Aston Microphones has been around for a little over a year. In that short time, they have had wild success in becoming one of the most popular boutique microphone companies in the world. This past week, we got to try the new Starlight microphones first-hand in my home studio!
Before we do any sound samples, watch our interview with James of Aston at the 2017 NAMM show to learn all about the Starlight microphone:
Now that you know all about the Starlight, it's time to hear it. Before we go to the samples, I'll describe the session. We recorded two drum kits, acoustic guitar and snare drum with the Starlight. For preamps, we used my Focusrite Clarett 8PreX because the preamps are very clean and will not color the sound like my tube or vintage preamps. In this article, we will show off the first drum kit (and we'll definitely share the other sound samples with you next time).
This is a Pearl kick and toms with a Mapex snare and a blend of cymbals. The real treat here is the 24" Zildjian ride cymbal. In the following sound samples, we used two pairs of overheads positioned in the exact same spot - Aston Starlights and Audio-Technica AT4041's. We used the AT4041 pair for the comparison because they are a very natural-sounding and well-loved overhead microphone used in home and professional studios around the world.
On to the sound samples!
The first one is the Starlights in "Vintage" mode with an Audix D6 on kick:
The next sample is the same microphone setup and placement, but the Starlights are in "Modern" mode:
In this last take, we had the 4041's and the Starlights both positioned in the exact same spot and matched within 0.5dB so as to not throw off your perception of the sound. First I'll show you the AT4041 pair:
Next up, the Starlight pair matched within 0.5 dB on the same take:
Overall, I think the Aston Starlights are extremely smooth. My favorite overheads I have ever used were Neumann KM86i's (used, about $2000 each) and these get really close. Over 50 of the world's top producers and recording engineers were part of the capsule selection process. It's no wonder it turned out just as smooth and versatile as it is.
When our friend, Michael, from Aston was with us, he said we should try the Starlight as a top snare mic. If you haven't guess from my D6 already, I am an Audix kind of guy. An i5 will always be my top snare mic and I never would have thought to use a small diaphragm condenser. We set it to "Hybrid" mode and gave it a shot. I was shocked at the results.
First, I'll show you the track on an Audix i5:
Next is the Starlight:
I love how dynamic the i5 is and how it captures the "reality" of a snare drum. However, this can lead to inconsistent snare hits depending on the drummer. The Starlight was much more consistent and fat. The waves in my DAW were so similar to each other. It was such a fat sound that really made it punch and stand out.
I liked so much about both of them, that I thought I would blend the two. I did level match as well. The combination delivers the best of both worlds:
These are the first of many sound samples you will get from the Aston Starlight. As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have any questions or comments feel free to give us a call at 855-269-0474 or stop in our store in Downtown Appleton!
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