Full disclosure: I'm a middleware guy, and I greatly prefer to run linux as a server operating system. [....] Linux struggles to be a decent desktop OS
I would not call Linux a dicey desktop OS, it works very well if you keep it up to date, and have hardware that support it. I can not speak for audio on the desktop but it seems to me that you are mixing the two issues, I have complete newbies that use Linux and there are NO issues except proprietary hardware support. From what I can see it seems that you haven't even tried using Linux for this, you could perhaps just list the softwares you have tried and why dismissed them.
Please add some useful facts to your opinionated post, to make it useful. I for example have seen whole radio stations run on Linux, I have not idea how they did it but it did work.