What are you using for monitors out of curiosity? I am using pretty low end monitors. I am using KRK and Yamaha Hs-50's. I use ARC and love that I get laughed at for it. I've tried Focal, Genelec, Dynaudio, adam etc. I have determined that I hate "studio monitors" and am using an old hi-fi stereo system to monitor most of the time now. Let the laughing commence! I've never found monitors that showed me all these differences between convertors, cable, power etc. I secretly have the belief that there maybe some near field studio monitors out there that are amazing but I haven't heard them. ( starting to look at mid fields) I'd love to drop 10k and solve the monitor issue but this is a problem money hasn't solved for me although I am coming to peace with it more and more lately.
I totally respect your philosophy and never like to deter anyone who is on a right path(which it looks like you are). It is pretty safe to say that there are a thousand right ways to do this insane thing we call recording. If I was looking at this from an outside observer standpoint I would think you are doing the smart thing, investing in the basic's before going over the top with fun toys like eq's and pre's etc. I am not sure if this is what you've done but from what I've come to know of you that is what it looks like. I rarely get accused of doing the smart thing:-) so I've done totally the opposite and screwed up a million things along the way feeling like recoding is the hardest fought battle I've ever encountered. I've never been able to pick out expensive cables, balanced power or super high end compared to midrange convertors with any sense of accuracy. I can easily hear the difference between an API pre and an RNP(never that impressed with it) or hi quality summing. Although I don't think that summing is the reason summing sounds better I think it is the impact of the hardware from the tests I've done.
The bottom line is I've come from the standpoint of investing in gear with what I believe has the greatest sonic imprint first moving on to minutia last. Is this the best way? If it is the way I've done it I doubt it;-)
Now time for the fun Remy sign off.
You say tomato I say tom-ah-toe. The smart kids say "bite me" and make great music.