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For a perfectly good digital recording device, look no further than your computer. Your built-in sound card will probably work fine, but if you're serious about home recording, you should consider investing in a sound card made exclusively for that purpose, with a high-quality digital audio converter (DAC), microphone pre-amps and MIDI input/output.
Don't skimp on your microphone. Even with all of the magic of digital editing and effects, you can't do much with a bad source recording. The best kind of microphone for recording solo acoustic instruments and vocals is acondenser microphone. For vocals, you'll also want a pop filter, an inexpensive piece of material that protects the mic from hard "p" and sharp "s" sounds.
Monitor speakers are different than normal stereo speakers. They're important in a recording studio environment because they broadcast the audio exactly as it's being recorded, without "coloring" or "sweetening" the sound [source: BBC]. This is the best way to ensure that your recording will sound exactly how it did when you were playing it.
A synthesizer is typically an electronic keyboard that can be programmed to play many different kinds of sounds. But synthesizers come in many different shapes and sizes, such as guitar synths, wind instrument synths and drum machines.
An audio interface is like an external sound card. Instead of plugging microphones and digital instruments directly into your computer, you plug them into this external box that connects to your computer with a single cord, either USB or Firewire. The interface handles the analog-to-digital conversion, taking pressure off your computer's processing power. This is especially useful for laptops, which don't have space for extra internal PCI cards and generally have slower processors.