ASMR is one of the hottest trends on YouTube right now. In this article, we want to give you a complete guide on how to start your ASMR channel and give you helpful insights into ASMR, the right equipment, and tips & tricks on how to get a better ASMR sound in general.
But let's start with some interesting facts.
Definition - what is ASMR?
The term ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response which those who experience it often described a tingling, static-like sensation that refers to a relaxing, often soothing feeling which spreads from the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. That stimulus could be anything, but over the past few years, a subculture has developed around YouTube videos and their growing popularity.
This "head tingling" as some call it, is caused by pleasing images and gentle sounds like whispers, accents, and crackles. For example, maybe you’ve experienced feeling sleepy or relaxed while getting a haircut or hearing someone explain something to you slowly and gently. Sounds from nature are also a good example.
As a matter of fact, over the last years more and more people are getting interested in ASMR which can be measured when you have a look at how many people were searching for ASMR every day on YouTube over the last years.
Google Trends data shows that interest in ASMR began to grow rapidly on YouTube two years ago.
Today, the search term ASMR is ranking as the #1 top inquiry in the US and #5 top inquiry worldwide. It is most popular in South Korea, followed by the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe.
If you’re creating ASMR videos, you are on the peak of YouTube’s hottest trend right now. Also if you have no ASMR channel yet, this is a convincing argument to start one.
How do ASMR videos work?
According to an ASMR study from the University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University, the videos are often used to fall asleep, relax or relieve stress.
Dr. Poerio said: “Our studies show that ASMR videos do indeed have the relaxing effect anecdotally reported by experiencers – but only in people who experience the feeling.
This was reflected in ASMR participants’ self-reported feelings and objective reductions in their heart rates compared to non-ASMR participants.
What’s interesting is that the average reductions in heart rate experienced by our ASMR participants was comparable to other research findings on the physiological effects of stress-reduction techniques such as music and mindfulness.“
Dana Park, a popular producer of ASMR videos who started her channel Dana ASMR back in 2013 explains: “My viewers and listeners watch my videos when they want to relax, fall asleep, or even just focus on something.
Many of them tell me that my videos have helped them with anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Others tell me that ASMR videos make them feel very relaxed and cozy, so they watch them at the end of the day before going to bed.
I wouldn’t say that these videos are guaranteed to help you with anything, but I’ve gotten lots of feedback from people who’ve told me that they help them to feel better. And this feedback from people is one of the main reasons I’ve kept doing ASMR videos.”
Dana Park first encountered ASMR when she was in high school, having a hard time sleeping due to the extreme stress of preparing for university. So she searched for relaxing sound videos on YouTube and ended up falling asleep within 5 minutes after listening to her first ASMR video.
After this experience, she fell in love with ASMR!
The video below shows one of her "best tingle compilations", which brings us to the topic of what ASMR artists do in their videos.
ASMRtists - What do they do?
There are all styles of ASMR channels and every ASMR artist, or ASMRtist uses different techniques and triggers.
Here are some of the most popular ASMR triggers for the beginning:
Whisper or soft talk: The aspects of your voice, which can influence ASMR are speed, volume, tone, and emotion. Many artists talk slowly, which expresses a calm disposition that may be relaxing to the listener.
Fingernails gliding, scratching or tapping: The simplest sounds can make for a relaxing feeling. For example, fingernails tapping a glass, leafing through a magazine, or crumpling paper and various materials or playing with latex gloves, old cassette tape, and your favorite everyday items.
Eating sounds: One of the most popular disciplines in the ASMR scene is eating sounds. Noises with the lips (smacking) or the tongue (snaps) while eating a lobster, cake, or whatever is available in your fridge can trigger ASMR.
Role plays: A spa massage or a visit to the barbershop can cause head tingling. It makes many listeners believe that they are sitting at the hairdresser or lying on the massage table. Popular with men: a decent beard shave with shaving cream!
Skincare and make-up: Swiping the brushes on the microphone, swabbing the cotton balls, and applying nail polish are popular "trigger" sounds.
When you’re trying to find out what kind of videos you want to make, keep in mind there are no limits to your creativity.
Below is one of our favorite videos from ASMR artist Lily Whispers ASMR, where she is smoking Hookah and reading assumptions of the community about her, which brings us to the topic of what role the community plays for an ASMRtist.
The community – feedback on your ASMR channel
Another thing you might want to consider is the community aspect of your channel. Keep your uploads consistent and interact with your viewers as much as possible. Make them feel special!
On the one hand, your community can be inspiring, and it is always a good idea to consider people’s requests when deciding what video to film next. Go through all comments on each video and evaluate the helpful suggestions people leave.
On the other hand, it is no secret that there are many haters out there, that will try to give you a hard time. Don't let them stop you, and this will help you to get a thicker skin and to find the strength to handle negative feedback. Lily's video above is just a great example, how you can find inspiration even in negative feedback and create something cool out of it.
Furthermore, try not to feel discouraged if you don’t get too many views and subscribers right from the beginning. Building a community takes time, and there are lots of ASMR channels out there these days. It can help to imagine those people that viewed your video as an audience in front of you, and you’ll realize that it’s quite a lot!
The three main factors for a good ASMR sound
To get a good ASMR recording, or any recording, you need to consider three main factors:
Those three factors are interdependent, and all three need to be considered. If one of them is lacking, the result will suffer! We will show you some easy tricks that will help you to get a better sound out of your ASMR performance.
A recording can only be as good as the ASMR performance, so always keep that in mind. Apart from delivering excellent performance, it will help you to have a certain amount of mic discipline.
Some call it microphone technique, but in the case of ASMR, we really should talk about discipline, because it involves a lot of details that might seem minute, but they can have a significant impact. A few things you should consider are:
When recording micro triggers such as whispering, breath sounds can become overpowering. To avoid this, try to breathe away from the microphone.
Sibilance: Sometimes, “S” sounds become sharp and annoying, some individuals encounter that more than others, since it depends on your teeth.
Also, some microphones react more to those sounds than others.
If you want to reduce the sibilance while recording, try not to talk directly into the microphone, but a little bit off axis, which will reduce the high-frequency content, the microphone will pick up.
Plosives: Another problem you will most likely encounter is the so-called plosives.
Mostly noticeable on the letter P, T, and B.
Those letters can cause bursts of air which can ruin your recording, so it is standard to use a pop filter.
We did a lot of research on this topic and came up with our pop filter version, that attaches to our shock mount via magnets - and best of all, since it is compact, it will not influence the visual aspect of your ASMR video.
Additionally, the windshield can be used to get rid of plosives.
Proximity effect (distance): Some of you might have heard about the so-called proximity effect.
Explaining this phenomenon in all its technical details would go beyond the scope. So, to avoid confusion, let’s keep it simple:
The term proximity effect describes an increase in bass response when you get close to a directional microphone. Starting at about 25-30 cm, the closer you get to the membrane, you will notice that your voice gets more and more bass added. Keep this in mind while recording.
Clothing: This might sound surprising, but your clothing can also have an impact on the recording.
Some materials are very loud; when you move, this can get very annoying when you’re trying to record very subtle sounds.
Before recording your first ASMR video, experiment a little bit on how your microphone reacts to certain things. Knowing your equipment will always help you to get better recordings.
Since ASMR is mostly recorded in a lovely room at someone’s home, instead of a professional acoustically treated recording studio, you can run into issues here. But the good news is that there are easy modifications you can make to get the best ASMR sound possible out of your room.
Background noise: While you can take care that the washing machine, computer fan or air conditioner is not running while you’re producing your ASMR video, some other noises can’t be turned off, like street noise. But with street noise, choosing a good time can help to influence the amount of noise you’ll get in your recording. That is why many YouTubers record their video’s late at night to avoid unwanted street or airplane noises.
Room reflections: Reflective walls or surfaces in the recording space can become problematic, especially if two naked walls face each other. You might have noticed this in a bathroom or while moving into a new empty apartment. The phenomenons we’re talking about are “comb filtering” and “flutter echo.” It would take way too much time to go really into detail about room acoustics. Just keep in mind that absorbers are your friends. Even if it’s just a thick curtain on the windows, a carpet on the floor or wall, and even opening your wardrobe helps. Every little bit will help you, at least with the high frequencies.
Where to record in your room: Mic placement is crucial. Room resonances or standing waves can become problematic. When you blow into an empty bottle, you get a specific tone. Just like an empty bottle, a room has many resonances of its own. Finding the right spot in your room is a matter of trial and error.
It will help to know your room. Move your recording setup until you find the spot that works best. If it is not feasible to lift the equipment in this position (in front of the TV, for example) mark the spot on the floor with tape to easily find it again and to keep consistency.
The gear is equally as important, as the experience you have and gain over time. A seasoned recordist and ASMRtist will achieve better results with inexpensive gear than an inexperienced person with the most expensive equipment in the world.
What equipment do you need to start?
Of course, you can use your phone to record your first ASMR video, but if you want to take it to the next level, when it comes to professional equipment, you’ll find some advice here, what you should keep in mind before buying a camera or microphone
What camera should I use?
When we think about the fact that many people using ASMR to fall asleep, you should keep in mind that ears work better when you’re closing your eyes because the sense gets sharpened that way. With this knowledge, one could say that the visual aspect of an ASMR video is not equally important as its sound.
Another thing worth mentioning is that lighting is the key to a good-quality visual result in your video. Even the most expensive camera will not help you if your lighting situation is terrible.
Last but not least, we’re living in a time where modern system cameras are the best bang for your buck and provide all you need for a professional-looking ASMR video.
What video editing software do I need?
It’s crucial that you make sure that your video is in sync with your audio.
Multiple YouTubers are using additional software, a professional digital audio workstation (DAW) to get rid of unwanted noise and other unpleasant sounds.
What audio interface should I use?
ASMR works much better in stereo, because of the possibility to localize the sound sources which allows for a far deeper immersion.
Therefore, you should choose an interface that offers at least two microphone inputs.
Since a condenser microphone will give you a much more detailed sound resolution, the preamps of the interface should be able to provide them with 48 V phantom power.
There are many different price points when it comes to interfaces, so chose something that fits your pocket. Even the most affordable interfaces can produce professional results.
What microphone cables should I use?
When choosing microphone cables, again this is a question of budget. Choose something within your price range and focus on quality XLR connectors (Neutrik or similar), because those are usually the weak points of cheaper cables.
What audio recording software should I use?
What microphone should I use? The best ASMR microphones
Investing in the best ASMR microphone possible will bring your channel to the next level because the sound of an ASMR video is an essential element for a good listener experience.
At the end of the day, the microphone will connect you with your community.
A good example of that is the video below, where PJ Dreams ASMR is testing his new LCT 540 S and asking the community for their feedback on the mic:
"Your voice sounds with these epic microphones like the 5gum commercial."
"Really like the sound ... they don't pick up that popping spitty sound some other mikes catch. These are perfect with your voice."
"These microphones are such good quality... enough to make it seem like you’re whispering in the same room as me."
To achieve a professional sound quality, you should use condenser microphones with high sensitivity and a low self-noise.
When recording ASMR, you want to capture as many subtle details as possible. One specification you want to keep in mind before buying a professional microphone for ASMR recordings is its sensitivity.
Let’s give you an example by looking at a typical specification listing for a dynamic mic like the MTP 550 DM, which is usually used on stage. Under the heading of "sensitivity," it states -54 dBV/Pa. When you compare it to a condenser microphone like the LCT 540 S, which features a sensitivity of -28 dBV/Pa you’ll see that the LCT 540 S is better equipped to record quiet sound sources because the closer this value goes towards 0, the more sensitive the microphone is.
The self-noise is a very crucial thing to consider when selecting the best ASMR microphones.
Each electronic circuit and each capsule of different microphones have their specific inherent self-noise.
The self-noise is usually specified in dB (A) which basically means if you have a microphone with 7 dB (A) self-noise, you would have to play a sound with 7 dB (A) to be at the same level. You might have noticed when recording with an inexpensive mic or smartphone mic; there often is a very annoying noise: this is the self-noise of the microphone.
The lower this self-noise value of a microphone is, the better it is equipped to record quiet sources.
Often people think that the background noise on a recording is the self-noise of the microphone when it is actually a fridge or fan of a computer in the recording room.
Why are LEWITT mics good ASMR microphones?
Our most popular microphones in the ASMR scene are the LCT 540 S, LCT 640 TS, and the LCT 440 PURE which get used by professional AMSRtists like Lilly Whispers ASMR, Dana ASMR, PJ Dreams ASMR or Pierre G ASMR
Let’s have a look at why those microphones can help you to get the best ASMR sound quality possible.
LCT 540 S
It is perfectly suited to capture your ASMR triggers in every detail.
With the LCT 540 S, you can get involved with tone and sound in ways unheard and bring your recordings to perfection by capturing all the fine-grained characteristics that constitute each moment of your performance.
LCT 640 TS
The LCT 640 TS is a microphone that allows you to record in stereo using only one mic. This is possible in Dual Output Mode, which requires two channels on your audio interface. The dual cardioid polar pattern gives you a fantastic stereo image, great localization, and an almost binaural quality.
The LCT 640 TS and the LCT 540 S are both flagship microphones and come with features like a low-cut filter, which can be used to filter low frequencies like rumble when activated.
When you use its Automatic Attenuation mode, the mic will automatically activate a pre-attenuation setting when clipping occurs, which can be easily be missed during the recording.
LCT 440 PURE
The LCT 440 PURE is the most affordable solution. It also features very low self-noise and has the same capsule and design of our flagship mics.
We hope this article provided you with some useful tips and we wish you lots of fun creating your own ASMR videos.