The "in the box" vs. "out of the box" discussion is always an interesting one. When I first built my studio (10 years ago), I had lots of effect units, keyboards, and more outboard gear. Most of this hardware has gone the way of my Tascam DA-98 -- that is to say, it's been sold on eBay! For me, the convenience of pulling up a session with all of my settings intact combined with the lower cost and improved quality of software plug-ins has made the "in the box" solution the right one for me. I find many composers doing everything in software but sending out stems to a hardware unit (e.g. a mixer) to sum and mix. Whatever gets you to the sound you want at a price you can afford!