I know I'm probably the minority here... but I've never really found a whole lot of use for outboard gear with my synths, whether it be using a pre-amp as a DI or line-in or using dynamics. I'll use analog delay or something like that, but other than that I don't really get the point.
I guess I don't see why some dynamics or EQ's would be necessary. Couldn't a lot of that be done with the synths' filters and envelopes etc.? To me, that's where the jaw dropping differences are.
I usually just go right into my converters-- and I like the results.
Then again, maybe I just don't have the right outboard gear