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Coles 4038's regularly need maintenance?
Old 20th December 2011
Gear Nut

Do Coles 4038's regularly need maintenance?

I want to purchase a Coles 4038, mainly for brass and as a drumkit room mic. Coles are supposed to be on the fragile side. Will it need to be re-ribboned constantly, or should it last a lifetime without maintenance (assuming I take good care of it)?
Old 20th December 2011
Here for the gear

I was always of the impression that in fixed installs they just sat there and worked, often for a very long time indeed. It is many years since I used one, and not very often even then, but I was never aware of any relaibility problems.

I also had it drummed into me that the way to destroy one was to walk along with it in your hand swinging it about as this can damage the ribbon. Is this an old wives tale? Maybe someone with more experience of using and breaking them can let me know as I've always treated it as "good advice." In the mean time be careful how you carry it.
Old 20th December 2011
Gear Addict
I hear ya bro! I knew how sensitive they were, so when I got mine I made sure to epoxy it right into the shockmount and then epoxy the mount onto the stand...
i even epoxy'd the legs of the stand to my floor, just to make sure it wouldn't get knocked over.

Then I let someone sing into it and poof! The ribbon went. You can imagine what a time I had getting it out just to send it back to get re-ribboned.

Now I have it cordoned off in my live room so no one can get near it.
I figure it'll last quite a while now...

Sorry, couldn't resist.
Old 20th December 2011
Gear Guru
Ribbons are sensitive to air blasts, not level.

4038s can take plenty of level.
Old 20th December 2011
Lives for gear
dabigfrog's Avatar

we have had a pair of 4038s for about 6 years now.

one developed a buzz a couple of months ago, sent it to aea and they put a new ribbon in it for around 175 i think if i remember right.

only maintenance so far.

don't know if someone sent phantom to it or what...

we have used them well for overheads and strings and stuff...we never let anyone sing into them though....that can get expensive.

i wish we had 2 or 4 more of them...awesome mics.
Old 21st December 2011
Gear Nut

Thanks people. Does anyone else want to chime in?
Old 21st December 2011
Gear Addict
useme2305's Avatar

check this out. i have always wondered why there are so many people with broken ribbons in their 4038 and then i saw this video and got even more confused. maybe his 4038 was re-ribboned with a thicker ribbon?

i also heard of a guy who closed the lid of his cole's storage box too fast and boom the ribbon of his 4038 broke.
Old 21st December 2011
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
Originally Posted by useme2305 View Post
i also heard of a guy who closed the lid of his cole's storage box too fast and boom the ribbon of his 4038 broke.
I would be "that guy"... never blew one in use... only not being careful putting it back in the box.

Old 21st December 2011
Lives for gear

I've had two 4038s for about 4 years now.

I sang into one of them when I first got it, without a pop shield, before I knew any better, and it was fine.

I still sing into them regularly, only I use a pop shield now of course. Even so, I'll still get the occasional pop blast cutting through. The mics still seem fine.

I take care when setting them up and putting them away, but have dropped the case once or twice, I've banged the lid once or twice - all this stuff is inevitable if you're regularly using a mic (and the coles are great mics you will want to use on a regular basis).

So I think they're tougher than their reputation. And if I do break a ribbon? well, it's been 4 years and counting...
Old 21st December 2011
Lives for gear

Buy it and use it, and if it breaks fix it. Don't ruin your life wondering.

I had mine on a boom stand once about 3-4 feet in the air, and it fell over, and it was fine. I'm not going to try to drop it again, but my point is there's no way to know, and there's no reason to worry. It's a great mic, so use it!
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