Special Interview: The appeal of the "C-800G" and "C-38B," as told by recording professionals

Special Interview: The appeal of the "C-800G" and "C-38B,"  as told by recording professionals

The "C-800G" and "C-38B" microphones are individually handcrafted
with care at Sony/Taiyo Corporation.
We interviewed music industry professionals who actually use these two microphones
in their music recordings to tell us more about their appeal.
Why have these people continued to use these microphones over several decades?
Let's get to the heart of the matter.

Our "go-to" microphone when we need to ensure that sound is
heard in its purest form

Watanabe : Although it has been almost twenty years since the release of the "C-800G," this microphone is still a youngster when it comes to vacuum tube microphones, as there are still many "vintage" microphones in existence in this industry. However, despite the large number of new microphones that have been released since the "C-800G," I am yet to come across one that can match it for its outstanding performance. Perhaps that's because the "C-800G" is still relatively new, but I feel it has a broad dynamic range in comparison to other vacuum tube mics. While it's important for a microphone to have a robust mid-range, the special feature of this mic is that it also delivers brilliant high-range and bass notes.

Takashi Watanabe
Junji Matsuo

Matsuo : Yes, the high-range notes are particularly beautiful. I was surprised by the delicacy of the sound the first time I heard it used. I often find myself choosing the "C-800G" when I want to make sure the sound heard will be crystal clear, such as for guitar solos. This applies to the piano as well, but it's particularly suited to recording melodious phrases. It is also characterized by its acoustic image. The acoustic image is like the presence of the sound that is felt when heard through speakers. For example, if organizing a large orchestra, the result will be absolutely fantastic when this microphone is used for the vocal layer. Its large acoustic image means that aside from vocals, it is also frequently used for the main instruments, particularly for the acoustic guitar or piano.

Almighty and versatile with unadulterated sound

Matsuo : That's not the only great thing about this mic. Aside from obvious uses such as recording the main musical instruments, it's also superb as an audience mic to capture the sense of space and acoustic vibrancy. It's quite rare to find such a multifaceted microphone. More commonly, a mic that is used for the main instruments cannot be used for anything else. However, the broad range of the "C-800G" means that this microphone is capable of reproducing acoustic images as a main mic, while still being able to record the sense of space needed for an audience mic. This is quite remarkable.

Watanabe : Measurement microphones have long been used for audience recording, because these microphones need to be able to record pure, unadulterated sound. In this respect, the "C-800G" is versatile as it can be used in place of measurement microphones without interference. That's why we say it's almighty and versatile!


The best thing is the ability to record sound exactly as you hear it

Matsuo : This mic also delivers really sharp sound, with a great response to notes that are struck abruptly, as it captures the full spectrum of each note. This makes the "C-800G" suitable for getting the most out of raw sounds when the acoustic image size and range width are considered. In recording, an equalizer is generally used to create the sound while controlling the tone, but with this mic, it's usually best not to tamper with the sound. The best sound can be recorded simply by using the sound as is, without interference. Great sound can be achieved when the sound source and microphone position are matched perfectly.

Watanabe : Yes, I agree that the best sound can be achieved when recorded exactly as it is heard. I'm sure that musicians also feel the same way. It's satisfying to hear that the sounds you play are being reproduced with precision. That's why these mics have earned such a great reputation among musicians.

Mics that have earned the trust of professionals

Matsuo : The "C-38B" also remains in active use today. It is also known as the "manzai (comic dialogue) mic" or the "nodo-jiman (singing contest) mic" because it is often used to record speech or singing vocals. Some people like to use it for recording guitars, and it is also used for traditional Japanese instruments such as the koto. It can also be used with batteries for even better sound. People are surprised to discover that both the "C-800G" and the "C-38B" are made by hand. I've used both mics for many years, and I can't really recall them ever having broken. That's important, because when we're recording under tight schedules, even a single broken microphone can really put a spanner in the works, so it's a relief to know how reliable they are.

Watanabe : Yes, in that sense, they really do give you a sense of stability. I'm sure that the reason we have been using them for so long is because they're hard to break and are highly reliable, not to mention their superb audio quality. Actually, many of the other items we use in our recording studio, such as our headphones, have also been manufactured by Sony/Taiyo. It's not something we are always conscious of, but Sony/Taiyo has really supported us by providing us with the high caliber of equipment we need to make our high-level recordings.