OK, I have the Tam-Tam making a reasonable sound now, and have done a bit of exploratory recording, so I have some questions.
Firstly, to those who are more versed in recording than I am (which is anyone since Thomas Edison), how do you go about recording a gong/tamtam?
Secondly, to those who are interested in the samples, what would you like? Do you want something aimed at sound design, or an instrument that is true to life, and could be used in mock-ups that are later destined for live performance?
My initial thought was to close mic several spots on the tam tam, and provide each sample in 5 or 6 tracks, so that you can balance the various resonances as you wish - a bit like the way that Mikrophonie is performed. The problem with this is that every mic gets a lot of bass energy, whilst the higher harmonics are only in certain spots, so the resultant summing creates a massively boosted bass. Also the closeness of the mics means that the doppler effect, created by the slight swing of the tam-tam, is strongly emphasised. On the other hand, having the mics that close does bring out some of the detail in the harmonics.
The other way I thought of doing it was simply a stereo pair a few feet away, so that you get the more realistic sound that an audience would hear. THe problem is that that sound isn't as detailed as you might think. Also I seem to be having to whack up the gain to ridiculous levels to get a good recording at this distance,which is an issue. If I whack it up on the desk I'm getting unacceptable levels of hiss, and if I whack it up in Cubase I'm getting really noticeable digital artifacts.
It could just be because I bought really cheap and nasty equipment at school (we have a Behringer desk for a start), but it's more likely I'm just being an idiot. So far my recording experience has been with heavy rock, so the question of signal to noise ratios has never been an issue. I'm hoping someone with more experience of sampling is going to tell me I'm doing something totally wrong.
Anyhow, I'm going to keep plodding on with the project, but any advice/wishlists would be welcome.