Ok so I'm not exactly a newbie, but I'm in the process of upgrading nearly all of my recording equipment, and I'm running into a problem.
In the past when tracking drums, I would use my Tascam US-1800 in combination with a Presonus Studio Channel because I use 9 mics, and the US-1800 only has 8 mic pres. The Presonus out would go into one of four line ins on the US-1800.
I purchased a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, but recently realized that it only has 8 mic pres and no line ins. I'm currently looking at purchasing the Octopre MKII to expand it (via ADAT), but are there any other better/cheaper options?
Ideally, I'd like to have a really nice two channel standalone preamp that sounds nicer than the Octopre MK II to use for most of my tracking and then for overheads when tracking drums (the Focusrite ISA Two for example), but I need it to have ADAT or S/PDIF to send it into the Pro 40 both because I need to record at least 9 channels simultaneously when tracking drums, and because I don't want any coloration from the Pro 40's preamps when I'm tracking other things. So far every solution I've found that meets this criteria is way out of my budget, either because the preamp either doesn't have digital outs and would require a standalone converter, or requires an expander card for digital functionality. I'm looking to spend less than $800 if possible.
TLDR; Are there any quality two channel preamps (substantially better than the preamps in my Saffire Pro 40 or an Octopre MKII) that have either ADAT or S/PDIF built in (or with an expander card) that total less than $800?