4 channel interface vs. new pre - amp
Just got a Tascam 424 mkIII and am determined on tracking to tape, then dumping to my DAW.
Currently have a M-Audio Mobile Pre, a mxl 990/991, and a shure 57.
My dilemma: I would like a 4 channel interface so I can dump tracks at the same time, but am not averse to only a 2 channel (I would just have to go back and dump twice which I hope wouldn't cause too many alignnment issues). But I also need a new pre amp to drive my 57 because the Mobile Pre isn't cutting it!!! This is pretty important to me as my Mobile is making it sound terrible. I came across the Native Instrument Komplete Audio 6 w/ 4 channels but it doesn't look like it would give me nearly enough gain.
I am pretty new to analog, but I could imagine that a better pre is more important than the chance to dump 4 at a time instead of 2.
So, should I get a 4 channel and sacrifice pre quality or get a better pre and just deal with the 2-at-a-time dumping? FWIW, I'm looking for the warm, yet gritty sounds of early Elliott Smith, Iron & Wine, etc, etc. My budget is mildly flexible, but I would like to stay under $250-300. I'd imagine that this purchase for pre amp or interface will be the one I stick with until I get a full career and can afford to splurge, so longevity is also an issue. The only foreseeable thing I can imagine buying in the future is a ribbon mic. Also, I KNOW that one piece of gear may not achieve that sound and most of it is due to tracking/mixing, so I'm just looking for a solid piece.