This originally was going to be a typical "what gear should I get?" question, but actually, I think I need more basic advice first, or perhaps a reality check. Here's the question: Is it ridiculous to think I could get album-worthy stuff on a limited budget, in a space (my home) that may not be usable for anything but close mic'ing? Or would I be better off letting the pros handle the heavy lifting on the most critical tracks, in the studio where we can try different pricey mics and preamps, etc? Here's the situation: I've finally become frustrated with my ancient home recording set up (a Digi 001, lower end mics, no outboard preamps or compressor) and ready to move into the 21st century. I'm a songwriter and front a rock band and mostly have used home recording for making acoustic demos (acoustic guitar and vocals) that work to give to the other bandmates and for copyright submission, etc. It's also become sort of the final step in my songwriting process - let's me step back and listen to a song a bit more critically. The band is getting ready to record a full length album, independently, but something we'll try to use to get airplay, promotion, hopefully reviews, and to sell at shows. Our plan is to do it with the following workflow, mostly to save money while trying to get something high quality: 1) record drums, rhythm guitars, bass, and scratch tracks for solos and vox with full band in the studio. 2) add backing vocals, elec gtr solos, and any doubled guitar tracks at home. 3) going into a nice studio for acoustic-critical tracks (primarily lead vox and acoustic guitar) 4) Do editing and mixing w/ a high level professional. Then mastering, etc. So my thought was to get an mBox 2 Pro, an FMR Really Nice Preamp, a pair of good small condensers (Oktava maybe), and possibly a better vocal mic for step 2. But it occurred to me how much of a bonus it would be if I'd have the capability of creating great sounding (or at least worthy of a release) lead vox tracks at home. Basically to be able to do a good chunk of #3 above in the comforts of my own home and not being on the $tudio clock. Am I dreaming? I do want to take my recordings (and recording skills) to the next level, as well as update my gear, but I can't afford the top end gear (neumann, avalons, etc.) or multiple choices in mid level gear. I enjoy recording, but I know it's easy to get carried away w/ getting that next piece of gear, none of which is cheap. I'm just looking for some ideas about "where to draw the line" w/ my home set up.