BY CJ JACOBSON
This has been pondered and argued about for years and decades. This is my take on it and this subject and my opinion on this has been influenced by over 25 years of mixing.
What makes a good mix is the person mixing it. The gear you have is only as good as you are. If you do not know how the ratio and threshold work in a compressor or if you do not know how to make the bass guitar and kick drum co-exists with EQ, then a $10,000 piece of hardware gear will be just like a $25 piece of gear.
A good audio mixing engineer can make a good mix using 100% in the box tools or with some out of the box tools.
A not so good audio mixing engineer cannot make a good mix using $100,000 worth of gear or using $100 worth of gear.
To summarize, its not the gear that makes a good mix, its the person mixing it, that makes a good mix. Talent, skills anmd knowledge