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Old 17th November 2019
Gear Guru

Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
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.

I have recorded a number of these "sound bath" things with the bowls, the bells and whatnot. And I agree, loud as hell. IMO, the most representative sound is going to be the sound you get from a distance. That's what they are for- resonating out into the space.

I would put most of my money into a pair of very high-quality mics and one high-end stereo preamp. and try to get a really accurate point of view capture in some form of stereo.

If, after experimenting with different positions, you truly feel the need for spot mics or room mics, then add them later. Get an interface now with 2 or 4 channels that can accept an ADAT expander, most of which will give you an extra 8 channels. But keep in mind that sheer volume and omnidirectional spray of sound from the bowls (especially) will bleed so much onto the other mics that the concept of "spot" miking will be almost moot.

My advice is to focus your expenditure now on really getting a great capture of what is going on in the space. Playing with mixing a lot of "elements" is fun, but IMO, this is not the type thing that will deliver better results the more mics you use. Even 'close miked', the supposedly different "elements" will have only the barest degree of separation, making mixing them a chore.

OTOH, maybe playing with all the mics and mixing all the channels is one of your goals. I am just assuming that "best possible recording" is the only goal.

It would be one thing if you are bringing them into a studio, but I seriously doubt the performers will allow you to set up gobos at the event to separate the instruments.

Under no circumstances would I mess with a mixer. If you are going to run spot mics, IMO, you want each one living on its own channel, to be able to adjust them in post. Which will be tough enough. What a nightmare it would be to feel the pressure to get the balances correct, right there at the performance, with the instruments blaring away and only a pair of headphones to guide you!