Abbey Road Institutes House Microphones


Abbey Road Institute’s microphone locker houses some of the finest microphones ever to grace the inside of a recording studio. From large diaphragm and tube condensers, ribbons and dynamic microphones. Abbey Road Institute students have access to legendary microphones usually reserved for the upper echelons of the recording industry.  

From mics such as the Neumann U87ai, probably the most famous vocal mic of all time to the  amazing AEA R88 MkII stereo ribbon. A matched pair of the BBC designed Coles 4038’s stereo ribbon, Royer 121’s, and the famous AKG C414s ”“ widely considered the best overhead mics ever made ”“ all contribute to a truly world-class microphone collection! Add in the  Neumann M147, AKG C451’s, Neumann Km184’s and the EV RE20 and Abbey Road students are guaranteed to capture every amazing details of their performances.  

How many microphones can you spot?  

Here is a short microphone breakdown, should we maybe call it ARI’s staff favourite Microphones choices?

R88 mkII:

The R88 mkII is a stereo ribbon microphone. The R88 utilises a Blumlein design to capture a full and rich sound. The Blumlein technique is two figure-of-8 microphones, set in close proximity at 90-degree angles giving a detailed stereo image.

The Blumlein technique was developed in the Abbey Road Studios in the 1930’s. It was developed by Alan Blumlein who was an engineer for EMI.

The r88 mkII is an excellent microphone for recording drum overheads, as a room microphone, orchestral, guitar amps and choirs.
This microphone can be heard on the Life Of Pi soundtrack, The White Stripes albums and albums from the Strokes.

Coles 4038:

This unique looking microphone has been used during the course of the Beatles career on a number of recordings. The STC 4038 has established itself as a widely used broadcast microphone within the BBC, and are still being used by the BBC to this day.


The 4038 is a bi-directional ribbon microphone, and Norman Smith primarily used the microphone as an overhead mic on Ringo’s drumkit. Geoff Emerick recalls using the 4038 for the Abbey Road album: “I was experimenting with 4038s on overheads. They’re big ribbons; you have to boost the high end. But there was a certain relationship, for some reason, on the 4038s, between mixing them in with the close mics, that really worked. Something to do with the phasing, I suppose. When you reversed the phase on the snare mic, it always came as a much bigger, fatter snare sound when you used the 4038s. It had to do with the bottom end on them. And they were also figure-of-eight, so it was kicking back”..

The famous Coles 4038 Ribbon microphone can be heard throughout the history of Abbey Road. It was used to mic Paul’s bass cabinet during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, as the tonal characteristics of the mic were well suited to capturing some of the “creamier”. bass sounds from that era. It is also a popular mic for recording brass, french horns, Leslie cabinets, electric guitar and vocals.

This microphone has be used on countless albums, it was used as a mono overhead on Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the gates of dawn.

Neumann U87:

The Neumann U87 was the first solid-state Neumann mic that Abbey Road embraced in 1969. The mic was designed as a more ”˜modern’ and trouble-free replacement for the popular U67. The large diaphragm condenser microphone that has a huge history behind it. The U87 has been used on John Lennon’s – Imagine, Marvin Gayes’ – Whats going on, Jeff Buckley’s – Grace.

The U87 is a versatile microphone, with its balanced and warm sound it can be used on multiple sources. Mainly seen as a vocal microphone it can be used on acoustic guitars, room/overheads for drums, Piano.