I record mainly true instrumens; guitars, drums, vocals, bass...so i use Cubase SX through a DELTA 66 soundcard...which has 4 1/4" ins and 4 1/4" outs...perfect for instrument cable...so you don't lose quality or volume.
course you need a preamp also....i use an all tube preamp. with either sure SM57 mics or a large diaphram mic.
pop screen is always good...(which is being borrowed and not returned!!!