After an incredibly successful and multiple award-winning 1st year in business, which culminates with a nomination for the prestigious NAMM TEC award 2017 for multi-pattern LDC ‘Spirit’, UK manufacturer, Aston Microphones Ltd., are extending their family of products with the addition of 2 key new products, the Aston Starlight and the Aston Shadow
The Aston ‘Starlight’ is the first ever laser targeting pencil microphone, allowing for recall of mic position in studio use, and incredibly quick and easy set up in live applications. This truly unique and exceptional microphone also showcases Aston’s variable voice switching for sound contouring, a nearly indestructible build quality, our signature sintered head, and Aston’s, now famous, tumbled 100% stainless steel chassis.
The addition of a Class 2 laser to Starlight, with on/off switch, allows the user to recall mic positions in the studio so set up can be easily replicated. It also means, for touring bands, that mic positions can be marked off on drums etc., and set-up becomes a breeze. This is very far from being ‘just a gimmick’ as cardioid pattern microphones always produce their most accurate response when aimed directly at the sound source. This is especially true when using a spaced stereo pair as the laser makes it possible to aim both microphones at exactly the same point. Not only does the laser make precise alignment easy, it also helps achieve consistency when re-establishing the microphone position after de-rigging. Repeatable mic positioning has never been easier.
*CAUTION: CLASS 2 LASER DEVICE. DO NOT STARE INTO THE BEAM.
Sintered Metal Head
Sintering is not new to the mic world, though seldom used… but our Aston development team have taken the technology a step or 2 further than ever before. We tested many thicknesses of sintered head, as well as the average size of the sinter spheres, and combined that with nickel plate which is controlled to only a few nanometres thickness to achieve near perfect acoustic porosity and extraordinary audio transparency. In addition the head is virtually indestructible, so like all Aston mics, it can take any amount of studio or live use and will never let you down.
The Aston Sound
Starlight features a 20mm cardioid capsule hand-picked by a panel of more than 50 top producers in double blind listening tests conducted during 2016. As with the Origin and Spirit mics before it, Starlight went through a series of blind tests conducted with the aim to finding the consistently preferred sound when integrated into our custom electronics. Tests with more than 20 different capsules and a range of source material were performed, as well as comparisons with the market leading competitors, until, by a large majority, the panel chose the Starlight as the best and most consistent sound. It was this process that led us to the idea of implementing our proprietary ‘Voice Switching’ mode, since opinion amongst these top professionals was clearly polarised between vintage, and more modern sounding mics. By accommodating the preferred tone for both groups in 2 different voice modes (and adding a third ‘Hybrid mode’ for good measure) more than 95% of the panel group expressed a clear preference for Starlight in the blind tests.
Starlight’s 20mm gold sputtered capsule feeds into bespoke transformerless electronics designed with low noise and low distortion as priorities. The mic then has 3 modes of operation, courtesy of some very fancy front-end, inductive, active filtering at the input stage of the preamp section (rather than simple post-EQ) to alter the response of the capsule without adding any noise to the circuit. The benefit of this is that the voicing switch is effectively the equivalent of changing the capsule to achieve different tonal characteristics and frequency response.
You can chose between Vintage, Modern and Hybrid settings to get the perfect tonal response for pretty much any application… guitar cab, drums, strings, even vocals… and each setting has been carefully tuned to give superb top-flight performance, way beyond Starlight’s price point. Yet another remarkable step-up in current technology, performance and cool!
Market leading electronic design…
Starlight employs a fine-tuned discrete mic amp circuit with high-spec components, to achieve an extremely sensitive, low noise design with loads of headroom. This allows the mic to handle quiet or very loud sources without compromising noise or tonal performance. Crucially, the higher output level of the Starlight’s output stage allows microphone preamps to operate with lower gain, where their distortion performance is at its best. The final result is a beautifully clean and detailed sound.
Now deeply rooted as part of Aston’s beautiful engineered looks, and rugged un-killable performance, Starlight utilises a 1.5mm solid stainless steel chassis, tumbled for up to 4 hours to achieve our signature finish. Beauty, and a beast!
Starlight is currently in production and shipping late February 2017, and will be available as either a single mic with mic clip and wind gag, or as a stereo matched pair along with two custom Aston Rycote shock mounts, wind gags and a stereo mounting bar. The accessories will also be available to purchase separately.
Aston Shadow (Halo)
The Aston Halo Shadow is a sister product to the Aston Halo. With more than 5000 Halo sold in 2016, and with a hatful of awards, and critical acclaim as ‘The best reflection filter money can buy’ the product is a huge success already, and many customers have asked us to do an all-black version to complement that range.
‘Shadow’ is our answer to this question. Formed from the same patented PET felt but with charcoal black exterior and interior, Halo Shadow provides the exact same build and performance as Halo, but changes the look and performance space from bright and engaging to dark and moody… of course, you’ll need one of each to get the best from every performance!
Like all Aston products, Starlight comes with a full 2 year free replacement warranty, which can be extended to 3 years by registering your product at the Aston Owners Club on www.astonmics.com
For more information on ‘Starlight’ and ‘Shadow’, or on our other products, please contact Aston Microphones Ltd. on
Tel: +44 (0) 845 500 2 500