what's good everybody? i been checking out the forum for a minute now but this is my first time posting. i usually perform a search and find what i need. but this time i have a couple of questions i couldn't find answers to. i'm trying to decide whether or not i need to upgrade my mic pres. i record rap vocals with a rode nt1000 going into a m audio delta 1010lt. i been using the preamps on my zoom mrs1044 multitrack to provide phantom power, cutoff filter, compression and gate. it's been getting me by but i'm starting to wonder if bypassing the zoom pres and getting a dedicated preamp would give me better quality? i record in an untreated bedroom and my budget is around $300 new/used. is it possible to get any better quality than what i already have in this price range? also, how much more would i need to spend to get the most out of my setup? i have software plugins for compression, gates, etc. however i'd still like to use some of that during the recording stage, if possible. i been looking at the focusrite penta but it doesn't include a gate. the only preamp i've found in my price range that has compression and a gate is the dbx 286a. but i don't know if it or any other preamp in my budget will be a noticeable improvement over what i already have?