I'm trying to finally (after waiting a long bitter decade) really begin recording music with 20 to 30 tracks. I want to start out with spending less than 1000 dollars just to get the songs togetehr without worrying too much about not having perfect quality sound. I suppose early Skinny Puppy comes closest to describing the sound I really want although I'm more varied than that. Right now I have an old Ensoniq KS-32 with an amp that I've written music on in the past but I completely had to forget about the music in my head and just go with what the Ensoniq was capable of. I want to go far beyond that, especially with adding audio tracks. So this is what I'm thinking about doing: Dell computer with an AMD 64 Athlon, 1.6 Ghz CPU, 2GB RAM, 80 GB hard drive, M-Audio Audiophile 2496 sound card, very cheap computer speakers. One or two microphones, I guess Behringers..., Cubase SE 3 (the 75 dollar student version). Later I'll get better monitor speakers and I guess either a firewire interface or some other better soundcard. For now I can settle for less than perfect sound. Just want to be able to record 30 or so tracks one at a time and get the songs down. Am I missing anything? I've been reading "The Everything Home Recording Book" by Marc Schonbrun and stuff online and I have some confusion about a few things. Is a mixing board and a mixer different things? Dumb question I guess but my readings have got me confused. I'm thinking (and I hope someone will correct me if wrong) that for audio tracks the microphone will connect directly to the computer as I plan to use a M-Audio 2496 soundcard (if I was using USB or Firewire I'd have a external interface box??). The "mixing board/mixer" is just the software from Cubase. The crappy computer speakers can play it back. The amp is a cheap 100 dollar amp. Perhaps I could use that instead? I'm sorry if this is too detailed. Is there anything obvious I'm missing? Any compatibility issues?