Personally, I love my MX-1 and it is worth mentioning that there is nothing else like it on the market. Regarding your setup you could have a hybrid setup. When I began using the MX-1 I could also use plugins before it went to the stereo out in real time. I got so sick of clicking a mouse and looking at that screen that I went pure hardware into a cassette deck/my DAW for final stereo mastering. Another great aspect is that is being sold as a performance mixer and that is exactly what it is. It’s an extension to any filters or modulation that you are using.
It doesn’t have a dedicated EQ section but after a while of using the filter section you become accustomed to how they should work. Another benefit is the fact that the boutiques can be connected via USB. It may also prove a downfall if the ‘built in’ effects of your chosen boutiques don’t cut it for you.
Mumdance uses a Mackie and they are great. The VLZ3 1202 might be worth looking at. Nice EQ section and built like a tank.
Anyway, that’s my three piece! Keep us updated with your choices and experiments