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Author Topic: Recording Singing bowls and gongs  (Read 3514 times)

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Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2016, 08:12:45 AM »
What a wonderful addition to the TS club! :cheers:

I've recorded Tatsuya Nakatani several times with a couple basic set ups... split ADK TL omnis spaced about 6' or a single DINa pair of DPA 4021. His style is more percussion and gong centric with a few bowl flavors mixed in, but the challenge is similar.

The rooms have varied. The audiences have been uniformly transfixed during his performances so what ever variations might occur to change the sound is all due to room effects.

We'd love to hear some of your work, now and if you adopt any of the great recommendations discussed.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2016, 10:56:04 AM »
^ Reading this thread I also thought of Tatsuya Nakatani.  The one time I saw and recorded him he was concentrating primarily on bowed gongs, using heavy bows of his own design drawn along the edge of the gongs to excite them into resonance.  Some of the gongs were massive.  Fantastic sounds in a good acoustic.  Really interesting stuff.

This was an interesting site i found not sure if it has been seen here before:

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

Yes that's a quite useful application, linked to frequently.  There are other similar on-line and off line apps, but that one is pretty straightforward and easy to understand.  It leverages the relationship between the pickup pattern, the spacing and the angle between a pair of microphones and the resulting stereo image which that combination produces on playback.  That relationship is explained best in the Stereo Zoom paper by Michael Williams.  It describes a way to choose amongst various points along the continuum of microphone spacing and angle relationships with regards to the desired playback image.  Keep in mind however that it deals primarily with the singular aspect of stereo imaging between playback speakers, and not so much other equally if not more important aspects of stereo reproduction such as the balance between the direct and reverberant sound, the nature of the pickup of ambient room sound outside of the "imaging window" between speakers, the sense of envelopment and space.  But it is nearly always a good starting point, and choosing between the various semi-equivalent relationships it suggests allows one to keep that part of the puzzle "solved for", while optimizing for that other stuff.  It provides excellent insights into the basic stereo microphone pair relationship, and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about how stereo reproduction works.

However, it applies most directly to coincident and near-spaced mic pair setups and doesn't really apply as directly to widely spaced multi-microphone techniques and "oddball" mic setups we're discussing.

volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

"Narrow or widely spaced microphone configurations are preferred. It is well-known experience that pure coincidence microphone concepts are not able to produce a satisfying natural spatial impression, due to the lack of adequate interchannel temporal relations (time-of-arrival, phase, correlation)" -Günther Theile
"The mix of the Double M/S signals with a large A/B configuration of omnis results in the spacious sound that is often desired. This option also provides decorrelated low-frequency signals." -Helmut Wittek

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2016, 11:29:35 AM »
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..

Inverse square law saves the day with this concern I think, which says that "The intensity of sound is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the signal source" which means that sound intensity diminishes by 6dB for every doubling of distance, in free field conditions (which is close enough to the source that the direct sound dominates). 

[Edit]
As pointed out to me in a PM, a more appropriate measure for us in this regard is sound pressure rather than sound intensity, which is defined by a simple inverse relationship (1/r) rather than an inverse square relationship (1/r2) in the free field.  The always helpful Herr Sengpiel explains the differences here, and sums it up as such-

"Sound engineers and sound designers (ear people) are mainly interested in sound field quantities and consider more the sound pressure drop at distance doubling (Schalldruckabfall - Entfernungsverdopplung). Acousticians and sound protectors (noise fighters) are mainly interested in sound energy quantities and consider here the sound intensity drop at distance doubling."
[/edit]

Regardless of the measure used, the implication is the same- in plain speak, as long as the mics are close enough to the source, the direct sound tends to dominate over the reverberant sound.  I'm talking about positioning the mics considerably lower and closer to the sources than a traditional classical Decca Tree, and the inverse square law is what allows it to work in a less that perfect room.  I've made numerous recordings with four omnis in a row across the front of the stage in mediocre sounding rooms which worked well, I expect precisely because of this.  Those recordings would not have worked as well if the omnis were placed further away in those rooms.   But yes, if there is too much reverberant pickup, substituting more directional mics will cut down on that when necessary.  But part of the reason for suggesting a something along the lines of a Decca Tree arrangement, besides achieving a relatively even coverage with similar distances to all sources, is the nature of the playback ambience it achieves.  Like the four omnis in a row, I find Decca Tree sort of "embellishes the sound with it's own signature presence and ambience", even in less than ideal rooms.  Some would say that's an artificial artifact imposed by the setup, and I might agree, but who cares if it sounds good and works for the subject matter. We're creating sonic worlds here where the music and our emotional response to it is what is important, and not trying to make an accurate documentation of the acoustics of the particular performance space.

More on this in a following post, exploring possible variations based on Singing Bowl Guy's comments about some of the bowls on the floor sounding thin recorded with overhead mics.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 03:30:06 PM by Gutbucket »
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

"Narrow or widely spaced microphone configurations are preferred. It is well-known experience that pure coincidence microphone concepts are not able to produce a satisfying natural spatial impression, due to the lack of adequate interchannel temporal relations (time-of-arrival, phase, correlation)" -Günther Theile
"The mix of the Double M/S signals with a large A/B configuration of omnis results in the spacious sound that is often desired. This option also provides decorrelated low-frequency signals." -Helmut Wittek

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2016, 12:51:53 PM »
Quote
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.

[snip]

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.

Funny, I immediately thought about the sort of di-polar radiation of gongs, and didn't think about the vibrational modes of a bowl, which like a bell I'd expect to radiate primarily in the horizontal plane as the walls of the bowl vibrate.  With that in mind I understand how many of the bowls might sound quieter and generally less solid when mic'd from above.  Your empirical knowledge based on actual experience is always the most valuable information and trying things is only way to really test conceptual ideas which might seem great "on paper".

What about your cardioids spaced apart and placed low, set up to either side and slightly behind you, parallel to each other and facing forward out into the room, with their primary axis pointing across the top of the bowls.  They then will be more on-axis with the sides of the bowls instead of looking down into them from above.  Yes they will be more or less directly under, between, or just in front of the gongs.  Inverse square law works against us this time, making the gongs louder by their proximity, but there are a few things which might work to counter that and balance that.  Namely the directional pickup pattern of the cardioids and the dipolar radiation tendencies of gongs.  If the cardioids are pointed 90 degrees off-axis from the gongs, the direct sound from the gongs will be picked up with 6dB less sensitivity than the bowls which are on-axis with the mics (cardioids have similar sensitivity for everything within something like a +/- 60 degrees off axis from the center-line of the mic.  And they'll pick up even less if the mics are shifted forward of the gongs somewhat, so that the direct line to the gongs to those mics is more towards the backside of the cardioid pattern.  The other thing is the dipolar radiation pattern of the gongs.  Their direct sound will be much louder in front and behind than along the plane directly to the sides, above and below.  So placing the mics in the same plane as the gongs is sort of like taking the "bowls sound quiet and thinner when mic'd from above" observation and using that to advantage as a way to intentionally pick up less direct radiation from the gongs.  You'll still get plenty of gong sound, maybe too much.  They won't radiate entirely and cleanly as a textbook dipole, plus there will be plenty of diffuse gong sound bouncing around the room which will be picked up regardless of where the mics are or which direction they point.  This will take some experimentation to get a feel for the appropriate position relationship between the gongs and the mics.

I'd still combine that with the X/Y mic out in front, facing toward you across the top of the bowls in the center.  I think the combination of a wide mic pair and the coincident center X/Y pair provides lots of mixing flexibility along with combining the best of both methods- the sharp imaging of the X/Y from a front center audience perspective, and the big open ambience and depth of the spaced pair.  In a way, you are placing yourself and the array of bowls within a very close, inward-pointing decca-tree triangle, using all cardioid mics and an X/Y pair at the apex.  Yeah, that's a bit of a reach, but I can see the continuum from classic Decca Tree to this.

Thinking about it, I like this idea for some other reasons too, somewhat related to the recording I do with my oddball surround recording setups.  The X/Y mic is in front facing away from the audience and at you. The wide-spaced cardioids are in back pointing out into the room and facing the audience.  The bowls on either side are closest to the wide-spaced cardioids (arranged as necessary for best balance and playability) so the bowls will be the most up-front and present sounding things in those hard-panned Left/Right channels, and pickup of the audience and room sound will be reproduced widely and diffusely from the Left and Right speakers.  The X/Y mic is facing away from the audience so the center of the image isn't cluttered with audience and room ambience but focused primarily on the bowls across the center of your arc in front of you, your speaking, singing and flute playing.  The entire bowl and gong array is picked up with X/Y stereo cues as well as spaced time of arrival cues, and the gongs are far enough away to not overpower the X/Y channels.  The three mic positions should get decent coverage of all sources with good proximity to everything, and the phase/time-of-arrival between the three positions should be sufficient for capturing good sounding modal phase stuff, while being different enough and limited in number so as not cause a comb filtered mess.

Remember when mixing it that the mics are pointed in opposite directions.  So think in terms of stage-left/stage-right rather than mic-left/mic-right when mixing the left cardioid with the left X/Y channel and vice versa.

This isn't actually that far from Bruce's suggestion, and if you were interested in trying to do this using only two microphones I think his suggestion is the best so far.  This mostly just shifts those two spaced cardioids somewhat so they work better in combination with the center X/Y mic facing the other way.   
« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 01:07:26 PM by Gutbucket »
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

"Narrow or widely spaced microphone configurations are preferred. It is well-known experience that pure coincidence microphone concepts are not able to produce a satisfying natural spatial impression, due to the lack of adequate interchannel temporal relations (time-of-arrival, phase, correlation)" -Günther Theile
"The mix of the Double M/S signals with a large A/B configuration of omnis results in the spacious sound that is often desired. This option also provides decorrelated low-frequency signals." -Helmut Wittek

Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2016, 06:34:27 PM »
Here is a picture of a type of bowl I use that produces more sound out of the top than the sides. Its designed that way & used in Japanese Buddhist Temples. The sound is very reverberant by itself but when you add two or three its just gets insane. My 1st CD :The Singing Bowl guy was made using those bowls on the last track. I recorded/sampled the bowls and then remixed them in Ableton piecing it together. I then made a demo & passed out about 100 copies (not at once, a few at a time) while I tweaked it every few weeks to see what needed work. After 6 months I produced it myself because two people I hired just could not get it how I wanted it done. They just could not see my vision. In reality they almost ruined the project or how I related to it & it ended up sitting for several months till I was coaxed by my wife to start it up again.

It is a far from perfect project but I now have something I can sell & use as a calling card when looking for places to play. Everyone loves it, some fall asleep others have out of body experiences some literally cried when they heard it. I sell it to lots of yoga & massage therapists as well as a few alternative doctors. This is the area I really serve but now they want live material because there just is more emotional in the content.

Anyway getting back to the setup... From these discussions I realize I need to standardize my setup a little more. But I am always wary of doing the same thing & end up being boring repeating what I do. Once I have a studio lined up again & can plant the gear so I don't have to move it, testing out the different setups will be much easier to achieve.


Some of the setups suggested I have tried to some success or failure for one reason or another.

Which leads me to another question. Many times I record mostly by setting the meters rather than listening, I know that sounds terrible as far as application but many times I just can't hear what is actually going on> this is because of many factors mainly setting up the instruments then setting up the recording gear, by that time I am ready to do a "Sound check" I already have people coming in & laying out or wanting to talk to me so distractions are easy to get.

SO I use a pair of AKG 240's for my headphones They are 20+ years old & still in great shape. Bought them when I studied multitrack recording back in early 90's in college (just as digital was coming to age) So we were still using 2" tape for mastering back then. anyway suggestions for headphones or a headphone amp that runs on batteries? I like my battery pack ideas since I don't need to drag out any more cords & one less thing to introduce hum or noise (most of the time).
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Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2016, 06:39:02 PM »
Finding pictures that are not too large & get the point across...

Anyway the picture above is me playing one of the Japanese temple bowls. Their shape is designed to "shoot" the sound uup rather than out & have a distinct harmonic sound when stuck. The sound has been described as "trippy."

Anyway here are some other pics from a gong duet I did at the old studio with a gal from Trinidad who was visiting.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2016, 08:37:40 PM »
That's a very impressive array of instruments. I'd love to come experience one of your performances! 

Most around here recording live music "record by the meters" rather than listening while setting up and recording.  Monitoring on headphones at the event is for most here at TS primarily useful to make sure nothing is obviously wrong.  It's simply too difficult to hear clearly enough to make quality value judgements.  It's also somewhat of a practical issue in that in many cases the recordist can't really assess things accurately until a performance begins, and once it begins significant changes cannot be made without compromising the recording.  So we tend to listen and assess things afterwards, back at home, and implement changes the next time out, or the next time in a similar circumstance. That makes setup tweaks and modifications much more difficult to asses, and slows the iterative cycle of improvement significantly.  For that reason many will tend to stick to tried and true stereo mic'ing methods which work well most of the time, for most situations, and leave it at that.  Good enough, rather than always searching for better, at least in terms of microphone configurations.  It's easier for concert tapers to stick with a mic setup (or a few) which has proven to work well for them, and focus on switching the microphones and other gear around in the search for further improvement.

You have somewhat more capability of listening and assessing things while setting up at least, if not while performing, yet the situation is complicated by you acting as both recordist and performer.  Beyond that basic issue, even though you aren't dealing with trying to hear what's in your headphones over leakage from a loud PA, you'll still need highly isolating headphones or in-ear monitors to exclude the sound in the room from influencing what you are hearing in the headphones as much as possible.  Other threads here discuss isolating headphones and in ear monitors.  Your recorder's headphone amp is probably sufficient to drive them, but if you are looking for a decent inexpensive small battery-powered headphone amp, I saw a Headroom Airhead in the yard-sale section here today (I've no affiliation with that sale).  I used to have an earlier version of that amp and found it a nice little battery powered amp.  These days when I do plug in phones to the recorders I just use the recorder's built-in headphone amp.

It looks like that Japanese temple bowl has more of a 'return' to it at the lip, more closed in at the top so the walls of the bowl are not parallel just below the rim, and wonder if that has something to do with the more vertical radiation pattern.

I was in a percussion shop a few months ago and was fascinated by some truly massive tuned bowls turned from some sort of white stone.  The deep resonance from them was really impressive!
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

"Narrow or widely spaced microphone configurations are preferred. It is well-known experience that pure coincidence microphone concepts are not able to produce a satisfying natural spatial impression, due to the lack of adequate interchannel temporal relations (time-of-arrival, phase, correlation)" -Günther Theile
"The mix of the Double M/S signals with a large A/B configuration of omnis results in the spacious sound that is often desired. This option also provides decorrelated low-frequency signals." -Helmut Wittek

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2016, 08:45:01 PM »
Since you are not at all averse to editing of the recordings after they've been recorded, have you experimented much with manipulating the loudness dynamics of the recordings?  Careful dynamics manipulation can "tame" the overbearing gongs at the loud end of things while bring up the delicate, hard to hear details of the quieter material.  That could be a key element in combination with whatever microphone techniques end up working best for you.   Manipulating dynamics can be tricky though, it easy to do more harm than good, but done well it can be the special sauce that makes a recording shine.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

"Narrow or widely spaced microphone configurations are preferred. It is well-known experience that pure coincidence microphone concepts are not able to produce a satisfying natural spatial impression, due to the lack of adequate interchannel temporal relations (time-of-arrival, phase, correlation)" -Günther Theile
"The mix of the Double M/S signals with a large A/B configuration of omnis results in the spacious sound that is often desired. This option also provides decorrelated low-frequency signals." -Helmut Wittek

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2016, 10:55:58 PM »

snip < there just is more emotional in the content >

If this is what you want use omnis. They are as real as it gets.

For taking recordings back to the house and fooling with them you can keep experimenting until the end of time.

For realism use omnidirectional mics. You are making natural music so use natural sounding mics.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2016, 08:56:43 AM »
Use both the omnis and the fooling for emotional realism2.

The journey is the destination.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

"Narrow or widely spaced microphone configurations are preferred. It is well-known experience that pure coincidence microphone concepts are not able to produce a satisfying natural spatial impression, due to the lack of adequate interchannel temporal relations (time-of-arrival, phase, correlation)" -Günther Theile
"The mix of the Double M/S signals with a large A/B configuration of omnis results in the spacious sound that is often desired. This option also provides decorrelated low-frequency signals." -Helmut Wittek

Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2016, 11:45:36 AM »
Since you are not at all averse to editing of the recordings after they've been recorded, have you experimented much with manipulating the loudness dynamics of the recordings?  Careful dynamics manipulation can "tame" the overbearing gongs at the loud end of things while bring up the delicate, hard to hear details of the quieter material.  That could be a key element in combination with whatever microphone techniques end up working best for you.   Manipulating dynamics can be tricky though, it easy to do more harm than good, but done well it can be the special sauce that makes a recording shine.

Yes, I have done some loudness manipulation when I have to. But I prefer to eliminate the buzzes, clothing or people moving rustle and A/C noise rather than play with the dynamic range that's all ready there.

I agree on the recipe for the "special sauce", Too bad we all don't live in the same city so we can get together & go over recordings.

My biggest problem is no one to bounce this off of. Been out of the taper loop for many years, seems like I'm back home now.  :yahoo:

I'm still learning RX5 so I have a ways to go with that but fortunately plenty of material to work with.

So you have a preferred mix program you like to use besides Audacity? I've some work in Ableton, lot's with Audition but now I'm switching to RX5 instead.

I actually have one recording up on Sound Cloud I did at a conference where I was asked to give a lecture & then play afterwards. That was recorded with the X/Y capsules of the Zoom H6 module

It was a very noisy room and a hallway next to where I was at that led to the kitchen. I think I will try running that through RX5 to see what I can do with it. When I 1st worked on it I used Audacity.

It would be a good test piece to see what a "before & after" sounds like. Meaning what I did to "fix" this recording & what I could do now with better software.

https://soundcloud.com/the-singing-bowl-guy

« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 11:58:31 AM by SacredMetal »
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Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2016, 11:57:29 AM »
That's a very impressive array of instruments. I'd love to come experience one of your performances! 

Most around here recording live music "record by the meters" rather than listening while setting up and recording.  Monitoring on headphones at the event is for most here at TS primarily useful to make sure nothing is obviously wrong.  It's simply too difficult to hear clearly enough to make quality value judgements.  It's also somewhat of a practical issue in that in many cases the recordist can't really assess things accurately until a performance begins, and once it begins significant changes cannot be made without compromising the recording.  So we tend to listen and assess things afterwards, back at home, and implement changes the next time out, or the next time in a similar circumstance. That makes setup tweaks and modifications much more difficult to asses, and slows the iterative cycle of improvement significantly.  For that reason many will tend to stick to tried and true stereo mic'ing methods which work well most of the time, for most situations, and leave it at that.  Good enough, rather than always searching for better, at least in terms of microphone configurations.  It's easier for concert tapers to stick with a mic setup (or a few) which has proven to work well for them, and focus on switching the microphones and other gear around in the search for further improvement.Good to know

You have somewhat more capability of listening and assessing things while setting up at least, if not while performing, yet the situation is complicated by you acting as both recordist and performer.  Beyond that basic issue, even though you aren't dealing with trying to hear what's in your headphones over leakage from a loud PA, you'll still need highly isolating headphones or in-ear monitors to exclude the sound in the room from influencing what you are hearing in the headphones as much as possible.  Other threads here discuss isolating headphones and in ear monitors.  Your recorder's headphone amp is probably sufficient to drive them, but if you are looking for a decent inexpensive small battery-powered headphone amp, I saw a Headroom Airhead in the yard-sale section here today (I've no affiliation with that sale).  I used to have an earlier version of that amp and found it a nice little battery powered amp.  These days when I do plug in phones to the recorders I just use the recorder's built-in headphone amp. I will check it out

It looks like that Japanese temple bowl has more of a 'return' to it at the lip, more closed in at the top so the walls of the bowl are not parallel just below the rim, and wonder if that has something to do with the more vertical radiation pattern.yes, not sure why design wise but it does stiffen up the edge, The rounded bottom helps to project the sound up & out. I have actually studied singing bowls & traveled to Nepal to study them. I take what i do very seriously as you can tell.

I was in a percussion shop a few months ago and was fascinated by some truly massive tuned bowls turned from some sort of white stone.  The deep resonance from them was really impressive!Crystal bowl most likely. I have one I use occasionally. I have found teh high quality metal bowls to be more harmonic & more soothing to my ears as well as others. Every once in a while I get a bug to purchase a set of crystal bowls because they can be louder & and easier to record... but then I go back to my Japanese Rin Gong bowls & that thought is completely erased. BTW, it has taken me 7 years to put that set of bowls together. These are not something you just come across even when looking. There are a LOT of fakes out there. I know mine are real but I have know paperwork to prove it. It does make a difference in sound quality.
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Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2016, 12:00:16 PM »

snip < there just is more emotional in the content >

If this is what you want use omnis. They are as real as it gets.

For taking recordings back to the house and fooling with them you can keep experimenting until the end of time.

For realism use omnidirectional mics. You are making natural music so use natural sounding mics.

Ok I will look into that with some of the mic suggestions I have read.
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...)

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2016, 12:04:43 PM »
SacredMetal,
first let me tell you that Gutbucket's oddball mic techniques ideas have been really helpful to me over the past two years getting me to think about what we do in the live recording world in different ways.
I too was a GD taper mainly from 1982 through 1987, but have been doing the live recording off and on since 1982 having recorded close to 1,000 shows/festivals.
I've also been an FOH person and owner of a small PA installation company along with experience designing room acoustics.

The mention of the omni mics is what intrigues me about your set up. a Decca tree type arrangement would be cool and the configuration Gutbucket mentions seems like a decent way for you t go. Other than the vibration of the Gongs I had also thought about clamping your mics to the Gong stands and extending them out over your head or as it woul dbe to your Right and left spaced about 10 feet which would make them over the bowls. Of course, that would have you buying new Omni mics- my opinion for your work would be the small DPA's. Others can point you to the model numbers, but at about $500 each new/$300ish used they would be what I would "covet" were I doing what you are.

Bruce's suggestion of cards at your knees pointed away from you might be a good place to start with the EQ you already own. Gutbuckets suggestion of using the cards aimed down off the gong mounts plus the zoom X-Y also seems like a good place to start. We have been using wide spaced (3 ft|90cm) Omnis with cards or supercards in the middle (fwd and rear facing) all summer for rock n roll and are really pleased with the realism of it. listeners often comment that the ambiance is quite real.
IMO, In your case, using spaced omnis over your head or the bowls and far enough away from the gongs (6-10 feet forward of the gongs?) but not terribly high (6 feet max?) combined with your cards at knee level pointed toward the AUD might be the next step to aspire to. I tend to feel that a multi mic mix vs a 2 mic mix will be more what you are looking for to get the proper balance of the gongs|bowls|chants. and since you seem to be OK with mixing down at home, multi mic recordings would give you much more flexibility in your mixdown which should appeal to the CD listeners.

I agree with others that it would be a great experience to see/hear you do the singing bowl guy performance live! Power of the meditation technique for sure.  :coolguy:   (edited to correct spelling of meditation!)
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 03:00:12 PM by rocksuitcase »
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Offline SacredMetal

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Re: Recording Singing bowls and gongs
« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2016, 12:47:46 PM »
SacredMetal,
first let me tell you that Gutbucket's oddball mic techniques ideas have been really helpful to me over the past two years getting me to think about what we do in the live recording world in different ways.
I too was a GD taper mainly from 1982 through 1987, but have been doing the live recording off and on since 1982 having recorded close to 1,000 shows/festivals.
I've also been an FOH person and owner of a small PA installation company along with experience designing room acoustics.

The mention of the omni mics is what intrigues me about your set up. a Decca tree type arrangement would be cool and the configuration Gutbucket mentions seems like a decent way for you t go. Other than the vibration of the Gongs I had also thought about clamping your mics to the Gong stands and extending them out over your head or as it woul dbe to your Right and left spaced about 10 feet which would make them over the bowls. Of course, that would have you buying new Omni mics- my opinion for your work would be the small DPA's. Others can point you to the model numbers, but at about $500 each new/$300ish used they would be what I would "covet" were I doing what you are.

Bruce's suggestion of cards at your knees pointed away from you might be a good place to start with the EQ you already own. Gutbuckets suggestion of using the cards aimed down off the gong mounts plus the zoom X-Y also seems like a good place to start. We have been using wide spaced (3 ft|90cm) Omnis with cards or supercards in the middle (fwd and rear facing) all summer for rock n roll and are really pleased with the realism of it. listeners often comment that the ambiance is quite real.
IMO, In your case, using spaced omnis over your head or the bowls and far enough away from the gongs (6-10 feet forward of the gongs?) but not terribly high (6 feet max?) combined with your cards at knee level pointed toward the AUD might be the next step to aspire to. I tend to feel that a multi mic mix vs a 2 mic mix will be more what you are looking for to get the proper balance of the gongs|bowls|chants. and since you seem to be OK with mixing down at home, multi mic recordings would give you much more flexibility in your mixdown which should appeal to the CD listeners.

I agree with others that it would be a great experience to see/hear you do the singing bowl guy performance live! Power of the mediation technique for sure.  :coolguy:

Yep, I tend to agree with a lot of that. I feel after as many times I recorded the various setups, multi mikes are the way to go hence the possible move to a F4 or F8> I feel 5-6 mics will be what is needed to cover all the areas. Getting mics closer to the bowls will be needed 2 for start possibly 3-4 in the end. Its just very hard to capture all of it without all the gong bleed through. Then I can turn them up more & used possibly spaced omni's for the gongs/room. Even one omni would work since the gongs fill up the room anyway.

Since I don't use a PA, I have to mic up the bowls in groups or sections. many times hard or near hard panning helps in balancing the sound out from too much of one bowl or another being picked up by both mics. Then sometimes bringing them "closer" gives interesting harmonic phasing that can really sound good. This is much different from recording a band form the balcony or by the mixer. But its fun to play with & afterwards if its right & the room didn't get you you can have some real gold!

I did a fund raiser last year for the Nepal Earthquake relief. Played 5 shows in 6 nights. It was brutal hauling all that gear around. But the last show was the one. maybe because It was finally being dialed in myself, maybe it was finally wrapping it all up. But anyway, we had a horrendous rainstorm with thunder & lightning in the middle of the performance. I caught all of it  & with the gongs & all it was amazing. That one is going to be produced and put on CD. That setup was Zoom H6 X/Y and NT-1's spaced a little further out to pick up gongs  on the side. The recording came out fantastic. Very little to rework except some levels when I got crazy with the gongs.
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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