I know you said you're on a budget, but as everyone said before, be careful what you purchase and make sure it has quality transformers and is well built, before you go and drop your hard-earned cash.
I had been in a similar situation for too long it seems...for years, always needing a splitter-snake or a splitter and some short snakes at the last minute before a gig that had suddenly come up. I never owned one for ages, and kept renting or borrowing each time, and it was always a mess and drove me crazy. Sometimes getting a 16-channel unit, sometimes two of the little 4-channel Pro-Co boxes, sometimes something I could not recognize at all...Including the one time I was rented a box that I was told had transformers in it, but it ended up *not* having them at all! Ugggh...boy, was that too much excitement for one evening. I was lucky to have survived - and I was steaming mad when I figured out what the story was.
I did some digging around and got some good feedback from the good folks on this forum about the various options to consider on a splitter and pluses and minuses of this wiring scheme or that one... check out these threads from a while back: http://gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...light=splitter http://gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...light=splitter
Anyhow, to make a long story longer, I kept renting and borrowing, since buying a nice spliter and snake just seemed like such a HUGE investment...until finally I just got fed up with the hassle and crappy condition of the gear I was renting or borrowing and came to the realization that although it is "only a splitter box" or "only a cable", it's an essential tool when working a job and it would no longer do to "wing it and hope it will be ok" with unreliable borrowed gear. I realized that having a reliable splitter and snake is just as important as having good quality microphones, good quality pre-amps, or a good quality recorder.
Anyhow, I took several folk's advice here and got a Whirlwind splitter with a seperate XLR fan <-> fan snake. It has worked out really really well for me. The pressure and hassle is off now when I have a gig that requires a splitter...no running around, no rental hassles...I now have enough splitter channels, all with good transformers and ground lift switches. Also, I really like having the snake seperate, as I can use my 100' snake for bigger halls, and use a smaller snake for much smaller gigs. It is far more flexible than hauling around a box that is tied to 100' of cable that I don't always need, but YMMV as always.
Also, and this may seem like a teeny-tiny little thing to some folks...I've never had a snake before with decent labels on the XLR connectors or wires...this fan-fan snake has the channel number freakin' engraved on the XLR connector in BIG TALL NUMBERS. No more fumbling with a flashlight and trying to read some crappy little writing on the cable itself or a piece of tape with scrawled writing...is it a '6' or a '9'??? Suddenly, life is easier...
Not trying to blow smoke anywhere, but I should give credit where it's due and let you know that after much searching and researching and pricing, I ended up buying my splitter and snake from Steve Remote, who was a pleasure to do business with and did me right.
Anyhow, here's a pic of the box I ended up with...it's a Whirlwind 24-channel box with one set of iso-outs and one set of direct-outs. You can see the seperate snake (with the different color wires for each group of 8 channels) connnected to the bottom-most row and then slinking off to the left in the big blue cable.
Good luck with your search for the right combo of gear,