...Or if you are lucky enough to run tape machine and dBX processing. True some encoding still require you to run on outboard.
And i haven't found a replacement for the H3000s and H3500s.
Then again, when you mean outboard, would you include space echos? Would you include Lexicon L480 and more recent? These units can't be emulated completely as IR doesn't take into account pitch drifts and others. If you are talking of EQ's, compressors, must stuff can be emulated nowadays with low cost to the processor - even spring reverbs and some exotic delays.
As for a room full of gear, I'm lucky enough to record in a room full of gear but I do agree Preamps are a priority and if you are only after to impress (not some nutter that has a heart on AMS RMX processor) you'll be better off putting money on preamps (nice stuff from Avalon to Focusrite red downright to Manley's, Api's and other more exotic stuff you that you might think of) and you will still impress your client with tons of gorgeous gear. That first stage is essential to get it right.
But having said that, if you don't have a nice room, nice instruments, and only a bunch of microphones with a really ridiculous sensitivity and high self-noise ratio, you'll probably better off betting on mixing gear - processors.
- Anyone out there with a replacement for a 8051 on a plugin? ;)