Trying to choose ethically-made gear for music recording is pretty tough-going. There are few big players with pretty ropey reputations - Behringer's recent controversial attack on a music journalist springs to mind - but pretty much everything is made in China under frankly questionable conditions, and the few things that aren't, are fairly pricey. Big players like Moog can - and should - be
commended for operating a workers-first policy, even going so far as selling the business to it's
employees - but such benevolence comes at a cost that many simply can't afford. Here at 7000 Trees, we kitted our studio out with Aston microphones - a fairly new British company that is unusual in so far as they manufacturer their gear here in the UK. In the absence of anything approaching environmentally-sound recording equipment - though hopefully microphones made from recycled materials cannot be too far off - it is a blessing to be able to get hold of high-quality, professional microphones that are at least a step in the right direction. The microphones themselves are awesome - so awesome in fact you'd struggle to believe their somewhat modest price tag. We've spent the last couple of weeks tracking some vocals and reed instruments, and they provide a depth and clarity usually reserved for mics three or four times their price. Having recently finished working in a pro studio with far more expensive microphones by some of the big name brands, I can say from first hand experience that the Aston range - and their Spirit model in particular - hold their own in a mix with character and precision. Doesn't hurt that they were the most ethical microphones we could either.