Programming synths from before like 1998 is generally the worst thing you can do as a musician (though I have a couple late 80s synths that I really enjoy programming so whatev).
I just have a DX7 and it hasn't been a problem to program once I figured out what I was doing.
I do have a question for the thread - after all this time, I'm finally focusing my music in one direction (I know, right?) and perhaps unsurprising to most, that direction is towards ambient music. I can make just about any instrument work with the genre (using keys, guitar, & bass now), but I know the most interesting textures are going to come from hardware synths, since a majority of my recording setup is analog (pedals).
The thing is, I don't have a lot of space to work with and I don't plan to play out, so two-to-three octave keyboards are fine. Any suggestions? I've been eyeballing the Arturia Minibrute for a couple years, but still haven't taken the time to check one out. The Novation MiniNova looks pretty awesome too.
I should probably save up for a Minimoog Voyager but OOF that pricetag.