I hate to rain on anyone's parade but, without knowing the type of music one wants to make, any such list is useless. If a newbie blindly spends after reading, then such a list is worse than useless. The acoustic singer/songwriter, aspiring film composer and the fan of industrial have vastly different needs, for example.

The problem with such a pinned post is that many would not agree to your list. Count me among that crowd.

Reaper? Audacity? Cheapware or freeware with no phone support for a beginner? Can't agree to that for a second. No phone support is why I could never recommend a Steinberg ur22. Well, that and the fact that the UR22mkII is a much better interface as are all the new Fast USB 2 interfaces introduced since last October (all use the same DAC).

I had a simple support issue with Steinberg recently—the kind that no user group can help with, BTW. I received the email with the link I needed 10 days later. Yamaha is one of the largest music companies in the world and it took one of their divisions 10 days to email a support link. Ok, I'm a working professional and it wasn't a big deal but if I was a newbie, 10 days would be beyond unacceptable.

The MOTU M2 costs $5 more than the UR22mkII, uses the same DAC, has much better metering, comes with Performer Lite and has telephone support. Logic Pro X may be $199 but again, it has phone support (Apple doesn't advertise this but it does). BIAB has phone support. Beginners should buy interfaces and apps that let them talk to people when they're starting out and in a jam.

Likewise, telling any group blindly that certain items are not required is the biggest mistake. Again, it depends on the goal.

Unless you know the exact price and immediate availability of used gear "with a guaranty", the less said about that, the better.

I'm happy to make gear recommendations for beginners but only after I know the goals.
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