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Mike and Mixer Recommendations for Recording Singing Bowls and Gong
Old 3 days ago
  #1
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Mike and Mixer Recommendations for Recording Singing Bowls and Gong

Hi all. New member after some lurking. Should be a basic question, hopefully I chose the correct forum.

I am a member of a spiritual fellowship, and a friend does some sound baths with crystal singing bowls, a gong, chimes, and a keyboard.

I already own a Zoom F4 that I use for recording workshops and other verbal sessions.

Recently I recorded the bowls, gong, etc with two AT 4040 mikes and got pretty good results. I would like to get it good, so I’m thinking instrument-type mikes, maybe one for each two bowls, one for the gong, maybe two or three for the chimes they are on a rack, six chimes spaced nine inches apart).

My question is, which mikes are recommended for this? Can I use AT Pro 37s, or something in that price range? Different mikes for chimes/bowls and the gong? How many? Can I start with one between each set of gongs an chimes and expand, will that be good enough?

Finally, to use the F4 to record (can I assume it will provide good quality?), can you recommend a mixing board that will serve me moving forward, meaning cover my high-end expected expansion (I guess twelve or sixteen mikes), and provide nice output of the sound for the Zoom to record? Or am I not even looking at this properly?

Thanks to anyone willing to offer advice on this...
Old 3 days ago
  #2
You’re probably better off getting an interface with enough inputs and mic pres to record separate channels (to mix down at leisure).

A mixer feeding 2-4 tracks from 16mics is going to be making compromises.

If you’re not keen on lugging a laptop around, there are a few digital mixers that as well as working as an interface for a computer (or as a front of house console) can record to SD memory card - so you get the best of both worlds. Transfer these files to a DAW for mixing.
Old 2 days ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Thank you for the response!

So, my question is, can I get an interface for twelve mikes for three to five hundred dollars? If so, or if not, what specific units are recommended? I have a Focusrite 2i2 that I used the a few years ago to record the bowls with a MacBook Pro. So is a bigger unit like that what I want? Is 3rd gen going to be that much better for my purposes than 2nd gen?

Also, when you say I will compromise by using a mixer to feed into two or four channels, what is it that I am sacrificing- control, or quality, or what? I ask because while on retreats, I will be recording discussions and conferences as well, so it would be nice to minimize the equipment I bring and use.

Lastly, does anyone have suggestions for mikes on these instruments?
Old 1 day ago
  #4
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Okay, considering the level of activity in this discussion board and the rsponse I received, I get it.

Can someone recommend another discussion board where the members are more likely to engage a post such as mine?
Old 1 day ago
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjr587 View Post
Okay, considering the level of activity in this discussion board and the rsponse I received, I get it.

Can someone recommend another discussion board where the members are more likely to engage a post such as mine?
ok, patience - we don't owe you anything!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjr587 View Post
Thank you for the response!

So, my question is, can I get an interface for twelve mikes for three to five hundred dollars? If so, or if not, what specific units are recommended? I have a Focusrite 2i2 that I used the a few years ago to record the bowls with a MacBook Pro. So is a bigger unit like that what I want? Is 3rd gen going to be that much better for my purposes than 2nd gen?
That's a bit on the low side. Assuming US$, and doing some googling on your behalf,

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...udio-interface

has 8 mic ins. most interfaces will be either 8 or then jump to 16.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...-digital-mixer might work for you - you'd need a tablet to control it, but it's got enough IO for you. Have to say I'm surprised how cheap it is!

You would need to be prepared to do all control via the tablet though - including main volume.

Quote:
Also, when you say I will compromise by using a mixer to feed into two or four channels, what is it that I am sacrificing- control, or quality, or what? I ask because while on retreats, I will be recording discussions and conferences as well, so it would be nice to minimize the equipment I bring and use.
Control AND quality - you'd be submixing mics on location, so you're stuck with your balances and mix there. Far better (especially when inexperienced) to record first and balance later.

Quote:
Lastly, does anyone have suggestions for mikes on these instruments?
small diaphragm condensers in your price bracket would be my first suggestion, but I've never recorded them so I couldn't say! Maybe Rode NT5s? or for a more ambient sound, large diaphragm condensers a bit further back.
Old 1 day ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Thank you for the informative response.

I only asked for a referral because I moderate a few boards myself, and when there's heavy traffic, such as here, if a thread doesn't get activity for a day or so, it usually dies. So I wasn't expecting anything from anyone, I just didn't want to keep posting and getting no substantive responses and bother you all. If there wasn't going to be a response, I had no problem taking the question elsewhere.

And I appreciate that you googled on my behalf. I googled for forty five hours before posting, and ten or twelve after, but having little knowledge on the topic doesn't measure up to someone who has actually used the equipment, and that's why I asked, and why this is in the newbie subform. So I apologize if you think I came in here cold and wanted others to do my research for me, or was impatient, but that isn't the case.

Thanks again for the response.
Old 1 day ago
  #7
Lives for gear
12 to 16 mics and the ancillary cables (and stands) is a large expenditure in itself, and also requires a large expenditure for an adequate interface and/or mixer.
I don’t claim any particular expertise in this area, so I’m curious why these ensemble collections of instruments can’t be miked with a higher quality (and more expensive) stereo pair and a few spot mics.

I would recommend a pair of the Aston Starlight small/medium diaphragm microphones. They are my current favorites on just about every source. So feel free to factor in whatever fan-boy enthusiasm you detect.
The Starlights have exceptionally good shock mounts, a stereo bar, and multiple low pass and voicing settings to adjust the microphone to the particular task. They have spot lasers to help in positioning the mics, especially useful if you are repeating live setups in different venues. Their tumbled stainless steel barrels and sintered metal bead heads are exceptionally rugged.
What’s not to like?
Old 1 day ago
  #8
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I agree completely re: expense for getting set up on this... Both of you guys are correct, and that's one reason why I was trying to keep the individual costs lower for mikes and interfaces. Which can be completely disastrous, and the couple hundreds of dollars saved almost always leaves one with a pile of, well, you know...

That said, I'm wondering if perhaps I am better getting two more AT 4040s (or something better that may be recommended on here) and staying with the Zoom F4 for recording until I get a better feel and understanding of what is going on. The Zoom will give me four separate tracks to attenuate at will. Would spreading four mikes strategically provide for better capture/blending/mixing of the sound, or do you feel that two higher quality mikes like the Aston Starlights will be just fine once I find the right positioning? I don't mind getting it wrong a few times to finally get it right.
Old 1 day ago
  #9
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To be clear, I haven’t compared the Starlight to the AT4040. I have a generally high opinion of the AT mics above the 20 series, so calling the Starlight a “higher quality” mic is an unsupported guess at best.
I will say that the off-axis response of the Starlight is more uniform over frequency than any LDC mic I’ve ever looked at, so that may be why it sounds so realistic to me. As a result of that pattern consistency, the Starlights pick up less off-axis “mud” than any LDC I’ve looked at. That is also of increased benefit as you combine multiple mics.
Positioning and pointing mics in every axis is something that you learn over time. If you have multiple shots at this before you have to produce a recording for someone else, that’s a positive.
Old 1 day ago
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pjr587 View Post
I agree completely re: expense for getting set up on this... Both of you guys are correct, and that's one reason why I was trying to keep the individual costs lower for mikes and interfaces. Which can be completely disastrous, and the couple hundreds of dollars saved almost always leaves one with a pile of, well, you know...

That said, I'm wondering if perhaps I am better getting two more AT 4040s (or something better that may be recommended on here) and staying with the Zoom F4 for recording until I get a better feel and understanding of what is going on. The Zoom will give me four separate tracks to attenuate at will. Would spreading four mikes strategically provide for better capture/blending/mixing of the sound, or do you feel that two higher quality mikes like the Aston Starlights will be just fine once I find the right positioning? I don't mind getting it wrong a few times to finally get it right.
4 mics give you options. It really depends on how you approach things. 4 mics arranged around one instrument are likely to cause phase issues; 4 mics split into a close and ambient stereo pair less so. Kind of like a drum kit.

If you like the 4040s, nothing wrong with sticking with them.
Old 23 hours ago
  #11
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Thanks for that input. The 4040s are my first decent mikes, so I am open to ideas for others. I would imagine two pairs of different mikes arranged as you suggest can provide more options, and also help me see what actually works better.

So, anything a little less expensive than the Astors in a mid diaphragm size that someone may think would be effective for these instruments?
Old 20 hours ago
  #12
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I've done bowls quite a few times. Even the smaller ones are loud as hell and they go everywhere. There's no point to doing anything more than a spaced pair fairly high up. Even for a big bunch of bowls.
Old 14 hours ago
  #13
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large glass bowls are much more quiet than high pitched brass bowls - i've been using pzm's and blm's and various ldc's and sdc's for gongs; mics always on the backside for practical and sound reasons; as with any large instrument, it's about the room as much as the instrument...
Old 1 hour ago
  #14
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Interesting, thank you for that. In my research, I did come to one theory that boundary mikes may work well... I bought four of them, and used one with the 4040s during the last session. I discounted that track, focusing on the ldcs. I'm going to go back in and look at that track, maybe use two and two in the next session to compare the results.
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