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Thread Experienced musician, need help setting up home studio

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1 Experienced musician, need help setting up home studio
Hello,

I've been playing live (keyboards, guitar, vocals) for years. I want to set up a home recording studio to record original songs that I've written. Most of the songs are in the folk-rock genre.

My computer is 2GHz, 512mb ram, Windows XP home edition.

I'll be recording single tracks at a time while at home. If I decide to record multiple tracks in the future, I'll likely invest in a hardware-based system. I record mostly audio tracks, but I would like to begin exploring soft-synths as well.

I've been using Cakewalk pro-audio 9, and have my mixer connected directly to the soundcard. Problem is, I get more noise on my tracks than I care to hear.

I've been considering picking up Cakewalk Sonar Studio 6. My two questions are: is the upgrade in software worth the money? And, what interface is most suitable for my purposes?

Thanks for your time,
Rod