The Stealth is the latest addition to the Aston microphone range, joining the award winning Spirit, Origin and Starlight. But whereas those previous models have all been condenser microphones, the Stealth is unique, as it’s Aston’s first dynamic mic. To expand on that, it’s a broadcast quality, moving coil dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pickup pattern, so it’s comparable with mics such as the EV RE20 or Shure SM7B, but unlike those models, it’s got a few innovative tricks up it’s sleeve that really set it apart from pretty much any other microphone currently available.
Aston have designed the Stealth to be, in their words, the most versatile microphone in the world, but they’re also keen to emphasise that it’s not just a jack of all trades. In the studio it will easily compete with any condenser microphones, it’s an ideal choice for podcasters or voice over artists, as you can hear, I’m talking through it now, and because it’s a dynamic mic, it’s less susceptible to feedback and much tougher than a condenser, so it’s equally at home in a live environment. The main feature that makes this mic so versatile is it’s choice of voicings, there’s two for vocals, one for guitars and a “dark” setting, which offers a kinda vintage tone, reminiscent to that of a classic ribbon mic. Now these different voice settings aren’t just applying EQ filters, they actually switch between 4 totally different circuits, so it truly is like having 4 different mics in one.
It’s actually pretty interesting the way that Aston design their microphones, instead of just a small team of people creating a mic from start to finish, at various stages of development they’ll refer to what they call the Aston 33, that’s a panel of experts which actually now consists of over 90 top flight recording engineers, producers and front of house engineers. The 4 voicings on the Stealth were developed through a series of blind tests with this panel, resulting in the V1 voicing being voted most suitable for the timbre of a male voice, V2 the preferred choice for female vocals, and the voicing that eventually became the guitar setting was the most popular vote for rather surprisingly, all types of guitars, be it classical, steel strung acoustic or an amped up electric guitar.
Being a dynamic mic, the Stealth doesn’t require Phantom Power to work in passive mode, but if do switch on 48v on your desk, it does something pretty unique, as the mic automatically senses that phantom power is available and switches to active mode, activating it’s onboard pre-amp.
Most people who want to use a dynamic mic such as the Shure SM7 as a studio mic, will often opt to buy an additional mic pre-amp, something like a cloudlifter device, to cleanly boost the signal for recording, but this will be at an extra cost of between £100 to £150 pounds. The Stealth however features a built in class A pre-amp which is powered by 48 volts, boosting the signal and greatly improving the signal to noise performance, without the need for an external device. Plus, when in active mode, two purple LEDs are turned at the bottom of the mic, which obviously don’t do anything to improve the sound quality, but you have to admit they look pretty awesome.
Just like all of their other mics, the Stealth has been designed and built right here in the UK to Aston’s near-indestructible standards, it feels really tough and sturdy, so it’ll handle even the most demanding of live or studio environments. It features a cleverly engineered internal shock mount system that utilises sorbothane polymer hemispheres to dampen vibrations and handling noise, and this negates the need for an external shock mount cradle. An internal pop filter reduces the effect of those pesky plosive P’s and B’s without having to use an additional pop screen, and the design of the Stealth’s differential drive path offers excellent rejection of electromagnetic interference and hum, something you definitely want if you’re a podcaster or bedroom studio user where you might have nearby computer monitors. Finally, the Stealth comes supplied with a specially designed quick release mic clip, which makes it much easier to attach the microphone to a stand and adjust it’s angle, when compared to conventional clip or cradle for a mic of this type.
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