To what Martin said: I have actually tried gluing my music by routing only the stereo out from Logic to my Urei 1620LE mixer (it has an output transformer) and to an RNC compressor on the mix bus and record back into Logic (with Audiofire 12) - a significant improvement! Btw, I did the same using Stillwell Rocket plugin instead of the RNC - sounded good and more "pro" but somehow more suffocated and dull.
Getting a proper buss comp, like the API 2500, instead of a mixer has actually crossed my mind too.
My question however did not exactly concern the ITB vs. OTB summing - I have already done my share of research and experiments on that. My personal conclusion is that in the end, there is a significant difference (not only sound but also workflow), yet preferring one over the other is purely of personal preference.
To me, pure ITB sounds 'wrong', uninteresting, too polished, 'too much by the book' etc. Using hw synths etc. helps a lot but still too characterless for my taste.
Thus I am convinced that I need an analogue desk. I realize it's not only about the gear one uses, but I can get better results taking it OTB.
I'm sure the Amek adds noise, and probably 'degrades' the sound but this might not be undesireable. Some people have reported that it has "a big console sound in a small format". I'm sure the fact that it has eq, i.e. more routing makes it different (bigger?) sounding than a simple summing box - I don't believe in the current summing boxes either. Even in the SOS review it was admitted that the Neve summing box sounds the same just running the stereo mix through it.
Sorry for the long post... I hope this is of interest to someone.
I've just actually got an offer on Acousta P100 - that has transformers...