Duane, you said that you are not using any stage box. How is the signal getting to the console from the stage/altar area? Mic cables? Analog snake?
Are you quite sure that it isn't the operator touching the console when everyone stands up and sparking it with a finger?
Do the mic cables from the stage run below or through that area where the seats were?
You said in the OP that the chairs in that area actually touch the sound booth wall; what is that wall made of, and are there any nails or something similar which when zapped from the chair side run through the wall and touch any metal that touches the mixing console? (You said there was no conduit in the booth.)
Those questions all relate to the part I don't understand: If the collected group of people are collecting a static charge, that should make no difference to the PA until it discharges into the PA or its power. How does that discharge occur? If it jumps through the wall and into the console, that is one thing. If it jumps through the floor into the cables connected to the console, that is another thing. If it's still happening after the seats are removed, that's something else. And how is there a group static discharge from multiple people together so it's worse than from one person?
Did removing the chairs from that area solve the problem or is it still happening? You don't quite say that in your posts.
Is the AC electricity fully using twisted pair plus ground cables? And there is a good connection between X32 ground and earth ground? Asking Jonathan's question a little differently, what is the path to ground from console to ground rod or whatever?
As a separate issue which you don't seem to be having but could: if the console wall power is disrupted or drops below something like 85 volts for more than 2 cycles of the 60Hz sine wave, it will reboot. Meaning no audio till it gets back online.
That can be prevented with a cheap UPS, like $40. You can also solve it with a $1000 true sine wave UPS, but the cheap ones seem to work just fine, too. I use a Cyberpower 350 watt one from Amazon https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B004OR0V2C/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I've read that they are somehow hard on power supplies while simultaneously reading that switching power supplies don't care if the AC wave is sinusoidal or not. I know for a fact that the console doesn't seem to suffer when you yank the power cord to the UPS. I'm not sure which Power Conditioner you use but I don't think those things will take losing power completely for any length of time while keeping the console running.
I'm one of the people who has used a BBQ sparker to test static disruption to X32 signal, and I don't recall checking the ground of the naked (no S16/32 stage box/CAT cable combo) console. This is a very very busy week and I don't think I'll have time to set up a console and try it but maybe Brian Wynn, who discovered the solution to the problem, will read this and have some time.
Good luck, this is an interesting problem.
Well, i am not a sound engineer of any sort. I am a IT Specialist. I have been around mixers and speakers and standard stuff for churches for awhile, but i am not versed in all the pro sound terminology. I can tell you we have a X32 mixer. their is a snake with XLRs that connect from the back of the mixer to the stage. there is a termination box under the stage.
All of the cables run down the wall where the chairs were. when we removed the chairs the pop has not happened. no one has to touch anything when the pop was occuring. It was so bad for awhile the pastor would tell everyone to get ready for the pop before he asked them to stand. I actually sat on one of those chairs one morning and i got up to check something and it popped. funny but not cool. so it really didnt have to be the whole group. there are about 12 chairs total.
This wall is made of lumber and sheetrock. of course there is carpet on floor.
is there a sheilding that i should wrap the snake and other cables in as they go down inside the wall. there is about 4-5 feet before the cables go into the conduit in the concrete.
The electrical wire is 12-2 MC cable.
I still need to check the grounding on the mixer console and the racks. i will report back in a few days.
thanks for the thoughts and help.