If you’re serious in any form, you’re better off with a basic Mbox and protools LE, than dumping all your money into a 8in/out interface that comes with sonar or cubase. If you’re going to take anything you do and bring it to a studio it’s much better to give them a protools file than any other file format.
If you have the money for it, the digi 002 rack unit isn’t that badly priced for what it is and with the optional software bundles it’s a huge bang for the buck. That’s the likely direction I’ll go when I start getting serious about home recording.
I’d personally stay away from anything that’s card based, and if you can stick to an interface that’s firewire. USB 2.0 is good enough, but if you look into it you’ll find that firewire is much better, not just fast for this type of application. USB is what it is, UNVERSAL serial bus. Firewire is much more proprietary which is good in this case because it means the hardware all acts much more independently with their own controllers instead of your computer needing to do all the heavy lifting for the device (so to speak).
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