Since I started recording, I can remember striving to achieve a “pro” sound. All this did was set me up for disappointment. I’m never going to be able to get my mixes to sound like Chris Lord Alge, so I need to stop trying!
When I first started engineering, I was hardly recording any music, yet spending hours a day looking through eBay and Craigslist for vintage gear I could never afford. The gear really doesn’t matter as much as your ear. The best engineers can get great sounds using very minimal gear.