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Thread Home studio setup sanity check

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1 Home studio setup sanity check
Hi all,

As most of you here I guess I'm trying to set up a situation where I can easily record stuff. We would like to use this as demos, for friends and "professionals" alike, i.e. we would like to avoid renting a studio.

I'm in a trio: guitar, bass, drums (all instrumental, no vocals)
We have nothing in terms of recording equipment, except my laptop (Intel centrino 1.3GHz, 512 Mb, win xp, usb & firewire ports aplenty) which I bought with the recording in mind.

In a typical situation, we would overdub, so play each instrument seperately. First question: I guess overdubbing is cheaper 'cause prices (of sound cards, etc) seem to increase with the number of inputs...correct? You would need more inputs when recording live.

The setup I had in mind, with some questions interleaved :)
- I'm thinking that buying a mixing panel in combination with a fairly low input soundcard is the best solution, cause sound cards with high number of inputs get too expensive, _and_ I'm not at all convinced that USB or even FireWire will be very good at streaming that volume of data.
So I was thinking of going for a Tascam US 122, in combination with a mixing panel with about 8-16 inputs (haven't done any research on mixing panels yet). This would also allow us to record live. In terms of sound cards, do you think that things like
Aardvark Direct Mix USB 3
M-Audio USB 2496 or Mobile PreUSB or Delta 410 FireWire
or even Digidesign MBox are worth the extra bucks?
And, if we're using a mixing panel, I don't need a pre-amp on the soundcard. So maybe there are even better choices I haven't considered? Or is a pre-amp a good thing to have just in case?

- 3-4 mics for the drums, 1 each for guitar and bass. I'm reading everywhere (and this is also my experience) that mics add or detract a great deal from the quality. any chance that we could reuse any of the mics for other purposes too? (like using the bassdrum mic to record bass guitar for example) or are the requirements too far apart?

I have lots more questions but will stop here for now. I guess my main concern is: does this (imaginary) setup make sense? Comments, things to consider,... are obviously welcome.

thanks for reading and any help!