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Old 31st August 2016
Here for the gear



I happened to be recording acoustic guitar the other day with my new favourite mic for acoustic guitar, Aston Spirit and decided to my own quick shoot out against a U87 on hire for vocals that day. I left the files just numbered so theres no bias, but have a listen and see what the comparison is like. Theres a file of strumming and a file of ringing chords... considering the price difference I think its some interesting comparison.


Attached Files

Acoustic Guitar Rhythm 001.mp3 (799.0 KB, 18642 views)

Acoustic Guitar Rhythm 002.mp3 (799.0 KB, 17651 views)

Acoustic Guitar Strums 003.mp3 (850.0 KB, 17093 views)

Acoustic Guitar Strums 004.mp3 (850.0 KB, 17131 views)

Old 5th October 2016
Here for the gear
2 and 4 feel a little bit more "open" to me, but it's damn close. Which is which!?
Old 6th October 2016
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elektrovolt's Avatar
1 is the u87, 2 is the Aston, right?
1 sounds just like the old u87 we used a few years ago
Old 28th October 2016
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MREVOL's Avatar

I'm going 1 = 87. 2 = spirit.

What kind of acoustic, pre, etc..... sounds good
Old 12th November 2016
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MREVOL's Avatar

so what mic is what??

BTW is it a vintage 87 or 87ai?
Old 7th December 2016
would love to know which is which - 2 and 4 are more open and alive to my ears
Old 7th December 2016
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DistortingJack's Avatar

Aston is 2 and 3, U87 1 and 4.
The upper treble of the Neumann is cleaner but lower treble has the signature "hash" of the 87.
The Spirit has a crispy, "vintagey" sound and is brighter.

To be honest I wouldn't use either of these mics on an acoustic guitar.
I like my acoustic guitars clean and accurate, and therefore a pencil condenser is the only way to go.

If you're trying to convince yourself that the Spirit is "as good as" the U87, it's technically not. But it will subjectively sound as good, if not better, on many sources, including rock, metal, and folk vocals, and anywhere you need a "vintage warm but bright" sound signature.
Old 7th December 2016
So what is the current consensus on the Aston Spirit microphone? Currently looking for another male vocal mic, need only cardiod and if dollars can be saved, all the better. At the moment, using a TLM49, Violet Emerald, Blue Stage 2/B6 NOS Valve and looking for a new flavor. Possible options (until we can afford a Flea/Wunder/Pearlman 47) 3U Warbler I/GZ67, Lauten Atlantis, M7 capsule for Rocket, Gefell M930. Also waiting to hear an actual Warm 87. True Slutitis, maybe time for rehab.
Old 7th December 2016
how are we defining 'technically as good' here? Quality of components? Design?
Old 8th December 2016
Here for the gear

2 & 3 are the same mic and they sound better/smoother to my ears. 1 & 4 sound a lil harsh / cheap.
Old 9th December 2016
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sleepyhollos's Avatar
After 3 months I imagine the OP won't be back to shed any light on which is which. :-)
Old 9th December 2016
Gear Maniac

Originally Posted by sleepyhollos View Post
After 3 months I imagine the OP won't be back to shed any light on which is which. :-)
Every time I see a reply I think it's gonna be OP finally telling us which is which. Ya got my hopes up.
Old 7th February 2017
Gear Maniac

My guess is 1 & 4 u87 and 2 & 3 is Spirit. The 1 & 4 sounded best to me (through my mobile phone) It was warmer and had emphisis in the right places. 2 & 3 sound bright in comparison. It didn't sound bad, just not preferred over the other choice.
Old 8th February 2017
Gear Addict

@ SubMixx - soooo, which is which?!
Old 8th February 2017
Lives for gear
Sorry to again disappoint those thinking this is the answer, but the only two posts the guy has ever made are those in this thread, so don't hold your breath.
Old 9th February 2017
Here for the gear

Hello! Sorry for the massive suspense, Im really not often on forums and had forgot about this entirely.

1 and 3 are the U87 and 2 and 4 the Aston spirit. Its a taylor guitar if i remember correctly, each mic directly into my focusrite Scarlet 18i20 as it was recorded on location. Re some of the points above, I totally agree that its about suitability to each sound source and each project. We had been mainly tracking vocals that day so it was just an experiment on my part as I had been having great results with the Aston on acoustic guitars. I was very pleasantly surprised by the similar satisfaction of listening to either, in the mix on this project I blended them together or switched tracks for each song as it felt needed.

The u87 was hired in for vocals, as I have often found an instant satisfaction of vocals on a U87, a signature familiar-ness that makes it feel like I need to do less in the mix to get the vocal sound I want. I own the Aston Spirit. Its not right for everything, but at the price point, I can't see whats not to love. And that was my reasoning for this comparison, just to be like, big up the budget end of the mic world!
Old 9th February 2017
Maybe I'm a heathen, but I prefer the Spirit's sparklier top end on my voice overs
Old 9th February 2017
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DistortingJack's Avatar

I have to say, I think you might have made a naming mistake. Number 3 is so much crunchier than 4 (and more present in specific frequencies), in the same way that 2 is crunchier than 1, that I think you might have swapped the recordings somehow. If not, it might be a change in position, which can cause a lot of differences on a guitar, but I somehow don't think so. Check the noise floors, too.
Old 9th February 2017
Lives for gear
Interesting!....I do think it's important to point out that the Aston Spirit was not designed to be a budget U87 but instead one of those mics that's it's own thing. But it's still nice to have a good reference point. I've been eyeing this mic for a few months now, and the OP's findings are consistent with the reviews. It's a good mic!
Old 22nd February 2017
Picked up a Spirit and through a Great River preamp it holds its own with almost everything in our locker on male vocals. Clear, vintage sound that takes compression/EQ well.
In a busy mix, for $399, it's a steal!
Old 12th June 2019
Here for the gear
I just got an Aston Spirit on eBay for $240. So you can bet I’m excited to start working with it.
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