I am using a 2.6 ghz p4 800mhz fsb 1gb ddram computer with a rode nt-1 mic, SB Audigy 2 ZS sound card, AKG K141 Monitor Headphones (no speakers), and Adobe Audition for multitracking currently for recording and mastering hiphop vocals. I have about $800 to work with ($300 in gift cards from sam ash, so if you can please suggest gear that is available there Very Happy) I am just looking to better my setup in any way that I can with the funds I currently have available to me. What would you suggest be my next upgrade to get the most sound improvement for my money? I know that my mic is of low-end quality for condensors (although I find it the BEST sounding of the low end mics =P), and I am aware that my sound card is terrible, lol. I was thinking of maybe going for a delta 44 to replace my audigy, since I could pick that up for $149, only need a few inputs, and I have heard that it is decent for the money (I have been seeing people mentioning that it is actually better to have an external interface to avoid the electrical noise from the inside of the computer, and I am wondering if this might be a problem if I do get the 44?). I also have no mic preamp at all, except for the pre's that are built in to my audigy. One piece of gear that I noticed that would cost almost exactly my budget and may considerably improve my quality is a Rode K2. It seems to be pretty cheap for the amount of praise it gets, though I am unsure it would even be worth buying without a mic pre to go with it. Also, even though I am not really mixing too much besides vocals (though I do have ambitions to get into producing hiphop beats, which does play a factor in my decision) I think I am going to need some decent monitors as well if I am wanting my mixes to sound anywhere near a professional level. The more that I think about it though, I am wondering if it is even worth it to go for upgrades with only $800 available to me... Should I put away a few more paychecks and spring for one higher end piece of gear at a time?? Or is there anything that I would be able to add to my setup with my current funds that would considerably improve my quality without me having to upgrade that piece of equipment again any time soon? I actually attended The Recording Workshop (a school for audio production) about a year ago when I was 17, and I do really wish that I paid more attention to the different brands of equipment and their subtle differences while I was there. I figured I would ask you folks here on this board about this as opposed to some of the other forums I've been seeing, as from what my little engineering experience has taught me, you all seem to have a better idea of what actually sounds good. I like how it seems like everyone here is always suggesting something different to people, instead of seeing a million people all over-hyping the same overused sub-par piece of gear.