A relative newcomer to the microphone market, Aston Microphones has rapidly established itself as one of the leading manufacturers in the world. This British-based company offers an impressive and multi-awarded line of microphones, but in this review, we take a closer look at the fantastic Origin model.
Aston Microphones Origin
The Origin from Aston Microphones features a unique, eye-catching, highly functional design. But more importantly, it delivers exceptional recording capabilities suited to a broad range of tasks in a studio setting.
Aston Microphones Origin is a highly versatile microphone with impressive performance for a microphone in this price bracket. Unsurprisingly, this microphone has become one of the most popular options for new and established professionals. Let’s check it out in more detail.
The first thing I noticed about the Aston Microphones Origin is the impeccable detail this mic can capture. For a microphone in this price bracket, it punches well above what I was expecting.
For much of the frequency range, the Origin keeps performance relatively flat and neutral, especially through the midrange, but there is a noticeable brightness as you creep up into higher frequencies. But to be fair, it never seems shrill or overly harsh, but it will be evident depending on your voice and across specific instruments.
Excellent recording capability across a wide range of studio applications.
The built-in pop filter does an impressive job of handling plosives, making it a viable choice for podcasting and voice-over work. However, you might still want to invest in a dedicated shield for maximum protection.
The cardioid pattern does an excellent job of ensuring nothing from the rear bleeds into your recordings. When you combine this with high transparency, you’ll be able to capture clean and precise recordings with ease.
The high SPL handling makes it a reasonable choice for live sound, but the self-noise is a little high for some applications. I’d look everywhere if you intend to record low-volume content or ASMR material.
“Outstanding recording quality across a broad range of scenarios.”
The exceptional performance also translates to instrumental recordings. I especially like the finesse on offer when recording string-based instruments, but it was equally up to the task across woodwinds and brass.
The accuracy and high SPL ceiling make it a viable choice for guitar amps. Still, some other alternatives at this price bracket are better suited. But as an all-rounder, the Origin is much better than some of the competition at this price point.
The Origin from Aston Microphones is also a solid performer when it comes to recording drums. Ideally suited as an overhead, it captures the nuance and shimmer across a broad range of drums and cymbals. The top end might have a little too much sizzle for some cymbals, but the recordings were still more than capable.
It is rather impressive how versatile this microphone is. I could see it serving multiple roles within a studio setting. This makes it an excellent choice for beginners who don’t want to invest thousands into different microphones for different tasks.
The Brits are onto something special: exceptional detail and broad application potential. Recordings are clean and accurate, but that slightly hyped top end might prove problematic for some vocalists or particular instruments. Despite this minor quibble, there is little to fault. It is a fantastic microphone at a very enticing price.
The Aston Microphones Origin features a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, which covers the primary range you would expect from a professional microphone. As mentioned, the response is relatively flat, with a boost between 5kHz and 10kHz.
On the low end, the roll-off is relatively gradual at 100Hz, but a pad switch is available for a high pass filter at 80Hz. I’ve seen several reports mentioning that the filter is a tad aggressive, and I would have to agree. Don’t get me wrong, it was more than workable in my tests, but I can see some people finding it slightly frustrating, depending on your voice.
The Origin’s self-noise might be too high for some applications.
The Origin features a large 1-inch gold-evaporated capsule with a signal-to-noise ratio of 76dB. It’s enough to ensure clean recordings but certainly not as high as other microphones competing in this space.
A Max SPL of 127dB gives you ample headroom for louder instruments, but it might not be enough for the extremes in this space. Other microphones do offer more headroom if that is a priority for you.
The Self-Noise is reasonable and well within the range I would expect from a studio microphone, but it will be too high for some applications. It’s not ideal for ambient recording or whispering.
When it comes to technical design, the Aston Microphones Origin is an exceptionally impressive piece of kit. It also helps elevate it beyond some other options in this price bracket.
The star of the show is the wave-form mesh head, the signature feature of the Aston Microphones brand. This head provides maximum protection for the diaphragm with shock resistance and the ability to spring back into shape.
The random weave built-in pop filter handles plosives well.
Behind this wave-form spring is a built-in pop filter, which features a random weave to help deal with plosives. Plus, it also adds some additional shielding against electromagnetic radiation. When you combine these elements, the result is one of the toughest heads in the business.
This robustness extends to the Chassis, which features a solid 2mm solid stainless steel body. Each microphone features its own bespoke pattern thanks to 4 hours of tumbling. Durable and reliable with a healthy dose of character.
“A superb blend of technical and aesthetic design”
Moving to the microphone end cap, Aston Microphones once again shows its high attention to detail. The custom-molded end cap features an integrated XLR connection point and a universal stand thread adapter. With high shock absorption, the Origin also features ultra-low handling noise.
All these features combine to give the Origin a unique and eye-catching appearance while delivering extreme quality. I’ll admit the aesthetic design might not be to everyone’s liking, but there is no denying that it has an ample amount of character.
I’ve already touched on the inherent durability of the Origin in the design section, but it’s worth reiterating how robust and dependable this microphone is. Condensor microphones are inherently fragile due to the delicate diaphragms, so it’s impressive to have an option on the market that is this tough.
It’s also excellent to see a company invest heavily into its products, and it is on full display not only with the Origin but across the entire Aston Microphones lineup. Exceptionally well-designed and executed products that are up to the rigors of frequent use.
Ultra-tough with high-quality components.
All components exude quality, from the internal high-end transformerless circuitry to the wave-form spring head and the ultra-tough casing. In a world where plastic is a dominant component of affordable microphones, I love the heft and confidence this metal microphone inspires.
For a company founded in 2015, they are already giving the established names a run for their money, and the extensive list of awards only helps to back this up. An innovative UK company that is winning over professionals worldwide.
Short and chunky are the words that instantly spring to mind when I consider the Aston Microphones Origin. It is noticeably shorter than other large diaphragm microphones on the market at just under 5 inches, and it is moderately wider than some of the other popular choices at this price point.
The Origin is shorter than many other large condenser microphones.
As for weight, the all-metal design does grant it an appropriate amount of heft at 0.99 lbs. (450 grams). While I do like light microphones, they can often feel too fragile. The Origin strikes an excellent balance between reliable heft without feeling cumbersome.
The Aston Microphones Origin represents excellent value for money. This is a high-quality microphone with broad potential without a hefty price tag. When you consider its performance level and durability, there is little on the market that matches up.
While the microphone is superb, it is worth highlighting that it doesn’t come with any included accessories.
Aston Microphones also makes excellent accessories.
The built-in pop filter is excellent, but you’ll want to invest in a shield for total peace of mind. Likewise, you don’t need a shock mount, considering its internal resistance. Still, one is available if you want the added security.
The packaging is also rather plain. It is functional as a storage box and 100% recyclable, which I appreciate. Still, it doesn’t give you the wow factor when you unpackage this beautiful microphone. But for the sake of keeping things green, it’s a trade-off I’m more than happy to accept.
The Origin from Aston Microphones is a popular microphone. Since its initial release in 2016, it has gathered a staggering amount of positive reviews from customers and industry experts. It has also accumulated many awards, establishing the Origin as one of the most impressive large condenser microphones at this price point.
Dealing With Handling Noise
Handling affects a microphone’s sound due to mechanical vibrations transmitted through its structure. When a microphone is handled or touched, these vibrations can be translated into audible noise, known as handling noise.
A shock mount can help eliminate handling noise.
Various factors can cause this noise, including friction between the microphone and the hand, shock from impact or movement, or even the transfer of vibrations from the surface it’s placed on.
Handling noise can result in low-frequency rumble, high-frequency clicks, or general instability in the recorded sound. To minimize handling noise, you can mount the microphone on a shock mount or buy a microphone with internal dampening materials like the Origin.
I’ll be the first to admit that the Aston Microphones Origin is among my favorite options at this price point. But there are some interesting alternatives available that might suit your needs better. Below, I take a quick look at some other large-diaphragm condenser microphones to consider.
Audio-Technica AT4040 Review
The Audio-Technica AT4040 is another popular microphone at this price point. It features excellent recording capability with high sensitivity and neutral sound.
- High Max SPL of 145db (155dB with 10dB Pad) for high volume recording.
- Includes a shock mount, dust cover, and carry case.
- The Origin features more refined sound and better build quality.
sE Electronics sE2200 Review
The sE2200 is a highly versatile microphone with some extra bells and whistles. It matches its sleek black appearance with fantastic recording potential.
- High-quality recording capability. Great for vocals, guitars, and drums.
- Two pads and two filters for maximum flexibility.
- The design is bland compared to the uniqueness of the Origin.
sE Electronics sE2200
Rode NT1 5th Generation Review
If the high self-noise of the Origin is a dealbreaker, the ever-popular Rode NT1 is a worthy alternative. Excellent recording capability from this 5th generation model.
- Ultra-low self-noise of just 4dB. Perfect for noise-free recording.
- Hybrid XLR/USB output connecter for simple integration.
- Doesn’t feature a built-in pop filter.
Rode NT1 5th Generation
Should You Buy?
The Aston Microphones Origin is a superb large condenser microphone that bears all the hallmarks of a legendary piece of kit. It has become a favorite with musicians worldwide in a short time.
For some, it might seem a tad bright, or the pad might be a little too aggressive, but these are minor complaints. The exceptional tonal quality matches perfectly with the innovative and functional design. There is little to complain about when you consider the high build quality and the approachable price. It is an outstanding microphone from a brand that continues to solidify its reputation for high-quality microphones.
Aston Microphones Origin