This is a branch from my first post ("Yet Another Noob - interface questions") Based on what I've read here, I've concluded that an audio interface is my next investment. I don't mind starting with fewer inputs if I can expand later on by either adding another similar unit or additional preamps. Based on a lot of reading, puzzling and looking at the specs rather than ad copy, it appears that all the major manufacturers have similar products at similar prices; it comes down to what flavor is right for me. That said, I *think* the MOTU 828MkII, PreSonus Firestudio or Tascam 1641 might fit my needs. All have advantages, all have drawbacks: the Tascam is the least expensive, but it is a USB unit; The PreSonus has eight preamped Neutrik inputs, but cannot be daisychained; and the MOTU can be daisychained but has only two preamped inputs. All units have software suites that would be fun to play with (I'm a software junky), but I have Sonar, so the cyber-candy isn't a strong decision factor. All three brands have a strong base of users that like and dislike them, and I know that by asking this question I'll probably get "love it, hate it" as well - but at least it may help make the decision easier. My intention is to control everything (audio multitrack) via the MCU, so physical characteristics are less important than reliability, headroom, sound and the ability to play nice with Sonar and XP. I need at least one MIDI port for the control surface, and prefer 1/4" (balanced or not) as outputs as opposed to XLR. Neutrik combos are a plus! As a recap, the base recording system is PC based (Quad core intel, 4GB RAM, 1.5 TB storage, Windows XP Media Edition), Sonar 7 Producer, Mackie Control Universal work surface. Advice? A fourth or fifth brand and model to make me even more confused, perhaps? :shock: Thanks!