Here's what I did
After fooling around with a mixer / computer / not very good card / newbie toe-stubbing techniques, I started doing research on multitrackers and ultimately bought a 16 track on Ebay. The AKAI DPS 16 is available used and has a good combination of intuitive user interface, decent hard drive and superior preamps / converters - for the money. It is capable of recording at 24/96 and is available under a thousand bucks. Well worth a look. Here's a current auction; if it passes, others will come by.
Expect a winning bid to be around $800 - 900; occasionally higher. Any real bidding happens in the last minute of the auction, so if you're interested, maybe hold off until then, or do a search and use one of the "buy it now" options. I think those are about a hundred bucks high right now (at $1100), but the unit I cited is up for auction a second time; its reserve might be a bit lower and it might represent an opportunity.
You can get CD/R drives on ebay set up to work with the DPS for under $150. Outstanding bang for the buck.
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