Trying to put together a small performance rig. I play a regular bass guitar and a bass keboard synth as well. I intend on ditching as much hardware as possible, and using my laptop with Ableton Live for bass efx and a vsti or two for the bass synth parts. No sequencing, looping , etc..this is for playing parts in real time. 1)My laptop is a pc, and I have been using it primarily for composition..there's an Indigo i/o card installed, which has served its purpose. however, I'd like something that is external, as i don't want to deal with the 1/8" i/o, nor the hassle of the card in transit. So ..advice on which external usb, bus powered box to buy. I'd like an internal preamp, and I don't like rca outs..otherwise, ? What are you using the real world? 2) I'd like to keep at least one output as a clean signal from my bass..possibly going through my amp sim/di (bddi)straight to the board. This would have me split the bajo signal into another feed to Live..making a sort of parallel efx routing..then putting one side (in a dual mono rig) into a DI from the usb box. The other side of the dual mono would then be used for routing to a vsti in Live for my keyboard bass parts, which would feed another DI..so, 3 channels of DI in all..straight, amp sim bass, effected thru Live bass to usb box then Di, and Keyboard synth bass (played by a usb keyboard going to the laptop) to Live, then out to another DI.. Am I making things too complicated here? Some of my reasoning behind this is that the sound guy (btw, no amps on stage, everything in the group is direct to the board)should be able to set a separate level for the effected thru Live parts..there's some nice sub octave and heavy duty filtering going on in that stream..and if i present it as a mono combined signal, I am afraid the entire level would be affected by the occasional use of the sub sonic efx..hope that was clear. as well..do I actually need Live here at all? or would a vst/vsti shell program do the same without as much overhead? anyone here doing that? using vst host or Toby Bears shell instead? 3) I also need suggestions for a stereo (dual mono) DI. the Behringer is inexpensive, but reports on the hiss etc are bad..I would like to carry my own DI's, all set up to go out of the usb box..phantom power would be cool too..what are YOU using ? and why.. OR is there a resonably priced e usb -computer interface with xlr balanced +4 outs? I don't need an RME or Halo for this little rig.. thanks for any help, it's not so easy trying to piece this together. off line responses would be good here as well I think..