guitarhero343 wrote: And how come HD is never in Guitar Center or on ZZounds?
Like a previous poster said, Pro Tools is an integrated hardware/software solution and HD is, complicated, top of the line. Retail sales people are not capable of providing the necessary technical support, so Digidesign won't let them sell the product. Apple does the same thing because tech support is a nightmare in the world of computer hardware/software .. You have to be certified to sell Cisco, and other high end technical products, because the manufacturer doesn't want to inherit a confused mass of misguided customers or screwed up system messes.
My only advice would be to keep it simple until you get your chops up.. don't throw a lot of money at studio equipment until you know exactly what you are spending to accomplish. Start out small and keep your bucks for upgrading.. chances are by the time you get a firm handle on whatever system you buy, you are going to want to upgrade .. so keep it simple at first, and save your money for when you know what you want.