Hi and newbie here (to recording as well as to this forum) - Here are the specs on the Zoom H4n: http:// Here are the specs on the Presonus Firebox: http://www.presonus.com/products/Detail.aspx?ProductId=4 The only recordings I've done so far have been just goofing around w/ my toddlers on my Mac G4 Powerbook using Garage Band and the built-in mic. Needless to say, it sure doesn't sound very impressive. Skip to the bottom here to read about what type of recordings I want to do (nothing pro but better than above scenario). Last summer I researched a bit online and then went & bought a PreSonus Firebox, a Rode NT1-A condenser mic, mic stand & cable & Senheisser headphones (no monitors though)...and I've used NONE of it yet! I was about to, when I learned of this new Zoom H4n coming out and all it was capable of. My laptop overheats a lot these days on its own so I liked the idea of having a handheld recorder that doesn't rely on a computer and yet also is a USB 2.0 audio interface. I like to buy local when I can and the other day I knew that if I didn't buy the Zoom right then, I wouldn't get a chance to buy it from my local store again till the next shipment (there was a waiting list already and sure enough they're sold out for now) so I bit the bullet and got the Zoom. I've just listed the new-in-box Firebox on Craigslist but I just want to make sure that for my intended purposes, I shouldn't really be holding on to it (I hope not cause I could really use the money to help pay for that spendy little Zoom)! I know I'll be giving up Firewire...and I will want low-latency/the ability to layer tracks (up to 3 or 4 at the max) so will that be a problem? What else am I losing by keeping only the Zoom? What I'd like to do is learn how to make halfway decent recordings of: - myself playing the old time/clawhammer style banjo, which I'm relatively new to, so that I can hear myself recorded for learning purposes and to share it online for feedback - myself playing either banjo or acoustic guitars (steel string or classical) as well as voice (and possibly also piano on a rare occasion), in order to make my small children a c.d. of their favorite songs that we sing together or I sing to them or play for them, etc. - one or two friends and I hanging out together and playing our instruments together, which won't happen very often but could end up being a lot of fun and sentimental - I'd also like to digitalize old records/tapes, and know that the sound quality will be good (in stereo, if it was originally recorded in stereo). None of these recording purposes are very cool or hip, I know, :lol: but I'd really like to learn the basics and get some of this done! I've been waiting way too long to get started! Thank you so much!! p.s. can anyone recommend a good book, DVD or online tutorial that explains the ins & outs of basic home recording? I keep coming across terminology that I don't understand. That's easy enough to look up but I'd also really like to learn about things like recommended distance between mic & instrument, and room acoustics and all the other secrets that make a difference.