Help.......Recording Gongs

I do Gong meditation with 3 Gongs and am trying to record successfully.
I have a Neumann mic and a Tascam DR-40 Recording device.
The soft sounds are great but when the loud sounds come…Ahhhh! I am recording at 24bit Wav and have reduced the recording to -48db and the tone -36db.
The mic is placed at the back of the room. Any help would be appreciated Thanks :open_mouth:
Using Audacity 2.x on Windows

Which Neumann?

Percussion instruments are really entertaining to record.

The soft sounds are great but when the loud sounds come…Ahhhh!

In my opinion, you’re recording the gongs upside down.

Recording in the back of the room means you’re going to mix room echoes and reverb in with the gong sound and it’s permanent. We can’t remove echos in post production. I would get as close as I can without some gongs being a great deal closer to me than others.

Unless you want the room sound. Up to you. We can put room in, we can’t take it out.

Sound the loudest gong and set the recorder so it doesn’t overload. This is a trip to the instruction books. I think it’s the rocker switch on one side of the recorder. Watch the sound meters on the front of the recorder. Then don’t touch the recorder for the rest of the performance. This step is important. Digital sound channel overload is obvious, fatal and permanent.

There is a possibility you can’t get there from here. No matter what you do, the gong sound is crisp and crunchy from overload. You may need to use a microphone attenuator between the Neumann and the recorder.

There’s a whole section in your instructions about setting volume.



Hi Koz

I have a Neumann 102.
I did have the mic overhead & the gongs, left, right and in front.
I went to a music recording shop and they recommended placement to be at the back of the room.
Large room being carpet on floor and sandstone walls.
The recording is much more sensitive in tones except for the mention of when it gets very loud.

What do you mean by “you’re recording the gongs upside down” are you talking about placement of mic?
The microphone attenuator sounds good, will it affect the quieter sounds? :bulb:

Thank you so much for your help! Koz :wink:

The loudest portion of the performance has to fit in the recorder. That’s where you can get into the most trouble the quickest.

If the room “sound” is attractive to you and valuable, then certainly record from the back. It’s possible one of the powerful gongs is resonant with the room and that’s why it’s so loud. That’s a down side of recording in the back. The room is one of the performers.

Did you find the instructions how to reduce the volume of your recording? I saw little pieces of the instruction book and they mention setting external microphone volume is different than setting the built-ins. If the recorder will allow you to do it, shoot with both the Neumann and one of the built-ins. When the Neumann overloads, switch the performance to the built-in.

The Neumann should not overload. That’s just poor recording practices.


Thanks again Koz
I’ll look further into all the valuable knowledge you’ve shared :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

Throughout the meditation session, I strike the gong, which is like a built up (rumble) to a lightening clash and then bang!
That’s where I have the problem.
Otherwise the sound is great!
Just thought I’d clarify that! :smiley:

You need to set the recording level for the loudest sound that you want to record.
It will not be helpful for your meditation, but to get a good recording, you need to hit the gong very hard while you set the levels.

And since we now know that you are the performer, get someone else to watch the recorder sound meters and set volume. Or reverse jobs. You watch the meters while they strike the gong.

There are not a lot of options. I expect the equipment you have to deliver a very nice recording given it is adjusted properly.


When I do the big clash, the sound still goes past the sound meter mark.
Thoughts? - Regarding Dual Recording, can you still do this with one mic? Thinking this setting might help

Thanks Steve, I have added a notation to your comment, Thanks for your input :smiley:

The part number should be about 120mm long tube with XLR-Male on one end and XLR-Female on the other (attached). Plug that into the recorder and plug the microphone cable into it. In the case of close-miking a very loud gong, it will prevent the very loud signal from overloading the recorder.

If you record from the back of the room, there’s zero chance of that happening, so you won’t need it.

You still have to set the recording volume.

Messy question: Have you ever set the microphone volume on the recorder? When I mention setting the record volume, you’re supposed to tell me about the adventures you had when you adjusted the recorder for the first performance.

You didn’t say anything.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 17.49.14.png

I’m thick. I don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish. :unamused:

You have a recorder and you transfer the recorded wav to Audacity. So, I suppose you set the recorder to -48 dB first and -36 on the second try. Or did you reduce the level while recording?

Or are you using the recorder as a USB audio interface?

Your gear is very good, but as I don’t understand the goal, I’m getting the impression that the answers don’t match the questions.

What is your end goal? Just playing back the gong sound? Or do you want to make a CD?

Thanks Koz, I did it!!! :laughing:
Reduced levels and used the limiter, no distortion with the lightening sound!
That was a feat and a half!
Thank you for your help!
Thanks also to Steve & Cyrano! :wink: