By David Gibbons, 24 June 2021
I have finally made a decent quality recording, and have posted it here, so you can get a feel for what a Tranquil Sound Gardens performance sounds like. See below.
(The microphone is not used this close to the gong, I just put it up close for the picture.)
Recording Challenges and Philosophy
Tranquil Sound Garden's instruments are all human-powered, and are capable of a very wide range of volumes. When I play, I will occasionally be silent, or will be producing sounds right at the edge of silence. On the other hand, the gongs in particular can be very powerful at times. This means that the recording equipment has to be able to handle a wide range of volumes, without adding unwanted noise during the quiet parts, or getting overloaded during the louder parts of a performance.
The other challenge is that most of the instruments or instrument stands are physically large, and there are several of them. Microphone placement is not simple in this situation, as the overall goal I have set for recording is to provide a sound close to what you would be hearing if you were at a live performance.
In creating possible future recordings, I am going to work to present the sounds with as little modification as possible. The sounds the instruments make are very rich already, and I believe adding 'effects' isn't going to improve things. This includes avoiding 'compression', where the volume of the recording is raised during quiet passages, so that the recording is loud all the time. This will mean that the recordings won't be very good for listening in noisy environments, such as a car.
The following two videos are just to give you a little idea of what I do. This first one is a cell phone video clip with poor sound, but you can see me working within the instrument stands with an audience in a circle around the instruments.A short cell phone video
This second one is 18 minutes of high quality video and sound, and is around 1.8 Gigabytes in size. A friend who does video work came to my home, and recorded me in my natural habitat. A good set of headphones or sound system would help you hear the detail in this video.Sound Gardening At Home
This audio recording was a mini-performance done in my main downstairs room. It is not a recording studio by any means, but the sound should be clear enough to let you know a bit of what you might expect to hear at a live performance. I let the sounds linger or die away to silence as part of the music. I subscribe to the thought that 'silence is a note'.More Sound Gardening At Home
I have also posted short recordings of the individual instruments in the 'Instruments' section, so you can get an idea of what they each sound like by themselves.
Updated 24 June 2021 by David Gibbons
Contents copyright 2021 by David C. Gibbons