The theatre space I just took over needs a lot of work. Our sound board for instance, a shitty Behringer (but you knew that already) stopped putting sound out over it''s left channel. No, seriously. The last possible most rare thing to go wrong when sound isn't traveling happened. This is the second Behringer this theatre has had, both have had very short life spans. We need to buy a new board, and we need to buy a board that can take the abuse of people who don't know what the fuck they're doing (the space gets rented out). I can hook up a board and run it, but 've never actually purchased one before. In short, I know diddly about hardware in this world.
We need about 6+ XLRs and an assortment of aux inputs. FX aren't important. Unfortunately, we aren't exactly rolling in the benjamins here, so the cheaper I can get something the more likely it is to be approved. My preliminary research has me spending about $400. Is this accurate? Can I go less and still get something that won't fall apart? What brands are better? What brands suck? What websites have great prices on this stuff?
Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
As far as where to look, I'd suggest looking to a few music stores or lighting/sound stores in your area. Dealing locally is convenient because you can look around and play with the equipment before you buy it, and you can get a good feel for whether or not you'll like it. You can ask some of the sales people for advice too; at the good places, the people working there will have (or still will be) working with this equipment, so they can give you a lot of advice. I wouldn't suggest going online unless you know exactly what you want.
I wouldn't suggest looking too much at brands, but off the top of my head, I believe Yamaha makes smaller mixers in your price range, and I've had good experience working with their stuff. Mackie may make something in your range also.