Audio WorkStations for Live Sound

I am contemplating building some dedicated audio workstations. There is a software that I have been investigating that provides a very feature rich software audio console for mixing live sound. My primary business is live sound, so this is of great interest to me. And, It may allow me to build a few computers this year that I could not otherwise justify.

The program is fairly lightweight as far as CPU usage is concerned, but it can exercise a processor a bit because it can have 72 audio channels of input with signal processing on each plus output. It also provides a total of 25 consoles that can be operated simultaneously.

I had first thought that this would be a good opportunity to build up a Core i7 machine, but in my reading so far it looks as if that would be overkill for the software. These will be dedicated machines. Much of the background stuff will be turned off so that it does not interfere with the audio stream. For live sound purposes the audio must be within a very few milliseconds of real time.

The first machine that I plan will probably incorporate an E8500 or E8600 to run the main workstation software. These are in use with the software and giving good performance. These machines will need a significant audio interface card (it may cost as much as the complete rest of the system. The full system will require two computers and at least one laptop for the bigger shows although the second computer and the laptop do not have to carry the weight of the production machine.

There is also an additional software package that allows you to record the full performance live. I have recorded my live mix to CD for many live shows, but the results vary depending on the room and the stage volume of the band. This would give me an audio stream that could be taken into a studio environment and given full post production treatment. Now, that might be a good excuse to build up that Core i7 machine. 

This will be a very interesting project for me. It allows me to combine two of my interests, live sound and computers. It may allow me to build a few computers that I could not otherwise justify. I'll keep you posted as far as the progress and result. Follow the saga here.