First of all, let’s unbox. Now, these flaps undo from the side, lift the lid up and then a flap removes. Underneath is the Aston Microphone Owner’s handbook, and then underneath that is the microphone itself.
First thing you notice is that the mic’s quite sturdy, very well-built. You can see underneath that, it’s got an XLR output and a half inch hole in the bottom for connecting it straight to a mic stand. Aston also provided a brass bush with a 3/8th Inch center, so it will fit different kinds of microphone stands. This is kind of unusual for a large diaphragm Mic, because they normally sit in a cradle, and the cradles are really quite expensive. Although if I had the option, I’d still use a cradle for the mic. You will notice also, it has a wire mesh. We talk about that later on.
Aston Spirit Hardware: Audio Wave Pattern Switches
There’s some switches, three switches with a badge on the front. And, of course, the badge also indicates the side that you would speak into when it’s in the cardioid position. The finish for the mic is textured. Stainless steel. And quite honestly, it’s so sturdy that you could use it as a weapon.
The Spirit has three switchable patterns and offers Cardioid, Omni-Directional and Figure of Eight (Bi-Directional). It’s also got a one inch dual diaphragm capsule, and the dual diaphragm is of the gold evaporative type. Also, note the Faraday cage, which goes to make up the cage around the capsule. No hum. There’s a small toggle switch that selects the pattern. And it provides both minus 10 and 20 DB attenuation. What that means is if you have a really loud instrument, you can put it to minus 20, minus 10, if it’s not quite so loud, zero for no attenuation.
Decibel Pad to Avoid Pre-Amp Distortion
The reason that you have a Decibel switch/Pad at all is to avoid distorting the mic preamp. So if you’ve got loud sound, it doesn’t leave the microphone distorted, it actually leaves the microphone padded down, thus enabling a nice clean sound every time. There’s also an 18Hz low frequency roll off switch. What that’s for, is getting rid of stand noise, low frequency things that you don’t need, if you’re perhaps recording a vocal for example. It also cleans up your mix eventually when you’re going to mix it.
There’s also a badge that tells you which is the hot side of the mic. And it features a transformer balanced output that requires 48 volts phantom power to run.
Aston Spirit Mic Frequency Response & Modes Explained
The frequency response is 20Hz to 20kHz and there’s a little presence hump which is centred around 10kHz in both the Cardioid and the Omni-directional modes but not in the figure of eight. These patterns I’ve just spoken of are for the pickup area. That’s where the microphone picks up the sound around the body of the mic. Cardioid is generally, if you imagine a bubble in front of the microphone with a little dip in it, a bit like a heart on its side.
A figure of eight is when you’ve got say backup vocals, and they’re facing each other. You can move the vocalist backwards and forwards to get the balance, and they sit either side of the mic.
Then the figure of eight part, there is actually a roll off, so it doesn’t pick up at all on the sides of the mic. Only on the front and back, which allows you to control the ambience of the room sometimes. Whereas the Omni-directional pattern picks up all the way around, picks up everybody stood round it, and also picks up reflections of the room.
So that’s probably the least used. But still. Kind of useful in as if you ever want to use the mics for, say, drum ambience. If you’ve got two of them, you have stereo and you can put them in Omni to pick up the sound of the room, which you can mix in later on.
I tried the Aston Mic Spirit on vocals, it’s really good and sounds great. It looks good, it is sturdy, features a high pass filter, pads, and it has got three polar patterns. And it’s priced for the low to mid range market which is fantastic for a mic of superior quality.
It weighs 625 grams or 1.3lb. The length of it is 175 millimeters or 6.89 inches. The width is 54mm x 2.13mm. Well, that’s all for now. You can also check out the Aston Origin Review, the cheaper version of the microphone. The main difference is that the Aston Origin only has one Cardioid polar pattern as opposed to three.
A big thank you also to Tony Page who loaned us his Aston Spirit Mic presented to him by the Bucks New University for best music production.