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Thread Help needed for mic + pre-amp / audio interface selection

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1 Help needed for mic + pre-amp / audio interface selection
Hi folks,

I am currently entering the realms of recording stuff at my home and am thinking of investing in a good condensor mic andpreamp or audio interface. I already have a Boss Me-25 for guitar effects and it's digital recording.

As far as the mic goes, I am interested in a condensor mic which can also be used for live performances so I thought I might go in for a Sennheiser e865s. Is this mic a good option for personal recording?

Then I am thinking of buying an audio interface for serving the purpose of a pre-amp and digital recorder. I need the interface to be either USB 2.0 or Firewire. I am mostly inclined towards USB 2.0 since I don't have a Firewire port and I don't know whether installing a PCI-Firewire card in my laptop would create any compatibility issue. If people can ensure me that it is not problematic and have personally gone ahead with it without problem then I can consider a Firewire solution too. It's a plus if the interface has more inputs, so that I can also use it for simultaneous recording of other instruments or use it while jamming with my band, but it's not a necessity. Somehow, I am inclined to more than a single input, but can do without it if there is no other good option. What I am also aiming at is that I can use the audio interface as a standalone unit and not have to keep it connected to a PC for every use, kind of only use the pre-amps for jamming.

I shortlisted down some good options (within my budget) but somehow all of them have some drawbacks which are listed as follows:

* Roland Quad-Capture:
+ Neat interface, good on-body options, good digital pre-amp options like compressions, gating etc
+ Works directly with Sonar LE which I already use.
- No digital mix effects (reverb, delay) for realtime monitoring.
- USB powered (not standalone)

* Presonus Audiobox 22VSL:
+ VSL!! (Live reverb, delay)
- Very new and will take some time to be available at my place
- USB powered (not standalone)

* Focusrite Scarlett 8i6:
- Not Standalone (Otherwise I love this)

* Focusrite Sapphire 14:
+ Standalone
- Firewire

* M-Audio FastTrack / FastTrack Pro:
- USB 1.1
- Heard of latency issues possibly due to USB 1.1

Can someone suggest me some other good options which can serve my purpose. I have heard of Tascam US600 and E-MU 0404 but don't know how they compare to the above options. Are the above options really good enough so that I can think of trading some of my wishes?

Can I apply some other strategy, like buy a dedicated mic pre-amp only and then some kind of A/D converter to record it out? Again if this is a cheap yet good quality (relative) option then I can also go for this and trade with having a multi input audio interface. I am quite keen that whatever I invest in, should not end up very dedicated to a particular situation. I should be able to use it predominantly as a mic pre-amp anywhere, whether for recording or for casual jamming, or even live, cause my mic is a condersor live usage mic and it's not necessary that in all scenario's I might have phantom power units available (atleast they are not available here in some jam rooms). I dont want to go on buying phantom power adapters after this investment. I might have to take that path if nothing else can be done though.

Lastly, my total budget is around $600 and the mic already costs around $250-$300. So the rest of the solution should be within $300. In my area, it's ultimately gonna cost more due to import customs.

Quite confused right now, so would really appreciate someone's help.

Thank you.