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Get A Microphone Made For The People - The Aston Element Condenser Microphone Bundle
After 18 months of R&D and 3 months of public listening tests to develop the sound of their new mic, the Aston Element, they can finally reveal the full product details.
Aston Element, with its all-new 'Ridyon'™ capsule technology for superior performance at low cost, ships complete with a custom shock mount and pop shield.
Like all Aston mics, Element incorporates a huge amount of innovation. Everything from the capsule technology, the chassis design, the magnetic pop filter, and even the backlit-LED logo 48V phantom power indicator (or as we like to call it, cool light!) massively go beyond the limits of products normally sold at this price point.
Not only is Element extremely affordable, but it will consistently outperform all mics in its class. This is something which you really don’t have to take their word for because over 4000 customers from all across the world have helped them to define the sound of Element in peer-reviewed blind listening tests against the biggest brands in the business. During the course of this 3-month public testing series, they have developed the sound of the mic using data collected from these comparison tests, which have included major brand competitors such as Blue, Rode, AKG, Audio Technica, and Neumann.
The World's First Customer-Designed Microphone
While other companies, particularly in the software sector, invite their customers to become beta-testers, this is invariably to check a product which is pretty-much already finished. It's just checking for bugs. Never before in the audio industry has the actual SOUND of a product been decided by the eventual users from the early stages of development.
They took the Aston Element to prototype stage, so they had the chassis and the 'nuts and bolts' of the electronics in place, but the most important stage of all, the voicing - which gives each mic out there its own character and distinguishes it from all the others - has been left to you.
By participating in Project Element, thousands of musicians, engineers and producers from all over the world, have had their say in the final heart and soul of this unique and beautiful microphone.
Blind listening test results
They spent a total of over 18 months developing the Aston Element; much longer than most products take in this class. More usual would be 6-9 months, which gives you some indication of just how complex this microphone package is.
The first 15 month period of our R&D process involved the development of their new Ridyon capsule technology, the acoustic housing for this (which involved a LOT of testing) and the design and prototyping of the chassis, the grille diffuser and many other pieces of proprietary technology in both the mic and the shock mount and pop shield accessories.
The final 3 months, however, has been all about public choice. Rather than simply putting a new technology straight to market, they engaged in public blind listening tests (by this they mean that coded audio files were made available to the public to audition and rank in order of preference) across 3 separate sessions from May 1st to July 15th. The results of this process, a world’s first in the ProAudio industry, are what have determined the sound of the final product… the world’s first 'People's Microphone' - Aston Element.
Session 1 included their first Aston Element prototype in its raw form up against the 5 dominant, big-brand competitors chosen as the best of the best in their class. These included mics from Audio Technica, Rode, AKG, Blue, and Neumann. Before we even got to these 5 mic brands we tested mics from over 20 different brands to pick the best in class (that, with the exception of Neumann, being sub $500 mics… the Neumann was somewhat more expensive!)
Voting in the first round highlighted which mics the public preferred on 3 sources, male and female vocals, and acoustic guitar (the same 3 sources chosen throughout the tests), and what was liked and disliked about the sound of the raw Element prototype. This enables them to discard 2 brands form the test so that in Session 2 they had the top 3 competitor mics chosen by the public and 2 new versions of Element. By the end of the 2nd session, they had a much clearer picture of what people wanted from their mic, driven by the voting, subjective comments made about the competitor mics, and the relative preferences for 2 very different sounding Aston prototypes.
So, by session 3 they had only 2 remaining competitor mics… representing AKG and Neumann brands. They also had 4 different Element prototypes, each with different voicings based on preferences from the first 2 rounds. This enabled them to home in on the final sound and give Aston customers a wide range of choice for the final sound, whilst also making sure that the final Aston Element mic was able to at least equal, or hopefully out-perform the top 2 competitors on the market.
In the final analysis one Element prototype was the clear winner in the Session, beating both the Neumann and AKG mics (as well, of course, as all the other competitor mics that had come before in early testing and the first 2 sessions), as well as the other 3 prototype versions.
The Aston 33
So where did the idea for the world's first 'customer-designed' mic come from?
Actually, Aston have created all their award-winning mics so far using a similar blind-testing process with hundreds of the top producers, engineers and artists in the world… But with Element we decided it was time to let everyone in on the action! Here's the history…
The 'classics' of the mic world differentiate themselves by having their own subtle yet recognizable sonic character, and this is subjective. So how do you know in advance if your new mic design is going to please the ears of the world's top music and audio professionals?
Simple. You ask them. In fact, Aston went further and invited them to participate in the R&D right from the start of every mic project. The resulting panel of experts, affectionately named the Aston 33 after the original 33 panel members, now comprises more than 600 top producers, engineers and artists from around the globe, 120 of whom took part in the testing procedures for the development of the 2020 TEC Award winning Aston Stealth.
No other brand develops their microphones this way, in fact it is unique in the Pro Audio technology industry, and it's the reason Aston mics sound SO good. Aston work with the very best ears in the industry.
Project Element was the first and only time this process has been rolled out to the public, the musicians, engineers sand producers who can now use mic they helped voice.
Ridyon capsule technology
Unique magnetic pop filter
Proprietary shock mount
Manufacturer: Aston Microphones Model: ELEMENTBUNDLE SKU: I640584-N-12-WHXX UPC: 5060458750747
We are Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center
Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC's legendary music shop. Family-owned and operated since 1958. Buy gear the way it was meant to be bought, from a store that's been there through it all and has the vibe to prove it. We're staffed with musicians and industry experts, people that live and breathe music gear. Our mission is to help you find the right gear for your project, that thing that will bring you the most joy out of what you do. We're an authorized dealer for almost every brand, we stock items the other stores don't, so you can try before you buy. Stop by our Wheaton, MD showroom and see for yourself.
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