SleepPhones® featured on August 2015

SleepPhones® featured on August 2015

ASMR Accessories: Enhancing the Audio Experience, earbud on a wooden table

By Kirsty Liddle

Posted August 14, 2015

Every ASMR aficionado has been there. We settle down to listen to our favourite ASMRtists and place our chosen gear on or in our ears, knowing that when we wake up the wires will have tangled themselves in our hair or, worse, threatened to strangle us in our sleep.

I have lost count of the number of times I have drifted off on a wave of soft voices only to wake up and find my headphones have slipped off my ears, fallen on the floor or simply been caught up in the duvet. So which headphones should you wear in order to ensure a relaxing, but more importantly safe ASMR experience?

I have tried a few pairs in my listening history and find that they each have their good points and not so good points. For instance, over-ear headphones are great as I feel they give a richer, surround sound quality and there is nothing better, in my opinion, than the feeling of having your ears being cozily covered by a soft, leather cushion. My current headphones are a GOJI pair from a press event I attended a while ago and they really are excellent, fold away nicely in my bag and boast an impressive volume range.

I do own wired and wireless sets, and although the wireless ones mean no annoying wires you do have to make sure that they are fully charged and connected to your chosen device via Bluetooth. I say fully charged because the last thing you want to do is hear an annoying beep midway through the video, having to pause, open your eyes and begin the hunt for a USB cable. Some Bluetooth headphones do perform better than others so it is best to go for a low to mid-range pair at first to see if you like them.

If you are truly after an immersive experience why not try SleepPhones? These innovative and rather cute headphones are concealed within a colourful furry headband that you wear as if you are going running. They are designed to be specifically worn in bed hence the adorable phrase pajamas for your ears, but can be used for workouts, meditation and on board long flights.

They are compatible with most devices and are very light in order to exert the least amount of pressure on your ears. I haven't been lucky enough to try them yet, but they have been reviewed by numerous ASMRtists including the lovely Maria, AKA GentleWhispering.

Personally, I have long been a fan of over-ear headphones as I found the odd shaped buds in my ears annoying and after a while quite painful. For many years, I would refuse to wear in-ear headphones which meant I have had some ridiculous looking pairs including ones that would clip onto the back of my ears. However, I was lucky enough to be gifted recently with some Beats by Dre in-ear headphones and they proved to be the exception to the rule.

Incredibly the buds fitted just right, were remarkably comfortable and the sound quality is amazing. I am not saying that you should all rush out and buy a pair, however, as they are extremely pricey and if they hadn’t been a present I wouldn't have considered buying them. I have noticed though that the Beats product picks up the binaural mike and background sounds easier than my Bluetooth set or my over-ear headphones.

I myself choose to watch ASMR on a variety of devices including my computer and phone and find that it isn't really about what is going on on the screen, although the visual element can help to relax you, I believe that the sound is really the focus of the experience. A smaller screen allows easier control and access while a larger screen can often help you to feel more connected to the ASMRtist in question.

It is always best to watch ASMR videos before sleep or when you know you have plenty of time for relaxation, as the soporific sounds can be quite mesmerising, ASMR is definitely not something to watch in your lunch break unless you wish to be snoozing at your desk! Overall ASMR is a personal activity and you should experiment with what works for you or, if you can't decide, rotate like I do!

(Main image used under the Creative Commons license. Credit to Caden Crawford..)

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