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First of all, I think you may have the equipment you need already. What kind of microphones are they? Forget the headset one.
I think you may be getting white noise and all because you are recording at too high a level. You want to keep your recording levels within the -12db to -18db range. I recommend downloading Audacity which you can get for free, and just try recording using one of the mics. Try positioning in different places, but again, be sure the levels are good in each case. You can always increase the gain after the recording to make it louder, and you can also reduce white noise after the fact.
A lot of people use a Zoom H4n which you can get for around $270. I use this and have had very good success with it and the onboard mics. For me, the sound seems best when I have the recorder on a stand just over my head as I'm playing, but room acoustics and your instrument do play a factor.
Are you recording to a computer? Or to a dedicated recorder - a "tape" recorder?
I just bought a Sure SM57 - one of the legendary mikes of the last many years. It wasn't as expensive as I imagined. It works really nicely with my PC sound card plus Audacity. I haven't tried plugging it into a camcorder or a dictaphone though.
I'm having real trouble finding a way to record that doesn't involve $400+ equipment! ...
What do YOU record with? I'd love some ideas
Hello Jessiebear, If you are recording an acoustic upright this video may be of some help for mic choices and placement.
Beyond this you will need a sound card (pre-amp to power the mics) and recording software. This set up suggests garage band recording software which I believe only works on a Mac. I use a similar setup with Audacity software on a PC (laptop.)
My total initial setup (lightly used mics found on craigslist and a very entry level sound card) was just over $300. Now I am striving for a better preamp and currently have one on rental for $15 per month.
Of course, you can go crazy on the expense of any of the elements. But a basic setup can provide quite a decent quality sound for a DIY setup. Hope helps ... I found it is not so tough (or expensive) once you start getting everything. I highly recommend 2 mics (for stereo,) or a zoom mic --as suggested earlier-- which produces stereo and provides your sound card all in one I believe.
I use a Sony voice recorder. Used it was $40, new about $80. Works well enough for my amateur needs. It is not as good as the Zoom models that many others have, but it is simple. I also have a Sony t-mic which was another $30 back in the day.
I never had much luck recording directly with a computer, but I have always had low end computers. The voice recorder is so much simpler, and I can use it to record in the field too.
. . . I'm having real trouble finding a way to record that doesn't involve $400+ equipment!
OK, let's see what we can do. I assume you have a laptop, and it has a USB port, and it can run Audacity.
Behringer C-2 microphones (sold as a pair, . . . with stereo-pair mounting bracket)
Behringer UB802 mixer (2 inputs, with phantom power)
Behringer UCA202 audio interface
One mic stand -- OnStage, with boom -- about $25.
Two mic-to-mixer cables, two mixer-to-interface cables.
That will get you started. The C-2's are quite respectable, and the UB802 is incredibly good for its price.
It'll be less than $400.
I _thought_ Behringer made an inexpensive mixer with a built-in USB interface, but I can't find it in the catalog.
PS -- I have gotten some good recordings (not piano, but live vocal group) with the C-2 mics feeding a Zoom H4 recorder. No preamps needed with that setup, but the H4 is expensive. A nice piece of kit, as the Brits say.
. Charles --------------------------- PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
in the pre digital days, (pre Hammond days come to that) a mic was stuffed down the back of whatever ole upright I got lumbered with. The mic was whatever was left after the good stuff was taken by those who "sang" lol.
It picked up the notes (which worked) rather well as long as it was held in position . . .the lid usually sufficed when there was one . . .
Jessie, I am a *huge* fan of the Zoom products for their combination of user-friendliness, ease of setup, and affordability. You can get better sound using separate mics, a mixer, etc. etc., but only you can decide if the marginally better sound is worth the headache and learning curve of setting all that up.
If you have any desire to upload videos on YouTube, you should check out the Zoom Q3HD or the Q2HD. Same quality stereo mics, no hassle with trying to synch an audio and video file.
I think it depends on your level of tech savviness and desire for ease of use. I know where I fall on that dimension.
My YouTube channel gives you an idea of the type of audio/video quality I get with the Zoom, and trust me, all I do is slap the sucker on a tripod and press the Red Dot. Couldn't be easier.