32 track live recording set-up

trying to go from a 18 track 002rack digidesign system to anything that will allow 32 simultaeneous record tracks, information is hard to come by!

system idealy needs to run from a macbookpro which unfortunately only has firewire400,
possibly something along the lines of 4 by octopre into m-audio lightpipe interface.

questions; what is the track limit of firewire 400?
what is the simultaeneous record track ability of Ardour?

I need to end up with something that is easily transferable into a protools session for others to mix ect. I would be doing that step on an as required basis.

I am recording every concert for a folk artist who is transitioning fron a two musician show to a four or five musician show.Long term archive of each show will be kept for future live album usage.

any suggestions welcome,

protools hd not very suited to constant road use not sure how a g5 or similar would handle that sort of use also would be too messy to set up pc screen ect. at every gig

ardour’s limits are caused by the disk subsystem, not code. the largest number’s i’ve heard so far have been 100+ tracks recorded simultaneously onto a RAID. if the disk system is fast enough and there is enough RAM to buffer incoming data, there is no other limit.

firewire 400 should be able to handle 32 tracks easily.

i don’t know the details of the firewire bus(ses) on the Mac Mini, but if the disk and the audio interface are not sharing a bus, my ideal setup for that would probably be a mac mini, an external Firewire audio interface, and an external Firewire hard drive. once done recording, feel free to move (or not move) the disk.

you only get one firewire port with a mac mini, same with the MacBook. To have two, you need a MacBook-pro, with one firewire 400 and one firewire 800. Expensive!

I’m recording 24 channels using presonus firepods and jack (I don’t record with Ardour). However I don’t think you can do it on a mac. When I cabled this up to a Macmini, coreaudio spent 72% of the CPU time in system space. This left no time to write the data to disk. This 72% usage was just because I hooked it up. Not because I was recording.

I switched to ubuntustudio, using jack and freebob and 1Ghz AMD processor and I can record without a problem. In fact I have about 200GB of audio data now.

I’m testing a focus right saffire box now, but it needs an external word clock to sync multiple devices which is way too expensive (supposedly the preamps are better than presonus)

I’m very happy with the presonus rig (3 firepods synced over firewire) except for the fact that when you turn it on/off it might move some things around on you. For instance Channel 1 becomes Channel 9 or Channel 17. I have NO idea how to stop this so I have to work around it in software.

I use a metronome and a splitter cable to test sync. So far the firepods are syncing very very well. (.04 -.2) ten thousandths of a second (approaching my ability to measure sync at 48Khz)