Hey all. Im pretty new to the forum, but am amazed at everyones knowledge and am learning a lot in short time. My question is about a mic and audio interface. Tax time is coming around and I'm just not sure that what I use to record is up to par, or if it will be worth it to buy new gear. I record only vocals, no instruments. Rap/Hip Hop(I know, i know, good equipment is good equipment regardless of genre, no such thing as rap mic.. etc. haha ) Heres the equipment I use.. Computer: eMacines W2686 80GB Harddrive 512 MB DDR(????) 1.60 GHz, 992 MB RAM Windows XP AMD Athalon XP Processor Microphone: Sterling Audio ST-51 Condensor Mic DAW: Magix Music Studio 12 Deluxe Audio Interface: M-Audio Mobile Pre USB Acoustics: I don't know the exact dimensions of the room, but i have chunks of the room soundproofed with the black foamy stuff, and also have two soundproof blankets. Not ideal i know, but its better than just no soundproof and sound bouncing off of the walls i assume. There is noise outside the door of where we record so I know that comes into play when picking a mic. Just giving u guys all the specifics that i can. What I'm concerned about is I'm not sure if the sterling audio st-51 condensor and M-Audio Mobile Pre USB are gonna cut it. I'm not completely disgusted with the sound I get, but I know i can make it better with better gear. All I can afford to upgrade is the mic n audio interface for now. I'm working with a budget in the $500 dollar range, can go higher but not by much. I understand that the acoustics of the room affects the sound and its not just in these two things. I also understand that you get what you pay for. I've been doing a lot of research and have seen you guys talk about a few mics n interfaces that are pretty cheap and sound good, and I've narrowed it down to a few options that I'm hoping you can help me with picking them out. Maybe more importantly, if these choices are even worth spending the money, if it will make that dramatic of a difference from what im using. Here are my options that I'm looking to get: Mics: Shure SM58 ($100) Sennheiser MD421 ($250) Rode NT1-A ($230) Audio Technica AT4040 ($300) EV RE20 ($430) Blue bluebird ($300) I was also thinking about the Shure SM7 but I've read a lot of people say it has a low output and had trouble boosting the volume with the interface without distorting the sound. If im mistaken please let me know. Also if you have any more suggestions feel free to let me know. I'm very thrown off by the appearance of the SM58 because it's the only mic of the group that looks like the type of mic you hold in your hand rather than the enclosed style of the rest. However I have yet to hear anything bad about it and have heard nearly everyone highly recommend it. Again let me know if im mistaken. Also i described the acoustics of the room above, so given that situation, should i look to the a mic like the SM58 or another dynamic mic? Or some of the condensors above. Keep in mind i use a condensor now and dont have any problems with background noise at all. Interfaces: Lexicon Lamba ($120) FocusRite Saffire 6 USB ($200) Mackie Onyx Blackjack ($150) The computer does NOT have firewire so thats not an option. Looking for a good sounding USB interface that will go well with the mics above. If you have any other suggestions let me know please. I've read a lot of good reviews about the saffire 6 and onyx blackjacks preamps so which do you guys think is better? I was thinking i wanted to go with the shure sm-58 because of the obviously cheap price and amazing reviews, but I'd like to hear what you all have to say about that choice, or if some of my other options would be a better pick for what i do. If i did go with the sm-58 or similar mics to the ones above, which interface in your opinions go best with it? Sorry for the long read but i had to be specific if i expect solid and helpful answers. Please let me know what you guys think. Thanks.