After 18 months of R&D and 3 months of public listening tests to develop the sound of our new
mic, the Aston Element, we can finally reveal the full product details.
Aston Element, with its all-new ‘Ridyon’™ capsule technology for superior performance at low
cost, ships complete with a custom shock mount and pop shield.
Like all Aston mics, Element incorporates a huge amount of innovation. Everything from the
capsule technology, the chassis design, the magnetic pop filter, and even the backlit-LED logo
48V phantom power indicator (or as we like to call it, cool light!) massively go beyond the limits
of products normally sold at this price point.
Not only is Element extremely affordable, but it will consistently outperform all mics in its class.
This is something which you really don’t have to take our word for because over 4000 customers
from all across the world have helped us to define the sound of Element in peer-reviewed blind
listening tests against the biggest brands in the business. During the course of this 3-month
public testing series, we have developed the sound of the mic using data collected from these
comparison tests, which have included major brand competitors such as Blue, Rode, AKG,
Audio Technica, and Neumann.
Blind listening test results
We spent a total of over 18 months developing the Aston Element; much longer than most
products take in this class. More usual would be 6-9 months, which gives you some indication of
just how complex this microphone package is.
The first 15 month period of our R&D process involved the development of our new Ridyon
capsule technology, the acoustic housing for this (which involved a LOT of testing) and the
design and prototyping of the chassis, the grille diffuser and many other pieces of proprietary
technology in both the mic and the shock mount and pop shield accessories.
The final 3 months, however, has been all about public choice. Rather than simply putting a new
technology straight to market, we engaged in public blind listening tests (by this we mean that
coded audio files were made available to the public to audition and rank in order of preference)
across 3 separate sessions from May 1st to July 15th. The results of this process, a world’s first
in the ProAudio industry, are what have determined the sound of the final product… the world’s
first ‘People’s Microphone’ – Aston Element.
Session 1 included our first Aston Element prototype in its raw form up against the 5 dominant,
big-brand competitors chosen as the best of the best in their class. These included mics from
Audio Technica, Rode, AKG, Blue, and Neumann. Before we even got to these 5 mic brands we
tested mics from over 20 different brands to pick the best in class (that, with the exception of
Neumann, being sub $500 mics… the Neumann was somewhat more expensive!)
Voting in the first round highlighted which mics the public preferred on 3 sources, male and
female vocals, and acoustic guitar (the same 3 sources chosen throughout the tests), and what
was liked and disliked about the sound of the raw Element prototype. This enables us to discard
2 brands form the test so that in Session 2 we had the top 3 competitor mics chosen by the public
and 2 new versions of Element. By the end of the 2nd session, we had a much clearer picture of
what people wanted from our mic, driven by the voting, subjective comments made about the
competitor mics, and the relative preferences for 2 very different sounding Aston prototypes.
So, by session 3 we had only 2 remaining competitor mics… representing AKG and Neumann
brands. We also had 4 different Element prototypes, each with different voicings based on
preferences from the first 2 rounds. This enabled us to home in on the final sound and give our
customers a wide range of choice for the final sound, whilst also making sure that the final Aston
Element mic was able to at least equal, or hopefully out-perform the top 2 competitors on the
In the final analysis one Element prototype was the clear winner in the Session, beating both the
Neumann and AKG mics (as well, of course, as all the other competitor mics that had come
before in early testing and the first 2 sessions), as well as the other 3 prototype versions.
Firstly, ALL the mics chosen for these sessions are very good examples of entry level mics from
each brand. We did not make this easy for ourselves. We wanted the best so we could make our
own mic as good as possible. As the sessions progressed it was clear that the voting got closer
and more difficult for participants to rank in each successive round. This is something you see
not only in the subjective comments, but in social media threads about the project. That’s a good
thing, because as you get better and better quality and performance, it becomes more difficult to
chose between products as the differences are much smaller… so we knew we were on the right
Another interesting proof of data is that it was very clear that different mics performed better or
worse on different sources as you’d expect… in other words one mic does not fit all. For this
reason, we always suggest, where possible, that it’s a great idea to have a couple of different
mics in your cupboard to choose from if you have the budget. Our aim, with Element, is not to
say “Element is the best mic” … that’s silly because these things are very subjective. No, our
aim was to ensure that our entry level mic has the best possible sound, performance and quality
and that it comes with the best accessories possible for people who only have the budget for one
mic, or want to add a new, high performance mic to their collection, without having to spend a
The Element, in the final round, outperformed the other mics in the test on both male and female
vocals… but was narrowly beaten by both the Neumann and AKG on guitar. The total vote count
across all 3 sources showed Element as the clear winner, both in total votes, and in winning 2 out
of the 3 source tests, vocals, of course, being the big one as they (on any non-instrumental track)
are the most important element of the recording.
It is also important to state, at this point, that the full raw data for the summary information
above has been peer reviewed by Music Tech Magazine and Sound on Sound magazine, two of
the most influential and respected independent pro-audio publications in the world. We have also
chosen not to name names when it comes to specific mic models as we have a great deal of
respect for these brands and the quality of their microphone products. At no point do we wish to
suggest that Aston is ‘better than another brand’… we have used key models from each
competitor brand as a way to gauge the relative performance of our own mic, and although
Element came top in the rankings after 3 rounds, there is a lot of love for each of the mics
involved in our tests, both from us at Aston, and from the public voting in the sessions.
And the final word… none of this means that ‘Element is best’ – we would never suggest that
because mic sound is a subjective choice. But it does mean that Element can consistently out-
perform all other sub $500 brands in subjective choice tests (and some more expensive ones
too!). Combine this with all the cool accessories and it’s got to be your No.1 choice as a first
studio mic, or to add to your collection.
The sound you voted for
Through several rounds of bind listening tests against competitors’ mics, you have helped make
Element the best sounding mic, not just in its class, but a rival for many far costlier options.
Ridyon’™ capsule technology
The mic itself boasts brand new ‘Ridyon’™ capsule technology, combining the best elements of
all 3 existing classes of microphone. Utilising 48 V phantom power, the mic’s incredibly
lightweight Active-moving-coil-diaphragm delivers high end condenser mic sensitivity and
performance, with the punchy bass and rejection capability of a great dynamic mic and the open,
natural, sound of a ribbon.
Glowing backlit purple badge
Aston fans will know that purple is our colour, and on the Element we’ve made the mic badge
backlit so you know when phantom power is present. And it looks…. Beautiful!
Unique magnetic pop filter included
Included in the Element bundle is an ingenious, proprietary magnetic pop filter which attaches in
a split second to keep plosives and ‘esses’ at bay. No other pop shield works this way, and we’ve
shielded the magnets from the capsule so the sound remains completely free of artefacts.
Proprietary shock mount included
This stylish and highly effective shock mount, included as part of the mic bundle, has been
designed specifically for the Aston Element to eliminate undesirable vibrations.
Eco friendly packaging
We have put our hearts and minds into creating the most beautiful performance pieces possible
with each Aston product. When it comes to packaging we believe simplicity is king. Protective,
re-useable, environmentally sensible packaging that doesn’t cost the earth.
The world's first customer-designed microphone
While other companies, particularly in the software sector, invite their customers to become
beta-testers, this is invariably to check a product which is pretty-much already finished. It’s just
checking for bugs. Never before in the audio industry has the actual SOUND of a product been
decided by the eventual users from the early stages of development.
We took the Aston Element to prototype stage, so we had the chassis and the ‘nuts and bolts’ of
the electronics in place, but the most important stage of all, the voicing – which gives each mic
out there its own character and distinguishes it from all the others – has been left to you.
By participating in Project Element, thousands of musicians, engineers and producers from all
over the world, have had their say in the final heart and soul of this unique and beautiful
About Aston Microphones
Aston Microphones has become a major player in the global microphone market in the 4 years
since their launch in January of 2016. Aston products were nominated 3 times in 4 years for a
prestigious TEC Award winning Best in Show for ‘Starlight’ at NAMM 2016, and winning Best
Microphone at the recent NAMM 2020 TEC Awards… a string of successes never before
accomplished by ANY Pro Audio company in their first 4 years.