Wondering on what all things would one miss, for a hobbyist home-studio if one were to go with a single-channel audio-interface, that is fed by an analog mixer, as against a multi-channel USB interface. The constraint in my case is that I already have a single-channel USB audio-interface, and thinking of buying an entry level analog 4-channel mono mixer (for unbalanced mics), i.e. has inbuilt preamp. It does fit my budget pretty well, but wondering if it'd be worth spending about 10x on a USB multi-channel mixer.
In case of multi-channel USB interface, is it true that each instrument channel would be recorded on an independent track (by the workstation software), played simultaneously ? And in case of the single-channel USB interface fed by a multi-channel mixer, every instrument is recorded to the same track ? I have read some Q&A on music.SE that indicate that even though theoretically multi-channel USB audio interfaces can record multiple tracks simultaneously, but in reality, it is a struggle.
Kindly note that, I might need to record up to 5 channels simultaneously. Three of them being dynamic mics (1 vocal, 2 for drums), one guitar and one keyboard. I would however start with 2 channel simultaneous use (guitar and vocals mic). Of all of the channels, only the keyboard is line-level, and everything else is mic-level (including the passive pickups on guitar).