I would like purchase advice. Like anybody, I'm trying to keep costs as low as possible. I was years ago a desktop G4 user. Long story short I hopped out some years back, and I'm now looking to get back into doing audio (mainly based around my improv-rock band, mixing tracks) and classical composition (my real love, plus I have a shot at professional orchestral score copying). But boy has the field changed. I'm under no illusion that I can afford anything new that doesn't have to be new. I know that I would like to use a laptop for the blessed portability and because laptops for audio have come so far in recent years - I'd be happy to own any macbook (or mbpro) that would do the job: '06, '07, whatever. When home I'll use an external monitor so I don't care about laptop screen size. However, concerning audio off the analog jack (only that jack I believe), I came across this terrifying thread yesterday - I didn't know about this issue! And people are so fast and loose (ie. expert) with their discussion and specs that I began to lose track of just which machines have the issue and which don't (help with that would be nice: which MBPs? never MBs?). Then apparently the most recent (only?) MBPs have no firewire - screw that! - and another model has one 800 and another 400 but sometimes the 800 only runs at 400... Look, I know I'd be quite happy after all this time with ye ole 400 rate. Also I think after reading this thread that I can daisy-chain to an external audio interface (computer - Glyph HD - MOTU or whatever). Totally fine for now. My Pro-88 controller is USB, so I shouldn't even need any midi cabling. Which brings me to the fact that I of course want to stop using my old external synth, go all software. Software synths and all that are the most foreign subjects of all to me. Admittedly I have a lot of questions, I apologize. And please, if anything below can be answered in some fantastical pre-existing thread kindly direct me to it. What laptop models would you recommend I pickup, used or maybe even refurbished? There are so many releases of MB and MBP, please try to point out which one. (And I want the dang firewire and don't care if the machine has seen a year or two.) What fixes, installs, habits, adapters, tricks might be necessary for best audio, software and peripheral performance? Which FW audio interface(s) do you recommend? 4 to 8 quality ins/outs (plus of course optical) would be fine. Something that won't give me a lot of trouble. Would you recommend I go back to Logic (8 of course), or can I save the dough and go with something like Reaper at this point? (Reaper almost looks to good to be true.) I love Logic, but I'm sure I never needed all that. I want to edit sound files, cut and paste sections, multitrack (but I'm sure not tons of tracks), automate fades and plug-ins and such, mixdown. Probably need mastering software too. What about synths/samplers? I'm a total babe in the woods on this point. What I care most about are high-quality reproductions of classical and jazz instruments (also great drumsets would be nice, but the need isn't urgent). Is that what Reason is for? Or is that some sort of interface and you add to that? How or why would the necessary communication get from Finale or Logic to that software and produce sound? Help, I don't get it!! I know I'm sticking with Finale and will have to upgrade. This is probably where I'd often use the most processor power and RAM - working with full orchestral scores with lots of graphical elements, and not forgetting the occasional need to playback. Additional or better external hard drives? And if I add drives then what about the fact that I may have only one FW port? Bear in mind no gaming or emailing or other such. I have a stupid PC for that kind of thing. Anything else I'd need for my purposes which I've failed to mention (but nothing for bells-and-whistle's sake). Sorry about the typical long newbie post (I thought I was better than that... how wrong). Thanks for your time!