Coles 4038 Ribbon Microphone 2000s Black

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  • $940$1,225

Originally designed and patented by the BBC in 1953 as a smaller, higher fidelity replacement for the Marconi-designed Type A, the Coles 4038 ribbon microphone has remained wholly unchanged both mechanically and electrically since it was first manufactured.

The 4038 has long been a standard for drum overhead and brass instrument recording. Its attenuated high frequency response counteracts harsh and overly-bright sources like cymbals or the upper-harmonics of a trumpet and smooths out the tone of these instruments. It was immediately popular with British recording and broadcast engineers, but did not catch on in the United States until the Beatles and Led Zeppelin used them heavily on their recordings.

The output connector is a rather non-standard Western Electric connector 4069, which was specified in the initial design and patent drawings. An adapter is included with the microphone for use with XLR microphone cables, as is another adapter for mounting to a microphone stand.

The earliest versions were produced by Standard Telephones & Cables (STC), and manufacturing was transferred to Coles in the 1970s. The STC versions were available with a few different output impedances from the factory, though the user could re-strap the output transformer to suit their studio's needs.

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