Testing the Coles 4038, Beyerdynamic M 160 and Nohype Audio SRM-1
The Coles 4038 and the Beyerdynamic M160 are both legends in their own domains.
While the Coles has a classic figure-of-8 pattern, the M160 is a hypercardioid microphone.
The NoHype Audio SRM-1, on the other hand, is a new stereo ribbon that offers a very different approach: in this video, we used one capsule to pick up the guitar sound, while the other one pointed towards the vocals. We mixed the signal of the two capsules equally, but this stereo mic technique offers many more possibilities. During mixing, it’s possible to set the levels according to the balance that you need and you can even add individual effects for each channel.
You can find more information about the benefits of a stereo ribbon for recording an instrument and vocals simultaneously in this article: MicTip #1 stereo ribbon technique for vocals and guitar.
Mono vs. stereo ribbon microphones
Even a single ribbon microphone like the Coles 4038 is great for capturing the voice and the guitar at the same time. Its figure-8 pattern is very consistent throughout the entire frequency range. Due to its proximity effect, it should not be positioned too close to the source. Otherwise, it will sound boomy with just too much bass. But at higher distances, the guitar recorded with the Coles 4038 sounded full-bodied, and the vocals rich and intimate.
The Beyerdynamic M160 is a special ribbon mic intended for closer recording distances. It has a hypercardioid pattern, which can be handy when you need to focus on a single sound source.
Recording guitar and vocals with only one mic isn’t a task where the Beyerdynamic M160 can shine. For example, it would perform much better in front of a single amp or a hi-hat. As it reduces the sound coming from the side and the back by up to -25dB, the Beyerdynamic M 160 is also an excellent choice for live concerts.
But this test is not about better or worse. Instead, it gives an idea of how these mics deal with specific things like room ambience and proximity.