I strongly agree with this thread's title. I know I've been guilty of putting sonics before musicality before. You know, you sit there thinking "that guitar sounds so sweet. Job done!" when the reality is it's out of time and lacking energy or feel. That's when the real hard work begins.
Sometimes it's hard to remember that recording somebody isn't just about getting them a good sound, it's about helping them to give a great performance.
All good gear does is make it easier to get a good sound, leaving you with more time and energy to focus on the performance.