I don't think the improvements in these new boxes are dramatic. They're just excuses to turn it up louder. At this point the improvement seems to be new hardware. I've heard the new stuff and there may be a small improvement but one worth 12k?
It's not the "tool" it's the "hand" on the tool that makes a difference
With any of my clients, the first step is checking the quality of the source material, next it's level management through the total system. Once these items are correct, then and only then are you ready to tweak. I pride myself on maximizing a stations sonic signature no matter the box. Out of the shipping box settings are always great points to start from, but the sonic signature is only achieved with lots of ear-time on a variety of devices over a lot of time.
On 12k boxes...
The new DSP processors are wonderful in their ability to micro-tweak to a degree we were never able to achieve with the previous attack/recovery Gain Reduction controls. Volumax/Audimax through the Orban 8100 were simple to set up yes, but again the tweak-ability is not as good as the new toys. I am a big fan of both Omnia and Orban, and depending on the format both have their strengths.
I'm certain that the rough patch posters are describing in NYC will be resolved as CBS has the best around in my humble opinion. It's probably several layers of issues we are not aware of, differences in direction, equipment changes etc.
I have total confidence that the audio issues will be corrected...