The only dedicated synth hardware I currently have is the AN150 plug in for the Motif ES 6. It does a very good emulation of the Prophet V, and it sounds great. The limitation is that any deep editing requires connection to a computer. I would love to have a huge rack of real synths, but I very much share Diki's opinions about the age factor and cost of maintenance. If I had the chance, I would also go for a real Oberheim, especially since, according to the developers I have talked with and read at KVR, the unique filtering schemes seem to make them among the hardest to accurately emulate.
I also like using a variety of synth types, modulars, wavetable based, additive and subtractive, FM, granular, hybrid, pretty much all of it. Like Diki, I enjoy Atmosphere, the Arturia CS80 and Moog emulations, Oddity, and Prophet V emulations ( Pro 53 ). I also use and like Absynth ( Think V Synth on steroids, with patches you can use in a real song ), CronoX, the Korg Wavestation and Poly6 emulations, Pentagon 1, the Superwave series, Imposocar, and FM8.
I can't say that I have a true favorite among them, as I find them all to be excellent, and I use whichever suits my needs and moods at the time. There are also quite a few excellent freewares that I use, including Arppe 2600, Minimogue ( which has an adjustable simulation of the filter drift of a real mini ), Ugo Texture, Synth 1 ( very close to a Nord lead ), the MIK softsynth series, DSK Dreamz, and Crystal.
I do use my laptop and some VSTi's when I play live and it works quite well, but I only do so in a band setting. I find it to be too cumbersome to do when I go solo. I'm not sure how any of this would translate back to arrangers though. Both my PA80 and MZ2000 have some very nice synth sounds, with fairly deep editing capabilities built in, but nothing that can really be done in real time beyond ADSR and cutoff / resonance / mod wheel. I wouldn't expect to see much of anything beyond the current wave based synthesis or any meaningful editing depth that can be controlled in real time on any arranger. Based on what most users appear to need and want here, I just doubt that it would be marketable or worth the effort for any manufacturer to do. I do regret that Yamaha no longer allows for their plug ins to be installed ala the 9000 series. If the T2 had this capbility, I'd have likely parted company with my Motif ES. I can understand why they don't though, as I'm guessing I'm in a small minority who would have actually used the plug in modules.
Synth sounds of all kinds ( non acoustic emulations )and fiting them in have become a true passion for me in music. Ahh I could go on for hours, but I suspect my reply is already too long. The one thing I'd like more of are the programming skills of a guy like Tim Conrardy, but you can't buy that. He has quite a talent for it, and I enjoy using his banks and patches. Some of the Vsti's he has been involved with developmentally aren't too shabby either.
[This message has been edited by Bluezplayer (edited 04-18-2007).]