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James Young — 1969-2022

Aston Microphones founder dies aged 52

James Young Aston Microphones

James Young, the hugely charismatic and energetic co-founder of Sonic Distribution and Aston Microphones, sadly died in August 2022 from a cardiac arrest at the untimely age of 52.

James certainly lived his life to the full in every possible way, with boundless energy and creativity both in his professional and private life. His passion for music started at the age of three when he was given his first guitar, and although he studied Zoology at Liverpool University and achieved a Masters in Physiology, Gerontology and Sociology, he returned to his audio passions by joining the sales team at Sound Technology in 1995, moving to Stirling Audio a year later.

Quickly acquiring the business skills and always bursting with ideas and enthusiasm, it was no surprise when James co-founded Sonic Distribution in 2002 with his good friend Phil Smith. The new company quickly played a major role in establishing the sE Electronics microphone brand worldwide, too, and James was very involved in developing sE’s range of microphones and associated products with Siwei Zou in China, including the genuinely innovative Reflexion Filter introduced in 2006. Along the way James was also instrumental in setting up productive collaborations with the likes of Rupert Neve and Andy Munro, launching the Munro-Sonic brand in 2013 to produce the Egg monitor speakers.

In 2015 James and Phil created Aston Microphones with Alan Gavin and Jack Munro, developing a brand-new and distinctive range of microphones entirely within the UK. Within six years the company had grown such a strong reputation for quality and value for money that the Music Tribe group became interested, acquiring the business in 2021.

After the sale James decided to take a well-earned break from the industry and moved his family to Malta where he was building his own home at the time of his sudden death. James Young’s contribution to the audio industry was substantial and significant, and his uniquely ebullient character and out-of-the-box inventiveness will be greatly missed by all who knew him. RIP.

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