I used to have an MX8000 right when they came on the market, I remember the sound it had very well. We had the good fortune to make some money on a few projects right after that and upgraded to a big 56 ch DDA mixer, made a huge difference.
Now I'm using a SSL X-Desk as a summing and routing mixer. Works very well, but while it has very good routing & summing options, it is rather limited as a mixer. Only 8 faders and maximum of 20 channels at mixdown (including the 2 stereo FX returns), only 2 sends and no channel EQ. But it sounds great and it is possible to get a very nice transient control if one drives it hard.
If you want EQ's I would start looking for used mixers, they will allow you to move up in quality a fair bit on your budget. But it might take a bit of time to find a good one. Trident, AMEK, Neotek, DDA, Cadac are just some mid-range pro stuff that's available if one has a bit of patience.