Just some random thoughts and questions. Obviously there's a wide range of interests among the people who frequent this forum. From newbies to pros, everyone's got their own particular goals and are figuring out (or have already figured out) what equipment they need or don't need, would like to have, can/can't afford, and so on in order to achieve those goals. Add to that learning the techniques of the recording art itself. For a long time my own goal was to have a modest home studio with a view to producing some discs for selling at gigs or to generate some interest at a label. I'm primarily a solo acoustic player, so there's not alot involved with respect to recording. But I also anticipate doing some projects with other players as well. I figured all I'd have to do is get some good takes, probably get the final product mastered, have some professional art work done, and boom, finished. But I'm starting to wonder whether a modest home studio can really produce the quality that we've become accustomed to hearing coming out of major studios. When I say "modest," I mean a decent computer (year-old), some decent software (Cubase SL), a decent mixer (Soundcraft Spirit Folio), an interface (M-Audio Firewire 410), and some good mikes (Rode, AT). Total value less than 5g. Now I recognize that a solo acoustic gigger doesn't necessarily need to be too concerned with pro studio quality - but by the same token, I think that if your goal is to move discs at gigs, they'd better be damn good production-wise. It needs to have that sound and look, no? That's what I see with alot of talented folks who are putting their own music out. And I take it that a disc of such quality can be shopped to a record company, if one had the inclination. But am I deluded into thinking that a modest studio like mine can deliver the goods? I've got a buddy who has borrowed and invested tens of thousands into a professional home studio. He insists that the sonic quality of his productions compares with that of the big houses. Now I haven't been able to do an A-B shootout of two projects done in each studio to know for sure. But my guess is that he's probably right (let's assume that both projects are produced by the same engineer). So my question is, at what level (let's say in terms of cash or gear, I guess) can one expect a home studio to produce projects of real sonic quality? I mean, there has to be a line where you can hear a dramatic difference, no? Just plugging into the latest Tascam stand-alone recorder with a couple of Sennheisers is not going to sound like the modest studio mentioned above, and the latter's not going to sound like my buddy's, and his may or may not sound like Abbey Road. But where does the real noticeable jump occur? I'd like to hear from anyone who wants to share their thoughts on any of this, or their own goals, why they think their gear suffices for those goals, and any other random related thoughts. Cheers.