of brilliance with the simplicity of plug and go. Just like others on this list, this ASMR microphone was designed to be used with your computer, saving you time and money on your high-quality recordings.
The Blue Yeti comes in a few shapes and sizes, all depending on your budget. What they have in common are their multiple polar pattern modes. What does this mean? Polar patterns control where audio is captured from on your microphone, so a cardioid pattern only records from the front of the microphone, while omnidirectional patterns record from all sides of the microphone capsule. The ability to control the polar patterns on your condenser offers massive versatility.
In terms of sound, the Blue Yeti is very sensitive and produces crystal clear audio, with the ability to process a range of sounds thanks to their wide-frequency response. Because of the omnidirectional capabilities, purchasing two of these microphones will make binaural recording significantly easier since we don’t have to worry about the proximity effect (more on that later). Lastly, the Blue Yeti offers a headphone jack for real-time monitoring.
The Shure SM7B is easily the best microphone for vocals, thanks to the superior engineering done by Shure. It's no surprise that a microphone as versatile and powerful as this one is also one of the best ASMR microphones on the market. When it comes to anything vocal-related, the Shure SM7B is shure to find its way into the conversation, as the balanced frequencies on this microphone blow most others straight out of the water!
The Shure SM7B uses a detachable close-talk windscreen, perfect for getting up close and personal to the microphone capsule and speaking with a soothing voice. The dynamic cartridge utilizes a flat, wide-range frequency response for clean, natural reproduction of your audio. The mid-range emphasis with low bass roll-off gives a major boost to your vocal clarity.
Though a bit pricier than others on this list, the Shure SM7B has some really essential features for use as an ASMR microphone, from the mentioned windscreen to the internal pop-filter and cardioid pattern. Another neat feature is their electromagnetic shielding which defeats any hums from electronic devices included your computer. This choice is going to be best for those who can spare the higher cost for the best quality sound.
The Audio-Technica AT2005USB is one of the best microphones for vocals, offering massive flexibility with their USB & XLR capabilities. Like the AT2020, this ASMR microphone is really popular amongst the podcast community, and aside from the impeccable sound, offers other great features for recording great audio.
For a microphone that’s generally found for under $100, the Audio-Technica AT2005USB has incredible quality for vocal applications, whether it be podcasts or ASMR. The cardioid pattern protects your recordings from unwanted sounds out of the sides & rear while the low-mass diaphragm offers excellent frequency response for pristine audio depth.
The Audio-Technica AT2005USB is equipped with a headphone jack for latency-free monitoring, so you can listen to your audio in real-time. This makes experimentation much easier and hearing your voice during recording sessions helps keep you on point. This is an excellent microphone for the price, and like our #1 choice up top, it’s completely underpriced for the quality it offers.
The Rode NT-USB is an incredibly popular USB microphones offering the signature high-quality standards by Rode at a consumer-friendly price. As with all Rode products, the Rode NT-USB excels in the design department, with high-standard internal components, unlike some of the other microphones in the same price range.
I’ve been a fan of Rode ever since I was younger and purchased my first mid-range condenser microphone from them. They focus on staying lean & being the best at what’s most important- your sound. They don’t need fancy features or tons of versatile components, rather they keep it clean and offer a single, professional-sounding condenser within their capsule. It may be boring to those who want a feature-rich microphone, but when it comes to finding the right ASMR microphone, quality is all that matters.
The sound is superb, I couldn’t say enough great things about it. From the low noise to the well-balanced higher end frequencies, you’ll find the Rode NT-USB pulls the best out of your audio. On top of that, they offer a free pop-shield, to protect your audio from plosive sounds (like B, P, and T) & a desktop stand.
The Samson Go is the most budget-friendly option on this list, and thanks to the small size, the most travel-friendly as well. I love Samson microphones, and with the high sensitivity you get from the "Go" model, it makes for such a powerful ASMR microphone. Don’t be put off by the massive visual difference between this little mic & the others on this list. The Samson Go is small but powerful, and we specifically tested ASMR recordings on it before including on our list.
One of the first notable features about the Samson Go is that they offer both Cardioid & Omnidirectional pattern modes, the first of which capture audio through the front & the second which captures audio from all angles. This versatility will allow you to experiment and find the best settings for your ASMR audio.
The extended frequency response handles the high-end frequencies with ease, balancing them out with the lower & mid-range for smooth-sounding audio. The Samson Go will be an essential choice for beginners with a smaller budget. While I would still recommend stretching up to the Audio Technica AT2005USB, there is no harm in starting with this powerful condenser mic. After all, you can't go wrong with a Samson microphone.
The Neumann TLM 102 is the most expensive microphone on this list, but also the best choice for your next ASMR microphone if you can afford it. This professional studio-worthy condenser microphone offers the highest level of clarity on this list with incredibly low self-noise. Neumann is the leading brand for studio microphones, so let’s talk about why the Neumann TLM 102 is so great.
If you were to walk into (almost) any recording studio, you’re bound to find Neumann’s everywhere. This is for good reason. They make the best condenser microphones, without a doubt, and while some may say it’s overkill, they’re the best choice for an ASMR microphone. The high sensitivity with low self-noise is best-in-class, offering massive massive depth to your audio, for the most natural-sounding track.
The balance on the high-end frequencies is unmatched. When you whisper into this microphone, it brings up the lows and mid-range frequencies to give a more balanced, natural sound. This gives the effect of you being in the same room as your listeners. The goal for any ASMR pro is to put your audience at ease, and not let them hear anything that reminds them they’re listening to a recording.
The Neumann TLM 102 is one of the more affordable models from a legendary microphone company. If you’re willing to stretch your budget this high, you will find this to be the best ASMR microphone on the list.
The Binaural Recording Technique is used by some ASMR pros to simulate the acoustics of a three-dimensional environment. The result of this sound is said to be as if the speaker was in the same room as you. This effect will require some extra setup, but if you execute it properly, it will offer the chance to make yourself stand out in the best way.
The most essential piece to recording the binaural technique is using two (condenser) microphones. These are the “ears” of your audience, so to speak. Though we recommend experimenting with different placements, a good place to start is to have them the same distance as two human ears. You must think ahead about your setup & make sure you can support two microphones before buying them.
When you begin whispering into the ASMR microphones, it’s important to maintain some level of distance. A common mistake in both the studio and on stage is for people to put their mouth within an inch of the capsule. As we’ll discuss momentarily, condenser microphones are extremely sensitive and will work best a few inches away.
The biggest risk you face when too close to the microphone is triggering what’s known as the Proximity Effect. This refers to an increase in bass frequencies the closer the microphone is to its sound source (you). This effect is particularly noticeable on cardioid microphones, but non-existent when using the omnidirectional microphones. Once again, just experiment a little bit until you’ve found the best distance.
If you’re not studied up on microphones, then you might be wondering what all this talk about condenser microphones & dynamic microphones is, and how it impacts your choice when buying an ASMR microphone. The difference is in their engineering, using different methods of recording sound waves, and different features to protect your audio. While you can make generalizations about these two types of microphones, each model is different and has its own unique pros and cons. This is why you’ll find our list contained a few dynamics along with the many condenser microphones we mentioned.
Condenser microphones are known for their high sensitivity and low self-noise. Because of the low-mass diaphragm often found in these mics, they’re able to capture a very wide range of frequencies, most often 15kHz to 15Hz. A microphone that’s able to accurately record both the high and low frequencies will produce an output with incredible depth. Due to the intimacy of your voice in ASMR, you can benefit greatly from using a condenser for your ASMR microphone.
Dynamic microphones often focus on mid-range frequencies and contain a few features for protecting your sound. Unlike the condensers which may require a few extra components (sometimes included) for maximum quality, dynamic microphones commonly utilize built-in pop filters and spherical winds. These features protect your audio from plosive sounds & other hissing generated by your whispers. They’re also more often than not using a Cardioid polar pattern, which mutes any audio coming in from the sides or rear of the microphone capsule. If you're unable to find a noise-free environment, consider using a dynamic for your ASMR microphone.
The last essential piece to consider is where you’re recording. Finding the best room in the house will make an incredible difference, especially if you’re using a condenser as your ASMR microphone. While high microphone sensitivity improves your audio quality, it can easily pick up noise from other rooms or outside. This is one of the biggest challenges people face with home studios, so consider it at great lengths.
The next piece to think about is the acoustics of your room. If you have flat, solid walls in a relatively empty room, you’ll have stronger reverberance & echoes entering your ASMR microphone. While this can give your sound some character, it’s difficult to work within production. Ambient noises cannot be removed (without harming your recording) by a digital audio workstation. This will once again be up to your own judgment. If you don’t plan to layer on effects after recording, then maybe a room with strong acoustics is right for you. Otherwise, consider somewhere that will absorb those sounds, such as a well-furnished area in the house.
Your journey towards finding the best ASMR microphone doesn’t have to be challenging. Microphones are much more complex than most people give them credit for, and hopefully, our breakdown was able to simplify this for you. There are a lot of factors to consider, and a lot of experimenting to be done. But with enough patience & the right equipment, you will be well on your way to recording the best ASMR on the internet.
If you choose an ASMR microphone from this list, let us know down in the comments! We would love to know how it’s working for you and will listen to any audio you send us. Furthermore, we’re always open to arguments on what we’ve suggested (or haven’t suggested), so let us know your thoughts on that as well! Good luck.
Posted on Nov 16, 2020
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