Today, we’ll be reviewing Aston Microphone’s Element, which is an active moving coil microphone. Aston Microphones are well-known for their unique and innovative designs and high-quality microphones, so we’re curious to see how this microphone stands up against the company’s reputation. Let’s get into it.
Our verdict on the Aston Element
While the Aston Element is definitely a viable candidate when it comes to studio microphones, we aren’t sure that its performance justifies the cost. The low end is exceedingly muddy, and essentially necessitates a hi-pass filter at all times to get a usable sound.
In its defense, once a hi-pass filter is engaged, the sounds it’s able to capture are more than fine. However, this definitely knocks it down a few points.
To be honest, it might be better to use the money intended for this microphone to buy two less expensive microphones instead. This way, you can have more options in your arsenal.Check availability here: SweetwaterAmazon
Polar pattern and frequency response
The Aston Element has a cardioid polar pattern, and the frequency response is from 20Hz to 20kHz. It’s got an A-weighted equivalent noise level of 3.8 dBA, which is pretty quiet, and the sensitivity at 1 kHz into 1 kOhm is about 12mV/Pa. You can crank the volume up to 132 dB before you start to hear distortion, which is louder than most people will ever need.
The low end is super prominent, and we found ourselves constantly having to hi-pass it to get some usable sounds. It does have some nice articulation and detail in the upper register, without getting too harsh.
For a non-condenser microphone, it can get some pretty airy extensions. However, without a hi-pass, you’ll be left with a whole lot of mud to clean up in post-production. Overall, the response itself is fairly “V-shaped”, which isn’t terrific.
A/Bing it against more standard dynamic microphones such as the SM7B, it makes the latter microphone sound somewhat mid-forward, which it isn’t. This is a side effect of how scooped the Element’s sound is.
In our experience, the microphone has a nice upper extension and a somewhat breathy quality that isn’t all too common with dynamic or non-condenser mics. However, without engaging a hi-pass filter, the sound becomes excessively cluttered, muddled, congested, which is less than ideal.
We’ve reiterated this point several times before, but if you’re going to use this microphone, you’ll want to use a hi-pass filter.
The Aston Element might be used for live vocal performances, but we wouldn’t recommend it. The cardioid polar pattern may minimize feedback and unwanted noise, which is helpful, although its overall sound doesn’t showcase a lot of mid-range information.
The low frequencies are particularly overbearing, so again, a hi-pass filter is pretty important if you want to get a sound that’s even vaguely usable.
Once you cut out the lows, there is some decent detail and articulation in the high end. Not our exact cup of tea but can definitely work in a pinch.
Recording acoustic guitars with the Aston Element left a lot to be desired. The guitars sounded extremely lifeless and dull to our ears. This is rather common when it comes to the vast majority of dynamic, non-condenser microphones, but we found it to be extremely jarring in this case.
If it happens to be the sound you’re trying to achieve, by all means, go for it – but it’s not what we would choose.
This wouldn’t be our first choice when it comes to bass, even in spite of its massive low-end. You may think that’s what you want when recording bass – and it usually is – however, the low end on this microphone is a bit too muddy for us to recommend it as a one-fix-all for recording bass.
We encourage you to try and experiment, but our advice would be to at least use it in conjunction with one or two separate microphones with different characteristics.
The same general ideas and opinions follow suit here when it comes to drums. It’s definitely capable of producing extremely usable sounds and textures, although we would recommend you use it in conjunction with several other microphones.
Not enough mids are present for recording snare, although it may make a solid choice to fill out some “boom” on a kick or floor tom.
The microphone certainly isn’t the best feeling microphone we’ve come across, although there aren’t many major issues to mention. It has a coated metal body and grille, and weighs in at a little over a half pound.
There are slots on the side to help secure it to its shockmount, and the XLR port is located on the bottom.
Compared to other microphones
Here are a few alternatives to consider before settling on the Aston Element.
Aston Element vs. Shure Super 55
The Element’s frequency response range is wider than the Super 55’s, which is specifically designed for vocals. However, the Shure features a more unique and retro design. Ultimately, the choice between the two microphones will depend on what you’re going for.
Aston Element vs. Shure Beta 58A
While the Aston Element and Shure Beta 58A are both dynamic microphones, the Element features a moving coil design whereas the Beta 58A uses a dynamic capsule.
The Beta 58A sounds much better to our ears, and the supercardioid pattern offers far more directionality. We suggest going with the 58A.
Who is the Aston Element best suited for?
The Aston Element is a decent candidate for people looking for a solid microphone for recording or podcasting. It’s a great choice for streamers who want a microphone that delivers moderate sound quality.
- Decent build quality.
- Nice upper extensions.
- Too low end heavy.
- Not necessarily as versatile as we would like.