I recently purchased an API 3124 and couldn't be happier. I finally have that kick drum sound I've been wanting. Now I want to get something that's dedicated to recording vocals so I'm thinking about a channel strip. The primary mic that I'll probably use is a Lawson L47. I've heard good things about the following strips but wanted to get your opinion: 1) Universal Audio 6176 2) Avalon 737 3) Avalon 747 (basically a stereo version of the 737?) Now for my connection question. How do I connect the strip (and my API) correctly to my Mackie 24-8 that I use basically for collecting signals for the headphone mix in the studio? I currently use the outputs from the API and plug these into the 1/4" balanced inputs of the Mackie. I turn the gain all the way down on the Mackie but I would think that I'm still going through the Mackie preamp. Should I be connecting some other way? A friend told me to partially insert the 1/4" cable but I haven't tried it yet. I take the signal from the Mackie channels (outputs on back of mixer) and route them to the MOTU 828 MKII for processing on the PC. The vocals still sound a little thin so I thought I might not be connecting my external preamp to the Mackie correctly. I'm sure that the cleanest approach is to come directly from the API into the MOTU but I really need that signal in my Mackie board for the headphone mix. Thanks a lot in advance. This forum just an amazing amount of help for beginners like myself.