Hello hello!

I would like to set up a modest monitor/mixer environment. Any suggestions would be very helpful.

Here's what I have:

* A PC with Cubase

* 2 midi-able keyboards (a Korg and a Roland). I am not quite using the midi yet. I am still a beginner, and I've been spending most of my time practicing and learning to PLAY.

* An old receiver/amplifier and some speakers, and a halfway decent headset.

* An old radio shack DJ mixer

I'm tired of using headphones everytime I want to practice, and I get some crackling distortion when I play low chords through the stereo speakers. Besides, all the Christmas-tree wiring is giving me conniption fits.

Here's what I think I want to do:

1) Get a pair of shielded monitor speakers, so I won't have to use the headphones or the stereo speakers any more.

There's a requirement, though: I don't want to be evicted from my apartment, so smaller might be better than bigger.

If they're powered speakers, that's even better. I am considering a pair of Roland MA-8's for about $89 at a local music store.

Does anybody think I can do better for the price? Or even "better for just a bit more than that price?" The people at the store like to talk about "flat frequency response" and other things that make my head hurt.

Really, I'm just looking for speakers that I can play and sing along to.

2) I think I want to get a new mixer so that I can input the two keyboards and have room for future growth....but I am at a loss when it comes to determining what would be a good starting point. In a year or two, what might I want to add? A third keyboard? A drum device? The mixers I've seen go from 2-stereo-input to 12 or 16 input models with commensurate pricing....giving me a bit of a sticker-shock.

I would like to hear about your experiences. When you bought your first mixer, what did you like or not like about it? What would you have done differently had you known then what you know now?

I might be willing to spend a couple of hundred $'s on a decent mixer if I knew it would still have a useful and practical life in a couple of years. On the other hand, if there's an alternative way for me to acheive my immediate goal of having 2 keyboards play on the same set of speakers, then I'd love to save the mixer-money for a rainy day.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!

-- Brian in Florida