This guide is all about extras, from the optional to the essential.
What do You Have in Mind?
Everyone needs to place their devices somewhere convenient. Is there something that could make your life easier?
Then, having placed a device somewhere, you might also be needing some cables. A longer USB cable perhaps?
There are plenty of useful accessories for you to take a look at.
Let’s start with a demo!
While you might think that tripods are just for cameras, I’d like to show you a useful combo between my Manfrotto Pixi tripod and a microphone boom. The tripod collapses down into a grip, which can be placed in the boom’s shock mount. So, if I want the microphone on the table, it just comes out of the shock mount and the Pixi becomes a tripod again.
Also very useful is the Joby GorillaPod with the Manfrotto Smartphone Clamp. It’s incredibly handy for everyday use on my desk. Both of these tripods have been fantastically versatile purchases; it only takes a few moments to switch the smartphone over to a microphone or camera thanks to standard fittings, and to start using the device.
Below then, are a variety of accessories that I have chosen to highlight, placed in their relevant sections.
Get Yourself a Tripod
Just as the title suggests, taking stable footage at the right angle and from a good position is what you really want to do, right? So the easiest way to do that is with a tripod. They come in all sorts of sizes and cost as little as ~£18 for a really good Manfrotto mini tripod upwards. A mini tripod is to put on a desk or table if you want to shoot a scene like that, or if you want a person-sized tripod then of course you can go for one of those.
The Manfrotto Pixi tripod is the one that I use on my desk. It’s super robust and stable, easy to put on top of things, and the legs collapse into an easy carry handle for whatever camera you attach to it, like my Canon EOS DSLR.
Another small tripod you’ll see YouTubers use is the Joby GorillaPod, which comes in a lot of variants. Best just to take a look. They’re basically crazy, flexible tripods that you can attach to trees, handrails, your leg, or whatever, and get some very unusual shots.
And then finally there’s your conventional camera tripods that you can set up at person-height for when you want to shoot at eye level or a little lower, the main consideration being bulk, because you don’t want to carry that around if you can help it. They’re really not expensive though so they’re also well worth a look.
See Also: Shooting ASMR on Your Phone
Booms and Shock Mounts
Booms are typically for microphones, but as I showed above with the Manfrotto Pixi tripod holding a Zoom H2n, that microphone could be easily swapped for a smartphone in a phone clamp. Having your smartphone on a boom has some interesting hands-free applications.
Booms are usually limited to carrying light loads, so I wouldn’t attempt mounting a heavy DSLR on one. However, a decent boom can handle the weight of a light compact camera, mounted on a Pixi tripod and slotted into the shock mount, for recording your face, let’s say.
The boom I have in mind can handle the weight of a Blue Yeti microphone, which is a fairly heavy device.
Hauea’s boom is an improved design over a similar one common to rival Chinese marks. Specifically, it can handle the weight of a Blue Yeti microphone and it has a fitting to accept one. It also comes with a decent shock mount, so that you don’t have to buy one separately.
As well as in the image to the side here, you can also see the Hauea boom in the photographs above, in the “Accessory Showcase”, holding my Zoom H2n. As an owner of this boom, I’d describe it as robust and stylish, and easy to maintain. I recommend putting something on the lower part of the clamp, however, to stop it marking the underside of your desk. Otherwise, it’s basically perfect.
You can also find specific parts.
High Quality Cables
Think about this — if you’re going to own quality mics, then you should have quality cables to preserve their audio. They’re a no-brainer.
So, what does our ideal cable do?
ASMR Gear • Cabepow Micro-B USB Cable
Firstly, it needs to carry an audio signal clean and true. It should be well shielded from electrical interference, to keep the signal pure. Finally, the cable needs to be durable, to last throughout the years.
We must also find cables of the correct length for our purposes, and they must possess the correct end adapters for the intended devices.
When shopping for USB cables, be aware that USB “Mini-B”, USB “Micro-B”, and USB “C” are three completely different plugs. This gets especially thorny when trying to find the right USB B cable, since “Mini” and “Micro” are close words — but the plugs are different.
USB Type References
The Zoom H2n, for example, requires a USB “Mini-B” cable. A Sennheiser MK4 condenser microphone would require an XLR cable, which is not a type of USB.
I present my following selections.
Surprisingly perhaps, I found AmazonBasics to be the best USB Mini-B cables on offer. I purchased a few to use with my Zoom H2n, and to have a few spares, since they are so inexpensive.
The quality is really very good. The fashionista in me would have liked a nylon mesh outer skin, as you get with the Cabepow USB Micro-B cables, but the tough black outer skin of these ones is the better finish to go with the boom I’m using, so it worked out better this way.
I had to wonder whether the inexpense of these cables is in part to the bulk nature of Amazon Web Services and the idea that Amazon must use an awful lot of cables themselves. So, perhaps we are able to take advantage of that and enjoy high quality yet inexpensive cables.
Whatever the case, you wont go wrong with Amazon’s own brand here.
Description by Amazon.co.uk
AmazonBasics USB 2.0 A-Male to Mini-B Cable
The leader for strong connections
Because USB 2.0 is widely used in connecting devices, such as external hard drives, printers, digital-photography devices and more, this USB 2.0 cable helps you maximise the performance of your peripherals. For devices with an older USB version, this cable is backward-compatible, so you can still make the connection.
What it connects
This cable features a standard Type-A USB connector on one end and a Mini Type-B connector on the other. This means that you can plug the Type-A connector in to your computer, then plug the Mini Type-B connector in to a device with a Mini Type-B port. Devices like mobile phones, MP3 players, tablets, digital cameras and digital camcorders often have Mini Type-B ports.
Sturdy, with gold-plated connectors, this USB 2.0 cable is built for connecting and disconnecting over and over again without signal loss.
• Durable, gold-plated connectors
• Full 2.0 USB capability/480 Mbps transfer speed
USB Version Numbers
There are different version numbers (1.0, 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0). This indicates their transfer speed. The higher the version number, the faster they can work. However, to get the full power, the “host,” the device, and the cable must have that version. If not, the lowest USB version in the chain will control the speed.
For example, if your computer has a 2.0 USB port, your cable is 3.0, and your phone is 3.0, you will achieve 2.0 speed. If all three (computer, cable, and phone) all have 3.0 then you will have 3.0 speed.
In the Box
USB 2.0 Type-A Male to Mini Type-B Cable.
This AmazonBasics product features Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging that is recyclable.
I’m really impressed with the Cabepow Micro-B USB cables. Well constructed and packaged, easy on the eye, while also sporting a decent price? Ideal.
The product speaks for itself.
Description by Cabepow on Amazon.co.uk
Cabepow Micro USB to USB 2.0 Cable
-The ONLY Nylon-Braided Cable You Need
• Quick Charge & Data Sync:
Industry leading high speed charging & data transfer.
Charge faster than many standard cables, support a high-speed USB 2.0 data transfer rate of up to 480Mbps.
Don’t waste your time waiting for your phone to finish charging. With Cabepow, you can spend more time doing what you love.
• Durable and Tangle Free Nylon Braided Design:
Covered by premium quality braided nylon jacket. Cables are durable enough to withstand heavy usage, but still in great performance.
The tangle-free nylon braided cable which is more durable, more flexible and sturdier than the standard cables with 8000+ bend lifespan.
• Extra Cables, Secure:
Replace your cable and add more at home, work or travel, with a 8000+ bend lifespan several times longer than standard cables.
Compatible with all Micro USB-enabled devices
Mogami XLR Cables
These are for microphone matched pairs, such as the Sennheiser MK4s used by Maria of Gentle Whispering ASMR. She uses a pair of 6ft (1.8m) Mogami cables for hers.
Massage ASMR uses the same brand.
Remember, there’s not much point in having amazing mics if the cables are going to introduce noise or degrade quality.
These cables are available at 2ft, 3ft, 6ft, 10ft, 15ft, 25ft, 50ft, 75ft and 100ft lengths (1ft is about 0.3m).
The price ranges from ~$39 to ~$190 each on Amazon.com — which is a lot cheaper than on Amazon.co.uk, when I checked. The 6ft cable is ~$44 in the USA, but a stunning ~£95 (~$120) in the UK — nearly triple the price!
Did I check at a bad time?
Spending serious money on cables is pretty much the final stage of perfecting your gear, so think about your other equipment before buying any of this stuff. When you are sure cables are the last thing holding you back, then go for it.
These Mogami Gold XLR cables, to be fair, have a great product description on Amazon.com, and are a must buy for serious mic users. Rated 4.5 stars, great reviews, and awarded Amazon’s Choice. Expensive, with good reason.