Hi, just a warning, I know little about recording hardware. I used to have an M-Audio Audio Buddy to sue with my condenser mics to record to my computer. I plugged the mics into that, and the audio buddy into my sound card, but that just stopped working recently, so I'm looking to get something different.
Someone told me to get a pre-amp, so i looked around and this one: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/ART-Tube-MP-Project-Series-Tube-MicrophoneInstrument-Preamp?sku=180643 got good reviews. What else would I need if I got this? Do I plug my mic into that, then plug the preamp straight into my soundcard, or do I need another piece in my chain? Thanks for your help.
What you need is a Firewire/USB interface. It usually has built in preamps, and connects to your computer, bypassing your stock soundard completely. It'll give you much better quality in your recordings. One of the more suggested lower budget firewire interfaces is the Mackie Onyx Satelite, I'm sure Moody will be here any time now recommending it =P
A preamp doesnt do much when it comes to recoding.
You should be looking into buying an interface before anything.

M-Audio is a solid brand in my book.
others are the E-MU, PreSonus, and Mackie
Alright thanks a lot for the responses. That Mackie Satellite seems to be a good deal for the money, so I'll probably go with that.
I noticed while reading the reviews on that 70$ pre-amp, that people liked plugging their acoustic guitar into that for live performances. Does this really help?
I know that's not a recording question, but while we're here...
Thanks again.
the mackie has great preamps in it and will work well witha nice condenser mic set and your acoustic guitar.

The MXL 990/991 set for $100 sounds good but the Rode NT1A is even better if you have the cash for it.

Be aware this is a firewire interface and there are no vista drivers out for it yet.
So be sure you are running XP and have a 1394a port.
yea thats a standard firewire A port.

normally 1394b has a square type connection, (you can google image search the two)
also know the difference between 4 and 6 pin 1394a ports....thats been answered a few times here at the boards so a search will pull that up.