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Author Topic: Recording Singing bowls and gongs  (Read 4500 times)

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Offline SacredMetal

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Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« on: September 27, 2016, 02:58:16 PM »
* Pics of actual setups in Rig Pic forum thread*

Well I joined up yesterday and have been reading as a guest for sometime now, but I am not finding quite what I am looking for.
I am one of those oddball setups of course but could use some help.

I have been recording my own "concerts" and events for the past 2 years or so which are of me playing "Tibetan" singing bowls & Gongs as well as bells & Native American flute (on occasion)
I started with a Zoom H6 and used the X/Y capsules mostly when I started.
Then I picked up a pair of Rode NT-1 mikes. I tried some MXL mikes, but hated them. Tried a few others with not much success, they all just didn't sound right.

BTW, I tried several recorders out before settling on the H6 So I have spent quite a bit of time refining the setup.

Since I am my own roadie & sound man, I mostly only have time for a quick setup & see if I can get someone to do sound check by striking some of my gongs & bowls while I make adjustments & then off I go to play.

Its not like i can babysit my setup once I start & of course I am the only one that understands or even gets what I am doing or trying to do.


Ok now you know my background (or a little or it) I am trying to capture as much of the sounds dynamic range as possible without hard clipping. Of course the gongs can get wild, that's part of their nature (and mine).

I usually run 4 mikes spaced X/Y Zoom mikes & NT-1's a little further out or one of the sets towards the bowls & the other away so I can blend later in the mix.

The balance can be quite good or absolutely unusable but at least I have options. I like being able to run up to 6 mikes on the H6 but feel an F4 or F8 is where I need to go to next due to better quality.


SOOOO There's a lot here to digest & i will post pics of what I have been doing but I need to start somewhere. so here it is.

The questions in order:

F4 or F8? I can probably get by with F4 with power box for mikes
Battery back up options?
Considering trying Bartlett PZM's near the bowls to help cut down gong bleed through
other mike choices without breaking the bank?
Stands can get in the way which is another reason for possibly going PZM
F8 & ipad might be a great way to monitor rig while I'm in drivers seat playing but I can't get lost in the gear otherwise it screws up my set (be nice if I had a roadie...)

Well there you have it. Just trying to improve my sound that I am capturing.

Thanks

« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 07:00:54 PM by SacredMetal »
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2016, 03:19:21 PM »
Quote
The questions in order:

F4 or F8? I can probably get by with F4 with power box for mikes
Battery back up options?
Considering trying Bartlett PZM's near the bowls to help cut down gong bleed through
other mike choices without breaking the bank?
Stands can get in the way which is another reason for possibly going PZM
F8 & ipad might be a great way to monitor rig while I'm in drivers seat playing but I can't get lost in the gear otherwise it screws up my set (be nice if I had a roadie...)

I don't use either, but the F4/F8 are sweet machines. I think you can get channels 5/6 into the F4 using digi in? others can add to that. We own a Tascam DR680 which does have 6 Mic pre's (4 XLR, 2 1/4 inch) plus the ability to add 2 more digi in channels. (cheaper than an F8, but I guess the stock pre-amps are also "cheaper").
Batteries can be had for either, mostly of the DVD Li-On varieties. I prefer SLA types, but I'm not afraid of the weight.
PZM's under or over the main part of your rig should be a good variation. Maybe small-ish DPA's such as the ones which clip to instruments?

There is a user here, M0k3, who has done a lot of recording of "eastern" style music and might have some good ideas for you re mic deployments. (some of which might be "different"- like jecklin discs etc).
I would bet he has some pertinent ideas about your type of setup.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2016, 04:38:41 PM »
Interesting request. Please allow me to ask a few questions which should help us all advise you:

>Is the general arrangement of bowls and gongs shown in the first photo typical of your performance setup or does it vary significantly from performance to performance?
>Are you always performing in the same room, use a few regular locations, or do you not know much about the performance space until you arrive to setup?
>If usually in the same room or a few known locations, what is the sound quality like in those spaces? Specifically:
     How large is the room?  How live sounding or dead sounding is the room?  How quiet is the room?  Is there significant HVAC (air conditioning) hum and vent noise? Buzzing lights? Other noise?
>What is the audience like? Are they usually in quiet contemplative meditative states laying on the floor as in the photos? Seated? Are they ever noisy? Talking or walking around?  Other audible distractions?
>Does your typical performance consist of one seamless piece or a number of different pieces with "non-performance time" in between each?
>And last but not least, what is your goal in recording and the intended use of the recordings? 
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Offline voltronic

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2016, 10:28:18 PM »
Given the very strong harmonics of the bowls and gongs, I'd want to keep this to as few mics as possible; preferably one stereo pair only.  With 4 or 6 mics, I would worry that the nature of the harmonic content combined with the very long sustain could introduce some phase artifacts with multiple pairs if you're not very careful.  The first thing I'd try would be cardiods in ORTF or DIN up rather high depending on the ceiling height and width of the walls in the room, angled down to your ensemble and situated in the position where a conductor would be.

If you're in a larger, more reverberant space with high ceilings, then I'd try a simple spaced omni pair, starting 40-60cm and adjusting from there.  If it's a small room with low ceilings, a pair of fig8s in the classic Faulkner phased array (20 cm spacing, aimed straight ahead) could work for you to put the close boundary reflections in the nulls of the mics.

If a stand in front of you would be in the way, you might consider placing it near where you will be while performing, and using a boom arm, having the mics hanging over top of you and pointing down.

I don't think you necessarily need to upgrade your recorder for what you're doing.  You might be better served saving that money toward new mics down the road.

A question for you: I've always loved prayer bowls, and have considered purchasing one myself.  Can you point me towards a maker / supplier of something that is quality, but reasonably priced?
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Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2016, 01:22:32 AM »
Quote
The questions in order:

F4 or F8? I can probably get by with F4 with power box for mikes
Battery back up options?
Considering trying Bartlett PZM's near the bowls to help cut down gong bleed through
other mike choices without breaking the bank?
Stands can get in the way which is another reason for possibly going PZM
F8 & ipad might be a great way to monitor rig while I'm in drivers seat playing but I can't get lost in the gear otherwise it screws up my set (be nice if I had a roadie...)

I don't use either, but the F4/F8 are sweet machines. I think you can get channels 5/6 into the F4 using digi in? others can add to that. We own a Tascam DR680 which does have 6 Mic pre's (4 XLR, 2 1/4 inch) plus the ability to add 2 more digi in channels. (cheaper than an F8, but I guess the stock pre-amps are also "cheaper").
Batteries can be had for either, mostly of the DVD Li-On varieties. I prefer SLA types, but I'm not afraid of the weight.
PZM's under or over the main part of your rig should be a good variation. Maybe small-ish DPA's such as the ones which clip to instruments?

There is a user here, M0k3, who has done a lot of recording of "eastern" style music and might have some good ideas for you re mic deployments. (some of which might be "different"- like jecklin discs etc).
I would bet he has some pertinent ideas about your type of setup.

Thanks for reply

I'll look up M0k3 to see what they have to say.
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Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2016, 02:08:08 AM »
To answer your questions I will respond in different color


>Is the general arrangement of bowls and gongs shown in the first photo typical of your performance setup or does it vary significantly from performance to performance?
yes & no on setup some is dependent on room and where people can layout for the event Think yoga style on mats facing me (the attendees). The pics were to give you an idea of what I might setup. I can build a 12'wide x 8'tall wall of gongs & still have a few in other stands. I rarely do that due to its big heavy & hard to work with, plus its a lot of running around. Bowls usually on floor & gongs behind me then I place mikes & stands.  They then lay around as best as possible. I have not had any issues yet with bumping or anyone touching the gear. Very respectful community!
Also I can sometimes be in the center of the room & they lay all around rather than one end. It can make things complicated for a taper. But I try different setups as I go; some work great, some not so well...


>Are you always performing in the same room, use a few regular locations, or do you not know much about the performance space until you arrive to setup?
I play in several states in the upper Midwest so some spaces I have been to & can setup the same. Some I have never been in or I may have but they may have moved us around, so setup changes based on what they give me to use. Sometimes I am flanked by others act so I setup, Play, then do a partial tear down & finish up later. The recording gear is just for me & my act.

>If usually in the same room or a few known locations, what is the sound quality like in those spaces? Specifically:
I have had pretty good results with a couple places i love to play in. One we call The Pyramid > it's a pyramid shaped building, very high ceiling walls non parallel, so great sounding room for gongs & the bowls.

How large is the room?  How live sounding or dead sounding is the room?  How quiet is the room?  Is there significant HVAC (air conditioning) hum and vent noise? Buzzing lights? Other noise?
All varies & that is a big problem. Once did a gig & there was a guy running his truck keeping it warm because he was doing deliveries for a sandwich shop (it was -10F outside) In those cases I was using Audition CC for repair & am now considering RX5 instead.

>What is the audience like? Are they usually in quiet contemplative meditative states laying on the floor as in the photos? Seated? Are they ever noisy? Talking or walking around?  Other audible distractions?
usual coughing & occasional snoring but mostly quiet. Sometimes someone chants or sings but that is not an issue unless they are horrible. Then that's an issue. In spectrum mode in Audition I can usually get that down pretty good unless they follow the sound I am creating then it gets tougher to paint it out with the tools.

>Does your typical performance consist of one seamless piece or a number of different pieces with "non-performance time" in between each?
One long piece with me meditating or chanting in the beginning & then again at the end. Some variation from time to time. Depends on what the mood in the space is.

>And last but not least, what is your goal in recording and the intended use of the recordings?
CD quality afterwards my attendees want copies of the performance so they could "relive" it just as we would from a live Dead or other band. I was a taper at Dead shows back in the late 70's/earlier 80's on the east coast. So I know a few things but forgot some too. I sell CD's at events of my "studio" stuff, but some want live. I have over 100G's recorded of my concerts & events. But am at a point now where i could use some people to bounce ideas off of. In the grand scheme it really is not much different than what you all are doing, just a little trickier sometimes due to the instrument setup.

The 1st thing is to create an environment that they the audience cannot get elsewhere. Then create an ambiance that takes them out of their bodies without external stimulation (ie. Drugs or alcohol). What I do really messes with the mind, but in a good way. I studied sound in the 70's, worked with it on & off for the past 40 years but had a corporate computer job for the past 25 or so. Got laid off & have been doing this full time or as much as I can to make my living. Its fun & I actually have a small following & its growing so I want to give them what they want & also I like to listen to what I did so I can make it better each time. Like The Dead, no two shows are the same!

Thanks!!! Great questions, I know I'm in the right place now.

[/quote]
« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 06:58:32 PM by SacredMetal »
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Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2016, 02:31:29 AM »
Given the very strong harmonics of the bowls and gongs, I'd want to keep this to as few mics as possible; preferably one stereo pair only.  With 4 or 6 mics, I would worry that the nature of the harmonic content combined with the very long sustain could introduce some phase artifacts with multiple pairs if you're not very careful.  The first thing I'd try would be cardiods in ORTF or DIN up rather high depending on the ceiling height and width of the walls in the room, angled down to your ensemble and situated in the position where a conductor would be.

If you're in a larger, more reverberant space with high ceilings, then I'd try a simple spaced omni pair, starting 40-60cm and adjusting from there.  If it's a small room with low ceilings, a pair of fig8s in the classic Faulkner phased array (20 cm spacing, aimed straight ahead) could work for you to put the close boundary reflections in the nulls of the mics.

If a stand in front of you would be in the way, you might consider placing it near where you will be while performing, and using a boom arm, having the mics hanging over top of you and pointing down.

I don't think you necessarily need to upgrade your recorder for what you're doing.  You might be better served saving that money toward new mics down the road.

A question for you: I've always loved prayer bowls, and have considered purchasing one myself.  Can you point me towards a maker / supplier of something that is quality, but reasonably priced?

I started going with 4-6 mics due to I was not covering the bowls well enough. I tried this for almost 1 year & it always seemed to lose the end bowls or the smaller ones during quiet passages. I bring it up later but I also bring up a lot of noise. So the extra mics helped & since I give them all separate channels, i can decide how to mix it later.

Choice of mics would be an interesting discussion.

I bought the Rode NT-1's so I could have them modified by Michael Joly.

Originally I was going to go with Busman but I waited & his prices jumped up quite a bit so I went this route.

The Fathead's I just picked up used from GC & almost "stole" them. They were near new & hardly used and I got a great deal on them so...

Another reason was my singing bowl & gong teacher likes to record with ribbons, since he's been doing this much longer than I, I decided to give it a whirl. We have discussed different recording concepts but he is more of a record one bowl at a time guy & hardly records live. I can do that but it loses the essence of what I am doing.


As far as your last question, we can take that offline, I import and sell bowls. I also teach singing bowl & gong classes.  I have also imported most of my gongs. Its all part of the business...

on FB I am known as The Singing Bowl Guy.

Thanks for asking & again, good questions I might try some of them out. The bigger problem is time. I usually get an hour or two beforehand for setup & it usually is just me. Then I get same amount on back end for teardown. The gear setup is the last thing, but I do the best I can in the time constraints. If I have to move chairs or tables, then I'm screwed & usually run out of time. I know I should take more time but there is only me & i am not young or big... (yes, gongs are really heavy, trust me)
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2016, 01:01:57 PM »
The microphone technique and microphones used are going to have the biggest influence on the sound of your recordings.  I suggest optimizing those things before focusing your energies elsewhere.  The recorder is much further down the list of things which matter most, mostly playing a support roll.  Your Zoom H6 should suffice, and with 4 external inputs plus it's X/Y mic you are well covered with sufficient inputs.

You'll need to find an appropriate balance of achieving the sound you want while doing so in a practical, easily managed, and non-intrusive way.

My first inclination is to treat this like mic'ing a percussionist with a pair of spaced overhead mics.  To my way of thinking, this music is all about envelopment and space, movement and resonance, rather than sharply defined, dry pinpoint-stereo imaging, and those attributes will be best conveyed by mic techniques which use space between the microphones.  Some phase interaction here is going to be desirable in conveying a sense of "tangible there-ness".  Simplest will be two mics suspended overhead, spaced apart so as to have approximately equal pickup of the the bowls to either side.  Basically just above and a foot or two away from either side of your head, and  out as far in front of the gongs as from the bowls on the floor.  That will achieve a natural live sounding ambience as well as an even stereo pickup of all sound sources, including the flute, your chanting and whatever else you choose to do.  Omnidirectional mics will be best for this, assuming the room sounds decent.  Cardioid mics facing downwards can work if the room doesn't sound good or there are loud vents at the ceiling, but will not sound as big, full, enveloping, live and natural, and are not as easily placed.   You can of course use mic stands for this, but I'd consider two telescopic or articulating arms clamped to the top bars or uprights of your gong support structures.  That's going to be less cluttered, gets the wires out of the way, and opens space for your free movement during the performance.

I'd like to try three omnis in a Decca-tree like arrangement overhead.  That's a traditional technique used for classical recording using three overhead omnis in a triangle formation.  The 3rd mic positioned at the central vertex of the triangle is mixed to both channels equally, filling out the center.  For large scale orchestra recording it's a largish triangle placed above the conductor's head pointing towards the back of the orchestra. In this case I'd turn the triangle around from that typical orientation so the base of the triangle is toward the gongs and the apex is slightly out in front of you, and should clearly capture the flute, your chanting and any dialog, and the sources out in front.

But because suspending that third mic overhead would be a hassle, I think I'd combine the spaced overhead omni pair with the Zoom X/Y mic placed just out in front and facing back towards you.  That needn't be high above looking down, it could be relatively low to the floor, just not overly close to the bowls immediately around it.  You'd then have even pickup of all sound sources around you, achive a deep, wide and enveloping ambience from the spaced overhead mics, and a solid upfront and clear center image from the X/Y mics in front.  You'll gain good control over balance and depth afterwards via adjusting level balance and eq between the overheads and the X/Y.

Your Rodes are good quality large diaphragm cardioid mics, and you can use them to try out these ideas before buying other gear, but I'd take a look at some small diaphragm omnis or subcardioids.  Their small size will make them much easier to mount and suspend where you want them, and the small diaphragm size also makes for better ambient pickup of sound arriving from off-axis.  Plus your recording kit will be significantly lighter and smaller, and you've got alot of stuff to carry already.  There are numerous mics that would work well.  A couple which come to mind are the Line Audio OM1 (omni) and CM3 (cardioid, yet really more of a sub-cardioid, which is probably a good choice for this).  I've not used them, but they sound very nice on recordings I've heard, are inexpensive and are very small, being not much larger than an XLR connector.

Grab a couple Superclamps and articulated or telescopic extension arms (search for "clamping" threads here at taperssection for option details, or we can point you to them) and give the spaced overhead idea a try using your Rodes, with the X/Y Zoom mic out in front front facing you.  I expect that will work nicely and should be pretty easily manageable.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2016, 01:09:12 PM »
On the PZM idea- 

I'm a strong proponent of the boundary mounting technique for microphones where it make sense, and have had good results with it.  It can be a real problem solver. PZM mics are dedicated boundary layer microphones, and are pretty rugged for use on the floor, but there are others which aren't called "PZM", and any small omnidirectional microphone can be mounted directly against a boundary and will essentially work the same way.  Boundary mounted mics can sound natural and can deal well with taming the unruly reverberance of a space while still sounding clear, but will pickup everything in the room.  The problem in this case is that the obvious boundary to be used is the floor, and placement of the mics on the floor will make them is very close to some sources and much farther from others.  Too much so.  You could possibly place four boundary mics more or less evenly spaced around the floor and mix the resulting channels together,  which sounds somewhat like what you are doing now.  That will achieve a very close, upfront, deep and resonant sound from the closest sources, but will be trickier to get even coverage, and managing the sense of depth and overall balance may be more difficult.  Also, the nature of boundary mounting combined with placement on the floor, means they will be get a clear recording of sounds emanating from the ceiling, where noisy air conditioner vents and buzzy fluorescent lights often hang out.
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Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2016, 06:40:44 PM »
On the PZM idea- 

I'm a strong proponent of the boundary mounting technique for microphones where it make sense, and have had good results with it.  It can be a real problem solver. PZM mics are dedicated boundary layer microphones, and are pretty rugged for use on the floor, but there are others which aren't called "PZM", and any small omnidirectional microphone can be mounted directly against a boundary and will essentially work the same way.  Boundary mounted mics can sound natural and can deal well with taming the unruly reverberance of a space while still sounding clear, but will pickup everything in the room.  The problem in this case is that the obvious boundary to be used is the floor, and placement of the mics on the floor will make them is very close to some sources and much farther from others.  Too much so.  You could possibly place four boundary mics more or less evenly spaced around the floor and mix the resulting channels together,  which sounds somewhat like what you are doing now.  That will achieve a very close, upfront, deep and resonant sound from the closest sources, but will be trickier to get even coverage, and managing the sense of depth and overall balance may be more difficult.  Also, the nature of boundary mounting combined with placement on the floor, means they will be get a clear recording of sounds emanating from the ceiling, where noisy air conditioner vents and buzzy fluorescent lights often hang out.

All good points. A/C has & always will be an issue no matter what I use. The lights are usually turned down or out so depending on dimmer employed that would determine buzz factor. I could always put a filter on the bottom end going in but then I lose some of the bottom end of the gongs. My (2) 40" gongs > one goes down to 18hz, the other around 13hz. Yes they can get stupid low. I have an analyzer program I use for measuring the frequency and harmonics of my bowls for when I sell them.

I have been in conversation with Bruce Barlett recently about their mics. He thinks (2) spaced at my knees going outward should do it. Facing them towards the bowls would also allow me to use my body as a barrier from the gongs as well. I can layer the bowls as to have the smaller ones in front (by me) and stagger size & depth going away. I can also raise the back row on cork blocks for easy reach when playing. I can supply some mic placement pics of different setups.

Again its in constant change & can be some crazy setup's sometimes depending on location & event type.

I'm a slave to audio editing and repair programs for cleaning these up. I don't get much room noise but movement & clothing noise sometimes is a factor besides the occasional stick drop or stand bang (opps). Coughs well we all have to deal with that.

But running a 80hz filter to remove HVAC rumble kinda bothers me, I suppose I could try it & see what it does on one set of mikes for comparison. Then what about something like an Audio Control EpiCenter (I used to work in car stereo many years ago also) to help restore lost bass? Just thinking outside the box here.

I actually try so lay out the bowls for best sound interaction with each other, ease of playing and how well they sound in the room.

I'll post more pics as I dig them up. Feel free to comment. There's been some great dialog so far  & you guyz really have my wheels turning. I was just about ready to buy a whole new setup but now I'm back to refining what I have & seeing what I can change to make it work better for now.
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Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2016, 06:42:54 PM »
I will respond in different color where appropriate

The microphone technique and microphones used are going to have the biggest influence on the sound of your recordings.  I suggest optimizing those things before focusing your energies elsewhere.  The recorder is much further down the list of things which matter most, mostly playing a support roll.  Your Zoom H6 should suffice, and with 4 external inputs plus it's X/Y mic you are well covered with sufficient inputs.Thanks I agree right now

You'll need to find an appropriate balance of achieving the sound you want while doing so in a practical, easily managed, and non-intrusive way.

Yes, I have been trying to achieve that, different rooms have allowed or not allowed me this freedom of setup If room is too small, then I have to make room for the attendees & mike so they are not inconvenienced

My first inclination is to treat this like mic'ing a percussionist with a pair of spaced overhead mics.  I have tried this and found that some of the bowls just were not picked up as much. Either they were too faint or too much. I suppose if I could setup a projection response setup to see which ones project better then I could setup according to what the bowls put out. Different bowls project the sound waves in different patterns. Some out of the top more, some off the sides more. So if I can determine which is which (some I already know) then I could lay the bowls out in a more optimum arrangement so as they will still sound good in the grouping but be laid out better to be recorded. This is why I started to bring this up here. You got me thinking

To my way of thinking, this music is all about envelopment and space, movement and resonance, rather than sharply defined, dry pinpoint-stereo imaging, and those attributes will be best conveyed by mic techniques which use space between the microphones.  Correct, and that is what I am trying to capture and preserve. We all know the best experience is live but a damn good recording of live is pretty close
Some phase interaction here is going to be desirable in conveying a sense of "tangible there-ness".  Correct again, also if there is some sweet phasing happening that adds a harmonic modulation it can be accentuated in headphone listening, in this case its not a bad thing. Sometimes I try to create that harmonic modulation because it may excite a room node & really send people over the edge. Think of droning or drone tones

Simplest will be two mics suspended overhead, spaced apart so as to have approximately equal pickup of the the bowls to either side.  Basically just above and a foot or two away from either side of your head, and  out as far in front of the gongs as from the bowls on the floor.  That will achieve a natural live sounding ambience as well as an even stereo pickup of all sound sources, including the flute, your chanting and whatever else you choose to do.  Ok, I can try that again. I have on a couple setups with mixed results, again, bowls tend to sound weak & gongs too strong.

Omnidirectional mics will be best for this, assuming the room sounds decent. any suggestions of Omni's you would use?

Cardioid mics facing downwards can work if the room doesn't sound good or there are loud vents at the ceiling, but will not sound as big, full, enveloping, live and natural, and are not as easily placed.   I have used the NT-1's like this but again, some bowls seemed a bit weak. I have not tried teh fatheads like this yet since I have only had them for two weeks & used them twice. Still feeling them out.

You can of course use mic stands for this, but I'd consider two telescopic or articulating arms clamped to the top bars or uprights of your gong support structures.
I have considered this since I am using Gibraltar stands. The stands can get going also when the gongs are going, so shock mounts are a must.

That's going to be less cluttered, gets the wires out of the way, and opens space for your free movement during the performance. One of the reasons I choose a back up battery system over just going with a small mixer and recorder. Like I said earlier I have tried out other setups before settling on the H6. I did a back to back comparison on some other records at GC (Guitar Center) and The H6 won by a little bit in the end due to $$$, ease or use & most important sound quality. The battery system allows me to keep most of it in one area, but I can go spaced & tape down the wires if need be.

I'd like to try three omnis in a Decca-tree like arrangement overhead.  That's a traditional technique used for classical recording using three overhead omnis in a triangle formation.  The 3rd mic positioned at the central vertex of the triangle is mixed to both channels equally, filling out the center.  For large scale orchestra recording it's a largish triangle placed above the conductor's head pointing towards the back of the orchestra. In this case I'd turn the triangle around from that typical orientation so the base of the triangle is toward the gongs and the apex is slightly out in front of you, and should clearly capture the flute, your chanting and any dialog, and the sources out in front. Now that sounds interesting

But because suspending that third mic overhead would be a hassle, I think I'd combine the spaced overhead omni pair with the Zoom X/Y mic placed just out in front and facing back towards you.  Well with the Gibraltar stand that might be possible depending on how I setup the bars & clamps. I have a ton of clamps & can probably come up with some sort of flying setup, I may have to balance or weigh the back end but that's doable.I will have to look this one up to see what you mean. but definitely worth a try That needn't be high above looking down, it could be relatively low to the floor, just not overly close to the bowls immediately around it.  You'd then have even pickup of all sound sources around you, achieve a deep, wide and enveloping ambience from the spaced overhead mics, and a solid upfront and clear center image from the X/Y mics in front.  You'll gain good control over balance and depth afterwards via adjusting level balance and eq between the overheads and the X/Y. NICE!!!

Your Rodes are good quality large diaphragm cardioid mics, and you can use them to try out these ideas before buying other gear, but I'd take a look at some small diaphragm omnis or subcardioids.  Their small size will make them much easier to mount and suspend where you want them, and the small diaphragm size also makes for better ambient pickup of sound arriving from off-axis.  Plus your recording kit will be significantly lighter and smaller, and you've got alot of stuff to carry already.  There are numerous mics that would work well.  A couple which come to mind are the Line Audio OM1 (omni) and CM3 (cardioid, yet really more of a sub-cardioid, which is probably a good choice for this).  I've not used them, but they sound very nice on recordings I've heard, are inexpensive and are very small, being not much larger than an XLR connector.

Grab a couple Superclamps and articulated or telescopic extension arms (search for "clamping" threads here at taperssection for option details, or we can point you to them) and give the spaced overhead idea a try using your Rodes, with the X/Y Zoom mic out in front front facing you.  I expect that will work nicely and should be pretty easily manageable.
Excellent!

I'll see what I have for pics to show different setups. Its been work in progress than keeps getting better.

I had a "studio" well yoga studio I was working out of over the past year but just recently lost the lease. So now I am looking for a new place to call home. The intent is to be able to setup the gongs so I have a permanent installation & then build in a sound & recording system so all i have to do is turn it on & I am ready to go. But I still travel and so events so there is always that piece. I think using up to 6 mics is not unreasonable if each is covering an area that is lacking. Using common sense goes along ways, but discussing it with others helps further all of us along.

Some say its no different than miking a drum set, problem is I disagree. A drum has attack & quick decay so less bleed to other mics. A singing bowl can ring (high quality) for several minutes, so sometimes that is desirable sometimes it is not. I have learned that mixing individual bowls recorded as samples does not sound the same as recording several bowls together. There is an interaction in the harmonics and phasing that occurs naturally that mixing does not achieve. Then there is the live in front of an audience factor, things happen when others are in the space with you. You all know it, you all have been there & from the performers view, we know it too, that's partly why we do it.

Thanks again, lots to chew on & lots of research to do. Now I am chomping at the bit wanting to setup and play... Need a new place 1st.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 11:40:58 PM by SacredMetal »
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Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2016, 07:42:01 PM »
Just looked up Decca Tree arrangement That looks like it might cover just about every setup I do except when I build a wall of gongs. The Gibraltar stand could be setup to support that array and the weight of the big gongs should keep it from tipping over.

I could do a modified pyramid cap on the stand to have the placement adjustable of course I need ceiling height to achieve this.

Awesome!
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 07:42:14 AM by SacredMetal »
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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2016, 07:59:30 PM »
This was an interesting site i found not sure if it has been seen here before:


http://www.sengpielaudio.com/Visualization-NOS-E.htm

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2016, 08:15:48 PM »
I would be wary of a "true" Decca Tree that uses three omnis for this application, unless you're in a large hall or church with excellent acoustics.  It's going to grab gobs of room sound.  What I would take from the Decca Tree idea is the mounting scheme, but instead use cardioid (or subcardiod) mics angled downwards.  The main L/R pair will set your main stereo image, and the center mic will provide the "reach" toward the rear of your setup if needed and can be mixed in to taste.

As you can see in my signature, I'm a big fan of Line Audio products (click the link for lots of samples).  The CM3 could work well for you here in that it has a broad pickup pattern but still provides very good rear rejection.  That will make it flexible for rooms of different size and quality.
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Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2016, 09:24:41 PM »
I would be wary of a "true" Decca Tree that uses three omnis for this application, unless you're in a large hall or church with excellent acoustics.  It's going to grab gobs of room sound.  What I would take from the Decca Tree idea is the mounting scheme, but instead use cardioid (or subcardiod) mics angled downwards.  The main L/R pair will set your main stereo image, and the center mic will provide the "reach" toward the rear of your setup if needed and can be mixed in to taste.

As you can see in my signature, I'm a big fan of Line Audio products (click the link for lots of samples).  The CM3 could work well for you here in that it has a broad pickup pattern but still provides very good rear rejection.  That will make it flexible for rooms of different size and quality.

Thanks, I am just looking & learning right now. I know some rooms that this would be perfect for.
Zoom X/Y, Zoom M/S, Rode NT-1's, Rode NTK, Cascade Fathead
Zoom H6
Mogami Silver cables
5V USB 10,400mAh Backup battery
(it may not be the greatest but its a good start...)

 

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