You need to decide based on workflow really. if you want to do simultaneous tracking of multiple instruments at the same time, then you need a bunch of preamps - and to get a bunch of high quality pre's is expensive. Firstly, you need to look at your converters. Like the guys said above, moving up to RME's etc will have sonic effects on whatever you input in there no matter what PRE you have. Signal flow wise, it's MIC/Line -> Pre -> Converter. Once you have converters sorted out, then you need to look at the pre. The tube pre you linked to may well be good, but you may find that having that specific colour on everything isn't necessarily what you were after. Like one of the guys said above, you need to start somewhere and build from there. You don't sound like you have massive budget to get to "there" immediately, so you need to think about where you want to be ultimately and start building from there - choosing gear wisely. Buying a meh desk because it has many pres and functionality at a low price could well leave you feeling disillusioned with the sound and demotivated, so be careful what exactly you go after. I'd imagine theres no way you can avoid popping a few patch cables from instrument to instrument but consider which of the following you would prefer: a) Recording 7 instruments through a low end desk and getting an average sound that leaves you working very hard ITB to repair the damage and get it where you want to be or b) Recording 7 instruments one by one into the box through a nice pre and converter chain and feeling really inspired about the results as each instrument is laid down ! Good luck with your hunt ! ;-)
I also upgraded to an RME fireface, had an echo audiofire before and i noticed a huge improvement. In terms of pres a lot depends on what you're gonna be recording, if your looking at recording a full band with drumkits etc you're not just talking pre's, mics and converters you also have to look at acoustics and at this stage your talking pretty big money.
If your doing electronic stuff and just overdubbing some vocals and guitars, you might get away with a good 2 channel converter and one or two decent pre's. I haven't heard the golden age pre's but i have some chinese made neve clones and i find them really good. There's loads of info out there on good affordable preamps.
If you want to go down the desk route to record a lot of tracks simultaneously my advice would be don't unless you wanna spend some fairly decent money! Spend the money on going to a studio to track your band and if you want to, go home and mix, overdub etc with your two channel converter and one or two good pres.