If you are a gamer in 2019, you have either spent some time curating video or podcast content or considered dabbling into it. There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts, gaming YouTubers, and influencers across the market, and everyone is looking for a competitive edge. While this often comes down to personality and content, one of the easiest upgrades is simple: tech. In steps the Aston Stealth, a microphone that manages to wipe the floor with its competition and validating its considerable price tag.
If you frequently read DualShockers this is your first time hearing of the Aston brand, I wouldn’t be surprised. Aston doesn’t have the name recognition among the gaming community that peripheral makers like Razer, ROCCAT, or AverMedia have garnerd. While the brand has made its name for itself in the dedicated recording and audiophile, the growing field of professional content creators have created a viable new market for the brand to thrive. While most gamers, streamers, and podcasters would once make do with budget headsets and low-tier (but popular) Blue microphones, there is a necessity to grow and evolve. So, too, must your equipment.
Coming in at a hefty $399 price tag, the Aston Stealth is nothing to sneeze at — the purchase is definitely one for career streamers, content creators, or dedicated hobbyists. However, this is a top of the line product with a top of the line price tag, and every dollar of that quote feels well spent due to the innovative design and amazing technology that is put into it.
First, here is a quick (imperfect) demo of what the Aston Stealth sounds like in action:
Editor’s Note: A full test video debuting comparisons of this microphone in test environments is coming next week, stay tuned.
Starting out, let’s talk about setup. For optimal settings, I’ve paired this with a high-quality audio interface (specifically the Focusrite Scarlet Solo) though it’s worth noting that it isn’t entirely necessary. Aston has seamless integrated an Active and Passive mode into the microphone, meaning that if you don’t have phantom power to get quality recordings. Of course, with phantom power you will get a cool purple afterglow light and a (much more important) 50dB gain lift. In other words, perfect for podcasts or anything where you are going to be talking.
A more unconventional but oh so interesting function is the four unique voice settings that is freely swappable with a ring on the bottom. The ring includes:
- V1: Male voice
- V2: Female voice
- G: Guitar
- D: Dark, ribbon mic tone
Audiophiles will note an immediate, though nuanced difference between the first three on that list. V1 is the setting that captured my attention and was where I stayed, given that my deeper voice spoke to the setting. However, for podcasts, the darker inflection that D carried really adds a nice vibe and radio tone to your voice — especially if you aren’t a fan of doing too much post-production after the fact.
It’s worth noting that all of this is changed externally, using the Twist Ring seen below. It isn’t a perfect solution, as it is fairly difficult to switch gears. But once you get the hang of it, it isn’t even an afterthought:
The craziest aspects I see with the Aston Stealth, however, are some of its innovation with shock mounts and side rejection. Any decent cardioid mic will feature a form of side rejection, so that isn’t entirely “new.” But it seems like Aston has perfected the model, with surrounding voices creaking to a nasaly wimper. On the other hand, the Aston Stealth has a Sorbothane internal shock mount. The occasional (or in my case, frequent) bumps of the mic stand or cats running into it hardly affects the sound. In fact, this comes across as pure magic in action.
And last but not least, the actual design of the hardware is stunning. Too often I see sleek microphones like the Aston Stealth that overpromise and underdeliver on functionality. But the Aston Stealth is a class act, putting both form and function in a tight package. It is not only the best consumer microphone we have tested in some time, but it is the best looking of the bunch.
Not everything about the microphone is perfect, and you can hear it in the video above. In my articulating, it became abundantly clear that a pop filter is needed, because plosive sounds (i.e. many words with explosive sounds that contain B, D, G, K, P, or T ) aren’t rejected alone. It’s a very slim margin of improvement, but something that I’m positive Aston Stealth can improve on in future models.
As I mentioned above, the Aston Stealth isn’t going to be for everyone — not because they couldn’t benefit from it, but just because it may be out of their price range. However, there is a short list of mics and camera equipment needed for professionals and enthusiasts in the industry, and for those looking to break into the field. An investment into audio quality and futureproofing your amateur or professional recording studio always pays off in dividends.
The Aston Stealth is an impeccable piece of hardware, that aims at the professional, enthusiast, and intermediate market — a large swath of entertainment gamers in 2019. When looking at high-end bracket of mics, there are very few as innovative or versatile. While there is an improvement to be made to filtering out plosives, the benefits so far outweigh what is the expense of a pop filter. If you are a content creator in 2019, this microphone should be floating to the top of your lists.
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