That's part of it. The insert snd / rtn setup works fine for lots of tracking scenarios, but again I would like to have the ability to use the preamps independently of the rest of the channel for some situations.
As an example, I did a session recently with a large-ish jazz group with around 22-24 inputs, where the producer wanted to only use the console preamps (no outboard preamps.) Patching the insert sends to PT was ok for tracking, but on playback and running quick mixes on the board, it was frustrating that the console channels became so limited (no metering, no filters, eq, polarity, limited ability to patch in outboard gear on the inserts, audio unavailable on the aux sends so that musicians in the liveroom were unable to listen to playback on their headphones, etc.) without physically repatching all of the channels. We were recording a lot of numbers in one day and jumping back and forth between record and playback frequently, so it was a bit tedious. Not the end of the world, but if a simple modification could make this more seamless I'd be happy. That's kind of the point of an inline console, right?
In short, having the ability to keep the channels set on PT out or at least be able to switch easily between sources without having to repatch so much is what I'm after. Also, keeping the inserts free for patching outboard or sending things to other destinations would be nice as well.
I generally like to set up monitor and cue mixes from the console (rather than in Pro Tools), and that becomes difficult particularly with cue mixes when overdubbing or punching given the location of the insert point being after the aux sends. Yes, there are other ways to set this up. I'd just like to have a particular way that I like working available to me.
Another thing (last I'll mention) is that I would like to possibly have the console pres half-normalled at the patchbay to AD inputs (which is how I have all of my outboard pres) so that they're available in Pro Tools simply by selecting the appropriate input. Not an urgent need, but again it's nice to have this stuff quickly and reliable ready to go without having an additional set of patches to make. I can't do this with the inserts of course because the sends need to be normalled to the returns.