Here is an interesting story on how digital recording (your laptop) is replacing expensive recording studios. There is a 6 minute audio segment from NPR at the top of the above link.
“”The real value for most bands isn’t the equipment,” says McTear. “A guy at Guitar Center or Sam Ash would like you to think it is. They’d like you to think if you just spent 3 grand, you’re on your way to making your record because you bought the equipment. The sort of unseen, disappearing player in all the records being made today is collaboration — between artists, engineers and producers and studio musicians — all those people.””