Hi guys, I'm new here. I'm to the point where I need to upgrade from Garageband using a used MBox with no Pro Tools---into something a tiny little bit higher end. I need more XLR inputs for full band recording. At least 8. I'm definately on a budget. I'm not using Pro Tools, because it's just too expensive and limiting in the 4 input, 32 track max Digi LE setup. The two options I've narrowed it down to is the Presonus Firepod, and then down the line picking up the Mackie Control Universal---or buying a Tascam FW-1884. The seperate Presonus preamp system and Mackie Control board come out to about the same cost as just the fully integrated Tascam board, but I'm not sure I can lay down all that cash right now for the Tascam, rather than getting the inputs now, and a control surface later. I'm also concerned with how good the pre's are in the Firepod vs. the Tascam. Is this choice kind of 6 to 1, half a dozen to the other (IE, basically the same?) Obviously I'm using a Mac, and all of these things seem to be compatible with my choices of software, and my other concern is using the control board with Final Cut Pro, but I know that both the Mackie and Tascam are comaptible there, so it really comes down to cost right now, and pre quality.