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Coles 4038

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User Reviews

moosers's review

By moosers, 28/11/2009
The Coles 4038 is a uniquely designed ribbon microphone that is extremely high quality.  The mic has a bi directional polar pick up pattern and will pick up frequencies in between 30 Hz and 15 KHz.  It has a shape unlike any mic I have seen before and has the sound to match it.  I wouldn't use this microphone outside of the studio at all as it is a ribbon microphone and needs to be kept in the proper condition as it is fragile.


I've only used the Coles 4038 a few times in a recording studio (as I don't own the mic), but I've used it enough to know that it is a special microphone.  It is one of the best sounding ribbon microphones that I have used and is versatile to boot.  I've used the microphone for recording vocals as well as for recording drums from a distance.  While I wouldn't use the mic for too much close micing, I would bet that this would sound great on just about any instrument a few feet back.  It picks up an extreme amount of detail and overall sounds quite natural.  If you are looking for an accurate sound from a microphone that doesn't color your sound (although it does have its own tone), this the mic for you.  While the price of the 4038 isn't cheap by today's microphone prices standards, it is still a great deal considering the great microphone that you are getting here.  There are a lot of cheap ribbon microphones out there that you can get, but none of them sound anything close to what this mic sounds like.  It is definitely one of the best deals out there in terms of top end ribbon microphones as it is reasonably priced as far as top notch ribbon mics go.  I would mostly recommend this mic for professionals looking for a high end ribbon mic, but also to those home studio owners looking for a great ribbon microphone that will blow most others out of the water.  So in general, I highly recommend checking out the Coles 4038...  

yoTrakkz's review

By yoTrakkz, 14/09/2011
The Coles 4038 mic is the type that you would use if you where into broadcasting, it gives you a very smooth response without in distortion. But in my opinion it lacks some warmth, and can exaggerate the high end frequency a little too much.

The frequency response of the 4038 by Coles is very flat, from 30 to 15000 c/s and throughout this range the shape of the bi directional polar response is maintained substantially constant both in the horizontal and vertical planes delivering a smooth sonic quality.


When we tried to use this microphone in the studio it didn’t sit too well in the mix, I think when talking to fast into the mic it makes the quality go down this is why I said its more for broadcasting. So if you have a webshow or a pod cast or online radio or talk show this mic would be perfect for you. It looks great and sounds great if you are using it for that purpose. But I wouldn’t go with this mic if I was trying to record some live instruments or vocals from musicians and or artist.

Overall it seems to be built pretty tough, only used it for a few weeks before returning it back to the store because we chose to go with a better quality mic for a studio setting. We are not running talk shows or pod casts so this mic didn’t fit us at all. We purchased it directly from the store for a decent price and we had a good return policy so that is why we chose to give it a shot. Knowing what I know now I would not of took the chance and got this mic. It was a waste of my time, not saying its not a good mic its just not for what we are using it for.

for all types of vocals

By ericthegreat, 31/01/2012
This is one of the finest ribbon mics that money can buy. Traditionally ribbon mics are regarded as very fragile mics that you wan't to keep away from very high SPL's. However, the great thing about Coles 4038 designs is that they can take very high volumes with no distortion or risk of damaging the ribbon. I believe the cap on this mic is around 135dB. If you haven't used a ribbon mic, you don't know what you're missing! Ribbons provide a very, very realistic tone. They seem to react to sound much like human ears do, because if you have a good pair of monitors there doesn't seem to be that much difference between how you hear your sources and what this mic can put out. The top end on this mics is absolutely silky smooth and never harsh. A couple of favorite uses for the 4038 are guitar cabs and horns, but in practice you will be hard pressed to find sources that don't sound great through this mic if they sound good in the first place. It connects with a standard XLR cable, and doesn't need phantom power. In fact I believe phantom power will damage the mic, so be careful not to accidentally engage it. This mic also has another advantage of having a different frequency response on the back. When you are close miking something using the back of the mic, the source is a little bit brighter. Saves you the time of adding a top end shelf!


I have had one of these for almost 7 years. I love this mic! I have the both models of this, and I use them in nearly every session. If you have background singers, try setting one of these about 5 feet in front of them. It sounds like they're all right in front of you! I definitely recommend getting this mic if you are serious about getting very realistic sounds in your studio. It costs over a grand, but it is money well spent for the discerning audiophile.

The best microphone in the world

By venezuela, 11/05/2014
Microphones very heavy, fragile and delicate to handle tape, but it is also sturdy and well born, where his exceptional longevity, it never leaves indifferent, by the sound, its shape and design, it is in another world, far from the glitz and the pomade, finally! Rare are the microphones (condensers, dynamics or other tapes) can compete with this superstar.
A (older than the Shure SM58!) Absolute, the oldest standard, unchanged from the early fifties to the present day, still for sale
Bravo Made in England!


It is an almost universal microphone, nothing wrong, the rest is a matter of taste, it magnifies all acoustic instruments, but also the electric guitar amps, and wonderfully all percussion instruments (drums, congas, maracas and other triangles).
In terms of voice, obviously! of course! it is still gorgeous, try a couple with another standard, the Shure SM7B.
I tried many other micro, small or large membranes, there 's nothing to do ... This is the perfect microphone for my Guild F412 (12 strings, background flamed maple without dam handle 3 maple / mahogany sides / mahogany, spruce Sitka AAA, ebony fingerboard ... A monstrous sound and projection, "simply the best acoustic 12 strings ever made" ect ..) Really bewitching, truth mingles with the magic.
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Coles 4038 tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer:Coles
  • Model:4038
  • Category:Ribbon Microphones
  • Added in our database on: 03/24/2004

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Other names: 40 38