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Aston Starlights - A Tale of Two Mics

Category : Products

Our friend Ray Wilson from our Canadian distributor Yorkville Sound tells the story of his first encounter with a matched pair of Aston Starlight laser targeted microphones:

“There are a LOT of pencil style condenser microphones on the market; too many to mention, in fact..   Most of the ones that we are used to selling are between $500 to $1000 for a pair.  For this you get amazing sound reproduction, a few features (roll off, cut switches) and mic clips for your stands.  As an owner of a stereo matched pair of Audio Technica AT4041, AKG C1000 AND the Apex 185B I was pretty much set, I thought.  All of these have the features I mentioned above which worked for me, until…

I met the Aston Starlight Stereo pair!”                   

“I took on a project with Mr. Chris Gauthier, District Sales Manager for Yorkville Sound Ontario East and incredible acoustic guitarist / vocalist inspired by Neil Young.  He wanted a sound that captured the “woody tone” of his guitar yet would pop off the speakers by today’s standards.  We decided to use the Starlights in an X/Y configuration around the 12th fret, an Aston Origin up the neck to capture the slide string tones, and the pickup to blend”. 

As with all Aston microphones, the Starlight was voiced with intensive pre-release testing by the a panel of more than 70 of the world’s top artists, engineers and producers, still affectionately known as the ‘Aston 33’ after the original founder members, who engage in a thorough programme of blind listening tests to ensure the microphone simply sounds better than anything else in its class.

This industry-approved core sound is then furnished with an unprecedented array of pads, filters and voice options to make the Starlight not just the best sounding, but the most versatile mic of its type, as Ray was to discover as he set about coaxing the best possible results from Chris’s Gibson acoustic guitar:

“We set up in my control room – not the booth – to inspire some freedom and draw a great performance.  I’ve used my other mics countless times in the same configuration, but I was not prepared for what happened next…

… I was able to apply a -10dB cut since Chris is a hard strummer; just enough to make sure I didn’t overload the pre, but not enough to cut the sweet notes from being heard. I was able to roll off the low frequencies just enough to keep the body tone (woody sound) without the muddiness of lots of resonance.”

There followed some experimentation with the Starlight’s unique Vintage, Modern and Hybrid switchablemodes (achieved with advanced, proprietary front end filtering between the capsule and the PCB) and the precision targeting provided by the onboard class 2 laser:

“The Hybrid Voicing – the balance between the softness of “Vintage” and the brightness of “Modern” turned out to be the best setting for his classic Gibson Acoustic. The Laser showed me that I had a pretty exacting 90 degree axis to prevent the phase cancellation that often happens in that type of setup.”

“I had done everything I needed to get the sound I wanted BEFORE I ever got to my mic pres!”

You can hear the results of Ray’s session on this link to ‘The Little Things’, a song from Chris Gaultier’s latest album.

https://soundcloud.com/ray-wilson-24/the-little-things-march-1-18 

 “This is premastered to show the raw tones. Feedback is always welcome” explained Ray, and added this kind tribute to the Starlights:

“You can always wait until the next Star Wars movie makes lasers popular again or you can try the mics for yourself to see the OTHER features that make them so great.”

Thanks for sharing this great story with us Ray!

 

For further information on the Aston Starlight mics please click here

 

 

 

 

 

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