So to be clear, you want the device to route audio ? Or purely wanting a DAW controller? They’re quite different requirements.
Example, the QU32 is predominately an analog mixer, and it’s DAW control is secondary. It basically piggy backs on MCU functionality. But when you have a device that’s acting as mixer, audio interface and MCU… I’m not sure whether that over-complicate things or not(?).
Whereas the S3 utilises Eucon who’s software runs more like a server so you can expand and spread controls across multiple devices and applications (I’ve never owned more than one Eucon device to try it myself, but that’s the impression I got anyway).
When you see what Presonus deliver with their faderport range and the integration with Studio One, it really shows a massive gap in that mid-range, and even low-range with Steinberg/Yamaha and Cubase.
So I totally understand why you’re confused. Personally, i find Eucon to be pretty good, it has a few bugs and quirks but it’s a step above MCU. If you have a tablet laying around you can download their free app and try out the system to see what it delivers, and then apply that set of controls to something like the S3 and it gives a great indication of capabilities.
Trouble is, if you’ve had a play with the Nuage… The bar you have set is pretty high now, and the ‘inbetween’ options are quite limited.
Personally, i feel it may be worth holding on for a while longer, as things in the controller world should progress in the coming years - Cubase will have a new MIDI control API, and Midi v2.0 should see better two way communication with devices and deeper integration.
Really depends if you’re feeling a bit of gear lust after playing with the Nuage, or a genuine need to upgrade. If it’s just fader control you need, then not much is going to radically change - but control of plugin parameters and channel strip and such like is where differences will advance i guess.