I am looking to build a better home studio than what I currently have. At the moment I am plugging a phantom powered mixer straight into the microphone jack in my Windows PC. I then use a condenser mic to record acoustic instruments and vocals. The pc has a terrible sound card and thus I get mixed results. The latency when writing scores on Finale using a midi keyboard is atrocious!
I am looking to build a quality home studio that is budget friendly. Not counting a new computer if it were required, I'd be looking to spend less than $1,000.
What should I focus on to obtain professional sounding recordings? I've heard some people swear by using a DAC. I've heard some people swear by using an audio interface. Then I hear most people swear by a mac.
I write and record orchestrated folk music, akin to 1960's rock. I do not have much use for recording multiple instruments at once, although it would be a good feature to have. I would love for my music to sound organic and natural, so I do believe that taking an analogue route would be best.
Can anyone suggest what is the main equipment that I should focus on? What sorts of things do I need to cut down on midi latency for writing scores? Should I invest in a new sound card? Do audio interfaces essentially take the place of a sound card? Are DAC's the way to go? Is $1,000 enough for a decent home studio? Are the onboard sound cards on a mac better than their counterparts on the pc?
Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!