I have no big stake one way or the other... At one point a friend of mine bought a 4038 ribbon to record his trumpet (stunning mic for this) - at that time at home, I had a pair of 414's and a pair of 451's (so large and small condensers), which I kept going back and forth between. While I had access to his 4038, I put it up on drums - actually trying not as a overhead, but as an "old skool" record the drums with one mic thing. And it actually sounded really good- the music I had ever had access to that could actually do that. So from there I tried it as an overhead - along with full micing - and still thought it sounded really great.Hey David ..
Coles vs large diaphragm condensers ?
off topic but what the heck ...
But it is different - 1st off, it's figure-8, so I have to keep the overheads close or they just turn into room mics. 2nd - they are very un-hyped in the high end. Now I'm not a big "roll-off all of the drums out of the overheads" kind of guy. There are two schools of approaching this and thinking of the overheads as "cymbal mics" is not the approach I follow. Not that I don't roll lows out of my overheads - I do. But I like that I don't have to - because everything down to the kick coming through the 4038's sounds pretty good.
What they aren't is "sparkly" - not flat, they aren't. But... if someone wants them brighter, then I find that when boosting the high end they still remain very smooth. So the high's are there - you just have to reach for them - more than a condenser.
So if I was really going for a ECM type jazz thing - they may not be my first choice - I have a pair of Earthworks that I would turn to for that. But I have to say - short of doing an entire project in that specific direction - my work demands serving a wide variety of styles - always sending unprocessed tracks, captured right off the mic pre (no eq, no comp, no nothing) to outside engineers to mix... and so far I've gotten nothing but compliments.
If you're shopping - I can't stress how helpful it is to make use of the Amazon no questions asked return policy offered on most products - buy a pair of something, put them up against what you are currently using, and if you love them, great. But if not, just box them back up and return them to Amazon - you are usually only out the cost of shipping them back... or as someone just pointed out to me the other day... return them to any Kohl's department store that excepts Amazon returns.
Oh and regarding condensers, there are certainly better condensers than the 414 and 451 - and for that matter, probably better ribbons than the 4038 (in a recent flute mic shootout for my ex, the AEA R84 wiped the floor with the 4038 - but that was with flute, not drums).
And then there are mic pres....
At the end of the day, this stuff is just a money black hole - with it sounding better and better the more money you spend. The trick I believe is spending what will serve your needs - and getting full value by making sure your system is balanced - no 6,000 mics into cheap mic pres, etc.