Once I get a waterphone I was wondering if I would be able to get a kit or something that would let me plug it into my PC to record it. Would this be feasible for someone who has no experience with that kind of stuff?
The easy way is to buy a micophone and connect it to your PC. The microphone listens to the sound of the waterphone and translator it into electrical signals that can be recorded to you PC.
Now, there are a lot of different types of microphones and they range from very simple and inexpensive to very expensive. You will need to do a bit of research.
First step is that the electrical output directly from the microphone is very, very weak. It has to be amplified. The function doing this is in sound people language called a preamplifier. Basically, it simply makes the signal saronger. These, not surprisingly, come from very simple to extremely expensive. Sometimes the preamplifier is already built into the mic, sometimes it is a separate box, and again sometimes it is build into the audio interface (AD-converter).
Once the signal is strong enough it will need to be converted inte computer language. This is done by the function A/D converter, standing for Analogue to Digital converter. Again, these come from very simple to extremely expensive. All PC-s I know of have one of these (of the simpler but adequate type) inside them listening to the microphone input on the PC.
Finally you need to have a program in the PC that records the sound. Again they come from inexpensive to very expensive. I will only give on suggestion here, the program Audacity is available for most operating systems and is free and open source.
So what you need if you want to record the sound is a microphone and the preamp / AD you whish to use. There are a lot of different ways to do this. I will suggest a few:
- You might have a microphone already in the computer, especially if it is a laptop. This can be used for recording. (The preamp and AD is built into the computer)
- You might have a computer headset, or buy one cheap. These have a microphone which you speak into. (Often, the preamp is in the headset and the A/D in the computer).
- You might buy a USB microphone. (Preamp and AD is in the microphone)
- You might buy an external microphone and a USB sound interface (preamp and AD is in the USB sound interface)
- and so on
One difference will be in total cost, another will be in recording quality. There is always a trade-off here.
Ooh, and making it into an elektronic instrument: this will take a bit of elektronics and quite a bit of mechanical work. You might read up on how an electrical guitar works (especially the pickup) in order to get some ideas.
It's an acoustic instrument. Record it the same way you would a singer - put a microphone in front of it. You'll get SOMETHING from a laptop's built-in microphone - the thing you use for Skype calls etc. - but a better mic will be better. An audio interface with a suitable microphone input and some sort of recording software will also be required.