I don't know how many of you have noticed any of my posts in the few that I have made but let me share a tiny bit of my background. I played drums for around thirty years and was in some fairly successful bands. (ie. I paid the rent.) When I got my kids in my divorce I dropped out of the music biz and taught school to put food on the table. Now I'm retired and have developed a burning desire to make music again. I have decided to take up the bass and have spent the better part of the last year researching instruments and equipment. I have zeroed in on a bass and, when I save the money for it, will soon pull the trigger on a purchase. My dilemma is that I don't feel that I need to start with an amp but still want to amplify the music enough to hear it. Several years ago (when I had money) my son built me a killer computer with an incredible sound system (5.1 surround) and I am wondering if I could use that to play through to learn and practice until I feel I have reached the level to where I would need an amp. I do not foresee myself joining a band at this point (maybe in the future) but for now I just want to learn and make music. I am thinking that all I would need is some type of interface and some software. I am hoping that I could use a simple cable with the correct connectors on each end for the interface and then would need some cheapo software. How far off am I? What would I really need? Keep in mind that I live on a fixed income (Social Security) and cannot afford expensive "stuff". Any ideas?