A NEW CHAPTER IN ASMR
In the past few months I’ve seen the ASMR community grow in popularity. Every day I’m seeing a new ASMR artists on twitter talk about their new videos, new channels or simply engage with the budding community that for as long as I can remember, has remained a bedroom movement.
WHAT IS ASMR?
For those of you not aware, ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) is a term used for an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia. ASMR signifies the subjective experience of “low-grade euphoria” characterized by “a combination of positive feelings and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin”. It is most commonly triggered by specific acoustic or visual stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attention control. Watch the video below with headphones on and see if you can experience some static-like tingles.
A NEW ASMR COMMUNITY
It’s surprising to see how many new ASMR YouTube channels and ASMR artists have surfaced in the new year. But what’s even more surprising is seeing how many of them are not using binaural microphones. For years, a binaural microphone was synonymous with ASMR content.
If you ask some of the original ASMRtists, most would say a quality binaural microphone capable of capturing a recordists HRTFs and head space to be essential. New artists in the community don’t seem to care about this and are purchasing cost effective microphones, a strange paradox given ASMR is hyper reliant upon sound fidelity.
My best friend is offering to buy me a Blue Yeti microphone. Since I am a full-time college student and I don’t have a steady job, he was willing to help me; meaning within the next few weeks I will be making some BINAURAL videos for you all!
What vid should I do first?
— veil (@undergroundveil) March 7, 2018
BINAURAL THE WRONG WAY
My fear is that new ASMRtists are attempting to piggyback on ASMR’s growing with a “likes for likes” type of mentality. They’re using terms like binaural because they know their videos will get more plays, without understanding what binaural audio is.
WHAT IS BINAURAL AUDIO?
Binaural or Binaural 3D audio is audio captured identically to the way we hear the world. When audio is captured with a binaural microphone like the Hooke Verse, it is capturing the exact location of every sound source and where it is in relation to the recordist upon capture.
Binaural Audio Is NOT Stereo
Binaural audio must be recorded with a binaural microphone.
A binaural microphone consists of two omni directional microphones wherein one mic is positioned very precisely within each ear. When a microphone is placed within the pinnae of each ear, a recordist is capable of recording audio identically to the way they hear it
What seems so simple appears to be getting lost among new ASMR artists. I am all for pushing the movement further into the mainstream, but muddling terms that define this content will only cause more confusion and cheap sounding content.
The Blue Yeti is a stereo microphone. A stereo microphone allows for a listener to localize a sound source to the left and right upon playback. A listener will not be able to localize a sound source in front, behind or above during playback. A binaural microphone allows for a listener to localize a sound source in front, behind, above and below. Binaural microphones are perfect for ASMR content as they allow us to transport into the headspace of the recordist and utilize every bit of what makes human hearing so unique. That’s how you get tingles. You’re only painting half the picture when you capture it in stereo and odds are, you’re listeners are receiving half as well.
LISTEN TO ASMR FROM AN ASMR ARTIST USING A BINAURAL MIC:
Now listen to the ASMR without a binaural mic:
Hear the difference?
You Have Options
There are plenty of binaural microphones on the market at a similar price point to the Blue Yeti. Many offer what the Yeti cannot, versatility.
Andrea Electronics 3D Surround Sound Recording Ear Buds SB-205W $34.99
Roland CS-10EM Binaural Mics $134.99
The 3Dio Free Space. $499.99
The Hooke Verse $159.99
The Future of ASMR
Binaural ASMR recordings are quickly becoming the gold standard for ASMRtists. The reason for it is clear for anyone who experiences that tingly ASMR sensation. You can actually feel the difference. Sound matters and it starts with content we create for ASMR.