When first opening the box, the Stealth is much bigger and weightier than I expected. The Aston’s Origin is quite a small microphone, whereas the Stealth, with its slick black finish and elegant purple lighting, is about 20cm long and weighs 700g. While the mic feels like it could take a beating, the microphones diaphragm is only covered by foam at the top end, unlike the steel mesh pop filter and wave form spring head protecting the capsules on the Aston Origin and Spirit models. The box also contains the new mic clip that slots into the bottom of the microphone’s housing. In any other mic, this would create rattle and leave the mic open to rattle and room sounds, however the Stealth is intuitively designed to isolate the capsule itself and prevents this.
The Stealth is mostly a conventional condenser microphone, but it can be run with and without phantom power (but you lose the cool lights without phantom, ugh). The highlight of the Stealth is its different voicing options, all vastly distinct. Many companies claim that their products are ‘4-in-1’ with some vaguely different settings, but the Stealth really lives up to this. Voices V1 & V2 are designed for vocals, with V1 offering a super transparent, clear and honest reproduction of the sound it’s capturing. V2 is the second voicing for a vocal, but with a much more pronounced high end, some shimmer and a very forward and present sound. This is ideal for a lead vocal, a hi-fi pop vocal, rapping, or any instrument that needs to sit forward and shine.
The remaining voices, ‘G’ and ‘D’, are designed for guitar and the darkest and most vintage sounding of the four voices respectively. This replicates a much more colourful, harmonically rich sound with a high end roll off and generous lower-mid bump without being overbearing. This works best for a more vintage vocal and dark room sounds on any instrument you need it for. The ‘G’ setting is a really useable and handy setting.
Similar in some sense to the famous Shure SM57, but with the response and size of a condenser microphone, it retains the rawness of a live guitar mic, like a Sennheiser e609. While it’s not a Swiss Army knife guitar microphone, it’s a nice blend of all the sounds you’d have in your toolkit. Though the names of the voices hint at their purpose, don’t let them hold you back. V1 as a mono overhead on a drum kit produces a crushed, almost overloading kind of room sound that would sit well beneath an array of spot mics.
All in all, if you’re looking for one Aston microphone or any new microphone, the Stealth should be your next addition. It’s a great introduction to Aston’s products and values, while sporting an incredibly versatile list of uses (that only increases with a stereo pair!). The different voicing have their own purposes and uses, but this really shouldn’t hold you back either. The microphone could be thrown up in front of any instrument or sound source and you’ll find a sound that sits nicely amongst an arrangement or that pops out to take centre stage if that’s what you need. The mic itself is sturdy, the clip is solid and the backlit voicing switch is classy. Aston mics are the workhorses of our time.