Contrary to what you might think, ASMR microphones aren’t a special type of mic designed to record sounds that can trigger an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and possibly provide therapeutic benefits such as a lowered heart rate. Recording ASMR professionally is all about capturing the type of sound you want without unwanted background or microphone noise affecting the finished product.
Choosing a great microphone for ASMR depends on what type of sounds you’re going for — like whispering, crunching, or hair brushing — and how you want the listener to experience that sound — such as moving from their left ear to their right. As we share our top picks for the best ASMR headphones, we’ll explain the differences between common microphone types and polar patterns like cardioid and omnidirectional to ensure you can realize your goals of creating blissful relaxation.
How We Picked the Best ASMR Microphones
To evaluate the best ASMR microphones, we focused on audio brands like Audio-Technica, Blue Yeti, Shure, and Rode, carried by respected retailers, catering to music and sound professionals. Examining these key features was instrumental to our goal to bring you a range of options capable of fulfilling your quest for the most tantalizing ASMR.
Ease of Use: While all of the microphones we recommend here require phantom power to operate, the non-USB microphones on our list require a source of phantom power to convert the analog signal to digital (like a preamp or audio interface). For the XLR mics on our list, we decided they were worth the cost of additional equipment and a longer set up time.
Headphone Output (for USB Microphones): The professional recording standard is to use headphones to monitor your recording in real time so you can hear the raw audio as your audience would, including any special effects you might add in a recording app, like reverb. We made sure only to include USB microphones that had a direct headphone output to avoid sound latency. XLR microphones require a preamp or audio interface with a headphone jack for monitoring.
Microphone Type: Good ASMR microphones are often condenser mics rather than dynamic, ribbon, or shotgun mics, due to their sensitivity and ability to pick up sound with a high level of detail. We also included microphones with polar patterns that capture sound from more than one direction to produce different types of ASMR.
Best ASMR Microphones: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Rode NT1
Why It Made The Cut: The Rode NT1 is an affordable, large diaphragm condenser mic that stands out for recording quiet and detailed sounds due to its exceptionally low self noise.
— Microphone Type: Large diaphragm condenser
— Polar Pattern: Cardioid
— Output: XLR
— Weight: .97 pounds
— Self noise of just 4.5 dBA
— Relatively light
— Classic sound
— Requires a preamp
If you are interested in creating ASMR using your voice, the Rode NT1 is an excellent choice. This microphone is also great for recording other sounds you can generate by standing or sitting in front of the microphone, such as tapping noises or clinking glass. That’s because its cardioid polar pattern is designed to take in sound primarily from the front of the mic (and not at all from the back).
As a condenser mic, it is already more capable of recording complex quiet sounds than dynamic mics, which are better suited to louder instruments. The NT1 also has a large diaphragm which fills out the sound in a way that many would consider classic, in contrast to small diaphragm condenser mics which prioritize capturing sound in as much detail as possible.
Australian audio tech giant, Rode, manufactures a full array of gear including audio interfaces, mixers, and microphone stands so you can easily stick with their products while expanding your ASMR studio. This NT1 package includes a shock mount, pop filter, and dust cover.
Best Omnidirectional: Audio-Technica AT4022
Why It Made The Cut: The AT4022 is a quiet, professional, omnidirectional mic that is an excellent choice in studio or on location for content creators who want to preserve the integrity of environmental sound.
— Microphone Type: Small diaphragm condenser
— Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
— Output: XLR
— Weight: .27 pounds
— Captures ambient environmental sound
— Low self noise at 13 dB SPL
— Captures low frequencies
— Not particularly versatile
— High price point
Founded by Hideo Matsushita in Tokyo in 1962, Audio-Technica has produced high-quality audio equipment for many years. The Audio-Technica AT4022 is a small diaphragm condenser microphone with an omnidirectional polar pattern that can be used indoors or outdoors. Its polar pattern, as well as its small diaphragm and responsiveness to low frequencies, make it one of the best omnidirectional mics for highly defined recordings of instruments that emanate sound from multiple directions, such as a piano or acoustic guitar.
Because the AT4022 captures sound equally from all sides of the microphone, it naturally lends itself well to certain types of ASMR. Some applications might be recording whispering sounds directly into the mic on a beach with waves crashing all around you, or generating a field recording of nature sounds. If your ASMR subject can’t be relied upon to stay close to the front of a cardioid mic (such as a cat), you’ll get better results recording its purring, crunching, or ekekeking with an omnidirectional mic than if you used a mic with a cardioid polar pattern.
It’s important to understand that just because mics with an omnidirectional polar pattern pick up sound surrounding the microphone, that doesn’t mean they are recording surround sound that replicates how noises appear in space (spatial audio like Dolby Atmos is an example of this technology). If you want to create ASMR that mimics how the human ears naturally perceive sound, consider a binaural microphone instead, which features two omnidirectional mics with stereo positioning in prosthetic human ears.
Best for iPhone: Blue Yeti
Why It Made The Cut: The Yeti is extraordinarily popular with podcasters and streamers and its plug-and-play setup makes it possible to record directly into Garageband on your iPhone.
— Microphone Type: Side-address condenser
— Polar Pattern: Cardioid, bidirectional (Figure-8), omnidirectional, stereo
— Output: USB
— Weight: 3.4 pounds including stand
— Plug-and-play setup
— Multiple polar patterns
— Headphone jack
— Record directly onto your computer
— Limited audio options without XLR
With a price point around a hundred dollars and a built-in audio interface, the Blue Yeti is one of the best ASMR microphones for beginners, as well as one of the best cheap microphones available. Blue is owned by computer gear manufacturer, Logitech, and part of their Logitech for Creators product lineup is designed to get influencers, gamers, and videographers up and running on their favorite social media platform. You may also want to check out our picks for best microphones for streaming which includes a different Yeti model.
The Yeti has a built-in audio interface where you can adjust microphone gain and headphone volume. One reason the Yeti is best for the iPhone is that you can easily connect to your smartphone via USB to get started making ASMR videos or audio recordings using the software of your choice. Note: You’ll need Apple’s lightning to USB camera adapter to do so. It also works with Android phones, computers, and some tablets.
Audiophiles will likely prefer an XLR microphone over a USB mic in order to get the highest quality sound and the most control over the finished product. However, the Yeti allows you to switch between multiple polar patterns, including bidirectional (both sides of the mic) and omnidirectional (all around the mic) for production of a huge array of ASMR, including ambient sound.
Best Portable: Blue Yeti Nan
Why It Made The Cut: The Blue Yeti Nano’s two polar patterns and headphone jack offer good value in a tiny package, perfect for stashing in your backpack for your next creative inspiration.
— Microphone Type: Side-access condenser
— Polar Pattern: Cardioid and omnidirectional
— Output: USB
— Weight: 1.39 pounds including stand
— Immensely portable
— Headphone jack
— Can be muted
— No gain control
— No bidirectional (Figure 8) or stereo polar patterns
The Blue Yeti Nano is a mini ASMR microphone with a surprising amount of features for its size. It isn’t the most inexpensive USB microphone that Blue makes, but we chose it over the cheaper Snowball and Snowball iCE primarily because it has a headphone jack that allows you to listen to your recording in real time without experiencing latency. This pint-sized condenser mic is also significantly less bulk than the Blue Yeti and reduces its weight by about two pounds, making it one of the best portable mics for online content creators.
ASMR creators who want the smallest gear footprint and the option to connect to a laptop, tablet, or smartphone to record can still switch between a cardioid or omnidirectional polar pattern on this mic. That’s enough versatility to produce ambient as well as more focused ASMR. If you’d like to produce video along with it, consider adding one of the best webcams to your portable production kit.
The Yeti Nano isn’t just a smaller version of the Yeti, so be aware that you are giving a few things up at this size and price. You’ll lose the ability to switch to bidirectional or stereo polar patterns, and to adjust microphone gain. But if you like the Yeti for your home studio setup, the Yeti Nano could be a smart addition to your gear for doing some ASMR videos while on vacation at an awesome sounding locale (like a tropical rainforest or craggy coastline).
Best for Pros: 3Dio FS Pro II
Why It Made The Cut: This high-end binaural and omnidirectional microphone offers the ultimate realistic listening experience for all kinds of content creators, including ASMR producers, filmmakers, and field recordists.
— Microphone Type: Binaural condenser
— Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
— Output: Two XLR outputs
— Weight: 1.66 pounds
— Immersive and realistic sound
— Bass roll-off switch
— Pre-installed .62-inch microphone stand adapter
— Prosthetic human-shaped ear
— High price
As one of the best binaural microphones on the market, the 3Dio FS Pro II is an ASMR creator’s dream. Binaural mics consist of two prosthetic ears positioned in a stereo format with embedded microphone capsules. This unique setup records spatial audio to mimic the way the human ear experiences it, which can make your listening experience quite amazing. For example, if you wanted to document the sound of your feet crunching through fallen autumn leaves on a forest path and a woodpecker starts tapping away to the side and front of your left ear, the listener can also sense where the woodpecker is, as if they were walking through the woods themselves.
The FS Pro II is a great tool for creating any type of ASMR and is especially good for ambient sounds, field recordings in nature, and the (extremely popular) weirdness that is ASMR ear pampering. Just grab brushes or use your hands to generate noises that appear to be inside the listener’s ear (this may delight or disgust you).
Each prosthetic ear contains a DPA 4060 capsule with low self-noise. You can power the microphone using the two XLR outputs (right and left) to an audio interface or preamp, or use the internal 9-volt battery to generate enough power for a stereo recording.
Things to Consider Before Buying ASMR Microphones
If you’ve never produced ASMR before, you may find your recording needs change over time and may want to add multiple microphones to your gear. But no matter what your experience level is, there are a few key factors to consider as you select a new microphone.
Recording Environment: One of the first things to ask yourself is where you’ll be recording ASMR. Is there a lot of background noise in the room or do you have an isolated, sound-treated space? What makes ASMR so special is the sensitive focus on very particular types of sounds in isolation. A simple cardioid condenser mic that mostly captures sound in front of the microphone will help ensure that the sounds you are making come through clearly if there are audible voices or traffic noises in your environment.
Listener Experience: If you’re making ASMR for a YouTube channel in conjunction with video, how do you want your legions of fans to experience your creations? If you are looking to tickle their ears with recorded sound that replicates how the human ear would hear your whispered words as you move from left to right, check out binaural microphones for exceptional realism.
Extra Equipment: As you consider your budget for ASMR production, don’t forget to factor in extra equipment you may need to take full advantage of your microphone. Microphone stands, headphones, windshields, pop filters, and audio interfaces are all valuable pieces of equipment that can make a world of difference for optimal microphone positioning, monitoring, sound isolation, boosting the signal to your mic, or providing phantom power. Of course, you’ll also need a recording device, whether that is your laptop, phone, or other type of recorder (such as a Zoom recorder).
Q: What is the goal of ASMR?
The goal of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is to trigger a listener’s autonomic nervous system to produce relaxing or pleasurable sensations, often described as a tingly feeling that starts in the scalp and travels down your body. Not everyone identifies with this experience, and some people may have an unpleasant reaction to certain types of ASMR over others.
Q: How much do ASMR microphones cost?
ASMR microphones are as varied in price as all microphones on the market. You can spend around $20 to get a microphone that can record ASMR (not well), or thousands of dollars for the highest audio quality imaginable (which you may not need). A $100 budget is enough to get started with good sound, and you may choose to go up depending on your needs.
Q: What is microphone self noise and why is it important?
Microphone self noise is the sound that the microphone produces on its own from its electronic components. When you are recording the highly detailed sounds featured in ASMR production, such as crinkling paper gently with your hands, you’ll want a mic with low self noise that doesn’t mar the intimacy of the sounds you are creating.
Q: Should I use a USB or XLR microphone for ASMR recordings?
You can use either a USB or an XLR microphone (or both) to get great sounding ASMR. XLR condenser microphones require a preamp to provide phantom power but USB microphones have a preamp built in. USB microphones can be more convenient, but using a more traditional XLR microphone with an audio interface will give you access to a much wider selection of high-end products.
Q: Where do I recycle my ASMR microphone?
To recycle your ASMR microphone, look for electronics recycling in your area. Many cities have special days dedicated to recycling specific items at local spots like schools. You can also check if the manufacturer has their own program to send back used equipment. We have our own electronics recycling guide to point you in the right direction.
Final Thoughts on ASMR Microphones
As you’ve probably figured out by now, there is no single best mic for ASMR. We’re more partial to starting your ASMR journey with the Rode NT1, an XLR mic, but that’s because we’re audiophiles. On the other hand, the best cheap (but still good quality) USB mic that gives you plenty of options to play with is undoubtedly the Blue Yeti. For the best mic for pros who want immersive sound, definitely go with the 3Dio FS Pro II, which is also an incredibly fun choice for hobbyists and nature enthusiasts with some extra cash to spend.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.