It won't be hard for you to tell based on my question that I don't know much about music software. I am a complete newbie. I've been reading reviews of DAW software for days, and so far all I can rule out buying is what doesn't work on my PC vista platform. There seem to be so many kinds of digital audio workstations. I would appreciate advice from anyone!

I am not really interested in recording live instruments, possibly vocals, but not so much. What I really want to do is just loop together different software synthesizers (like absynth and some of the analog arturia stuff) and software orchestra parts (VSTs like garritan maybe) into a final product that I can edit in terms of volume and mix ratios without the different sources coming together being a problem. I want to be able to have flexibility in editing. I write music that is ambient/classical, like Vangelis, not the dance music or hip hop so the ableton live might not be for me.

I've heard that Reason comes with a good synth but it won't accept outside VSTs, and I would prefer to stick with a system that is all software based, not wanting to have to install a lot of hardware on my computer unless its really worth it, so probably not Sonar. I am afraid I will end up spending a few hundred dollars on something that is designed for people with completely different goals from mine.

I am not even sure if my computer, which is very new, has a midi in jack, (I don't think so) or if nowadays usb ports can replace the need for midi jacks? I've got a nice midi controller but it's on loan to a friend while I figure out what kind of software I need.