first of all..i'm surprised by elfs comment. not that i think he's either right or wrong. just that from his knowledgeable posts i kind of had the impression he would be an outboard "hot gear" enthusiast (kind of a compliment really elf)
heres my take on the whole thing. i know people with £100,000 studios with plenty of outboard valve gear, that still fail to create a pleasing sound, and it annoys the hell out of me.
i think you might be amazed at some of the kit some of the big players use. its not always instantly pleasing and warm. but they have found work rounds for the negative aspects (maybe eq tweaks etc) to make use of the one thing the unit does well that they require for the material.
digital can be exactly the same (well.....sort of) . some of the new emulation plugs have plenty to offer, but its sometimes not the obvious. the nomad factory fairchild 670 emu is a good example. dont expect great amounts of transparent gain reduction, but with careful choices this emulation can be a nice little tool.
after reading brauers articles on compression etc, he says about using some of the rare valve wonders he owns, and i quote "theres no compression going on" .
my point(at last) the right artistic decisions using the right choices of equipment. most things have something to offer.....its knowing the stuff well enough to make the choices.
hope i helped rather than added confusion akkk
Ask not what your tools can do for you.....instead, ask what you can do with your tools