Transformer Output

Electronic Stage

Backlit Controls

Multipattern

Peak Meter

Reversible Pickup

ORBIT Shockmount

Pop Filter

The Aim Audio INSPIRE is a ground-breaking and stunningly beautiful multipattern microphone that has been conceived from the ground up, to change the studio microphone world forever.

Made in Berlin, Germany, this new high-performance studio mic is a world first and comes with a host of unique and useful innovative features, including our patent-pending switchable Transformer/Electronic output stage. From a direct, beautifully open and fast response, to smooth and intimate sounds with sparkling harmonics and deep lows, INSPIRE is surely going to become a top choice wherever and for whatever source you wish to use it on.

Add to this a sleek look, backlit and tactile controls, reversible orientation, built in peak level metering, a hand-built 1” Gold-Spluttered-Mylar true condenser capsule (externally polarized) and a supplied revolutionary shock mount with magnetic pop filter and you have one of the finest new audio products to hit the market – all at a price/performance ratio that defies regular convention.

Main Features

  • Truly innovative, with multiple Patent-Pending features
  • Developed by an experienced team of experts in audio
  • All-metal housing with unique oval design
  • Class-Leading Audio Performance (>140 dBA internal headroom*)
  • Switchable between Electronic OR Transformer balanced output stage
  • Custom-wound Toroidal Audio Transformer
  • Dual 1” Large Diaphragm True Condenser (Gold Sputtered Mylar)
  • 5 Switchable Polar Patterns
  • -10 and -20 dB Pad options
  • Integrated Peak-Level Metering
  • Backlit Switches (dimmable and lockable)
  • Built in direct to stand mounting
  • Powered by regular 48 V Phantom Power
  • Included Custom Orbit Shock Mount with adjustable clamp angle
  • Included Sentry Magnetic Pop Filter
  • Made in Berlin, Germany

Aim INSPIRE

Multipattern Condenser Studio Microphone

The Aim Audio INSPIRE is a ground-breaking and stunningly beautiful microphone that has been conceived from the ground up, to change the studio microphone world forever.

Made in Berlin, Germany, this new high-performance studio mic is a world first and comes with a host of unique and useful innovative features, including our patent-pending switchable Transformer/Electronic output stage. From a direct, beautifully open and fast response, to smooth and intimate sounds with sparkling harmonics and deep lows, INSPIRE is surely going to become a top choice wherever and for whatever source you wish to use it on.

Add to this a sleek look, backlit and tactile controls, reversible orientation, built in peak level metering, a hand-built 1” Gold-Spluttered-Mylar true condenser capsule (externally polarized) and a supplied revolutionary shock mount with magnetic pop filter and you have one of the finest new audio products to hit the market – all at a price/performance ratio that defies regular convention.

Main Features

  • Truly innovative, with multiple Patent-Pending features
  • Developed by an experienced team of experts in audio
  • All-metal housing with unique oval design
  • Class-Leading Audio Performance (>140 dBA internal headroom*)
  • Switchable between Electronic OR Transformer balanced output stage
  • Custom-wound Toroidal Audio Transformer
  • Dual 1” Large Diaphragm True Condenser (Gold Sputtered Mylar)
  • 5 Switchable Polar Patterns
  • -10 and -20 dB Pad options
  • Integrated Peak-Level Metering
  • Backlit Switches (dimmable and lockable)
  • Built in direct to stand mounting
  • Powered by regular 48 V Phantom Power
  • Included Custom Orbit Shock Mount with adjustable clamp angle
  • Included Sentry Magnetic Pop Filter
  • Made in Berlin, Germany
  •  

Innovate, not imitate

Yes, it is an often-used cliché for many products and brands these days. Now, while we love vintage and classic mics (the team at Aim own and cherish several fine examples), much of the studio mic industry can seem, to us at least, like it just wants to follow the same path as many of these vintage examples. So, with stellar audio performance and aligned to a beautiful sleek and modern design, we looked at what genuinely useful innovation could bring to the world of studio microphones.

Let’s look at all of those new features in detail.

The sound of success

Despite all the fancy tech wizardry that we have innovated and integrated into our mics, the sound all starts with the capsule.

At Aim Audio, we developed the Aim sound by carrying out a number of double blind tests with a team of leading studio engineers, musicians, artists and audio professionals across the world. Along the process and to find out what style and tonality worked best with our custom electronics, we also compared each of these tests by ear and included checking these results randomly, against some of the most popular and best competitor mics on the market.

There are a number of different types of condenser capsules, whether the termination is centre or edge mounted, what materials are used etc.. All have their advantages and disadvantages, but for the sound of INSPIRE, our panel overwhelmingly chose to use the classic centre-terminated capsule design, that originated out of our home in Berlin.

Our handmade, externally polarized, dual 1” capsule features a 6 micron gold-sputtered genuine Mylar diaphragm, isolated brass backplates with the finest quality tensioners and a customized ring connector. We also use Teflon coated wires, as this improves the S/N ratio to our own and separate Hi-Z electronics. It really is a work of art.

The cutting edge electronics inside INSPIRE are also extremely important to the sound. For all of our PCBs (also made in Berlin), we selected the highest quality components throughout – despite the cost, to maintain and exceed audio performance from many other designs that our team have been involved in.

We also wanted to achieve a very low noise floor without compromising on the audio quality, so we have a total number of four separate PCBs in each microphone, to minimise crosstalk and provide a leading-edge internal headroom of 140 dBA+. Plus, the entire mic is powered by regular 48 V Phantom Power!

Change the Output Mode

While we wanted to provide the best quality that we could electronics wise, the question came up whether we should use a Transformer or Electronic Output stage. So why not have both?! To many, one of the reasons they chose a certain condenser mic for a source is because they fall into either one of these two output topologies. It really was a challenge, but we made it happen.

or our Transformer-based circuit, the Aim Audio team developed a Custom Wound Toroidal Transformer with a nanocrystalline VITROPERM core. This special design doesn’t sound harsh or just add distortion, like many off the shelf transformer circuits can do, but it provides a slightly thicker and richer LF, plus a slightly airy top end and a slower transient response. Useful for all sorts of audio; from aggressive or velvety smooth vocals, to heavy guitars or a brass section, this mode gives a beautifully open sound with shimmering harmonics.

While our super clean Electronically Balanced Output will react much faster with transients and can handle higher SPL, even at ultra-low frequencies. Perfect for catching fast moving audio like shiny drum overheads or tracking acoustic guitars, without any ‘smearing’ of the audio, this mode gives stunningly transparent and natural recordings. It captures all the detail in the HF but without adding a zingy quality that some condensers can be prone to.

Aim Audio’s patent-pending output switching technology is a world first. Now for the very first time, you can instantly* swap between these two distinct types of output and choose exactly which style best suits your source, at source. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll wonder why it’s not been done before!

Find out more details on our Technology here

See it your way

Many mics are just plain darn hard to read when setting up on dark and moody stages or in studios, where you often want to get the best atmosphere for a performance. We thought about how best to change this, so the LED backlit controls on INSPIRE make it easy to see exactly what settings the mic is set to, at a moment’s glance. They’re also completely powered by regular 48V Phantom Power – no extra hardware is required!

While we think that LEDs are cool and want to show them off, we totally understand that not everyone will want to see them on all the time or potentially distract an artist from a performance. We have you covered here, as all of the controls can be easily dimmed to three levels or even turned off. This makes INSPIRE a perfect ‘invisible mic’ for video, calming studio environments or in live settings.

You can also easily lock the buttons too, great if you want to stop performers from “fiddling” or to prevent accidental changes while moving the microphone’s position.

Multi-Pattern Wheel with Stabilisation Indication

INSPIRE is equipped with 5 distinct Polar Pattens (Cardioid, Wide Cardioid, Super Cardioid, Omni and Figure-8) via the Patten Select Wheel. While for many sources the regular Cardioid mode (right in the middle of the wheel) will give the most direct and focused sound, it pays to try different patterns depending on what you wish to achieve sonically.

Not only can choosing the right polar pattern help you to make better sounding recordings, but you can also get a less direct or natural tone with other patterns depending on your space or acoustics. Experimentation is encouraged and this gets even better when you use a pair of mics!

A little known secret with most multi-pattern mics, is that the polarization voltage supplied to the capsule usually takes a little while to settle down when you change the pattern. This is why the backlit LED in the INSPIRE polar pattern wheel will flash until the correct polarization voltage or switching settings have been reached, making it super handy when audibly testing what works best for your source at speed. When selecting a different pattern, the LED only takes a short time to settle, but only once the LED is steady, it indicates the optimum performance has been reached, so you can get the full benefit of hearing what setting sounds right for you and the source.

Catch the Peaks and Rumbles

You know how it goes, a perfect take ruined because you didn’t spot the mic was peaking and causing input distortion. Well despite the electronics of INSPIRE being capable of 140 dB + of internal headroom (that’s louder than a jet taking off above your head!), very many mic preamps are just not capable of either taking anywhere near that kind of level or even sounding great if they do. Which is why mics generally have pad options on them, to help reduce the output level.

While the average source should not present an issue, loud amps, drums or even singers with the odd peaking transient can distort your input. So, to help you better catch these short overload peaks before they damage recordings, we fitted a simple Peak Level meter to INSPIRE. The LED will flash Orange when the level is approaching the ‘danger level’ and will go Red when it hits around 128 dB*. Even though INSPIRE should not distort internally at this level, as this is at source it makes it way easier to set the -10 or -20 dB Pad controls and will help you make better distortion free recordings, no matter what kind of kit you are using.

The mic also has switches for a Low Cut Filter at 80 Hz and a gentle Roll Off Filter at 110 Hz. These are useful for helping to reduce wind noise, close proximity effect or even vibration, assisting you to get the best sound possible for your recordings.

Front or Back?

When we were first developing our mics, we asked ourselves “do the switches belong on the front or rear?” For a vocalist who wants to record themselves, having the switches right on the front would make the most sense, but if an engineer wants to control and see the settings or you want to record a guitar amp etc. the rear does make it much easier to maintain access.

As INSPIRE has a highly matched dual capsule and a symmetrical acoustic design, it meant that we could simply switch between both sides and maintain the sonic signature, no matter which side is in use.

Simple and effective, in any of the three Cardioid modes, the FRONT and BACK controls will switch and invert the entire orientation of the microphone, meaning that all the controls will practically move from the front to the back of the microphone and/or vice versa, to best suit exactly how you want to use it!

Take the Shock

INSPIRE is equipped with an integral direct-to-stand mount thread in the base of the microphone, which makes setting up in tight spaces a breeze. Aim’s custom capsule holder is also made from the best Anti-Vibration material – Sorbothane®, meaning it will protect your takes from most knocks and bumps that could ruin a recording.

But for the initial launch of INSPIRE and for the absolutely best shock-mounting experience, we’ve included ORBIT, our revolutionary patent-pending multi-position Shock Mount and the SENTRY magnetic Pop Filter, as part of the package.

We’ve all been there – with many shock mount designs they are fiddly, hard to adjust and a pain getting the exact angle you need for the mic to be pointed at your source. Not to mention that, with some of these designs, you also don’t always have the confidence that your precious mic is secured firmly. Well ORBIT is no ordinary shock mount and as it is so easy to use and setup, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.

Just like with our microphones, ORBIT has had years of development in working out how to make a better shock mount. In addition, to get closer to sound source and to make the controls on the microphone easily accessible (especially when the mic is in the cradle), we settled on a half-open/open front design.

From the easy to use and secure sliding clamping mechanism, right to the type of suspension, everything has been developed from the ground up. With many man hours of physical testing, we also decided on rubber rings as the best shock mounting material, rather than use the regular elastics that have become the traditional and most common way to suspend a mic cradle.

But what if you want to use INSPIRE’s Back mode and not have the mount in the way of the controls or peak LEDs? No problem!

With our patent-pending mechanism, you can easily change the angle of the mounting position by 190 degrees, to suit whatever direction you want to ‘Aim’ the capsule at. Side mounting, front, back or any position in between, the twist clamp mechanism can be operated single handily, while the mic stays secure in the custom clamp. This also makes ORBIT great for overheads or for miking up amps etc.

Topping off the features, the integrated removable cable-relief helps to reduce rumble and handling noise.

Top out the POPs

While INSPIRE has a great integrated dual Steel Mesh pop filter, to help catch the very worst plosives we developed the SENTRY Pop Filter.

The pop filter itself is made with a coated stainless steel, with acid-etched hexagonal holes that have been aligned precisely. These holes and the distance between the filter and capsule has been specifically worked out give the best airflow, all helping to catch great vocals, with an acoustic performance that’s perfect for plosive control. SENTRY’s surface area also curves around the microphone, so movement should not be an issue, all helping you to achieve the best vocal tracking experience you can.

Easy to place, SENTRY uses custom integrated magnets in four positions. These feature a very high quality localised magnetism to ensure it doesn’t interfere with the microphone’s electronics and means that it will always stay exactly where you put it. It’s also reversible to either direction, so if you want to use the REAR mode on INSPIRE with a vocalist and still see the controls and peak indicators, you can!

– – –

Super sturdy, both ORBIT and SENTRY are also made out of Glass-Reinforced Nylon, which not only helps in reducing material noise, but it also helps make them less likely to be susceptible to breakage. This means in the course of setting them up (or accidently dropping on a solid floor, for example) it shouldn’t result in the mount being heavily damaged – although like with all pro audio kit, you should still treat with care.

INSPIRE Technical Specs*

*Preliminary Launch Information

Transducer Type

True Condenser

Frequency Response

20 Hz – 20 kHz

Sensitivity at 1 kHz into 1 kΩ

23.7 mV/Pa

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

86 dBA (rel. 94 dB SPL)

LF Cut-Off Filter

80 Hz

Switchable Polar Patterns

Cardioid, Wide Cardioid, Super Cardioid, Omni, Figure-8

Equivalent Noise Level

8 dBA

Maximum SPL

140 dB (at 0.05% THD) – no pad

Pad Switches

-10 and -20 dB

LF Roll-Off Filter

115 Hz