First of all... I love Bob Ross!
There are so many opinions about all of this stuff. I was about to pick up an La-3A
for 1100 because it was cheaper, and I could afford it. Instead, I picked up a Manley El-Op for 1500 bucks because yeah, it will probably be a little cleaner, but it will also give me TWO channels. That's what I did. Still in the process of getting it in the mail, and it may sound more hi-fi than the LA; however, I've heard that's mainly because it doesn't take out frequencies in the high end when you hit it hard, and I'm fine with that.
IMHO, I really think it's about whatever works for you - or whatever you make work. A lot of times, people get a new piece of equipment, and they almost despise the older one (that did the same thing). Honestly, I think that that attitude is kinda stupid because 1) each piece of gear generally does something better than another piece of gear, and 2) it's easy to like what's "new" and "different" more than what we've had for years.
Kind of a silly thing, ya know? So try and borrow a few units from someone and just have a shootout using YOUR ears - that's what counts, or go to a studio that has them and ask them if you can just listen to them being used. It's always good to build relationships, anyway.
Best of luck!!! B