Hello all, and thanks in advance for your time. Short on time or don't care to know my little mac history?, please skip down to "The question" below. I'm looking to get back into pro-quality audio mixing, some tracking, and also to get back to the classical-style pieces I left abandoned in Finale a few years ago. I need buying advice please, especially from MacBook users, Pro or no. Some background: I bought a bunch of equipment about 10 years ago that lasted me some time. Had a G4 desktop running OS9, bought Logic 5 (that's right, 5), a Layla interface, an external midi synth device (what did I know?) by Kurzweil called I think PC2r, a mixer and mics, and went to town; I went to town especially on that steep but interesting Logic learning curve. That was nice for some time. I could load in tracks off my 4-track analog, or later digital tracks from recording sessions, and mix them to quite decent results for vanity release or better. Later I picked up OSX Jaguar, got sick of running Logic in Classic so got a nice little crack to run Logic in X (probably part cause of my problems, so I won't repeat that again, all legit now), and to get into my true passion which is classical composition, I bought Finale 2005, and also a nice keyboard controller, amp and Alesis MK2 speakers. I never emailed or gamed and never cared to; the computer might have been on the internet three times for software authorizations. Trouble in paradise however as my tower always was a lemon. Hell, Tekserve here in NYC replaced practically everything in there over time and still these bizarre problems recurred - but this isn't a post about that. I don't want a tower anymore, and my faith in Apple was not destroyed. I wrote music in Finale that was classical based, and so employing traditional instruments that I'd like sometimes to hear in playback; and I mixed mostly my improv-rock band's efforts in Logic, employing editing and plug-ins and whatnot. I also used Logic sometimes for composition because obviously things can be done there that can't be done in Finale. To finish the background, and with apologies for length, I never was satisfied with the playback sound in Finale, and the Kurz was no use there because the classical instrument sounds were not resampled for range (yuck). I came to understand how much better using software synths/samples would be, but didn't know where to begin. I still don't know. Then, simultaneous with a protracted financial problem, my G4 tower acted up for what would be the last time. I shut it all down and now, two years later... The phoenix: I can no longer stand not composing, plus there's a strong possibility I can get a copy writing gig for an orchestral piece, so I need to get back to Finale (well upgraded by now). And as for my band, though we don't meet often, I have an astonishing backlog to deal with. Thirdly, I plan to begin working on a project with a singer/songwriter friend of mine living in London, probably over the net since she got Reaper (she uses windows, but I see there's a mac beta). Anyway, composing and dealing with that backlog are the main things. My job has not been effected by the economic down-turn (merits another , add some beads of sweat) and I have some cash I might spare. The question: If you got this far you are a saint in my personal pantheon. I would like purchase advice. 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 since laptops for audio have come so far in recent years - I'd be happy to own any macbook that'd 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 an external synth, go all software. Software synths and all that are the most foreign subjects of all to me. Like anybody, I'm trying to keep costs as low as possible. 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.) Is it OK to just go on eBay or Craigslist to buy the macbook? Other sites I should be aware of? 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. Again, 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. I may want the mac to go on the internet sometimes, but only to send/receive music files with the friend in London I mentioned earlier, and maybe to work on my website occasionally. Anything else I'd need for my purposes which I've failed to mention (but nothing for bells-and-whistle's sake). Thank you a thousand times. And yes, I humbly accept the award for Most Hated Newbie 2008. I will endeavor to be of use to others in these forums down the road.