Howdy all, First off, great board, have learned a ton already. I am having a fundamental issue, though. That is, I can't seem to get my mixes past that 90% mark. They sound good, "rock", etc. But they're a bit congested, despite using EQ and compression on tracks to slot things into place. I'm trying to figure out where I should invest to improve things. Part of the problem is definitely the idiot running the rig, but he's learning. Right now I'm running a Win2k DAW, Cubase SX + Echo Layla. Good mics and pre's; have some hookups so frequently get access to a TLM103 + Avalon for vox, ribbon mics, etc. So the input stage is good. But I have a couple weak spots: 1. Monitors - using Event PS-6's I bought a few years back; good speakers but not great 2.plug-ins- still using the default Cubase SX ones, including the compressor and reverb. 3. Location - trying to mix in the corner of my home studio; had posted another thread about building out a separate "control room" in my house So... What I'm trying to figure out is where to put my efforts next? I want to eventually upgrade all these things. I strongly suspect that upgrading #2 to get some decent compressors, like the Waves C1/C4 or UAD-1, would give me some instant gratification. But then again maybe my monitors suck too much and that's the whole problem. I have a budget of about $1200 total. If I can get away cheaper, sweet. Input??