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The making of Stealth – the Aston 33

Category : Products

Aston Stealth is a seemingly impossible combination of professional performance and affordability. The world’s most versatile microphone, Stealth is a master of all trades, providing unparalleled performance across a wide range of applications. But it only turned out that way because we listened to people who listen for a living…

Aston’s first three mics, Origin, Spirit and Starlight, although very different in terms of sound, character and features, share a common philosophy; they all started with our design team taking a completely new look at existing mic designs and asking fundamental questions which, it became increasingly apparent, simply hadn’t been asked for a long, long time. Why are all mesh heads made, basically, the same (and perform so badly if you drop the mic)? Why are the same materials always used? And so on.

The results were three of the best-loved mics on the market today, universally acclaimed by press, audio professionals and customers alike . Ground-up designs which owe little to tradition and everything to innovation.

All-new manufacturing techniques, material choices, unique feature sets and superb sonic performance are the visible and audible results of this free-thinking approach to product development, and there was an equally ground-breaking approach to the research which shaped each mic’s final specifications and the future of Aston’s most ambitious project yet; the world’s most versatile microphone… Stealth. 


Friends in high places

Aston is fortunate to have many loyal supporters at the very top of the music industry; producers, sound engineers and artists who rely on the very best quality audio products for their livelihoods. Originally 33 strong, and now with over 120 industry professionals, what we call the Aston 33 panel performed blind listening tests over several months, on numerous sources (guitars, dulcimer, vocals, trumpet.. you name it, we tested it!), to take Stealth from a concept to reality.

We ran tests comparing multiple versions of our mic designs, alongside classic (and far more expensive) mics from other manufacturers. The A33 rated each audio file without knowing which mic they were listening to.


184 ears can’t be wrong

92 panel members participated in the testing process for Stealth, and their voting yielded results we simply could not have guessed at - and once again reinforced our belief in our organic testing approach, ensuring it has the features end-users actually want and that it is voiced to be best in class in every aspect.


Listening blind

The Aston panel were sent recordings of male and female vocalists and a wide range of instruments, including violin, percussion, drums, dulcimer, trumpet, and acoustic and electric guitar recordings with, 12 alternative voicings of our own design mixed with ‘go-to’ professional mics from other key manufacturers. They had no idea which was which and had to rate each from best to worst for each recording application. With the number of participants this provided an extremely comprehensive sample and more than 9,000 data points across several rounds of testing.

Some of the results were jaw-dropping - revealing not just the direction which Stealth was to take but in terms of long-held preconceptions about using certain mics for different applications.


Timbre turmoil

It turns out the mic voicing voted top by a country mile for male vocals also came last for female takes, and vice versa, but regardless of the pitch of the singer. It turns out that the timbres of the male and female vocal takes were each better suited to a certain mic voicing, and this according to the near-unanimous opinions of some of the world’s most experienced listeners in blind testing. A big surprise.

Although it is common in top studios for a selection of mics to be brought out on day one of a session to find the one that sounds best for a given singer, the need to use different mics for the best results for the majority male and female timbres is a new concept, and certainly not one any manufacturer has addressed to date. Of course, mic voicings are not a one size fits all thing, so although the 2 vocal settings on Stealth can be said to more usually suit a female or a male vocal, we suggest you try them both and see which one is best for you!


Plucked, strummed or plugged-in

Another revelation; one particular voicing was voted top performer across ALL the guitar assignments, from classical and finger-picked acoustics through to close-mic’ing a growling and howling electric guitar cab! This, again, flies in the face of conventional wisdom and was a big surprise to us… but very helpful for finding a great starting point when mic’ing your favourite guitar to get best results. As always, we’d still suggest you try other sounds (and mics if you have them) just to be sure… but the guitar setting on Stealth is KILLER for just about any guitar related action.

These are just two of our findings which, although they may cause some head-scratching amongst musos who have become accustomed to using certain mic/application combinations simply because, well, that’s how it’s always been done… will be a big hit with anyone trying to get great results without having to set up a bunch of different mics to check them out!


Four in one

The result of all this research and development….  Aston Stealth, a mic (or really four mics in one) which offers truly outstanding performance and truly innovative features to suit the high-end pro audio users, but at a price which brings it within reach of any home or project studio producer, musician, band, podcaster or gamer.

Each of Stealth’s four settings stands up to, or outperforms, mics costing many times as much and, like the Origin, Spirit and Starlight before it, is already creating one hell of a stir… we know you’ll think this is simply the most versatile mic ever made.


Find out more about Aston Stealth here



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