Hello, all. I've decided that I want to try my hand at building a home studio and I was wondering if you all could help me with the basics. The music I plan to create consists mainly of hip-hop influences and will be composed of a mixture of samples and live instrumentation. Some of what I plan to buy at the moment includes: FL Studio - Because of its familiarity and MIDI capabilities as well as its easy installation and low-cost. Casio PX120 - Cheap(ish), weighted keyboard with MIDI capability (as far as I know, correct me if I'm wrong) Zoom H2 - Many of the samples I plan to use will be ambient samples (those taken from crowded places, outside, etc. Essentially natural sounds) in order to complement the content of my projects. This will come in handy both as a field recorder and for use in recording myself and others. East West Symphonic Orchestra Silver or Gold - I haven't quite decided which I plan to buy at the moment. In any case, sample libraries will be instrumental (no pun intended :smile to achieving my desired sound. The music I intend to make will be very hip-hop based as many of the beats will be in 4/4 and will contain heavy bass, but they will be composed mainly of stringed and orchestral instruments (Rob Dougan is the first person that comes to mind in this field, though his music is a bit more relaxed than I intend for mine to be). I also plan to purchase East West Symphonic Choirs at one point. Audacity - No matter how much equipment or software I buy, I will incorporate Audacity into my work until I feel I can no longer use it. It is free, open source, and amazing. As for my "DAW" software (again, please correct me if I have misused this term), I am not sure whether to choose Sonar, Pro-Tools, Cubase, etc. At the moment I am looking at Sonar simply because of its price, though Pro-Tools seems to have more support due to its industry-standard status. Regardless, I do not want to make the software more important than the final product, so I'm sure either of the two will do so long as I acquire the skill(s) needed to use them. Let's move on. My main concern at this point is actual equipment. As I said before, though I plan to make use of sample libraries, I definitely plan to use live instrumentation as well. I am not sure what computer, audio interface or microphones I should buy. At the moment I've been looking at audio interfaces with 6-8 mic inputs (I'm not sure how many I will need, but I would rather have too many than too few), and preferably firewire (I've heard that USB is theoretically slower or something to that effect. Another advantage is that many of the firewire interfaces I've seen draw power from the firewire as opposed to needing an external outlet). As for microphones, can someone list for me the different types of microphones and what exactly their applications are? I will be eternally grateful. I am aware that there are condenser, dynamic, cardioid and a few others, but I have no idea what exactly they are meant to be used for. Finally, I plan to purchase a new computer relatively soon. At this point, all I am certain of is that it will be a PC (because it's most affordable). I have been looking at: Gateway i3-530 (I believe this comes with Firewire ports) Asus e5400 Again, I really want to thank you all for your suggestions and contributions as well as the time you took to read through this drab essay. Any recommendations or experiences and opinions with regard to the equipment are greatly appreciated. Also feel free to add ANY equipment or other hardware/software you think I missed. P.S. - As far as a budget goes, you all can just recommend things you think are reasonably priced. I thought within the range of 7-12 thousand, but this is not a final estimate.