by Adam Husk
Every bedroom producer is looking for a versatile microphone that sounds good in many applications and won’t leave you living on pot noodle lunches. The Aston Spirit is a switchable polar pattern condenser microphone, built to thrive in recording environments. Receiving much applause from the production community, the Spirit responds well to many sound sources, making it a great value for money option. Thanks to its ability to switch between cardioid, omnidirectional and figure-eight polar patterns, it allows you to utilise many recording techniques. So if you are an aspiring Brian Eno, then these options might give you the inspiration you need to get out of the box. Aston prides themselves on the fact they are a British company. Not only was the microphone designed in the UK, but it is also constructed and tested here too. Unlike most other British things, the Spirit is unlikely to break down on you. With its extremely rugged two-millimeter stainless steel chassis, it is likely to do more damage to your floor than your floor does to it. The company consists of British engineers and studio boffins that have taste tested each of the components to get a refined frequency response and overall sound.
The innovative reinvention of the built-in pop filter is extremely efficient at blocking plosives, as it distributes the energy randomly. Plus, due to the nature of the material it also helps to block out unwanted interference. The mesh that makes up the filter is constructed of stainless steel, so respiration will not cause it to rust. Also if you have recorded a singer that has plastered your wonderful new mic with saliva, you can take out the mesh and give it a wash. The waveform design of the mesh’s enclosure not only adds to the unique aesthetic but will also prevent damage to the capsule without showing damage itself. The tumbled steel finish completes the look resulting in dominating physique that accumulates connotations such as professional and industrial. When switched to cardioid, the frequency response of the mic seems flat, giving a relatively accurate representation of the source. It does add in its own colouration but this is nothing displeasing and can be used to taste. The highmid appears a little more pronounced and can be beneficial in bringing vocal forward in the mix. Luckily this boost does not extend too heavily into the high end and avoids unwanted harsh sibilance. The mic also sounds pleasing in front of an acoustic guitar, making it the ideal companion for a singer-songwriter. Unlike many products, in the same price range, the Aston Spirit does not come with a shock mount or a pop filter. It does however, have a built-in shock mount that gives you a decent level of protection but may be challenged by a hefty foot tap. The unit is designed to fit directly onto a mic stand via its base. Directly mounting the mic to the stand can create awkward angles when using a boom arm that can be worked around by thoughtful setup. Due to the large size of the chassis, it will not fit in a standard cradle mount, leaving you no option but to purchase a specifically made version from the manufacturer.
Overall the Aston Spirit is a durable workhorse that can capture a broad range of different instruments and voices. With a dominating appearance, solid construction and pocket-friendly price, this mic is definitely one to have in your arsenal.