About My Studio...
Everyone always asks what kind of equipment I have for some reason (why, you want to make the same mistakes I did? :-), so here's the story...
My own first "home studio" setup consisted of a TASCAM Porta 03 4-track recorder, an SM 58 microphone, a stereo receiver and speakers (for mixdown), and a set of headphones (for monitoring the sound). I ran my guitar directly into the 4-track, took a direct line from the amp, or miced the amp, depending on what kind of sound I wanted. For a rhythm section, I used MIDI files I found on the net and played them from my computer directly into 2 tracks, or did the same thing with commercial "play along" tapes.
I also bought PG Music's Band-in-a-Box and Soundtrek's Jammer Pro, which let you come up with semi-random automated "studio musicians" that you can program, and they play MIDI instruments (like piano, bass, drums, etc.) as my "backup band" when I can't get live people to work on songs at 4 A.M.
Once the bug really hit me, I bought a J.R. Cooper PPS-2 sync box and Cakewalk to try to do some virtual tracking. Everyone tells you this can't be done with a Porta 03, but I was able to, using a submixer (a little mixer I picked up for $40 off the net).
But I had run out of capabilities on the Porta 03, and just as I was about to tear my hair out, some terrific guy in South Dakota (or was it North Dakota?) sold me his 424 and I was able to sell my Porta 03 to a guy in Australia (go figure). The 424 was terrific and inspired me to buy an Alesis Quadraverb 2, a rackmountable effects unit that I've upgraded twice and never regretted buying because it can do two completely separate effects at once.
So once I got the hang of that I decided I needed a compressor, and unfortunately got an Alesis 3630 due to the great experience with the Q2. Some people love the 3630, but I was glad to get rid of it because I felt it colored the sound, which is the last thing you want in a dynamics processor (I replaced it with a Behringer Composer, which is designed a million times better, sounds transparent, has an expander and a true peak limiter, and costs about the same as the 3630).
Well, what good is all this equipment if you can hear all kinds of horrible noise coming from the guitar amp and pedals, so I got a Hush II CX. And then I couldn't stand all the clarity I lost mixing down to my old cassette recorder, so I bought a new Sony Dolby S deck. And that didn't do it either, so I started mixing down to HiFi VHS and bought a BBE 462 (now replaced by the 362) for good measure (better than (some) sex).
That's most of it, except I got a fantastic deal on a TASCAM
488 Mk II so now I have 8 tracks instead of 4. And I haven't bounced
a track yet.
Update! See Going DigitalNow I mostly use Cakewalk Sonar XL, my Aardvark AARK 20/20 8-channel sound card, and a Behringer 2642A mixer (now replaced by the 2004A, I think).