This kind of thread has probably been done a million times, but what in your own opinions is the best value-for-money recording software and interface?

I ask because I'm thinking of getting into recording, and have no idea about this kind of thing.

Well, it depends what you're wanting to do.
In my city it's hard to find musicians who want the same thing as me, i have a close friend who does vocals for me and i do the guitars/bass/drums and all the electronic side of things.

The problem for me is that i don't play drums, so i tab it all down in Guitar Pro then export the MIDI drum template into either Fruity Loops Studio 8 or EZDrummer then through the EZDrummer plug-in Drumkit From Hell. It gets a really nice, realistic drum sound if you work hard or nice electronic drums through Fruity Loops.

For guitars i use a Toneport GX interface and i purchased the addons Metal Shop, FX Junkie and Collector Classics for it (usually the 3 are available in a $50 download pack). You get a lot of people who talk down about the Toneport models but i find they are absolutely brilliant in the right hands, if you spend enough time working on the tones and everything, though Distortion can be an issue unless you work at really refining the tone (which is easy if you are capable at it). Here's a really nice test that someone did to show how nice the Toneport can sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-A729GML6k.
I just use my Ibanez RG2228 or Schecter C-7 Hellraiser, both with EMG's, to do the guitars through the Toneport (though i sold my RG2228 now in favor of my Schecter C-7).

I record all this into Cubase, which is a good program but on the price-y end of things. I do all vocals (well, my friend does them) using my Shure SM57 which is a great mic for micing up almost anything, though you'd be better to go with an SM58 for vocals not that it matters much between the 2.

The end result of one of my recordings is on here: www.myspace.com/architectsofthesun

This is a fairly amateur setup by many accounts, it's brilliant for demoing though and if you really work at it you can get a -fairly- professional sound, especially if you know how to mix well (as you can tell on the song on that myspace, my mixing isn't brilliant which shows especially on the vocals and drums).

So, although this doesn't answer the question that efficiently (or at all), i hope it provides a decent insight into how to get a fairly cost effective setup (replacing Cubase and EZDrummer/Drumkit From Hell with something equivalent but more in the right price range).

Also, if you want to take a "record everything directly" approach, like real drums etc...be prepared to fork out BIG, big money for very expensive mics if you want your recordings to turn out anywhere near decent. I find the method described above provides a better quality result for the cheaper range of recording.

But hey, that's just me and i've learnt that almost everyone that records has different methods, that was mine anyway! Hope it helped

"I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded,
Without knowledge or lustre or name."
Before you spend good money on an idea, why not download Audacity and dabble with it for a while? It might be all you need or it might help you decide which commercial system will suit you best. You can use it with a standard soundcard and a mic or input from guitar/pedals etc. I use it with a small mixer in front for vocals and guitar, sometimes bass. Usually I start with a drum sequence from Fruity Loops (Audacity can record anything that goes through the soundcard) and add tracks as I go along. You have to synchronise the tracks because of the delay in a normal soundcard (latency) but you soon get the hang of it. It has post production effects (you add them to a single track after the track is recorded and synchronised) and holds recording projects in its own format, or you can output to .wav or .mp3 files.
I pick up my guitar and play
Just like Yesterday

T C Ellis Series 2 LP w/Skatterbrane Quiescence pups
Cort EVL-K6
Yamaha RGX211 modded
H&S Electric 12-string
Shaftsbury Ricki 4001
'84 Fender Yale
Roland Cube 15x

That's actually what i should have suggested first, sorry

But seriously, the Toneport is a worthwhile investment, even for use with Audacity, because it's an incredibly reliable tool to have at home for any guitarist.

"I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded,
Without knowledge or lustre or name."
Thanks guys, this has all been good advice. I've been looking into the Line 6 Toneport GX and found that it has gone out of production. The Line 6 POD Studio GX looks very similar, and seems to be the new version of it. Are these products pretty much the same?
Yes, go there.


Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.