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I am ready to add a ribbon mic to my home studio arsenal and would appreciate hearing from anyone who has had an opportunity to a/b the Coles 4038 vs a Royer R-122.

I am interested to record acoustic instrumental music (my main instrument is dobro and Weissenborn guitar) with this microphone.

I played on a record - "Euphoria" by the Wandering Endorphin -a couple of years ago (feel free to listen to sound clip on my web site http:// it is located in "Sounds" section tune title is "Listen" ), anyway I recorded this at Rax Trax in Chicago; it was recorded with a Cole 4038 and a John Hardy preamp. best tone I have ever had on a recording.

Since that time it seems like lots of folks, especially some pretty famous dobro players are using the R-122, but I also see some reports that claI'm that the Royer is sturdier but the Coles still sounds better.

Can anyone provide a primer on the subject of Ribbon mics $1500.00 and under? Again, my interest is soley to record acoustic stringed instruments, especially dobro, Weissenborn guitar and acoustic guitar


anonymous Tue, 05/31/2005 - 05:41

i havent worked with any of these ribbon mics. i own the beyer dynamic m130 and love it. its a figure 8. the m160-which i havent worked with-is hypercardioid. i think you can get either of these mics for around 500 bucks.
the m130 has a lot of proximity effect. it can be noisy for a room mic........but on drums, vocals, and guitfiddle it's fast and unique sounding. great for m/s. its small and compact.
i'm also interested in hearing an r-84. the two inch ribbon mics. i should find a dealer in my area and check them out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

anonymous Fri, 06/10/2005 - 04:39

I am ready to add a ribbon mic to my home studio arsenal and would appreciate hearing from anyone who has had an opportunity to a/b the Coles 4038 vs. a Royer R122.

I haven't used the R122, but I have both the 4038 and the R121. The big difference between them is the proximity effect and SPL capability. The 4038 has much more bass at close quarters, and will distort more easily with high SPL. On distant sources (where the proximity effect is less of a factor, and the 4038 can handle the SPL), they sound very similar.

Regarding what the 4038 can handle in terms of SPL -- I've used it as overhead recording a loud banging drummer with no problem. However, at close quarters with a high-volume guitar amp, it distorted and I had to use the R121 instead. The R121 can handle extreme SPL.

If I knew I only had to deal with quiet sources, I'd only have the 4038. I for one appreciate the bass and oomph you get placing the mic close to things. I also think it sounds a little better than the R121, but it could just be the sex appeal of the physical profile messing with me.

Also, a quick note: the 4038 is a very heavy mic. It's the heaviest mic I've ever held in my hands. So if you're using it on a boom stand with the boom extended far away you will need counter-weights. (Don't laugh, this is a serious problem...)