The best way to get good recordings is to do everything digitally, if possible. That cuts down on your equipment footprint and offers the highest quality, but you have to have a solid PC to run the recording/mixing software. The last generation of MIDI hardware had optical/coaxial outputs for digital recording/mixing, whereas the first and second generation of it did not, and things had to be done in analog or you hooked them up to an external A/D audio mixer/recorder that did things in the digital realm, by converting the analog signal. Now, you can get modules that have multiple digital inputs and outputs, as well as analog ones. At this point, I probably wouldn't invest in the old MIDI modules that are first and second generation and simply use the last generation (early 2000's) for all-digital playback/recording, while the Roland VSCs can handle the SC stuff that supposedly sounds best on vintage SC hardware. One possible, albeit difficult, route to go in acquiring MIDI hardware from the last generation is to get the performance/production keyboards that have the GS and XG MIDI modules built in (along with GM2) and also have digital outputs.