I have an 24" iMac 2.8 core duo w/ 500 gig internal hard drive, 4gig's RAM and I currently have a presonus FireBox with some very old Cubase LE software that came with it - I never installed on the iMac yet(used on my PC for a few years now). I have been asked to start recording local bands - mainly punk/alternative rock - nothing real special. I currently do live sound for them with no computer - just basic mixer/PA set up. So I will be upgrading the interface and purchasing some decent software. Most likely sticking with the presonus company for now. So here is my questions: 1) I'm turned off by ProTools only working with their hardware - So if I go with CuBase or something other than protools, will CuBase work with the m-audio/digidesign hardware if I eventually decide to go that route? 2) I feel like i would only need 8-12 simultaneous tracks - is the iMac good enough for that? Would I need an external drive? 3) If I needed to work with protools files for some reason can i just load protools to export the info into Cubase or other programs - or is ProTools propritory in some way? Any help would be greatly appreciated.