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live mic applications for gongs /bells/singing bowls

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  • live mic applications for gongs /bells/singing bowls

    upon occasion, the need for being mic'd is becoming an unfortunate necessity. rather than be at the mercy of a production crew that may or may not fully grasp the nature of the beast, what are my options in mics that are capable of capturing the nuance and air of these instruments in a live setting? one challenge is that recently ive been in improv situations with numerous musicians on everything from harmonica, didgeridoos, guitar, djembes and various percussionists... completely outside my comfort zone, yet proving to be insanely provocative and productive in breaking imaginary boundaries.
    i stumbled upon a recording mic that works wonderfully well, in solo situations... a zoom q8 with a stereo shotgun mic, it captures the highs of the surface work, timbre etc, and the stereo mic seems to pic up the resonance and surrounding air... im happy with what that system captures ( to my tired ears ) so i know its possible... so, akg c214's? ribbon mics? kinda sorta looking at this thing like mic'ing up the air around a string quartet. much appreciated...
    Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

    Voltan is correct.

  • #2
    Gongs and bells should be fairly easy, I'd guess any decent small-diaphragm condensers would do fine. I'd probably use large-diaphragm condensers on the bowls though. In my inventory I have 2 choices for LDC's, KSM32's or C414's, and I'd probably tend toward the 414's in this situation.

    I think the C214 would do well also since they're very similar to a C414 sonically, assuming the 414 is set to a cardioid pattern. The 214's are very underrated mics. They sound really nice, and they're not super expensive, just not quite as flexible as the 414's.

    I'm surprised that you like the sound of a shotgun mic on these things. A shotgun would be far from my first choice here. Unless you're talking about the mics built into the Q8, in which case, that's not a shotgun, it's a pair of plain ol' small-diaphragm condensers, and it totally makes sense that you'd like the sound of them.

    A ribbon is not the right tool for this job, in my opinion.

    If you can afford a pair of C414's, give them a shot. I'm sure you'd love them. If the 414's are too much money I think you'd enjoy a pair of C214's, which would be a lot cheaper.
    B.

    Comment


    • #3
      may i ask what experience you have micing gongs?
      not trying to be argumentative, but your first two sentences tell me you are just guessing... i appreciate your wanting to help, but id rather not guess if im going to invest in decent gear... thank you.
      Last edited by Voltan; 12-10-2017, 10:33 AM.
      Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

      Voltan is correct.

      Comment


      • #4
        actually the sound of the small diaphragm condensers on the q8 suck for gong recording... theyre pretty good for voice or acoustic guitar but they have no definition from any distance and are quickly over saturated at close range. i use the stereo shotgun mic that zoom has available... it is a stereo shotgun mic... why would you not choose a stereo shotgun? why not a ribbon? the active ribbons have super low self noise and have plenty of air... im not sure you have a good understanding of what im trying to capture here... i need full definition and complete dynamic range... the c214’s look good on the frequency specs... how do they compare on self noise to something like the se voodoo II? active ribbon... im micing 5 gongs, 13 singing bowls, 3 spinning kyeezees, various elephant claw bells, several flutes and a hang...
        Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

        Voltan is correct.

        Comment


        • #5
          i’ll remember to keep the questions simple in here... thanks...
          Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

          Voltan is correct.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, the reason *I* wouldn't choose a shotgun mic is because it's a shotgun mic. (Is that answer simple enough? LOL)

            As for gongs, I think you're going to have a hard time finding anybody who regularly mics gongs.

            One of my acts uses a gong, but I don't bother mic'ing it. The drum overheads pick it up just fine. PVM 480s, a small-diaphragm condenser.
            Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

            Comment


            • #7
              right, i understand that... i get that nobody needs to mic the bashing clanger of a gong smasher... that is not playing a gong. most peoples idea of a gong is two hundred seventy five measures of rest, a whole note at the end, pack it up and go home... i get it... but thats not me... i carry a 52 inch gong around not because it can be louder than a jet engine, but because a gong that large allows me to play with the nuances of sound that are so gentle and quiet, yet still move enough air to be heard... softly... the magic is in the ethereal decay of resonance... the timbre of the higher frequencies, the subtle differences in sound produced by different weights in mallets... the dynamics run from whisper to literally jet engine spls... frequencies go from below to above human hearing... i looked at the c414s and didnt like self noise levels compared to the lewitt 640 ts... actually i liked all the specs on the lewitt best so far, but specs dont tell all the story... i have a couple miktek sdc pencil type mics for spot micing the bowls, maybe a couple more or try the rode sdc? i need the punch of the lows, but what ive found live is that there isnt enough high freq to give the definition im seeking... what im doing with gongs is different... what i need reflects that...
              Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

              Voltan is correct.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by wesg View Post
                Well, the reason *I* wouldn't choose a shotgun mic is because it's a shotgun mic. (Is that answer simple enough? LOL)

                As for gongs, I think you're going to have a hard time finding anybody who regularly mics gongs.

                One of my acts uses a gong, but I don't bother mic'ing it. The drum overheads pick it up just fine. PVM 480s, a small-diaphragm condenser.
                the shotgun im using has an a/b stereo mic in the body as well... the front element does a great job picking up the highs that get lost two feet away from the face of the instrument and the stereo capsule picks up the resonance of the field... it has sensitivity adjustments on the mics separately so i can dial in a good mix... works great for recording.... this isnt easy, which is why im pretty quick to dismiss thoughts to the contrary... forget everything you think you know about gongs and playing them... it seriously isnt like that...
                Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

                Voltan is correct.

                Comment


                • #9
                  and no, simply because of the name? shotgun mic? or the ability to pick up high frequencies at a distance? i had a couple sound techs try to mic up a 48 inch chau with a pencil condenser about half an inch off the face about 3 inches from the outer edge...
                  Last edited by Voltan; 12-16-2017, 11:17 AM.
                  Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

                  Voltan is correct.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Why don't you just point an MD421 at it from a couple of feet back and see what it sounds like?

                    I wouldn't use a shotgun mic because I don't want a tight, focussed, pickup for the frequencies above ~2kHz, which is basically the definition of a shotgun mic. I want to hear the entire gong shimmer.

                    By the way, both the guys using the gong I work with like to get very subtle effects out of it, although this one is only about three feet across. Think trippy psychedelia. But it's loud enough that we can hear it anywhere on stage, which is why the drum overheads work. The gong sits centered behind the drum kits. Or maybe it's the snare mics.....I never really gave it much thought beyond making sure it sounded good. Maybe I should.
                    Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Voltan View Post
                      upon occasion, the need for being mic'd is becoming an unfortunate necessity. rather than be at the mercy of a production crew that may or may not fully grasp the nature of the beast, what are my options in mics that are capable of capturing the nuance and air of these instruments in a live setting? one challenge is that recently ive been in improv situations with numerous musicians on everything from harmonica, didgeridoos, guitar, djembes and various percussionists... completely outside my comfort zone, yet proving to be insanely provocative and productive in breaking imaginary boundaries.
                      i stumbled upon a recording mic that works wonderfully well, in solo situations... a zoom q8 with a stereo shotgun mic, it captures the highs of the surface work, timbre etc, and the stereo mic seems to pic up the resonance and surrounding air... im happy with what that system captures ( to my tired ears ) so i know its possible... so, akg c214's? ribbon mics? kinda sorta looking at this thing like mic'ing up the air around a string quartet. much appreciated...
                      You question is interesting. First off, my experience mic'ing multi percussion instruments has been in theater (pit band) scenarios. The percussion instruments are in a fixed position and stay consistent for the run of the show. Usually three/four mics (sm57's) are used and are placed around the percussion area with one of the mics placed at "head height" adjacent to the percussionist that all of the "air percussion" ie; slide whistle, bird whistle, etc.
                      Your situation in an "improv setting" does bring up a different challenge however with all "improv" scenarios in the true sense there is some "artistic license" for latitude.
                      I have found it very easy to over-think mic choices as an improperly placed 'high-end" (expensive) mic will not get the job done...

                      I have another show/musical coming up in early February where the band/orchestra may be on-stage. If the accompanying group is indeed "on stage" I plan on mic'ing the percussionist(s) as I normally do but will also try suspending one or two Shure MX202B/C choral/condenser mics above the percussion area and toggle back and forth between both mic schemes to see what works best.

                      My mic'ing technique for a string quartet is different.
                      Last edited by Mike M; 12-17-2017, 07:24 AM.

                      Comment


                      • Voltan
                        Voltan commented
                        Editing a comment
                        how/what do you set for a string quartet?
                        yes, understand that money isnt the cure, but improperly mic’ed is where i am without spending some... if i can mic this up properly for less money, im good with that.

                    • #12
                      Originally posted by wesg View Post
                      Why don't you just point an MD421 at it from a couple of feet back and see what it sounds like?

                      I wouldn't use a shotgun mic because I don't want a tight, focussed, pickup for the frequencies above ~2kHz, which is basically the definition of a shotgun mic. I want to hear the entire gong shimmer.

                      understood... which is why i stipulated that the one im using has an a/b stereo capsule blended into the signal as well as the tight focused sound on the higher frequencies that i have to have to make what im doing audible above two or three feet away...

                      By the way, both the guys using the gong I work with like to get very subtle effects out of it, although this one is only about three feet across. Think trippy psychedelia. But it's loud enough that we can hear it anywhere on stage, which is why the drum overheads work. The gong sits centered behind the drum kits. Or maybe it's the snare mics.....I never really gave it much thought beyond making sure it sounded good. Maybe I should.
                      thank you!
                      this is the general direction... im wondering with the demand for such a wide dynamic range and frequencies, if it might be best to approach them like a string quartet? large d condensers set in a field with spot/area focused small d condensers for the elusive highs. part of my issue here is i have a rudimentary hands on experience with live sound gear from a working musicians perspective. my home recording mics, an old mxl ldc and samson cl3 sdc’s probably are a bit short... i cant go to a locker and pick up a md421 to try... (although i doubt id be happy with a 30 to 17k freq response to begin with even though im a senn fan...). everything ive read seems to lead in circles... part of which may stem from people not understanding because they “already know” what they think im doing and it just isnt so... my footprint is about 13 to 14 feet wide by about 7 to 8 feet deep, 82 inches from top of tallest gong stand to the bowls resting on the floor. mics set to the center of the outer gongs would place them at about 7 feet apart. a two day immersion in recent micing ideas leads me to a basic understanding that a low self noise mic is best for picking out the gentle nuances and subtleties, im unsure as to how important multiple pattern mics are but versatility is usually a plus. se electronics 4400a, rode nt2, or nt2000, akg c414xls st, lewitt lct 640 ts... im leaning towards the lewitt for lowest self noise and pattern control ability. possibly mxl v67n for sdc’s? (having omni and cardioid elements). looking at the offerings of mics at the venues and festivals made me understand that if im going to do this properly, ive got to supply my own mics... half a dozen sm57’s probably arent going to do it...
                      Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

                      Voltan is correct.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Mike M View Post

                        You question is interesting. First off, my experience mic'ing multi percussion instruments has been in theater (pit band) scenarios. The percussion instruments are in a fixed position and stay consistent for the run of the show. Usually three/four mics (sm57's) are used and are placed around the percussion area with one of the mics placed at "head height" adjacent to the percussionist that all of the "air percussion" ie; slide whistle, bird whistle, etc.
                        Your situation in an "improv setting" does bring up a different challenge however with all "improv" scenarios in the true sense there is some "artistic license" for latitude.
                        I have found it very easy to over-think mic choices as an improperly placed 'high-end" (expensive) mic will not get the job done...

                        I have another show/musical coming up in early February where the band/orchestra may be on-stage. If the accompanying group is indeed "on stage" I plan on mic'ing the percussionist(s) as I normally do but will also try suspending one or two Shure MX202B/C choral/condenser mics above the percussion area and toggle back and forth between both mic schemes to see what works best.

                        My mic'ing technique for a string quartet is different.
                        please pardon my sm57 remark, it was not directed at you, timing is everything... they work great on percussion, theyre a staole in my drum mic kits, but the gongs produce frequencies that the 57’s just cant reproduce, or maybe they would?... on both ends of the auditory spectrum ... id love to hear the feb contrasts in mic sounds!
                        Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

                        Voltan is correct.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          this isnt my territory... i can tell you the difference between the sound of an accute or oblique arc with the same mallet on my gongs but choosing the mic to capture the subtle differences is out of my comfort zone. what im doing is a little different than what you may have been exposed to in the past... that said, my needs are a bit more exacting and defined... some are happy with a kick drum mic or hand held vocal mic for a gong and if it gets them where they are headed, im all for it! my dilemma is working with quiet instruments in an environment with a naturally high sound “floor”. extracting the target sound and placing that specific vibrating air bubble in the chest of the people in the back of the auditorium...
                          Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

                          Voltan is correct.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            try experimenting with mics you own now?..

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