Robotnik's got it in a nutshell.
As cool as the Vintage 'tracking' neve console is, they really are not that flexible in a mixing sense unless its an 8078 or some toher beastie of a neve console. Most of them have few few routing faciltiies and even few Aux sends etc. Also you run into the 'double FAT' thing where everything starts to chunk up like Oprah before her wonder amphetamine diets.
The mere fact that from tracking to mixing, on the neve i worked on the mic signal goes through the mic input Xformer, direct line out xformer, buffer transformers to the Aux and BALANCED inserts, fader line amps. That is nearly a minimum of 7 transformers in the signal path just for tracking!!!!!! Rupert loved his iron! and then when it comes to mix it the same except with the mic input tranny being subsitiuted for a line input and there are stereo buss transformer line drivers to drive the master recorder.
So whilst transformers subtley colour the sound when the signal goes throguh so many of them it colours and somewhat mangles a bit of the sound.. go Slippy!!!! hence all the PHATNESS associated with Neve... I think its an appropriate coloru for somethings but definately not all. Im a bit over the whole recrod/mixing on vitnage Neve and as sacriligious as it sounds im looking for something like the SSL option for mixing purely for the transparency, crunch factor and facilities it can offer during the mixing phase of a project.
In the Long run the SSL is a totally more flexible and commerically viable business option. Robotnik also got it right again insaying that even some of the dare i say it 'vintage' E series are becoming sought after for their particular sonic traits. Who would have thought it in the 80's and early 90's?
So Get an E that has been all tricked out and is in nice condition. Get an armload of wikid pre's comps, EQ. Im definately no officiando of the SSL and have only used one once! but many tell me that the blakc EQ is teh prefered one, so perhaps u can hunt one down with that?
The only thing caveat here is that if you are trying to open the room as a comercial entity there is a fair bit of gear that is almost taken as a given that goes along with an SSL:
LEX PCM 42
AMS RMX 16
AMS DMX 1580
Eventide HSE 3000/4000?
I dont know perhaps others can add to that list?