Recording - April 2016 - 34

Aston Microphones Origin

When the mic takes a tumble or gets
hit with a drum stick, this spring assembly is easily hand-shapable back into
form. Inside the Wave-Form Mesh
Head is an equally flexible randomweave stainless steel pop filter. In addition to protecting against plosives and
blasts of air, it can be easily removed
and washed if it gets soiled.
The mic is topped out by custom
molded steel end caps. The bottom
one contains both the XLR socket
and a built-in mic mount; when not
in use you can simply set it on its
base and it won't roll away. The
mic capsule is internally shockmounted and made to fit directly
onto a mic stand, but if you are
more comfortable using a shock
mount, Aston offers a special
Rycote Lyre-style shock mount
(made in custom colors for the
Aston mics) for an additional $79.
The Origin ships in a reusable
foam-lined storage box made from
recycled materials. In other words,
you're paying for the mic, not the
packaging.
Elegant on the inside
Internally the Origin is a transformerless design, utilizing both discrete components like US-made
NCO (COG) capacitors and an
integrated modern circuit board.
The capsule has a center-terminated
1" gold-evaporated diaphragm
and offers a fixed cardioid pattern.
A few specs of note: Frequency
Response 20 Hz - 20 kHz;
Equivalent Noise Level 18 dBA;
Sensitivity at 1 kHz into 1 kΩ of
23.7mV/Pa; Maximum SPL for THD
0.5% of 127 dB; Signal-to-Noise
Ratio (rel. 94 dB SPL) of 76 dBA.
The mic also features a 10 dB pad
and an 80 Hz lowcut filter. Both
switches are located on the front of
the mic, just below the head basket.
On paper the Origin plots out as
flat from 110 Hz to 2 kHz, where it
rises gently about 5-6 dB up to 12
kHz and then rolls off. It also has a
round tapered low-end rolloff at
100 Hz.
This offers a very good snapshot
of the Origin's sonic signature. It is a
mic that is overall quite natural with
a very subdued low end, a gentle
upper mid presence, and a clear but
controlled top. It is a very smooth
mic with no harshness or bite.
34

RECORDING April 2016

First impressions
One test I perform with almost
every mic I review is to throw it up
in a circular array with an additional 3-5 similar models. I then proceed to track an entire song with
some combination of drums, percussion, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass, and vocals. Sources such
as drums are done at a 5-6 foot
distance, with other instruments getting appropriately closer, but not so
close that any one capsule will be
positionally favored over another.
I do this not to get overly scientific, but simply to discern a microphone's general sonic flavor in comparison to other trusted models I
know well. It also gives me a feel
for how a mic would stack in a mix
if it was one's only microphone. I
did this with the Origin alongside a
pair of similarly priced new mics
from Gibson's Neat brand (the
Worker and King Bees), an AKG
C314, the Lewitt LCT550, an
Audio-Technica AT4047MP, a Shure
KSM44, and a Roswell Mini K47.
(You can see the picture in our
February 2016 Fade In.)
Surprisingly in this initial test, I
was not sure what to make of the
Origin! While it shared a similar top
end with many of the mics and
lacked the often expected and
excused harshness found in low cost
condensers, my first impression was,
"Whoa... where'd the low end go?"
Second, third and fourth impressions
As I continued to work with the
Origin, I started to unlock its secrets
and best uses. First and foremost, its
proximity effect has a very fast drop
with distance, yet one that's very
workable. It's almost like what I
experienced last year when I
reviewed AEA's N22 ribbon mic,
which I described as "a mic that
works by inches rather than feet."
Up close, at 3" or less, the Origin
offers a very sweet, controlled low
end. It's not a pillowy, over-the-top
radio announcer-style boom, but still
nicely full and present.
At 6" to a foot, the mic opens up
and the low end fades out fast. This
may sound like a bad thing, but
actually it makes the mic very versatile and workable for a broad range
of sounds and uses. Get in close for
intimacy, move it back for openness!



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - April 2016

Contents
Recording - April 2016 - Intro
Recording - April 2016 - Cover1
Recording - April 2016 - Cover2
Recording - April 2016 - 1
Recording - April 2016 - 2
Recording - April 2016 - 3
Recording - April 2016 - 4
Recording - April 2016 - 5
Recording - April 2016 - Contents
Recording - April 2016 - 7
Recording - April 2016 - 8
Recording - April 2016 - 9
Recording - April 2016 - 10
Recording - April 2016 - 11
Recording - April 2016 - 12
Recording - April 2016 - 13
Recording - April 2016 - 14
Recording - April 2016 - 15
Recording - April 2016 - 16
Recording - April 2016 - 17
Recording - April 2016 - 18
Recording - April 2016 - 19
Recording - April 2016 - 20
Recording - April 2016 - 21
Recording - April 2016 - 22
Recording - April 2016 - 23
Recording - April 2016 - 24
Recording - April 2016 - 25
Recording - April 2016 - 26
Recording - April 2016 - 27
Recording - April 2016 - 28
Recording - April 2016 - 29
Recording - April 2016 - 30
Recording - April 2016 - 31
Recording - April 2016 - 32
Recording - April 2016 - 33
Recording - April 2016 - 34
Recording - April 2016 - 35
Recording - April 2016 - 36
Recording - April 2016 - 37
Recording - April 2016 - 38
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Recording - April 2016 - 40
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Recording - April 2016 - Cover3
Recording - April 2016 - Cover4
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