Greetings everyone, Although I am an experienced musician working in the field, at this point in time I need to record my first album ever. This first one is just piano and voice. Whether or not this has any future and additional recordings follow - God only knows. For this reason I am very careful with my spending. Obviously I am trying to spend as little as possible as I don't know whether or not I'll be able to recoup my investment. That being said, if things (God willing) do work out and I start building a following, I would rather not have a piece of gear that is not upgradable and which I would have to get rid of. I have a iMac 800 MHz, 256 MB, OS X 10.2.8 and need to buy some basic equipment. I am thinking of the AKG C 414 B-ULS (now being B-XLS) as general purpose mic (vocals) and the MSP5 for monitors (or perhaps the KRK V6), but my concern is more about the audio interfacing. I understand that I can buy an all-in-one box such as the Lexicon Omega, M-Audio 1814/410, Saffire, Spike, MBox and others. I know these boxes have a mic pre, an a/d and a d/a all in one, and I am not sure how good the electronics are. These all-in-one boxes are obviously a compromise, allowing people with hardly any budget at all, to make a recording. Those may be appropriate for me but I don't know. Then there is the option of buying separate A/D, D/A, mic pre (and God knows what else) but I am not sure how much that could mount up to. My budget it somewhere along the line of $2-3k. It doesn't mean that I wish to spend all of it. On another note, I have an old Performer 3.6 (not DP) but an upgrade is $295 instead of buying new for $499). this makes the software end attractive. I also have the AT822, but I find it hard to imagine it can come in handy. But perhaps I am wrong and I can wait with spending money on the AKG. I could sure use some experienced input from all you gear pros. Peace.