Does an external microphone really make a BIG difference?
If you have pair of good stereo condenser mics, and place them in the perfect position, it would probably make a considerable difference. problem is that once you have this machine you get lazy and can't really be bothered to fart around with cables, microphone stands and power supplies.....
That would take much of the fun out of recording. Not sure if it's worth it.
The problem is that condenser mics need additional power (+48V, called "Phantom Power"). That's why external condenser mics cannot be plugged in into the Edirol (since it does not deliver the phantom power, correct me if I am wrong).
Regarding lazy, that's the point. It really takes much of the fun if all that mic stands stuff must be established. Furthermore, I often wished I had recorded something live before friends. With an Edirol placed decently, it would be no problem. However it looks somehow strange if I would put the microphones and everything on if I simply play before friends. That does not look appropriate, and it robs the loose atmosphere. I too consider buying such an Edirol, just for those occasions.
Beside this I will check for the reason why my recordings sound way muffled and dull to me by comparison. Up to now I use a pair large diaphragma condenser mics, a small mixer, external sound card going directly into a notebook. I am dreaming from substituting the mixer (which is only used for phantom power and gain) by a tube preamplifier. That should make the thing more crisp (so I hope) but adds warm through the valves. Let's see.
Has anyone experience with tube preamplifiers?