Just today I got a really good deal on a Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer, which is a 16 channel mixer and firewire audio interface in 1. I get a 8 mono and 4 stereo channel analog mixer, and all these channels are also available in Cubase
Pretty neat, would've been way too expensive for me normally, but I got lucky
. Got one for €280 new, where they normally sell for at least €900 here.
I think this gives you the best of both worlds, although there are some drawbacks of course. This model I got has only 1 stereo firewire output, so if you want to use outboard effects on already recorded material, you'll need to do some patching. Especially since apparently the insert points on the mixer are post AD, so you can't print your hardware effects while recording.
Software: Steinberg Cubase Artist 6.5.5 64-bit.
Hardware: HP elitebook 8530b with W7 Home 64-bit
Mackie Onyx 1620i - Steinberg Midex 8 - Steinberg CC121.
Analog: Alesis M1 - Behringer Powerplay Pro-XL - Studio Projects C3 - AKG K612Pro
Instruments: Yamaha DTX750k - Yamaha MO-6 - Waldorf Blofeld - Korg Wavedrum WDX.
3rd party plugins: Native Instruments Prism - Rob Papen Distort - Rob Papen DelayMy humble contributions to what could be considered music.