thank you, RiF - i've always got the sense that the 002 preamps weren't up to much! (strangely, i recall those on the 001 being better!)
Thank you for the suggestion - now that Pro Tools is an open playground, are there any budget options for getting, say, a dedicated mic pre (GAP or warm audio) and getting a separate, yet still inexpensive, A/D converter. I could always sell the 002 on the secondhand market to raise a few more funds. Any suggestions?
otherwise, the ISA one does seem sensible. A quick question tho - if i used a good budget pre with the 002, would it not still be using the pre's of the002, only not driven as hard?
(sorry, always been more of a musician than a technician - so my naivety is probably rather evident!)