My objective: To purchase a card or interface My budget: $300 or less. Let me prefice this by saying: I have a good voice, and I know how to play the guitar. I also have some good songs to work with. With that said, here's what I want to do: record vocals and guitar. That's it. I'm looking for a couple of clean signals. I've done a pretty good amount of research and here's where the newbie starts to get confused. 1. If I am only recording vocals and guitar, do I actually need firewire? Would USB 2.0 suffice? Because that certainly opens up my options. All I am looking for is a good sounding clean signal. 2. What's up with the strength of the signal? I have read over and over, regardless of firewire/USB, that people get weak signals going into their pc's and everyone seems to end up adding their own gain. 3. Do people buy external 'interfaces' for the preamps? Is it otherwise better to go with a card? I personally like to go mic to preamp to compression, but I really prefer tube preamps, so I'm not sure it makes sense to spend money on something with preamps. My approach to recording is keep it simple. After all, the Beatles recorded Sgt Peppers on a couple of 4-track recorders. So, I think it's easy to get caught up in "you've got to have this and you've got to have that." All I'm looking for is a couple of clean signals. Experts, what do you think?