I'm building a home studio from scratch. I'll be running it on a dedicated windows XP or Vista machine, whichever OS is optimal. Right now 3.0ghz pentium 4 with 2 gigs of ram. Looking to upgrade to 3-4 gigs of ram soon. Off the bat I'll be looking to record my piano (Stereo line-in), my acoustic guitar (no internal pick-up), vocals and a violin. I'll be recording for friends and live jams as well at some point, so I want to keep my options open. My budget is between $1200-$1400. I'm a little flexible there, but I already moved myself from $1000 to here, so I'm trying not to indulge anymore. Right now at home I have an original mbox, 3 microphone stands, and a low-quality dynamic mic. Monitors: 2x Mackie MR5 I'm pretty much decided on these, but I'm definitely looking for some feedback. I also looked at the Yamaha Hs50m, which I decided not to get because of the reviews regarding it's bass (I don't think I'll want to invest in a subwoofer for a while) and a few others. These ones seemed to stand out from the pack Hardware Interface: I've kept my searching solely to firewire based inputs. My understanding is that this is the superior technology. Should I be looking at any USB 2.0 setups? You can see from these that my priority is 8+ inputs, midi input, good preamps, and a nice hardware layout. I also like having 2 headphone outs. $480 - Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 OR $500 - Focusrite Saffire Pro 26 OR (if I want to keep the protools option open): $569 - M-Audio ProFire 2626 All prices are the lowest I could find online, not musiciansfriend.com's prices. This has been the hardest decision for me. I previously recorded on protools through an original mbox, but the cost of re-entry, even through m-audio, seems too high. It looks like I'd have to spend an extra $80 or so for a comparable interface and then another $200 for protools m-powered. Alternatively, a friend of mine who works in the industry is able to get me legitimate versions of cakewalk, sonar or cubase for free if I decide to use one of those. Does anyone have an opinion between the Saffire 26 and the Saffire 40? here's an image I found comparing the two. What about compared to the Profire 2626? One review I read compared the Saffire 40 to the Profire 2626 and liked the Saffire better. Otherwise I haven't seen other comparisons. Headphones (for tracking, not mixing): 2x: 19$ each - Sennheiser HD201 I just went with a company whose name I knew who had the lowest price for closed-back headphones. Since I'll only be using these for tracking, the only issue is sound-bleed, and I'm not looking to dump a big chunk of change into the headphones just yet. Anyone have any experience with these? Microphones: Still undecided on this. I'd like to find two good condenser mics (one small diaphram, one large diaphram) that fit my budget and then go from there. I'll definitely be getting the SM57 at some point, but with what I'll tend to be recording, I won't need it immediately. Here are the condensers I've been looking at. Depending on what hardware interface I get and how much I spend, I'll have $200-$400 to spend here: $100 - MXL 990/MXL 991 bundle $100 - Sterling Audio Large Diaphragm FET $150 - MXL 990 Stereo Large Diaphragm Stereo Condensor $210 - Rode NT1-A Condenser bundled with pop filter And two that look really nice but that are a little out of my price range if I want to get 2 mics. If you guys think I'm better off getting 1 of these rather than 2 other mics, let me know that. Right now all I've got at home is a low-end dynamic mic. $300 - ProAudio CS1 $250 - ProAudio C1 Anyone information you have on any of these pieces of hardware would be appreciated, and any advice is also appreciated.