Guide To Purchasing Audio Equipment For Sound Healing And Zoom
Listening to the wide array of sounds that come from a drum, crystal bowl or gong in detail is a important aspect to sound healing. Using a microphone or audio system that can not handle the wide array of tones, volumes and amount of vibration, from sound healing tools diminishes the quality of the meditative experience. Either the instruments sound distorted, muted, clicky, or only a small fraction of the sound is heard. In our experience, it is clear that using quality microphones designed for the job is important when recording sound healing instruments, playing the instruments online, or amplifying the instruments live with speakers.
Choosing A Microphone
In our audio packages, we sell two types of microphones, a dynamic vocal mic and a condenser microphone for the instruments.
Dynamic microphones are typically used for vocals, and are what you see live musicians use to sing into. The dynamic microphone is designed to handle big booming noise, so you can sing loudly into a vocal microphone without worrying too much about the sound distorting. However, a dynamic microphone is not designed to handle subtle sound. It works well for handling the power of your voice, but when you are trying to accurate record or capture the intricate sounds of a chime, rattle, gong or crystal singing bowl, then a condenser microphone is better.
A condenser microphone is constructed differently then a dynamic microphone, and typically are small and short microphones. The condenser microphone handles delicate sound, and is used for its accuracy. So if you are trying to record the subtle nature of a gong, or crystal bowl, rattle, flute or chime, a condenser microphone will provide a much more accurate experience then a dynamic microphone. We definitely suggest investing in a condenser microphone if you are wanting to do sound healing online to give your clients the highest quality sound.
The more expensive of microphone you buy, typically you will receive three things. The microphone will be able to capture a wider range of tones, with more accuracy, at louder volume. Inexpensive condenser microphones will capture midrange tones well, though if you are going to be wanting to capture the depth of bass in a gong, or the volume of a drum without distorting, then you will want to invest in a more expensive condenser microphone. We use the SE8 condenser microphone for all of our instruments and find it does an excellent job at recording our instruments accurately, without costing too much to do so.
Choosing A Mixer
The main things to be concerned about when purchasing a mixer is how many microphones you may need in the future, if you will want to use audio effects straight from the mixer, and if the mixer is USB compatible.
With a USB compatible mixer, you can plug the mixer straight into your computer and use it with whatever audio software you choose, including Zoom. You now have the ability to record your sound healing meditations, or consult sound baths online through the various online meeting software available.
You may think you only need two microphones right now, so only buy a mixer with two microphone inputs. However, if you ever increase the instruments you are using, or in general need more microphones in the future, there would not be anymore room on the two microphone mixer. This would mean you would need to buy a whole new mixer. It is best to buy a mixer that has a few extra microphone inputs, in case you find you need them in the future.
Many mixers have built in audio effects, such as reverb, that you can use to add different qualities to your live Zoom sessions. Each mixer we offer in our audio packages include audio effects.
Arranging Your Microphones For Your Instruments
How Many Microphones Do I Need?
In general we suggest purchasing at least two condenser microphones to go on either side of your instrument set up. This will ensure that you won't run into a situation where certain instruments are being recorded much louder, while other more quiet, just because of their orientation to the microphones. In some cases if your set up is large enough three condenser microphones may be used, though in general we feel like two microphones is sufficient to record for the majority of people's needs, including sets up that contain multiple bowls, gongs and drums. Please read further though as we detail our suggestions for each type of instrument, to decide if you need more microphones. Please feel free to contact us if you need any assistance in your choice.
For Crystal Singing Bowls: If you are just trying to use 1-4 crystal bowls that you will have placed staggered in front of you, then you can do with just one condenser microphone. You will just want to place the condenser microphone above the bowls with the bowls somewhat equal distant to the microphone. This can be done in a way where the bowls are all in front of you, easily reachable, and the microphone is mostly or all the way out of the view of the participants. Once you get to 5-9 crystal singing bowls, then you may find that some of the bowls are starting to be recorded much quieter because of their distance to the microphone. We would then suggest getting two condenser microphones
For Gongs: You can place the condenser microphone in front or behind a gong, a few feet away from it with the gain set down. If you are playing crystal bowls and a gong, typically if you position the condenser microphone for the bowls, it will also pick up the gong. However, the settings you will need to play a gong that is crashing and the bowls are typically quiet different. To get the best audio from the gong, and the bowls, it is best to have a dedicated microphone for each, and for the gong to be some distance away from the microphone for the bowls. This will allow you to have a microphone whose settings are set to not be overwhelmed with the amount of vibration from the crash of the gong, and a microphone that can pick up the bowls.
For Drums: A condenser microphone can be placed a few feet behind a drum. If you place the microphone in front of the drum the sound will come off slightly muted, as most of the vibration from a drum is directed backwards off the bottom of the drum when you hit it. You will need the gain set down on the mixer to not overwhelm the microphone. So if you are playing a drum and bowls, it may be a good idea to have a dedicated microphone for the drum in the right location to get the best quality sound.
For Chimes: Chimes do not typically need a dedicated microphone separate from your other microphones. If you have a condenser microphone set to pick up the crystal bowls, gong or drums and it is somewhat near the chimes, then the condenser microphone will pick up the sound of the chimes accurately. Chimes can typically just be placed on the side and played as needed without needing to be concerned about their sound.
For Tibetan or Himalayan Singing Bowls: It is best to have the condenser microphone a little closer to tibetan singing bowls then for metal singing bowls. This is to make sure the condenser microphone picks up all the subtleties of the metal bowl as it plays its rich harmonics. It is important to use a condenser microphone for the metal bowls so you can pick up both the low and high notes equally. This is a situation where if you are trying to pick up 7 or more metal bowls, it would be best to have two condenser microphones so that the microphones are close enough to pick up the subtleties of all of bowls.
For Tuning Forks: Condenser microphones pick up the sound of tuning forks very well. You will need to activate the tuning fork and place it within one inch of the condenser microphone for the microphone to pick up the vibration loud enough to hear.
Our Audio Equipment Packages For Sound Healing
Two Microphone Package - One Condenser and One Dynamic Voice Mic
Three Microphone Package - Two Condenser and One Dynamic Voice Mic
Four Microphone Package - Three Condenser and One Dynamic Voice Mic