ASMR or autonomous sensory meridian response is an esoteric online phenomenon that began over a decade ago. Let’s take a closer look at this peculiar form of audio stimulus and learn how to create your own content. Here’s the ASMR starter kit.
As official as it may sound, ASMR is not a scientifically or medically verified practice. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t an intriguing auditory kink that has gained a cult-like following in recent years.
There have been small-scale psychological studies to ascertain the benefits of ASMR and why we often experience this form of auditory stimulus in different ways.
Putting together your own ASMR starter kit
Whether you’re planning on building your own YouTube channel or simply creating ASMR content for your own benefit, the audio aspect of the setup is relatively accessible and easy to use.
Being able to monitor accurately is essential. Unless you’re streaming content, you can do what’s known as pre-tape monitoring. This means you’re listening to the audio feed from the mics directly, rather than the recorded feed from your DAW.
Besides comfort, another important aspect is isolation. This is why closed-back headphones are the preferred choice here. Some ASMR techniques involve working at relatively close proximity to the mic, so minimizing spill from the headphones is preferable.
For this purpose, the Shure SRH840A-EFS are well padded, with decent isolation and their low impedance rating makes them suitable for use with a wide range of devices, including tablets and smartphones.
Starting out you won’t need an audio interface with that many inputs, and features like MIDI are unnecessary for this purpose. The more straightforward it is to set up and use the better and as we’ve mentioned, direct monitoring is very useful.
The Audient EVO 4 has all the basic features and it won’t set you back too much either. Two inputs, two outputs, Smartgain, and level metering make it perfect for the job. Moreover, it’s one of the most hassle-free devices to operate.
You might want more inputs at a later stage, but this can be achieved with the aid of a desktop mixer which we’ll cover next.
In a single session, you might need to work with multiple mics or vary your gain settings on-the-fly when capturing different sources. In addition, you may want to play with the mic distance to achieve different dynamics.
Having an analogue mixer gives you flexible control of all your inputs, so you have the entire session at your fingertips. A simple mixer like the Soundcraft Notepad 12FX provides 4 mic preamp inputs with EQ and a built-in interface.
The layout is easy to learn and it’s compact enough to fit on most desktops.
Whether you start with something on the more budget end of the spectrum or not, your choice of mic is possibly the most crucial part of your ASMR starter kit. Medium to large diaphragm condensers are generally preferred due to the level of utility they provide.
With the right gain management, you can get high-quality results on a range of sound sources. ASMR content involves whispered speech, or recording gentle but detailed sounds created from household items like brushes, or different types of textured fabric.
Professional condenser mics like the AKG C214 have low self-noise and excel at capturing the crispy upper mids and high-frequency range generally used in ASMR recordings, so keep this in mind.
Although the human voice is constantly used to direct and narrate ASMR videos, the creative use of sound effects is also an incredibly powerful part of the process. When listening to different sounds, we often react according to our associated memories.
This is perhaps why content like ASMR cooking videos are so satisfying to watch. There are no rules to what can be used to create sounds, and if you’re at all familiar with foley you’ll know that the most unexpected items can yield engaging sounds.
There aren’t any professional ASMR sound sources per se, but using percussion instruments like shakers, rattles, and rain sticks can help a great deal to get your mind thinking about the value of creating intriguing sounds around you.
Afroton Rainmaker 100cm
Who are your favourite ASMRtists? What are your favourite sound sources? Let us know in the comments below!
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- SRH840A-EFS: Shure
- Audient EVO 4: Audient EVO
- Soundcraft Notepad 12FX: Soundcraft
- AKG C214.: AKG C214
- Afroton Rainmaker: Thomann