Regardless of application, recording studio or live sound, the critical component for processing sound is the mixing console. In a professional class recording studio, the mixing console is the single most expensive piece of equipment. In fixed installations and touring, the mixing console is either the first or second most expensive piece of equipment.
In far too many church environments, the mixing console is usually the cheapest piece of equipment. And one that was readily available from the local music store: Mackie and Behringer. Of course, products from Mackie and Behringer are far cheaper channel by channel than Midas, Soundcraft and Allen and Heath. Just don’t expect them to sound good or to offer comprehensive mix facilities. Buy Mackie or Behringer and think Radio Shack quality. Functional, somewhat. Cheaply made, absolutely.
I have been looking into a mid-level board for our church and I have narrowed the field down to two possible candidates: the Allen and Heath GL2200 and the Soundcraft GB4. Both offer significantly improved features in the areas of phantom power, channel phase reversal, aux sends, EQ, routing, direct feeds and input/output assignments. Both are competitively priced even though they fall into the low price range for mid-level boards, around $5,000 Cdn. The GL2200 is pictured first followed by the GB4. The board I would really like to get if money were not an issue: the Midas XL4. It is the third picture below.