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The SONY C 38, from 1965 , was the first condenser microphone with FET ( Field Effect Transistor ) technology; a type of transistor that is used in low-noise electronic equipment. The FET technology put an end to the rule of the tube mics, like the Neumann U 47 and U 67 and the Sony C 37, Sony's first great studio microphone, from 1955 . While tube microphones needed their own external power supply, the C 38 was powered by a 9 volt battery, which could be inserted in the unfolding lower part of the microphone itself. The 38 C was cardioid or omni-directional, by means of a mechanical shutter, at the back of the diaphragm, slots could be opened (cardioid) or closed (omni). Around the cable entry a second switch gave a choice of different eq settings.

The microphone was an instant success and Neumann based his design of the U 67 FET and U 87 on it (which also features an internal battery compartment). The C 38 can handle high volumes and has pleasant high frequencies, which some compare to the sound of ribbon microphones .

In the Sixties these microphones were used by the Beach Boys, after which the Beatles chose to use them as well (as kick drum mic on the 'Abbey Road' album). On Lou Reed's 'Walk on the wild side', it is used for the snare drum. The Sony C 38 is a great all - rounder, for example, for voice, electric guitar or horns .

The mic underwent minor changes (in 1969 as C 38 A with a different grill, from 1971, as C 38 B, it could also function on phantom power) and went out of production in the 90's . In 2003, it was re-released. More than 65,000 were still in use world wide, at that time. How much still function nowadays in unknown, Sony does not service or repair the older versions anymore.



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