Nuendo 3 is Digidesign's Protools challenger. While the second has the lead as far as sale figure and number of commercial studios installed, Steinberg's soft is ahead on many factors (32 bits floating point audio engine) very high track count, modularity, virtual instruments standard etc, efficiency of the VST standard vs RTAS... that makes it much more suitable for many professionals today. It is extremely well suited for midi and audio editing while having most of the post production needs.
With the forthcoming AMD QUAD Opteron chip due in quarter 3 this year, the native solutions a la Steinberg will for sure be the future, but due to software piracy, the best software audio algorythms are still kept in the dsp world. This part is now well covered with Universal Audio, Creamware and TC Electronic's Powercore dsp cards for native systems.
So today best of both worlds can be had. Scalability, increasing CPU power, wide software base and reduced upgrading cost of the native solutions, added to high quality, stability and performance of the DSP cards.
About the gear,
Over the years, my setup has gone from all midi (and non midi) numerous real keyboards and sound modules + 8 tracks Fostex R8 tape recorder to a streamlined home studio that would beat anything I've had in the past in the quality department. Not only it has become smaller but the possibilities have been multiplied by a XX factor.
I've never really attached any importance to the gear in the grand scheme of things, so I've sold every single piece I've had in the past as time (and life) would move on. Except for my Fender Rhodes Suitcase 73, my TX816 Yamaha and my CP70. I wouldn't go back now.
Now today, after the eighties excess, we're of course running back to "old values, and since the techno age, old analog gear is highly priced again. Thanks to computers, we can find back lots of quality gear from the past and even better, we can now have in our hands some gear that has always been out of reach.... I've always lurked on the Synclavier and Fairlight with envy years back. With a few softs and some sillicium chips, we have far better than these today...
My own home studio is now based on Nuendo 3 software from Steinberg. I use this setup mainly to compose, record and arrange my own productions and a few clients. My main freelance job as a Sound Engineer is taking place in a very well equiped project studio running Nuendo 3 as well. My setup is also complemented with a protools station for any client needing to import his sessions into Nuendo.
It's pretty minimal, and it's constantly evolving since it follows my needs. It isn't a production rig per see. But as time goes, I'm now forced to move, to "upgrade" the room and the quality of the product I can render @ home. Known song, but I will sure always try to stay "light" software and hardware wise. Why ? Because too much software kills the musician. As much as I love all this technology, as much as I realize how diverting it can be!