Avoiding Coriolis force


Before I drop $200 and get sucked into a spinning vortex of additional expenditure to make the first $200 worthwhile......

OK, here's my fork in the road. I've been using an AKG D-770 mic on my acoustic guitar plugged into a Portastudio as pre-amp and then into a PC. Since the inputs on the Portastudio and the inputs on my soundcard are both consumer level unbalanced 1/4" jacks, does it make any sense to upgrade the mic to say an AKG C3000 (Guitar Satan's been working me: $199...) which would require a source of phantom power which I don't presently own, without also upgrading the sound card input to a +4dB balanced XLR and/or pre-amp output to a +4dB balanced XLR? How much of the improvement will be lost due to the restricted quality in the rest of the chain? Breaking it down by equipment choices & my ballpark estimates, based on the come-on I got from GS:

AKG C3000, Phantom Power/D.I. box $250
AKG C3000, Mic Pre-amp w/ phantom power $380
AKG C3000, Mic Pre-amp w/ phantom power, bal ins on soundcard $1180

Feel free to add other combos I've neglected to mention.
For a grand, I may not need to be amazed, but I'd better be <very> impressed. I've gotta shovel a lot of sludge to scrape together that chunk of change.
Hey Doc,
How about a ART Dual MP... for $250(8th street music) you get two tube preamps each with phantom power. I got one on Ed's advice and the difference it makes is subtle yet helpful.
You could record with 2 mic's at once and get a nifty stereo effect...

Thing is, I could record with two mics now.
My question was more focused on how much of the useful improvement of the condenser mic over dynamic mics I could expect to hear without flushing another grand down the loo.
Not that I'm averse to dropping the bread if it'll really help, but I'd rather save up and do it all at once.
I'm pretty curious about how much difference a 3000 would make for vocals... I tried my c1000 for vocals and was less than amazed...

I've used both the AKG c3000 mic, and the Dual tube pre-amp from ART. I like the pre-amp a lot --- but I wasn't so impressed with the C3000. A better deal for around the same price is the Rhode NT-1. The NT-1 seems to sound great on just about every instrument & voice I've tried. If your primary interest is recording acoustic guitar, though, I think small diaphram condencers sound best there. The Audio-technica AT3528 is excellent for guitar --- better than the C1000 I believe.