Aria Professional Microphones
Aria have provided us with their newly imported range of cardioid microphones, 6 moving coil and 1 electret capacitor, with prices ranging from around £35 to £64.
All of the mics are supplied complete with cable, clip and case. The cables consist of 5m of decent non-tangling lead with Cannon type plugs for the mic connection and standard ¼" jacks for the equipment end. Mic stand clips come complete with adaptors to fit the three common screw thread pitches and diameters. Incidentally, do you realise that one type supplied, the famous Whitworth ⅝" thread is extinct in British industry and is only found on imported mic fittings from the Far East? Metrication has some way to go yet!
Although the mics are supplied with unbalanced leads their outputs are balanced. A suitable lead can therefore be connected to make use of this feature.
The output impedance of each mic is either 600R or 250R (depending on the model) which is suitable for connection to most equipment. Otherwise the AT-1 and AT-6 matching transformers can be used.
A silver finished model intended for vocal use. The published frequency curve is less extended at both the high and low ends compared with the rest of the range. This is borne out in use, although it can, particularly at the low end, be an advantage to have an early roll-off in rooms with no bass trap treatments, or where close-up use produces more bass due to the proximity effect. Overall, the mic produces a likeable balanced sound, not particularly prone to p-blast 'popping' but with handling noise above average and rather hollow in nature.
Another silver finished model, bright plating this time with a black sleeve under the ball mesh head.
All the Aria moving coil dynamic models have tapered bodies with a conveniently placed on/off switch. Like the AM-20D this mic has an above average output into typical loads as its source impedance is around 600R. It has a sound which is very similar to the AM-20D, balanced but obviously a bit more extended at either end of the spectrum. The cardioid directional characteristic, in common with other Aria mics seems neatly smooth and free from feedback producing irregularity lobes. The published curves show a good uniformity of pattern for 300Hz, 1kHz and 4kHz but do not show the patterns for the higher frequencies where troubles usually occur.
The AM-40DG has a dark grey body and a bright gold finish mesh head. At around £10 less there is the otherwise similar AM-40D model with an ordinary coloured mesh head. Aria state that thick low range sounds are its forte. This feature shows up in use, especially on vocals, but also characterising instrumental sounds with fundamentals in this part of the spectrum.
It will depend on the characteristics of the particular PA bins being used, alongwith the sound that one is aiming for which will dictate whether the AM-40D or DG suits. Aria's publicity material indicates vocal and instrumental use, as opposed to the vocal only applications of the last two models. There are no rules on this, if it's the sound one is after then any mic for any purpose in my opinion, with the proviso that for vocal use p-blast popping should be catered for, as indeed this and others in the Aria range do, better than average.
The AM-50E is the electret model of the range. Power is supplied to the condenser by an internal battery, hence the elongated casing.
A bass-cut switch is provided for vocal use along with an on/off switch to prolong battery life.
Despite having a fairly flat frequency response the mic seems to produce more noise than is usual for an electret.
The AM-60D has the distinction of having a black speckled grey body - interesting how the whole range are visually different as well as having differing acoustic properties.
This one sounds very nasal in immediate comparison with others in the line up.
Directional qualities seem particularly pronounced in a male voice application, but this could be of particular advantage in relation to some PA situations. The published frequency response curve shows a higher presence peak than others in the range which can assist in getting clarity in a complex mix when used with instruments with substantial output in the boost area.
Both this and the AM-70D have the additional feature of a screw locking on/off switch.
The AM-70D and the AM-30D are my favourites in the Aria range. They have a similar attractive sound that suits a wide range of instrumental and vocal uses.
But what does one get for the extra £20 of the AM-70D? It seems subtly smoother and more secure with a better transient response - just as well as this is one point made in the Aria brochure.
The listed applications include recording as well as vocal and instrumental use. Suffice to say that there is something extra in this top of the range model to justify the higher price.
These, like the mics, are well made and very helpfully have their circuit diagrams printed on the bodies.
Model AT-1 is for low to high unbalanced applications with ¼" jack inputs and outputs.
Model AT-6 has Cannon type plug in, low to high out on ¼" jack, again unbalanced.
There is a bypass switch which can be used to switch the low impedance straight through.
The Aria range, being well constructed and attractive in both looks and price, is certainly well worth considering when buying a mic.
If possible they should be tried out in your own particular situation since it is that which will determine the most suitable.
Handling noise, which can sometimes be a problem, is not pronounced on the higher priced ones and p-blast popping is below average across the range.
Further details can be obtained from: Gigsville, (Contact Details). Please mention E&MM when doing so.