OK, I took the leap of faith and got a UA LA610. The reason I bought it is that it was half price- used- and I figure I can sell it if I don't see an improvement in my sound. Obviously I will see some improvement, but how much with just one component is a mystery. I record original tunes alone even though I am in a cover band, so one channel strip is enough for me. My question is this. The EMU units seem to be a cheap substitute to the RME. At least people bother to compare them for quality. I am currently using a Presonus Firebox. I imagine either EMU or RME would be an improvement. The questions are two: How do the RME and EMU products compare? Second, since I have a UA LA610, record one track at a time and don't care about built in preamps, can I get along with an EMU 1212m? It sounds like it is the 1616m without the mic pres. On the other hand, should I get better mic pres for $2k to plug into the Firebox? It has inputs? It seems to have latency issues though and I'd rather go back to a PCI solution. I used to have a 0404 with a Joe Meek and then I got a faster computer with an Firebox and Cubase 3 with Waves plugins and definitely the sound improved. The software was better though, so it's hard to compare interfaces. Now I have an i7 machine but my Cubase SX3 won't run on it and I'm not eager to buy Cubase 5. I may keep running on my old Windows XP machine forever rather than buy new software. I spent enough on this stuff. Anyway, I'd love better converters and less latency, but I want to get the most bang for my buck. Would a 1212m just be trading sideways? It sounds like people argue whether it is as good as an RME Fireface 400 or 800. Since I don't care about pres, is the 1212m as good as the 1616m in other respects? Should I get external RME converters and plug them into my Firebox with the digital optical out or SPDIF or whatever this has? Basically, I don't want redundancy for signal channel recording. I don't need to pay any extra $400 for pres when I already have something better. I sing, play bass, and guitar- lead/rhythm. I use drum loops and software. I have drummer friends, but don't want to buy more pres and a better interface just to bring them in on my projects. I figure I've been composing alone and don't need to spend thousands bringing some drummer in on my hobbyist projects when I'm pretty happy with EZdrummer. I only devote a few hours a week to this hobby, so I want it to be cost effective. I wouldn't have bought the LA610 if I didn't feel confident I could sell it later if I get to busy to continue with this hobby. I had a son recently and the wife is less supportive of my recording hobby. Still, I want to maximize the quality of the recordings during the time I spend recording. Especially since the 1212m is so cheap. I am doing better than my amateur friends in the area, but I am not giving the pro studios any worries. You can check out my mixes/recordings at http://www.myspace.com/manicmonkey3. My monkey has evolved quite a bit since these early recordings on an EMU 0404 with no plugins except primitive reverb, but a few are with the new Firebox/WAVES setup. See if you can tell which ones. The background noise should be a giveaway. I didn't know enough to clip out background hiss during rests on the early stuff. Eh, live and learn. I'm kind of operating in a vacuum here. The few friends I have who record know much less than I do- which isn't much. My friends are also partial to Behringer gear and such, so they are easily impressed by my results. I try to compare myself more to studio recordings and always fall a little short. I am catching up to my friends who record in local studios, but am falling short of the pro/international scene- and probably always will.