Couple of clarifications:
PT Free runs on Win98 as well...just don't try it on WinXP, you'll be wasting your time. You can get resale MBox's to start out with PTLE for $350 on EBay. I started this way a year ago and 2 months ago upgraded to the 002r
PT LE can handle up to 32 inputs, but you have to be creative about it. I have the Digi002
r, and an Alesis AI3
- Analog/Adat for 8 more inputs. That gives me 16 simultaneous inputs and I'm a synth player, so I utilize most of them as well as use a pair for FX returns. All that for less than $1500 (002r
was $1195 and the AI3
Most of my mixing is mouse based, but when I need faders I have the MotorMix (they resell on ebay for $300-$400). and you can gang up to 3 of them together for 24 tracks.
All this 002r
(8 inputs with ADAT), AI3
(8 inputs of ADAT or Analog) and a Motor Mix
for less than $2000 which is what a Digi 002
would set you back.
My 2 cents, your mileage may vary,
Bodacious Maximus of Make Some Noize Studios