Coles 4038 ribbon mic!!

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Soy Sos
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Coles 4038 ribbon mic!!

Post by Soy Sos » Sun May 23, 2010 1:54 pm

I thought I'd share these pics.
I had to remove the screen to fix a dent (I dropped it for the 1st time in 15 years, it's fine though.)
Look at that fucking magnet!!
Get anything metal within a few inches of this mic and it will grab. For those who haven't used the Coles, it's fantastic on trumpets, trombone, sax, guitar amps, vocals and a bunch of other stuff. If you need something a little different with a lot of character, pick up a good ribbon mic! We did a ribbon mic shootout for TapeOp a couple of years ago and the Coles really shined.
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Post by panda30y » Sun May 23, 2010 2:36 pm

Coles are fucking amazing! Love those, and you can never have too many.

Babaluma

Post by Babaluma » Sun May 23, 2010 6:24 pm

been wanting one of these for a long time. if i ever buy a ribbon mic, that's exactly what it'll be.

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Post by Just me » Sun May 23, 2010 7:17 pm

I've heard that phantom power will destroy a ribbon mic. Is that true? (I've never used one.)
If I have water in my ear, is it safe for me to listen to electronic music?

Babaluma

Post by Babaluma » Sun May 23, 2010 7:56 pm

depends on the ribbon mic. some ribbons (blue woodpecker, sontronics sigma) are designed to be used with phantom power. some aren't but won't be damaged. some aren't and WILL fry.

good article on it here:

http://recordinghacks.com/2008/04/02/ph ... s-fiction/

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Post by Soy Sos » Sun May 23, 2010 9:08 pm

There is a sticker on the case for the Coles:
"No phantom power"
Another interesting feature, the mic is a figure 8 pickup pattern and has a very sharp off axis rejection. There are some great tricks for using 2 figure 8 mics for a single performer who is playing acoustic guitar and singing at the same time.

It is also the heaviest mic I have ever seen!

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Post by tragedybysyntax » Mon May 24, 2010 2:47 pm

I rented one last year for drums and the coles is on the top of my list for upscale mic's! :)

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Post by felix » Mon May 24, 2010 8:00 pm

Hmmm...Coles.

I only had the pleasure of using them on a session where the producer brought several of his mics in. They were fantastic. I stayed around the studio late that night (everything was setup for 2nd day's tracking) and got to try lots of different stuff with them and they were fantastic. I was so used to Royers and they had a much different (and more appealing) character to my ears.

I tried them in a Blumlein pair a couple feet back from an acoustic guitar and it was so awesome. So vibey and moody and happened to work with the room and guitar *really* well.
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Post by Audio Resistance » Mon May 24, 2010 9:16 pm

I am going to start recording drum machines and synth's thru a guitar tube amp and have been thinking about a ribbon mic. Are these Coles good for that sort of thing? Do you have to use tube pre's or anything to make them shine, because I use all API pre's.
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Babaluma

Post by Babaluma » Mon May 24, 2010 9:24 pm

you'll probably need a pre with a lot of clean gain, sometimes around 70dB, but it really depends on how loud the source is (obviously).

i think ribbons will often require more gain than condensers or dynamics on the same source for the same output level. they can often have "funny" impedances too. maybe matching the pre and mic is more important with ribbons?

never used one myself though!

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Post by Audio Resistance » Mon May 24, 2010 9:36 pm

Babaluma wrote:you'll probably need a pre with a lot of clean gain, maybe matching the pre and mic is more important with ribbons?
That's what I was thinking I remembered reading before, matching the pre with the ribbon mic. I guess I can go wade thru the ocean of posts over at Gearslutz and figure it out or maybe I will just call Mercenary tomorrow and see what they have to say about it.
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Post by Just me » Mon May 24, 2010 10:14 pm

felix wrote:Hmmm...Coles.

I only had the pleasure of using them on a session where the producer brought several of his mics in. They were fantastic. I stayed around the studio late that night (everything was setup for 2nd day's tracking) and got to try lots of different stuff with them and they were fantastic. I was so used to Royers and they had a much different (and more appealing) character to my ears.

I tried them in a Blumlein pair a couple feet back from an acoustic guitar and it was so awesome. So vibey and moody and happened to work with the room and guitar *really* well.
Have you seen this guy's site? There is some good info on his pages, but he is REALLY biased against anything more than a pair of mics for recording anything. He sure doesn't like 'engineers'!
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/chris.burmajster/If.htm
If I have water in my ear, is it safe for me to listen to electronic music?

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Post by felix » Tue May 25, 2010 3:41 pm

Just me wrote:
felix wrote:Hmmm...Coles.

I only had the pleasure of using them on a session where the producer brought several of his mics in. They were fantastic. I stayed around the studio late that night (everything was setup for 2nd day's tracking) and got to try lots of different stuff with them and they were fantastic. I was so used to Royers and they had a much different (and more appealing) character to my ears.

I tried them in a Blumlein pair a couple feet back from an acoustic guitar and it was so awesome. So vibey and moody and happened to work with the room and guitar *really* well.
Have you seen this guy's site? There is some good info on his pages, but he is REALLY biased against anything more than a pair of mics for recording anything. He sure doesn't like 'engineers'!
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/chris.burmajster/If.htm
In an ideal world, that's really all you'd need. The problem is, without a nice sounding room, with the space to move and place all the instruments/elements being recorded, you end up with a very sub-par result. It also makes it close to impossible to alter the individual instruments after the fact. As it becomes necessary, either arbitrarily or through actual necessity, to be able to alter the sound of individual elements after the fact, close micing becomes a requirement.

It's one of those things that once the industry moved away from, it will likely never go back to, not as common place anyway. It's not bad or good, just different. It's nice though, to always take things away and dig back to a simpler approach. The argument post people tend to give though is "well if you end up not wanting to use those mics, just mute them in the mix".
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Post by Soy Sos » Wed May 26, 2010 11:48 am

Audio Resistance wrote:I am going to start recording drum machines and synth's thru a guitar tube amp and have been thinking about a ribbon mic. Are these Coles good for that sort of thing? Do you have to use tube pre's or anything to make them shine, because I use all API pre's.
I use mine with an API 512c or Purple Biz all the time.
It's fine for stuff that is on the loud side. I've never messed around with anything else. The thing about a nice ribbon mic is, it almost feels compressed
and "warmer". It can take the edge off a sound in a good way. They sound fantastic on tube guitar amps. What mics do you already have?

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Post by Audio Resistance » Wed May 26, 2010 9:42 pm

Soy Sos wrote:
Audio Resistance wrote:I am going to start recording drum machines and synth's thru a guitar tube amp and have been thinking about a ribbon mic. Are these Coles good for that sort of thing? Do you have to use tube pre's or anything to make them shine, because I use all API pre's.
I use mine with an API 512c or Purple Biz all the time.
It's fine for stuff that is on the loud side. I've never messed around with anything else. The thing about a nice ribbon mic is, it almost feels compressed
and "warmer". It can take the edge off a sound in a good way. They sound fantastic on tube guitar amps. What mics do you already have?
I have a Blue Baby Bottle, Shure SM7B and a couple SM57' and SM58's. Nothing fancy, but I do like the Blue on my voice and the SM7b gets that commercial voice over thing going.

I really have no knowledge about recording guitars at all. I called and talked to Sean at Mercenary and he said those API's would be perfect like you said. He described the Coles as thick and syrupy.I know this is all real subjective to taste, I just wanted to make sure if I spend $1200.00 on the mic and another $1000.00 or so on a tube amp that the only thing left is for me to practice with it.I can work my way thru user error, it is when user error plus the wrong equipment that gets me banging my head against the wall.

I just think the modular, synths and drummachines would sound cool mic'd up thru a cabinet. It might be a waste of time but I will not know unless I try it.
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Post by Soy Sos » Sat May 29, 2010 5:25 pm

I'd suggest renting or borrowing a tube guitar amp and experimenting with the mics you do have. You should even be able to get great results with the the 57 and 58. Mess around with location of the amp to walls, angle of the mic and distance from the cabinet. There are also some nice lower priced ribbons on the market and there's always used. I bought mine from Wes Dooley years ago for I think $850 because it had a slight scuff on the paint.

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Post by l e b e r » Sun May 30, 2010 7:05 am

used to have a pair of coles. loved them to bits. stick one in front of a drum kit and you're done!

a great paper clip gatherer too. :mrgreen:

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Re: Coles 4038 ribbon mic!!

Post by Flux » Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:39 pm

I use 4038’s to record my Fender Silverface Vibrochamp. A fun chain is Juno > RE201 > Vibrochamp > Coles > 1073. I’ve put guitars, rhodes, synths, drum machines etc, through this setup. The Coles sound great for reamping. If you don’t have the luxury of being able to crank your tube amp at home then the next best thing is to get a tube preamp. I picked up a 60’s Dynacord Echocord super 65 tape echo which has a killer tube preamp and it’s the real deal, all without deafening your neighbours!

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Re: Coles 4038 ribbon mic!!

Post by Soy Sos » Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:29 pm

Holee shit, I started this thread 10 YEARS AGO!!

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Re: Coles 4038 ribbon mic!!

Post by Hermetech Mastering » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:57 am

Soy Sos, you still using a Coles 4038? Any more thoughts or notes?

I am thinking of picking one up, found a UK company that has better prices than anywhere else for new ones. Sold all my mics a few years back for a matched pair of KM84s, and thinking it might match them well, I'd finally be able to do M/S etc.

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Re: Coles 4038 ribbon mic!!

Post by Soy Sos » Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:37 am

IMG_20190517_101748.jpg
IMG_20190517_121227.jpg
Haven't used the Coles in a while, most recent session was on trombone with a really great player. Put it up against a Advanced Audio U67 type design. The Coles was the better choice in that case. Usually wins out on brass.
There's an interesting English company doing really cool looking ribbon mics
www.extinctaudio.co.uk/bm9-ribbon-microphone/

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Re: Coles 4038 ribbon mic!!

Post by Hermetech Mastering » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:42 am

Cheers dude! I think I'm gonna have to get one.

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Re: Coles 4038 ribbon mic!!

Post by Michael O. » Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:24 pm

Soy Sos wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:37 am
IMG_20190517_101748.jpgIMG_20190517_121227.jpg
Haven't used the Coles in a while, most recent session was on trombone with a really great player. Put it up against a Advanced Audio U67 type design. The Coles was the better choice in that case. Usually wins out on brass.
There's an interesting English company doing really cool looking ribbon mics
www.extinctaudio.co.uk/bm9-ribbon-microphone/
Looks like a cool session! The way your shootout is arranged is how I tend to mic horns; an 87 or 67 up top, nearly touching an upright ribbon mic below (in my case usually RCA, but the 4038 is just as classic), with the mix almost always being mostly the ribbon. I absolutely recommend the 4038 over most else in production these days. It has the classic ribbon voicing, not that odd high-mid forward sound that is so popular with modern ribbon mic manufacturers.

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Re: Coles 4038 ribbon mic!!

Post by Yes Powder » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:22 pm

The studio I used to intern at had a pair of those. Beautiful things, both to look at and to hear. And HEAVY!
Never got a chance to use them on horns, but they were my go-to for room mic.

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