If I could compare hearing sound through a Coles 4038 to another real-life experience it would be similar to eating chocolate cake while having a massage on a cloud and someone levitates an americano to me using the force.
Recently, I recorded our first 3 piece band at The Space. Since The Space' Grand Opening, we've been recording from the ground up for most artists; building instruments and layering. Generally this starts with an instrument, a click track and a scratch vocal that 1 out of 10 times we keep. But this recent experience in the studio was the opposite and a breath of fresh air for me as an engineer, and took me back to the good ol' days and my roots at Rec W. There were a lot of firsts for this project among the aforementioned, it was the first time I used our two new stereo pairs: Royer 121's & Coles 4038's. It was also the first project at The Space that I've mixed analog summing through the ShadowHills Equinox.
Coles 4038's (Matched Pair) ---> Shadow Hills Gama Pre's ---> Shadow Hills Mastering Comp (Dual Mono)
I know that we have a good live room at The Space. I'm blessed by it actually, as in the past I've had to work much harder to combat early reflections and rooms that have been less than ideal. I didn't know how good it was until I captured it with the signal chain listed above. I used the Coles as 'underheads' The snare was my focus. The Coles and the snare made an equilateral triangle about 4' from each other. No, I didn't take a great picture, I need to get better at taking pictures, but here is a clip that you can hear: Coles 4038 Drum Clip
The rest of the drums, close mics, overheads and room, went through API 3124's. A clip of the full kit will follow..
I probably don't need to mention that, the drums sounded great in the room & a great drummer was playing them, which is a necessary recipe for success and getting great drum sounds. Although, I can't help but wonder if the Coles (along with the rest of the signal chain) would give some life and perhaps some magic to a crappy kit. I'm sure it would have its place somewhere in the world of creating music.
There is always the potential that the sounds that I create could be just noise. I've learned to look a bit further down the road of the recording process and keep the song as the priority. If a sound is cool but doesn't work for the song, there is no room for it. The bigger the sound, the more energy it takes up in the mix and the less room there is for other sounds. Maybe this can be the topic of our next blog..