You have obviously come across the abbreviation ASMR online. YouTube has been one of the services that have popularised ASMR.
If you haven’t come across this term you may be wondering what ASMR is.
Well, ASMR is short for autonomous sensory meridian response which is known as the brain massage. Its a relaxing sedative sensation that begins on the scalp and moves down the body. ASMR is triggered by placid/tranquil sights or sounds.
The calming effect that ASMR has on the brain is the reason why you run into videos on YouTube that are just made up of people whispering, ambient sounds, crackles etc.
Now that we have a general understanding of what ASMR means. Let’s now adress the question at hand.
Can ASMR have music?
ASMR can definitely have music and most creators and musicians do implement and combine music with ASMR. A popular musician that is known for creating ASMR music is Billie eillish whose unique style comprises of her singing in a low soothing voice creating nice sombre effects.
Why is music important for ASMR?
Music is emotion in itself and combined with ASMR sounds can make for a great listening experience.
Furthermore, music has the power to amplify emotion. Therefore pairing it with sedative sounds can make the whole experience even more sedating.
Therefore many musicians even from the old days relied on the use of ASMR sounds because it allowed them to rile up certain emotions for the listeners.
For example, Micheal Jackson is know for his signature smooth style that was characterized by whispers, low tone backing vocals etc.
ASMR sounds have definitely been greatly implemented by most musicians into their music and this has changed the way music is received.
For example, YouTube is known for its “Chill Ambient” music creators like Chilled Cow that creates low-fidelity music characterized by vinyl crackle, ambient sounds and various other ASMR sound elements.
Now that we’ve discussed the combomination of ASMR sounds and music let’s get into the importance of it.
One of the more common uses of ASMR music is studying.
Students usually look to calming ASMR music as a good tool for studying because it’s calming nature can help one concentrate.
This is one of the most common uses of ASMR blended with music and most college students will agree to the fact that music paired with ASMR music can help them study better and for longer rather listening to normal music which can be both a distraction and unpleasant.
ASMR music is also good for relaxation and can help people unwind better because it relaxes the mind.
When ASMR sounds are merged with music, it even makes it a better listening experience.
It can also be prescribed for people that suffer from anxiety because it can be a good distraction from thoughts.
ASMR sounds and music promote feelings of relaxation and calmness.
Researchers don’t know exactly how or why some people experience ASMR.
But it’s noted that any time an experience doesn’t cause harm to you or anyone else, and may produce a sense of well-being, is considered beneficial from a therapeutic standpoint.
Tips for ASMR artists
Sounds basically fall into two categories: natural and methodical.
Natural sounds are those that imitate the natural variations of real sounds; these sounds are random, unsteady, complex, and/or layered in a way that best simulates a real sound, the actual sounds of opening a package, or other re-enactments of scenarios that commonly trigger ASMR etc.
Methodical sounds are those that get their soothing ability from their predictability. These sounds are steady, slow and non-layered. A slow and steady tapping or crinkling sound can be very effective at relaxing someone’s mind e.g. vinyl crackle.
Similar to voices, sounds should not be too loud or abrupt – that is a strong trigger for an alert response.
The challenge that is faced when recording a whisper or a soft voice that is not really a challenge when recording someone singing or talking, is getting a good signal to noise ratio.
Essentially, The softer the voice or sound you are recording, the more likely the listener will hear background noises, ambient noise, and internal equipment noise because a soft voice just doesn’t have enough volume to mask these sounds.
The challenge is to get your soft voice, whisper voice, or quiet sound (signal) to be significantly above the other sounds that you don’t want e.g noise, equipment noise etc.
Below are some ways to get a better signal to noise ratio:
1. Move your mouth closer to the microphone just make sure to add a pop filter or foam wind screen to avoid any proximity issues that can mess up your recording.
2. Direct your voice or sound directly towards the diaphragm of the microphone (again, a pop filter or foam wind screen is critical). This ensures that your voice is captured properly and clearly.
3. Another thing you can do is Increase the sensitivity of your microphone, often referred to as “gain”. But this will also result in you picking up more background noises, so be aware of any sounds within 20 yards – even if they are behind a wall, on another floor, or outside. You really have to use gain in moderation.
4. Watch out for nearby noise sources: computer fans, heating or air conditioning ducts, or any electronic or mechanical device. If background noises continue to invade your recordings, switch from a condenser mic which is very sensitive to a dynamic mic which is less sensitive.
Also Be aware that the number one source for internal noise is usually the microphone. Purchase a microphone that has low internal noise (signal to noise ratio)
5. Also Be aware of source #2 for internal noise which is the preamp, which boosts your signal but also boosts your noise.
The preamp may be built-in to a portable recorder, or be external as part of a mixer. The internal noise that is produced by preamps can greatly vary, you want one that is good at boosting your signal without boosting the noise as much so you can preserve your signal.