Hi friends, I know it's generally socially unacceptable to create a new thread for your first post on a forum, but I've been reading over these forums a lot and most people seem willing to offer good advice to the 'new' guys. It also seems that the best responses come from specific "scenarios" or "setups", so I figured, I'd throw mine out and see what you all come up with. Anyway, I help local bands in my area put out demos. It's all D.I.Y. I charge absolutely nothing and purchase all the equiptment on my own or ask my family for parts for Christmas/birthdays. The more I record bands, the better the outcome, obviously. However, I feel there are still some "bottlenecks" that are holding the overall sound quality back. The sound quality right now is perfectly "fine". I can produce a very clear, well mixed demo, timely and efficiently. Now, I am getting a new job and would like to take my "project" studio to a higher level. The goal, would be to *eventually* be able to put out stuff as good as small indie labels. Something along the lines of Nirvana's "Bleach" album or Blink 182's "Chesire Cat". The room I want to use for recording is a "master" bedroom, but honestly, its probably smaller by most standards; probably 10' x 11' and the "control room", would be the smaller, adjecent bedroom. All the recording is done on a PC computer. 8 channels in is absolutely necessary (using a Delta 1010)... Currently I am recording/mixing with Cool Edit Pro and doing some light mastering work with T-Racks to give the mixes some gloss. I don't need any help with the computer side of things. That would be my realm or "expertise". But, I would like to know where I should start upgrading my audio gear. My current equiptment consists of: M-Audio Delta 1010 Nady PRA-8 preamp (terrible - 1 channel works variably and 1 is completely gone) Samson 7kit Drum Mics 3 Shure SM-57's a Sennheiser e835 vocal mic embarassing monitoring system using computer speakers and headphones That's pretty much the core of what I am working with. The music styles I record are indie-rock genres like punk, hardcore, etc. 8 channels in; usually: kick drum, snare, tom(s), floor tom, 2 overheads, guitars 1 and 2 - then overdub bass and vocals. So that leads us to the point of all of this. Where do the improvements need to start to being working towards a goal of "releasable" sounding albums (heh, even on a punk rock level)? My instinct is to upgrade the preamp first, which is terrible to begin with ($100 sale online ) to either a high quality pre-amp, or upgrade it to a nice console/mixing board. Then, I would assume I would need some better mics, but I don't know what kind(s) and for what applications. I assume I would also need a decent compressor; but again, am not sure what would be the best for my scenario. I know I will eventually need a great set of monitors, but they are low priority on my list right now, because I am mixing at personally satisfactory levels that translate acceptably across different sound setups... The budget for this project is "rolling". I should have an extra $1000 a month to spend on upgrades. So the upgrades would roll in "gradually"; which is why I am concerned about which upgrades make the most dramatic improvements. Thanks for reading this entire mess. Any suggestions would be absolutely considered in full and appreciated even more. There are several bands in our area who will indirectly be saying "thanks" as well.