Aston Microphones are used the world over by countless artists, engineers and producers who rely on their incredible sound quality and near indestructible build for their work.
Every Aston mic to date has been developed in conjunction with the Aston 33 panel, a 600 strong group of many of the top industry professionals in the business who, through a series of blind listening tests, have ensured that each mic produced has outperformed all the competition, including big brand mics costing 10 times as much.
Now it’s YOUR turn!
Aston Element will be the first microphone in the world to have a sound crafted by the public, the musicians, engineers and producers who will eventually be using it to create their own musical magic. Aston have already taken the new mic to prototype stage – now here’s the chance for everyone to have their say on how the final version will sound. By registering to take part, users can become a member of a voting panel who take part in a series of blind-listening tests.
There will be several stages of public voting between late April and July 2020. At each stage participants will be able to listen to 5 takes for each of three audio sources (male vocal, female vocal and acoustic guitar) recorded on prototypes of the new Aston, alongside a number of competitors’ mics. Then they will rate them, from best to worst. But here’s the thing – users won’t know which sound files are which or even which mics are being used in the test!
After each voting stage, Aston’s design team will modify the prototypes in line with the voting results and the blind-listening test process will be repeated. Only when the new Aston mic is consistently voted the best sounding microphone will the Element be signed off for production. This whole process is being peer reviewed by participating press and a team of independent professional engineers and producers.
This is a unique chance for the audio community to contribute to the sound design of a professional studio microphone.
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 now it’s time to let everyone in on the action!
The ‘classics’ of the mic world differentiate themselves by having their own subtle yet recognisable 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 and now it’s your turn!
Project Element – join the Aston Family Developer team
Every participant will not only be able to call themselves an official ‘Aston Family Voter Panel’ member, they’ll also have the opportunity to pre-order a highly collectable ‘Voter’s Edition Aston Element’ at 25% off list price.
These will ONLY be available to members of the Aston Family Voting Panel and will come complete with a certificate signed by Aston’s CEO, James Young, special edition window stickers and a special edition Aston pin badge, as well as digital logos for panel members to display on their own social media posts and web pages. The special edition mics will be available ONLY to Aston Family Voter Panel members.
To participate, members will need to be 16+ and have access to a DAW or recording device, plus good quality monitor speakers or headphones.
Aston Element – the voting process
There will be several stages of public voting between May and July. For each round users will be able to download a range of sound files; 5 takes for each of three audio sources (male vocal, female vocal and acoustic guitar).
Details will not be given of the mics used in the test, which may be all iterations of Element or may be a mix of other competing brands. The mic number will also vary from source to source, such that Mic A for Male vocals, may be different to Mic A for guitars. All that will be seen/heard are a series of numbered files.
Once the files have been auditioned, then they can be simply rated as to what is heard, from best to worst, using the drag and drop voting page. Once the vote has been submitted, voting panel members are ready for the next stage. Aston will email the members to let them know when each round is open and when it is due to close. Each round will last 2-3 weeks.
Between each stage, Aston’s engineers will collate all the voting data and re-engineer the prototypes according to the panel’s preferences.
Once the Aston Element is voted the best sounding microphone by a clear majority of the panel, the process will close and at this point details will be released of the winning version, along with other competitor mics which have been used at various stages of the test.
The resulting microphone will have been created collaboratively with users’ input!
Authorised ADG dealers can visit the ADG Hub dealer portal for additional information, product pictures, webtexts etc.