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Thread Some advice for home Studio design needed!

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1 Some advice for home Studio design needed!
I have just registered at this site. I am a beginner in the music area. However, my aim is to use some music software as to try to produce music (use loops and other stuff that others have done and rework it) and record the vocal part. I have a Dell 8500 portable with 512MB RAM and 60GB harddisk and 200GB external harddisk. The sound card is a Sigma Tel (I suppose MME support but not ASIO). I have just got Reason 2,5 for the music elaboration part (and downloading every rfl-file that i can) and the Cubase package + VSTs (cracked of course). I also have a CASIO CTK-671 keyboard. I have heard (on internet) that I can have a latency down to <10ms when using a dll from Cubase. I have not started that part yet.
My Questions:
1) Does the set up seems OK.
2) If I am going to do vocal recordings, is it possible to reach a professional level by my computer? What kind of microphone should I use and what kind of interface do i need to connect the microphone (I heard of one on internet using a RME Cardbus + interface from Digiface). Was this about microphones? This guy also was up to buy a Behringer ADA-8000 preamp/AD/DA. How should the setup for vocal recording look like. Lets assume that I have 1000USD for this setup. What should I select? Or should I perform the vocal recording in an other way, perhaps through a ADAT-recorder (I hardly know what it is!).
3) At what stage should I use the Cubase package?

I know this is a lot of questions, but you seem to be nice folks, so perhaps somebody would like to give me some advice!
good day to you! like yourself i am new on this site, but have been a sound engineer for a number of years now. The initial setup with Reason sounds ok. I would, however, consider using Reason with Cubase right from the beginning of your projects. Doing this will enable you to have greater power of any MIDI sequencing you have to do. Within Cubase, under Tools (i think) you can load Reason in to cubase via ReWire. This makes Cubase interact with Reason quite nicely. You then route each MIDI channel out to the reason plugin...simple! ~(trust me)

As far as recording vocals tracks goes, there is a number of ways you can do this, it depends on where you start your compositions. When i decide to remix or create new tracks using the Cubase and Reason method, i tend to want the vocals last. That way i can record the vocals around the structure of the track that i have created.

Personally, i would create my new track, and then using the Audio Mixdown within Cubase, i would then export it as a .aiff file, 44.1kHz, 16-bit...which is CD format quality. Having done this, i then import it into ProTools. Now depending on how much money you are willing to spend, this is a great option. Pro Tools is shipped with a variety of hardware, ranging from 2 in 2 out, all the way to 48 in 48 out. Of course, you only need 2 in 2 out. This would suggest to me that the best product you could buy would be the MBOX. The original MBOX came with Focusrite Pre amps built in and you can pick them up regularly on eBay at quite a cheap prices (around $150 inc software)

Microphones.......Again, this relys on how much money you wanted to spend, but in my personal experiences, i have found that there are 3 different mics that are excellent at recording vocals. Call me old-school, but the Shure SM-58 is a great Mic. I would use this mic for artists which may be a little shy at performing. Using a hand held mic will help the performer calm down, no nerves, means good performance!!!

If the performer is a little more confident, then the Rode NT1a or Rode NT2 are great mics for recording a vocalist. They give a great warm sound, catching some room ambience at the same time. Give these a thought, they arent too expensive either! (in uk money i have jus picked up 2xRode NT1a's for £229)

Good luck and hope this helps you...anymore questions just ask!