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Old 15th March 2013
Lives for gear
I know there are plugin versions, but some of my favorite early digital outboard such as,

- Lexicon Primetime
- Roland Dimension D (actually this isn't digital!)
- Lexicon PCM41
- Eventide H910
- MXR pitch transposer

Sound pretty damn sweet, and I love running stuff through them more than the plugin versions. (mixing or tracking)

I'm sure in a blind test I may be hard pressed to hear the difference, but something like the primetime or H910 / MXR pitch transposer can turn the most bland sound into something spectacular..
It also seems (to me) that the real versions are more forgiving in that you don't have to have the delay time perfect for example.. Settings seem to have a larger sweet spot.

It also may have to do with things that are difficult to model (Transformer saturation) or the fact that it's interface is half the fun..

However for things like reverb, I'll often use a plugin. (Or DP4 occasionally)