Record all the synths to separate audio tracks -> set levels, EQs and all that -> do some automation = win.
sure.. but when the desk is beneficial.. use it.. especially when the sound you hear thru the desk is the one you want to have..
depends really on the quality of the desk and its eq´s when its just a mackie or behringer you are probably better of to record directly and do it all in the box...
but.. i know quite a few people that found desks beneficial ..and when it is just as fx unit or to do realtime fade performances..
It dont needs to be an ssl desk or neve or studer to be beneficial..
once worked on a tascam m 520 that you get for 300 euros sometimes.. and this thing defently sounded gorgeous and heavy in the low end.. defenetly doing some mojo..
so a beneficial desk dont has to be expensiv.
Trust your ears and do some experiments.. In the end of the day you allways have the option to just mix in the box.
But you might have some more intersting sounding sourcetracks by using analog processing within your production..especially when you have hardware synths you like to record..
on synths the most shitty desk sometimes can be more interesting than a direct AD conversion..that might tend to sound a bit sterile in comparison to an allready slightly distorting cheapo desk..
I´ve an old ibanez rm80 in the studio,,its nice on the 303..its perfect for the 303.. a direct recorded 303 is not so much better than a plug in.. but with some heavy eq´ing and a little clipping on the RM80? nice..
you can get a RM 80 for 50 bucks theese days..
It defently worth the effort to experiment a bit around..