hi everyone, first post, joined specifically to ask this question: im just a high school kid trying to record his band, i've recorded my other bands before in a sort of hap-hazard way, but i want to do this upcoming EP a little better. I do intend on staying involved in music production after high school so any expensive purchases i might now aren't as much of a waste as they will seem for a high school band, becaus i will use them later. Other wise i'd just use what we already have. So. My question is, given about a $400 budget, maybe 450, what's more important: -Getting some nicer condenser mics (we already have a bunch of SM57s, an SM58, and acceptable drum mics) -Getting real studio monitors (we dont really have any now) -Splitting the $400-450 between both nicer mics and monitors What we already have for a setup: The mics i listed above A PV20 16-channel mixer (well, really 20 channels, you know how it works) A MOTU 8pre audio interface, i dont really see any need for it since the mixer acts as an audio interface Garageband software (perfectly acceptable for us) No mic preamps besides those in the mixer Some crappy headphones Some pretty crappy, normal, computer speakers Right now basically to mix music I use my house's surround sound system, which is at least detailed sound quality, although obviously not flat/honest sound reproduction since its primary use is for movies, CDs, etc. My basic question is should I spend the money to get a decent condenser mic, for recording vocals, acoustic guitar, bla bla bla (I'm the vocalist and rhythm guitarist), or would my money be better spent on some legitimate studio monitors? Or could I split the money between them? keep in mind I could use the stereo amp i already have, to power some monitors, so I could get passive monitors and bring down the price a bit (right?). Obviously i can eventually buy which ever one i dont later on, but most likely, whichever one i decide, ill have to live with for at least an EP. If that's too confusing, sorry, i just wanted to make sure you understood my situation. Thanks and I look forward to being a part of this community!