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I'm talking about the slight ticking sound of a truly mechanical watch.

I've done some research, and I'm thinking of using a Cardioid Condenser Microphone along with a USB preamp and connecting that to my computer and recording it with something like Audacity.

Is this a good idea or am I way off? Are there specific microphone types you would suggest?

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You're not at all way off. This sounds like a very good place to start, however I would recommend using a small lavalier microphone with an appropriate computer interface. This will allow you to get the capsule much closer to the mechanism than you will be able to with the MXL770.

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