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The Coles 4038 | A Microphone Standing the Test of Time
In the early 1950s, television was taking off as a cultural force, and the number of homes in the United Kingdom with a television set was growing rapidly, spurred by the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. Mindful of the rise of a visual medium, The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) began work on a smaller microphone to replace the BBC-Marconi Type A. This led to the development of the 4038 Ribbon Microphone, which utilizes a ticonal pressure gradient single ended magnet, and was a third of the size of the Type A. Now, 70 years later, the 4038 still proves its worth in the recording studio, as an outstanding choice for tracking drums when using the Glyn Johns Method.
In the late ’50s and early ’60s, many recording studios in the U.K. adopted the 4038 as the preferred microphone for tracking drums and other instruments when producers needed to capture the full meatiness of the midrange tones. One of those studios was Abbey Road, and the 4038 was the overhead microphone of choice used to accurately capture Ringo Starr’s drums in early Beatles recordings. If one wants to hear the sonic capabilities of the 4038, they need look no further than “Please Please Me”, “Beatles for Sale,” and “A Hard Day’s Night.”
“If the kit’s well-tuned, you just have to put in some top EQ, and you get the most unbelievable drum sound” said Geoff Emerick, a Grammy-award winning engineer that began working with the Beatles in 1963 and would go on to engineer the iconic sounds of the Beatles’ albums “Revolver” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. The band would bring the 4038 back for use on “Abbey Road”. At times, the 4038 was used as more than just a drum microphone: the 4038 was one of the microphones used to record Paul’s bass during the sessions for “Sgt. Pepper”, and was also used to capture the Hammond organ.
Another iconic use of the 4038 can be found on Glyn Johns’ work on Led Zeppelin records. Johns’ method of miking drums (affectionately known as The Glyn Johns Method) with two microphones overhead and one in front of the bass drum. The 4038 was his microphone of choice for due to the microphone’s ability to sonically replicate the beatings that Bonham unleashed on his kit, and for its huge tone, resulting from a full bottom end.
Harness the power of the Coles 4038 today at Chicago Music Exchange! Questions? Give us a call at (773) 525-7773 today, or chat with one of our experts standing by from 9am-9pm daily.
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