I spent years trying to avoid the computer because it felt uninspiring and bland, and got in the way of creativity and inspiration. I just wanted to easily do things, with tactility and instant feedback, and without worrying about CPU or compromised sound quality or feeling like I was “at work” instead of “at play”.
But lately I’m getting full-steam into combining hardware with software and being super productive and excited about both. For me, the key is - sound generation should be primarily coming from hardware (physical synths, drum machines, modular, etc.). I haven’t invested anything in effects or mastering boxes, though, and that seems like an endless black hole of money if I allow it to be. Sequencing, too - sometimes physical sequences (esp. Elektron ones) are amazing and inspiring, but just as often the computer lets you arrange, compose, and edit on a big screen with a mouse and do things you can’t easily do with hardware. So it’s a combination of both. Plus, with tools like Bitwig I can set up very interesting chains of effects that can modulate each other and modulate modulations, etc.
So, for me:
(most) sound generation, synthesis, and sampling - hardware
sequencing - hardware (Elektron) and software combination
effects - computer (Bitwig plus plugins - Valhalla Plate, u-he Satin, etc)
modulation and routing and MIDI/MPE control - hardware where applicable, software for everything else (Bitwig)
mixing, mastering, and final touches - computer (compression like The Glue, EQ like FabFilter Q-2, etc.)