I've got about $3500 to use to set up a recording system for the music department at our local (small) high school. There are so many choices that I'm totally confused. I want to record live performances, usually either vocalist with piano or rehearsals of the choirs and bands, and save them on CD's that can be played on any standard audio CD player. I'm mainly interested in making stereo recordings of student performances for 1. The students to hear and critique themselves, 2. Honor group and college entrance auditions, 3. Demo performances of me performing pieces so the kids can listen to a finished performance at home. I have a Gateway Pentium II computer with inboard CD burner. It presently has only the factory audio card. For audio software I have Adaptec Easy CD Creator, Music Match Jukebox, and Cool Edit Pro. I thought I might begin with a pair of large diaphragm condenser mics set in a stereo bar. After that the issue becomes very complicated. Will I need a mic preamp or a stereo mic preamp, or none at all? Should I get a DAT machine, a digital multitrack recorder, an outboard CD recorder, a bunch of sortware for the PC, or what? If I get a decent audio card, can I import audio into the PC, edit it there and burn it on the inboard CD burner? Cool Edit Pro supports WAV format. Is there a compatibility issue with external audio devices like DAT machines? And then there's the simplicity issue. Most of the time I don't want to spend a lot of time making these recordings. Usually I'll want to record and playback quickly with a minimum of fuss or time spent (Kids need immediate feedback.)Only occasionally will I want to release a slick professional recording that I've spent lots of time mastering. I really don't know how to proceed. This is a lot different than hooking a couple of mics to a cassette deck and making a tape. (Which is what I used to do. Quality was nothing to write hope about.) Any advice for a totally confused rookie? I would welcome very specific equipment recommendations as I know absolutely nothing.