I have a shoot to process today and will see if the RAW files are treated any differently/better now in Aperture alone.
Part of the problem is, in the UK anyway, it gets dark very early in the afternoon at this time of year. For the features that we produce, the picture we take at 9.00 in the morning of the kitchen needs to look like it matches the picture we take at 4.00 in the afternoon of the living room. I try to get it as right as possible in camera, and gel my flashes where necessary, but often the morning shots are 90% ambient lit, and the afternoon shots 90% flash lit (note; rarely 100% of any one type of light source).
It isn't so much getting any one shot to look right, it's trying to get a consistent balance across 20 pictures taken throughout the day. I've bought the Viveza plug-in to help me with selective control where I need it, but as mentioned I found that ViewNX (and I'm sure the same is true of CaptureNX2) seems to give a much more 'balanced' shot (all whites look white; in Aperture I'd find that if I got the white ambient lit ceiling to look 'white' then the flash lit portion of the ceiling would have a cast (even if I'd gelled the flash) which I'd need to correct for). The new WB controls in Aperture seem an improvement, but I'd spend a lot of time in post. I was struck by how much quicker my recent edits have been passing everything through ViewNX first.
Glad to know the Nik plug-ins are well received, thanks.