Four settings, four different voices.
Think of Stealth as four professional microphones in one. Each setting has been voiced by a panel of more than 90 top flight audio engineers and producers on the Aston 33 panel through a series of double-blind listening tests, beating not only every mic in its class, but some far more expensive ‘industry standard’ mics.
There are 2 vocal settings, optimised for different vocal textures, a guitar setting which is equally suited to Spanish guitar, Electric guitar cab and steel string acoustic, and a dark, vintage setting, reminiscent of classic ribbon mics.
Mics which apply ‘flattering’ – but destructive – pre EQ make professional post-processing almost impossible. Stealth, however, provides a choice of four pure, high quality signal paths. The voice settings are not EQ filters, they are contour networks, meaning the bulk of the signal does not pass through any sort of filter circuitry. The whole signal is slightly attenuated, with some frequencies being added back in at a higher level. This results in much lower phase distortion than conventional filter designs.
Active & Passive modes with 48V Autodetect function
Stealth works with or without 48V phantom power. In passive mode (unpowered) the active circuit is completely bypassed and Stealth operates with the simplest possible signal chain to give a beautifully clean sound.
A unique (world’s first!) built-in Autodetect function senses the presence of 48V phantom power and will automatically switch the mic to active mode to utilise the onboard class A mic Pre.
Built-in Class A Mic Preamp
When in active mode Stealth features a high quality built-in Class A Mic Pre, dispensing with the need for an expensive external gain lifting device.
The preamp is a fully differential drive circuit, meaning the signal path is entirely balanced and floating. Most, if not all, active microphones use a single ended preamp with a balancing circuit on the output, but that’s ‘fake balanced’!
A single ended preamp takes half of the wave from the capsule with the other half grounded. Stealth amplifies both halves of the wave from capsule to output. Because the preamp is fed with a higher input it requires less gain, therefore giving better signal to noise performance.
Unique Sorbothane internal shock mount
Aston Stealth includes a proprietary internal shock mount design with the capsule suspended in mid-air, completely isolated from the mic chassis, and supported at 3 points by Sorboathane polymer hemi-spheres.
Sorbothane is a synthetic viscoelastic urethane polymer used as a vibration damper and acoustic shield used in computing, hi-fi and many industrial applications.
Improved side rejection
Stealth’s acoustically tuned headstock provides a highly focused cardioid polar pattern with enhanced off-axis rejection.
Excellent rejection of electromagnetic hum
Stealth’s differential drive signal path produces an exceptionally high CMRR (Common Mode Rejection Ratio) thereby offering excellent rejection of electromagnetic interference and hum.
Legendary Aston build quality
Like all Aston microphones, Stealth is built for work. Proprietary manufacturing techniques and the use of novel materials have created a near-indestructible microphone, equally at home in the most demanding of recording environments, or with the rigours of life on the road.
The chassis is constructed from extruded aluminium and finished with a sleek, ‘soft-feel’ urethane-acrylic coating.
The four voices are accessed via a discreet, flush-aligned rotary switch which cannot be accidentally moved during performance or in transit.
Stealth’s phantom power mode is indicated by the soft glow of Aston purple LED floodlights. These can be switched off when the mic is to be heard but not seen, for example in broadcast and video environments.
The Aston 33 – the blind-testing process
The Aston 33 (so named after the original members) is now a panel of more than 120 top producers, engineers and artists who work with Aston on new product development to ensure every mic is best in class before it is released to the market, 92 of whom worked directly on the development of Stealth.
They perform double-blind listening tests on a range of possible versions of each new mic, plus ‘industry standard’ models from key manufacturers and vote on performance on a variety of sources (vocals, guitars and so on). In tests the panel do not know which mics they are listening to, or even which are included in the tests, so the resultant votes can’t be biased by brand reputation, or an expectation of how a certain microphone should sound.
Some surprising results arose from the Stealth project testing. For example the prototype Stealth voicing that consistently came top in the voting for female vocal takes came off worst for male vocals and vice versa, regardless of the pitch of the singer! Furthermore a different voicing came top for ALL guitar sources, from finger picked acoustic through to mic’d distorted guitar cabs.
These discoveries, derived from more than 9000 data points, were the catalyst for the Aston team to set about reimagining the microphone from the ground up. Stealth is not a jack of all trades, it truly excels at capturing professional quality audio in almost every situation, and masters them all.