...to get an audio interface/pre-amp? I'm guessing the latter, only cause a detail I didn't mention in the title is that I'd also like the option of digitalizing/recording/preserving records and tapes and storing all that info on my laptop. While none of my playing/singing is professional, I've only just for the first time recorded myself just using the built-in mic and garage band and it's VERY helpful in realizing what areas I need to work on (hearing myself through speakers, whatever the size). I care about saving money but I also want to be efficient re. also being able to record the records/tapes and make halfway-decent recordings of my instruments/singing. But maybe I don't need anything fancy? As far as how many people it would be playing and/or singing at one time, at the least there would be me, playing an acoustic instrument and maybe also singing, and at the most I could imagine having two other people playing instruments as well, with one, two or all three of us also singing along. I'm not sure how many inputs would be necessary but I think 4 inputs is ideal for my circumstances, to play it on the safe side. Two inputs seems like too little (if I'd need 2 inputs to play and sing with alone...but even if I shared a mic with someone else, there could easily be a third person being left out) and 8 seem extravagant for a person who may hardly ever play with others and who isn't trying to be professional. I was also thinking that if friends and I really wanted to record for the sake of recording, we could add more instruments/singing during editing (or whatever it's called). The only audio interface out there that has 4 inputs is one specific one made by M-Audio (the Fast Track Ultra) but it has a terrible reputation for being incompatible with Macs. So what do you think? 2 or 8, considering most of this would be acoustics and mics? Is there a way to cheat without losing too much quality? E.g. could 3 people all sit near each other playing and singing with 1 or 2 mics in the center and that sound good enough? I think I've read that mono or stereo plays a role in this somehow but I don't know how. I've been told I want 24 bits but I don't know what my G4 Powerbook's sound card has (were I to consider using just that and a mic). "About this apple" seems to indicate both 24 and 16 so I don't know what exactly that means. Please answer any or all of the following questions! If my built-in soundcard is 24 bit or bits (not sure of terminology): - do I only need a mic to get a decent sound (but what about digitalizing records/tapes)? - is there a device I can buy that will allow me to hook more than one mic into the laptop (like a splitter of some sort), and if so, does it ruin the quality? - is there a small and less expensive something-or-other that is the next step up from the built-in soundcard without jumping up to the higher quality of an audio interface/preamp - that one or more mics can hook into? And finally: If I do get an audio interface/preamp and condenser mic (w/ stand, I imagine), do you have any Mac-compatible suggestions (meaning something that has a good reputation re. drivers)? So far, for audio interfaces, I was leaning in the direction of either: - the PreSonus FireBox (only has 2 inputs and "6 in 10 out) http://www.amazon.com/PreSonus-Fire...8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1216438616&sr=1-1 - or if I really needed 8 inputs, the PreSonus FirePod (but a lot of $$$) http://www.amazon.com/PreSonus-FP10...8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1216438616&sr=1-3 Or, another Mac-friendly one appears to be: - the Edirol FA-66 (also only has 2 inputs & "6 in 6 out"): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009EQZNS/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top - couldn't find an 8-input unit - just a 4-input one which sounds great but I can't find it anywhere online besides Amazon and the cost is as much as an 8-input one w/ excellent reputation such as the PreSonus Firepod, and ALSO I can't seem to find any user-reviews on it (just one old professional review which seemed good but anyway... : http://www.amazon.com/Edirol-UA1000...8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1216445515&sr=1-3 Did I miss anything exceptionally mac-friendly? Thanks for taking the time to read aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall this!