When considering doing this Aston Halo review, we were at first a bit hesitant. Why?
Because not only is there a lot of scepticism around mic isolation booths, but when it comes to the Halo, we’ve got to admit that we’ve got a slight crush. Well, we say slight… we’re HUGE fanboys! So as you can imagine, the thought of doing an Aston Halo review seemed to be treading awfully close to being bias. Which it kind of is, but we’ve decided to give it a go anyway, as a way of disciplining our fanaticism about this remarkable mic isolation shield.
Okay, so we’ll put it out there from the offset. We think the Aston Halo is well worth the price tag and that none of the alternatives really come close. Hats off to you guys at Aston – we salute you. But obviously, you don’t want to hear that. Instead you want to know how we’ve reached this rather stark conclusion, before you put your hand in your pocket and give Aston 200 or so of your well earned British pounds. So that’s precisely what this review will be. Our fanaticism unpicked and the Aston Halo spelled out to you in black and white.
After something specific about the Aston Halo? Or just wondering “does a reflection filter work?” Use the menu below to navigate to the relevant part of our Aston Halo review in one click…
What is the Aston Halo? Here’s the specs…
Right, so before we put this mic isolation shield against its most fierce rivals, it makes sense to first give you a rundown the Aston Halo specs. That way when you go onto read the rest of this review, you can be clear about exactly what the Aston Halo mic isolation booth offers + why we’re so crazy about it!
All of which then means you can make a fair comparison and of course reach your own conclusion. After all, everyone’ setup is different, as are their requirements,, so while we might think the Halo’s worth every penny, you might think different. So let’s gets into it – here’s everything you need to know about the Aston Halo reflection filter…
- Weight: 4.08kg
- Dimensions: 58 x 33 x 51cm
- Rough price tag: £175-£220
- Method of sound diffusion: Aston’s own patented form of PET felt
- Designed in: United Kingdom
- The Halo gives a mic diffusion from 360 degrees, including the top and bottom. Something that the majority of mic isolation shields do not. Perhaps why mic isolation shields have got a bad rep? As two of the most reflective places in most rooms are the floor and the ceiling.
- The Aston Halo itself is made of Aston’s own patented form of PET – the same material that they make plastic bottles out of. All of which makes the Halo a hit of an eco-warrior, as it’s made out of 70% recycled material. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s rubbish! This material is far more acoustically absorbent than foam.
- The Halo is pretty large (close to 40% bigger than its main competitor), so in terms of sound absorption it has a wide surface area in which to do so. It’s also ribbed in design too, which works to increase diffusion inside the booth. You’ll also find the same ribbed surface across the back of the Halo for pretty much the same purpose. The exterior ribbing acts as a way to absorb any reflections from the surrounding environment.
- The Aston Halo comes with a unique mounting design that’s all made of metal and simply screws onto the top of your mic stand. Once attached, it can be adjusted by both height and angle too.
- You can get the Aston Halo in two colours! Originally, the Halo was only available in Aston purple, however since launch, they’ve also added a blacked-out version to its lineup, dubbed as the Aston Halo Shadow.
- Buy a Halo and you’re buying a completely new product – the Aston Halo has been completely re-engineered as a mic isolation shield. It’s not just a rip off of one that’s been released before.
How do you use the Aston Halo?
You can use the Aston Halo virtually anywhere.
In fact, that’s the great thing about it. You don’t need a treated room to get solid sounding vocals out of this mic shield. Neither do you need expensive equipment – all you need is a decent condenser mic, XLR cable as well as a good pop filter and you’re practically ready to start recording.
As for where, to quote Aston “the world is your studio”, as this shield means you can even get quality recordings in a place that’s packed full of reverb or background noise. There’s even been some artists that have manage to record songs outside thanks to the ingenious engineering behind the Halo! Oh and as if that wasn’t enough, Drake was even spotted using the Aston when recording in his luxury apartment in Toronto.
Safe to say, if it’s good enough for Drake, then it’s good enough for virtually everyone.
How do you attach an Aston Halo?
Another perk of the Aston halo is how easy it is to set up. Here’s the process broken down into 4 easy steps…
- Unbox the Halo and grab yourself a straight mic stand – for this mic shield you do not need a boom. Then set about screwing it into the metal attachment that you find on the bottom of the Halo. This should only be a one-man job and be sure easy, due the fact the Halo is so lightweight.
- Now that the Halo is fixed onto the stand, look at the metal mounting bracket. You should see a metal stem (with a thread on the top) that runs directly up the middle of the Halo. Simply get your condenser mic secured in its shock mount and screw it onto the top.
- With the mic now mounted, use the the mushroom-shaped tightening knob that’s below where the mic sits to adjust its height. Then reach around the back of the mic and you should find a larger knob, which will allow you to alter the distance between the mic and the Halo.
- Once you’ve got the mic positioned nicely, thread your XLR cable through the purpose-built slot in the back of the assembly. The perk of doing this is that your cable doesn’t fall down below your feet, so you can move around behind the Halo without the risk of pulling down your whole setup. And with that, you’re pretty much ready to go.
Aston Microphones Halo: The good, the bad & the ugly
Okay, so now you’ve clued-up on the Halo and aware of what it is and how it functions, you’re most probably itching to know what makes it so good, as well as its potential pitfalls. As with any product, the Halo comes with its own set of pros and cons. Both things it’s wise to know before putting your money where your mouth is.
So to help you make a good all-rounded decision, we’ve picked apart the Aston Halo to bring you the good, the bad and the ugly…
Pros of this reflection filter (AKA the good)
Cons of this reflection filter (AKA the bad)
Is there an Aston Halo Alternative? How does this mic shield compare?
Give yourself a pat on the back as by now you should be well clued-up on all aspects of the Aston Halo and potentially even why it’s the mic isolation booth for you.
However, don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions. After all, the Halo is just one in a sea of mic reflection filters all competing to help you achieve the best sound in acoustically challenging environments. Exactly why seeing how the Aston compares to its rivals before concluding it’s the ‘go to’, would be a wise idea. So we’ve decided to do just that and pit the Aston Halo against the sE Reflection Filter X, as well as the rather controversial Kaotica Eyeball…
Aston Halo VS sE Reflection Filter X
- Both the Halo and the sE work well to absorb sound – i.e. both practice what they preach. However with that being said, we personally think the Aston Halo makes the most noticeable difference in sound.
- You’ll end up paying around £200 for both of these premium mic isolation shields.
- Whether you choose the sE Reflection Filter or the Aston Halo, you shouldn’t be disappointed with the build quality. Both these reflection filters feel really premium and are well engineered. Although with it weighing 3x more than the sE, the Aston does feel the most sturdy.
- Just like the Aston, the sE features a ribbed surface both on the inner and outer part of the mic shield to deflect sound. However, we’d say the dome shape of the Halo give it a huge advantage here over the flat sE.
- Where the sE lags just provide absorption from the sides, the Aston Halo absorbs and protect your mic from all 360 degrees – that being the left and right hand side, as well as the top and bottom.
- The Aston with its one-off design, reinvents the concept of the mic isolation shield. Whereas the sE RFX tries its best to improve on the standard formula.
- When it comes to sound absorption, the sE uses foam. Unlike the Aston which uses the company’s patented type of PET felt. A materials that’s said to 1up the sound absorption that you get from traditional foam.
- The Aston feels more premium, as there’s literally no sign of conventional plastic in sight. However, the back of the sE is virtually all plastic, which we’d argue makes it feel more like a toy than a serious piece of kit. What’s more, when you’re paying close to £200 for studio kit, that plasticky feeling just doesn’t cut it.
- In case anyone from Greenpeace is reading this, we’d also like to point out that the Halo on the Aston is made of recycled plastic bottles (PET), so as well as not feeling cheap it’s environmentally friendly too!
Aston Halo VS Kaotica Eyeball
- Both the Aston and Kaotica Eyeball adopt futuristic designs that we’re personally huge fans of. You have to admire any product that pushes the boundaries.
- Both these mic isolation shields will set you back around £200.
- Probably the most noticeable difference between the Aston halo and the Kaotica Eyeball is that the Aston is far more a isolation booth, whereas the eyeball is pretty much a mic cover. We like to think of it as an oversized mic windshield – you know, the type newsreaders have on their mic. Therefore, you can record a lot further away from the Aston Halo than you can the Kaotica Eyeball.
- Being an open booth-style mic shield, the Aston can accommodate virtually any microphone. Whereas with the eyeball compatibility is a bit more complex. First you need to make sure your mic can fit through the hole in the bottom (which isn’t that big). And even if it does, you then need to see how far the capsule goes into the eyeball. With some short body mics, you may have to disconnect them from your shock mount in order to get them to fit. Hardly a factory-style fitment!
- While the eyeball is effective at diffusing sound, the Aston Halo just does it better. Record the same lines into both these mic shields and you’ll soon see the difference.
- Because the pop filter is integrated into the eyeball, you can’t really alter it distance from the mic. Whereas with the Aston you can, as it doesn’t come with a pop filter built in.
- Another key difference between these two mic isolation shields is value. While both sit at virtually the same price point, with the Aston you get one heck of a lot more! Aside from the shield made from the company’s unique PET felt, you also get a metal clamp that enhances the manoeuvrability of the shield. Yet with the eyeball all you get is a foam dome and a pretty cheap-feeling pop filter. Bit of a difference if you ask us.
- Look at the Halo and you’ll see that there’s ribs both on the inside and outside to absorb and deflect sound. None of which you get with the eyeball.
Is the Aston Halo worth it in 2022?
In 95% of situations, we’d say yes – the Aston Halo is more than worth it in 2022.
The sheer difference a Halo makes to vocals is nothing short of phenomenal. Get your hands on one of these and you’ll soon see what we mean. Sing or spit your rap bars into a Halo and almost immediately your vocals are more focused and noticeably tighter in the low end. They’re just so much more pronounced than you get with a bare microphone setup. All of which makes post production 10x easier, especially if your recording environment isn’t what you’d call soundproof.
Then as an actual product, the Aston shines too. Compared to its competitors it’s significantly better value – considering you can pay pretty much the same for what is essentially a ball of foam (the Kaotica eyeball), we’d even be tempted to say that this bespoke mic shield, with it’s innovative PET felt and acoustic ribbing isn’t just good value – it’s a bargain!
And now of course you could say that £200 for what is essentially a shield made of plastic bottles is overly extortionate. But don’t be too quick to judge, especially if you’re an independent musician. Reason being that once you consider how the Halo could replace a vocal booth, it suddenly looks nowhere near as pricy.
Consider how many hours of studio time this iso booth would set you back and it’s won’t actually be that much. Then compare that to your studio time costs over a year and yep… now you get why we love this thing so much. It’s a one time purchase that keeps on giving. Plus, unlike the majority of mic isolation shields, the Aston Halo is made and designed in the UK. So by opting for a Halo, not only are you getting serious value for money, but you’re also supporting British business – exactly what we need after Brexit!
In fact, the only instance where we think you should think twice, or at the very least assess whether a Halo would be worth it, is if you don’t really need a mic isolation shield full stop. In other words, you’ve already got a fully sound-treated room or free access to a professional studio. In which case, this purple shield would serve more as a prop than a functional piece of equipment. But saying that, it would look pretty killer as part of a music video, and certainly screams “pro producer” to any artist who walks into your studio.
So is the Aston Halo worth it in 2022? Is that really a question?
Grab your Aston Halo Reflection filter today…
Enjoy this Aston Halo review and eager for more? Don’t miss out on all our latest Music Kit Reviews, as well as the lowdown on all things Music Production. Recently we’ve also done a full in-depth guide to the Best Condenser Microphones Under £500 + if you’re not on a budget, the Best Vocal Microphone For Recording.
Or if you’ve still got a burning question that we haven’t yet answered in this Aston Halo review, keep reading… yes, there’s more!