For a recent installation I had the opportunity to install and program the Denon DN-508MX. An 8-Zone mixer with a reasonable amount of DSP power at a price that makes it affordable even when the budget is a concern. When setting up a system, especially for installation, I want to be able to protect the system from mis-use (using limiting and EQ) whilst also maintaining a high level of audio quality.
The Denon DN-508MX allowed me to set up input EQ and compression for the microphone inputs, set up input gains, delay each zone output to time-align sets of speakers and then EQ and limit the outputs to protect the speakers from mis-use. Being a digital menu-driven device, many of these parameters are hidden from plain sight leaving a simple user interface for the customer to use.
The one area I think they could improve on is the ability to lock out certain parameters. As it stands, while you can password protect the unit from the front panel at an “Operator” level and also an “Admin” level, it’s not possible to define a custom level of access.
As a simpler alternative to the larger and more expensive open architecture DSP platforms, I think it has its place.