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OmnidirectionalCardioidSony C38B

Multi-Pattern Condenser Microphone

The Sony C38B is a large-diaphragm side-address condenser. The mic is capable of cardioid or omni polar patterns, via a mechanical control that opens (Cardioid) or closes (Omni) the acoustic ports on the rear of the capsule. The pattern-switch knob protrudes from the capsule, through the rear side of the headbasket.

In Cardioid mode, the mic’s pattern control is excellent, with 15–25dB rejection at 180°, below 5kHz. In Omni, the pattern is consistent below 1kHz; in the higher octaves, the mic is brighter on-axis than off-axis.

A rotary switch built into the XLR jack allows multiple low-frequency EQ settings:

  • M - no EQ.
  • M1 - 70Hz rolloff.
  • V1 - 140Hz rolloff.
  • V2 - 280Hz rolloff.
  • Off - shuts off internal battery (if installed)

The lower half of the microphone body can be opened to reveal a 9V battery slot, and a switch enabling a high-shelf EQ described by MIX as “-6dB/octave at 7kHz.”

A second control in the battery compartment enables a -8dB pad. Given the mic’s relatively low sensitivity of ~4mV/Pa, the pad would likely only be needed for very loud sources.

The C38B was introduced in 2003, the most recent edition to a design dating back to 1965. The original C-38 FET was the first mic to use FET circuitry and used the same capsule and body as the C-37 Tube.

The mic uses a large 1.3-inch, 6-micron Mylar capsule with a single diaphragm.

It can be powered via 48VDC phantom, or an internal 9V battery.

Mix, 2004
Compared to the Sony C-38B, a Soundelux U195 sounded less open and less “in your face”; the Sony was much more present. An AKG C 414 ULS had less top, bottom and lower midrange than the C-38B, while a Neumann U87 was thinner-sounding due to an upper mid-range boost as compared to the flatter C-38B. Only the much more expensive Neumann M149 tube beat the Sony in overall openness and bigness in sound.

The Sony C38B is also known as: C-38 FET.

The mic was released in 2003.


Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Omnidirectional (4.47 mV/Pa; 30 - 18,000 Hz)
Cardioid (4.47 mV/Pa; 30 - 18,000 Hz)
  • Pad: -8dB (Via Switch)
  • Filter: Low cut 100Hz (Via Switch)
  • Filter: low cut 200Hz (Via Switch)
  • Filter: low cut 500Hz (Via Switch)
  • Filter: -6dB/octave 7kHz roll-off (Via Switch)
Capsule Dimensions Impedance SPL/Noise
Capsule diameter: 33.8mm
Diaphragm gauge: 6 microns
250 Ohms (Low) Max SPL: 140 dB
Self-noise: 24.0 dB(A)
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
650g (22.93oz) 214mm (8.43'') 46mm (1.81'')
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications
  • Requires phantom power
  • Has battery compartment (9V)
  • Phantom voltage: 48v

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