I’m not familiar with that instrument, but there’s no easy-answer.
[u]RecordingMagazine.com[/u] has some articles on recording acoustic guitar.
If an acoustic guitar has a pickup, it’s usually designed for live use and probably doesn’t sound as good as the actual-acoustic sound from the instrument. It will sound different and you might like it. With the right equipment, you can record direct from the pickup and acoustically with a mic and mix to taste. (It’s common to do that with electric guitar with a direct signal and a mic in front of the amp.)
You do need a guitar input. if you want to record directly from the guitar’s pickup. I don’t know about the Rocksmith cable, but that’s the kind of thing you need. The [u]Behringer UCG102[/u] is a popular low-cost solution or there are more expensive audio interfaces with multiple switchable instrument/mic/line inputs.
The mic input on a soundcard or laptop is useless for quality recording. It only works with “cheap computer mics”. It’s the wrong impedance for a guitar and it’s the wrong interface for a stage/studio mic which requires a balanced (3-wire) connection. And, it’s usually low quality (noisy).
The line input on a soundcard is often acceptable if you have a line-level signal (from a CD/DVD player, etc.). Again, the impedance is too low for a guitar. The low impedance reduces the signal level and affects it the tone of the guitar pickup.
Also I have looked at condenser mics, and the one that seems to pop up the most is the Blue Yeti.
These “studio style USB mics” (aka “podcast mics”) can be a good solution. They have a built-in preamp and essentially a built-in soundcard so the quality doesn’t depend on your existing soundcard. The Yeti has some nice features like a gain control and zero-latency monitoring in case you want to plug-in headphones monitor yourself along with a backing track while recording.
The disadvantages to a USB mic are that you can only use one mic at a time, and you you can’t plug it into a mixer of PA system. (I’ve read that the Yeti’s electronics can be noisy, but I assume they are better than a regular soundcard.) The Yeti Pro dversion
oes have an optional analog connection.
A regular (analog) condenser mic requires 48V phantom which is supplied by the audio interface (or preamp/mixer).
Large diaphragm condenser (LDC) microphones are the most common type of mic used in pro studios.
But I am worried about external sound, such as my laptop’s vacuum-style fan noise
Yes… That’s the biggest issue for home recording and since acoustic instruments are sometimes quiet so they can be the most difficult. You can usually isolate the computer (in another room, etc.) but there is usually lots of other background noise that you might not be aware of until you listen to the recording. Position the mic close to the instrument for a strong signal-to-noise ratio, and do what you can to “deaden” the room.
Ideally, you’d like a soundproof studio with “good acoustics” for some nice natural reverb. Or, a dead-sounding studio and you can add some artificial reverb in post production.
If you have low-level background noise you can try Audacity’s noise reduction after recording, but with with a “delicate” acoustic instrument you may notice artifacts (side effects).
…be it MME, Asio, etc all have the same issue, in software such as Guiar Rig, Sonar, and hence Audacity.
Your choice of recording software does not affect sound quality… The software simply captures the digital audio stream and sends it to your hard drive. (Higher-end DAW software has features that can be helpful if you are multi-track recording.)
If you are adding effects after recording (reverb, EQ, compression, etc.) software can make a difference.