I skimmed the thread... here's a quick .02
Its easy to tell when the strings are from a sample library. The guitar is midi programmed, and the drums are battery...
Its not so easy to tell, or hear rather, "that the eq is of lesser quality and a vst plug in." especially if the eq vst is top notch.
I think you would be hard pressed, in a blind listening, to come out and say, "oh that bass is sound drab, should have used hardware." just cause you can hear, "wow, dude used a vst eq on that."