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Articles May-June 2021

Pursuing the Pro Audio Trail

In conversation with Caroline Moss and Sue Gould

PT got in touch with the Pro AVL Asia magazine core team of Editor - Caroline Moss and Sales Director - Sue Gould, who between them boast of over three decades of experience in the pro audio industry..... read more

NJSM Marks a Milestone in the Business of Sound

From Rental Company to manufacturer and innovator, Nixon Johnny has guided and grown NJSM from a two-person company to a fifty-person company, continuing to expand into virtual events with NJSM Virtual Studio..... read more

Tech Savvy Environment for T-Systems

Eyte Technologies installs high-tech AV Solution at T-System’s Experience Center facilitating brand value and delivering superior customer experience..... read more

Conversations with SudeepAudio

Sudeep Audio, one of India’s first pro audio web store selling studio software and equipment online commenced its YouTube Channel, ConverSAtions, in 2011 to share the journey of Indian Sound Engineers..... read more


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Aston Microphones Announces Element, the World’s First ‘People’s Microphone’




Aston Microphones are used the world over by countless artists, engineers and producers who rely on their incredible sound quality and near indestructible build for their work.

Every Aston mic to date has been developed in conjunction with the Aston 33 panel, a 600 strong group of many of the top industry professionals in the business who, through a series of blind listening tests, have ensured that each mic produced has outperformed all the competition, including big brand mics costing 10 times as much.

Now it’s YOUR turn!

Aston Element will be the first microphone in the world to have a sound crafted by the public, the musicians, engineers and producers who will eventually be using it to create their own musical magic. Aston have taken the mic to prototype stage – now here’s the chance to have users say on how the final version will sound. By registering to take part users can become a member of a voting panel who take part in a series of blind-listening tests.

There will be several stages of public voting between late April and July 2020. At each stage users will be able to listen to 5 takes for each of 3 audio sources (male vocal, female vocal and acoustic guitar) recorded on prototypes of the new Aston, alongside a number of competitors’ mics. Then they’ll rate them, from best to worst. But here’s the thing – users won’t know which sound files are which, or even which mics are being used in the test!

After each voting stage Aston’s design team will modify the prototypes in line with the voting results and the blind-listening test process will be repeated. Only when the new Aston mic is consistently voted the best sounding microphone will the Element be signed off for production. This whole process is being peer reviewed by participating magazines and a team of independent professional engineers and producers.

This is a unique chance for you to contribute to the sound design of a professional studio microphone.

Sign up to be part of the Aston Family Developer team

https://www.astonmics.com/votingform.aspx

The Aston 33

So where did the idea for the world’s first ‘customer-designed’ mic come from?

Actually, Aston has created all their award-winning mics so far using a similar blind-testing process with hundreds of the top producers, engineers and artists in the world.

In fact, Aston went further and invited them to participate in the R&D right from the start of every mic project. The resulting panel of experts, affectionately named the Aston 33 after the original 33 panel members, now comprises more than 600 top producers, engineers and artists from around the globe, 120 of whom took part in the testing procedures for the development of the 2020 TEC Award winning Aston Stealth.

Sign up to be part of the Aston Family Developer team

https://www.astonmics.com/votingform.aspx

Project Element – join the Aston Family Developer team

Every participant will not only be able to call themselves an official ‘Aston Family Voter Panel’ member, they’ll also have the opportunity to pre-order a highly collectable ‘Voter’s Edition Aston Element’ at 25% off list price. These will ONLY be available to members of the Aston Family Voting Panel (limited to one per customer) and will come complete with a certificate signed by Aston’s CEO, James Young, special edition window stickers and a special edition Aston pin badge, as well as digital logos for panel members to display on their own social media posts and web pages. The special edition mics will be available ONLY to Aston Family Voter Panel members.

To participate users will need to have access to a DAW or recording device plus good quality monitor speakers or headphones.

Sign up to be part of the Aston Family Developer team

https://www.astonmics.com/votingform.aspx

Aston Element – How the audio files are recorded

The sound files are being recorded by completely independent professional musicians at Soho Sonic Studios, one of London’s leading recording facilities.

At each stage 5 iterations of Element and other market leading mics, are used to record audio files for male vocals, female vocals and acoustic guitars. A separate track is made for each mic, with gain levels pre-balanced such that record levels are the same.

The final recorded files for each source are labelled A-E (with a separate key denoting which number relates to which mic known only to the test team). The files are then randomized prior to uploading for voters to audition, so, for example, Mic A is not necessarily always the same product between different sources… this, again, avoids voting bias.

Then it’s over to the users, the voters, to decide which version users like best, which second best, and so on.

Aston Element – the voting process

There will be several stages of public voting between May and July. For each round users will be able to download a range of sound files; 5 takes for each of three audio sources (male vocal, female vocal and acoustic guitar).

Users will not be given details of the mics used in the test, which may be all iterations of Element, or may be a mix of other brands. The mic number will also vary from source to source, such that Mic A for Male vocals, may be different to Mic A for guitars. All they will see/hear are a series of numbered files.

Then they simply rate what they are hearing, from best to worst, using the drag and drop voting page, submit their votes and they’re ready for the next stage. Aston will email users to let them know when each round is open and when it is due to close. Each round will last 2-3 weeks.

Between each stage Aston’s engineers will collate all the voting data and re-engineer the prototypes according to the panel’s preferences.

Once the Aston Element is voted the best sounding microphone by a clear majority of the panel, the process will close and at this point details will be released of the winning version, along with other mics which have been used at various stages of the test.

Sign up to be part of the Aston Family Developer team

https://www.astonmics.com/votingform.aspx

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