Login / Register
 
best external hard drives for running a DAW
New Reply
Subscribe
newpollution
Thread Starter
#1
21st April 2012
Old 21st April 2012
  #1
Gear nut
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 97

Thread Starter
newpollution is offline
best external hard drives for running a DAW

Hi everyone.

I've heard it's a good idea to have a hard drive that you save your sessions on and use for just that, as opposed to using your computer's main drive. I'm using a macbook, so I'm looking for an external hard drive to serve this purpose.

I'm not real knowledgeable about all the specs and what to look for in a hard drive. Does anyone have any recommendations? I've heard Glyph ones are good, but they're a little pricey for me.

I definitely want one that's bus-powered, as opposed to plugging it into the wall. Of course, the quieter the better. Not sure what else I should be looking for...

Thanks for any suggestions!
#2
21st April 2012
Old 21st April 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
diogo_c's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: BHZ/MG - Brazil

diogo_c is offline
Bad idea.
newpollution
Thread Starter
#3
21st April 2012
Old 21st April 2012
  #3
Gear nut
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 97

Thread Starter
newpollution is offline
What is?
#4
21st April 2012
Old 21st April 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
skiltrip's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 2,643

skiltrip is offline
The brands that come to mind are anything from OWC (macsales.com), G-Drive, Glyph.

I use a G-Drive Mini bus powered drive for my audio drive. It's both FW800 and USB. I use it over USB. No problems.

Just make sure the drive is 7200rpm and is a pretty good size. 500GB is probably a safe bet.

OWC is probably a good place to start. They sell good stuff. Glyph is priced at a premium.
__________________
2011 MacBook Pro i7 (2.0GHz Quad, 8GB RAM) OSX Mountain Lion | Logic Pro X | Pro Tools 10 | Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 | Mackie 802-VLZ3
#5
21st April 2012
Old 21st April 2012
  #5
Gear maniac
 
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 264

Mazrak is offline
I use an OWC 1TB FireWire drive with MacBook Pro. I would imagine we might see some cheaper Thunderbolt hard drives sometime this year too, if you have a newer MacBook Pro.
#6
21st April 2012
Old 21st April 2012
  #6
Gear maniac
 
mrmike186's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 222

mrmike186 is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by newpollution View Post
What is?
Your header makes it sound like you want to run everything from an external as oppose to just backing up session files.
#7
21st April 2012
Old 21st April 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 788

TimOBrienFlorida is offline
You DO want to run on a drive separate from the boot drive in any daw.

Any interruption of the smooth flow of data can lead to clicks, pops or dropouts.

I only use Glyph. Dead silent and the ONLY drive that will give you data recovery under warranty.
(the extra $50 you pay for a Glyph beats paying $1500 or more for data recovery...)
#8
21st April 2012
Old 21st April 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 
skiltrip's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 2,643

skiltrip is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimOBrienFlorida View Post
You DO want to run on a drive separate from the boot drive in any daw.

Any interruption of the smooth flow of data can lead to clicks, pops or dropouts.

I only use Glyph. Dead silent and the ONLY drive that will give you data recovery under warranty.
(the extra $50 you pay for a Glyph beats paying $1500 or more for data recovery...)
Just looked at the prices on Sweetwater and they've come down a lot from what I remember.
#9
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #9
Gear maniac
 
mrmike186's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 222

mrmike186 is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimOBrienFlorida View Post
You DO want to run on a drive separate from the boot drive in any daw.

Any interruption of the smooth flow of data can lead to clicks, pops or dropouts.
I have my DAW running on my main drive with session files on the backup drive. I think the idea is that each drive does a separate task to improve speed and efficiency. If having your DAW on the same drive as your operating system is not the best way then maybe I am doing something wrong.
#10
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,204

dr_Jezz is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmike186 View Post
I have my DAW running on my main drive with session files on the backup drive. I think the idea is that each drive does a separate task to improve speed and efficiency. If having your DAW on the same drive as your operating system is not the best way then maybe I am doing something wrong.
+ 1, and obviously it can work. Depends upon what you want. I've said it before recently, but with a hybrid drive, you can get away with a lot of stuff on a laptop, nothing wrong with it - depends upon how 'power user' you are. TBH even without a hybrid drive
#11
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
krheatman's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Motorcity
Posts: 2,882

krheatman is offline
The session audio files are what eat up the most space and resources.DAW on the main drive, sessions on a 7200 rpm 2nd drive,keeps the main drive less fragmented.USB3,esata or firewire.USB2 can't handle larger projects smoothly.

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz App
newpollution
Thread Starter
#12
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #12
Gear nut
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 97

Thread Starter
newpollution is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by krheatman View Post
The session audio files are what eat up the most space and resources.DAW on the main drive, sessions on a 7200 rpm 2nd drive,keeps the main drive less fragmented.USB3,esata or firewire.USB2 can't handle larger projects smoothly.
Yeah, this is what I meant: sessions on the external drive. I guess my title was a little confusing.

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll check out those brands.
#13
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
scruffydog's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: North London.UK
Posts: 1,748

scruffydog is offline
just don't buy anything that stands vertically.... a laCie one i had fell over...everything went to cRAp....
#14
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 
jimbridgman's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 878
My Studio

jimbridgman is offline
The G-Technology drives are certified by AVID for use with pro tools, I use one of thier 2 TB drives with an E-Sata cable on my Mac Pro, and connect it to my macbook pro, when I need to do some editing from say my bed at 2 AM, and I have an idea, I use the USB 2.0 cable.

These drives will connect via USB, Firewire (800 or 400), and E-Sata.

I also have internal 7200 RPM pro tools drives on the Mac Pro, and copy the sessions I need to the G-Tech drive. I have actually tracked to it before and even done overdubs and mixing and mastering on it without issues.

Here is a link to the drive I use, they have several others too, including raid arrays.

http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-drive.cfm

Jim
#15
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #15
Lives for gear
 
scruffydog's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: North London.UK
Posts: 1,748

scruffydog is offline
personally...i now have 3 Gdrives for archive and safety copies.
I was just so tired of loosing stuff...i mean i STILL loose stuff!!!
I WILL loose stuff...but we must try!!

My old EZ135 syquest drive for my Akai S300 just crapped out so i lost my old... old.... Akai library until i source another?
Even though i had Recycled most of the good stuff over to my computers some time ago...the complete library was never managed.
here's to absent friends......never forget.....and I will see you all again in the sound ether some time soon no doubt.
#16
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #16
Gear addict
 
mutilatedlip's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 302
My Studio

mutilatedlip is offline
I use an off the shelf WD USB 3.0 drive.

I've had no issues whatsoever. I use it or sound library and backing up projects.

I wouldn't spend silly money unless you really need to.
#17
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #17
Gear Head
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 73

aNiMaL ChIcKeN is offline
I've been using a bus powered OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini as an audio drive over both firewire and USB with no issues.
#18
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #18
Gear Head
 
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 49

nsilva is offline
I'm assuming your Macbook is a Macbook pro.

Why not just put a 2nd harddrive in your Macbook pro? And then back that content up to an external drive nightly or weekly
#19
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 788

TimOBrienFlorida is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmike186 View Post
I have my DAW running on my main drive with session files on the backup drive. I think the idea is that each drive does a separate task to improve speed and efficiency. If having your DAW on the same drive as your operating system is not the best way then maybe I am doing something wrong.

Best setup for ANY daw (Win, Mac, Linux whatever):

OS, apps (yes your sequencer) and plugins on boot drive
Sample libraries on second drive
Audio projects/tracks on another drive
#20
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #20
Gear addict
 
Scott003's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Lancaster, PA

Scott003 is offline
Glyph. Hava 500 GB bus powered jaunt, things a tank, very very quiet. Was recording a live show onto it, and the drive got knocked off a Leslie cab onto the floor three times, still works fine. It was pricey, but I don't ever worry if my data's safe
__________________
all the world's a gain stage
#21
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
 
krheatman's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Motorcity
Posts: 2,882

krheatman is offline
Nothing wrong with the Blacx eSATA and a WD Caviar Black
#22
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #22
Gear addict
 
RedBaaron's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Buena Vista, FL
Posts: 387

RedBaaron is offline
Check your motherboard for a Serial ATA (SATA) connection and get an internal one that's SATA compatible. That should pretty much be all of the newer internal drives, since I don't think they even make IDE connectors anymore. Don't go with a USB external; it's too slow for series data transfer (well, ok, USB 3.0 is a lot faster but I don't think Mac's support it and even in Windows it's buggy as all get out).

Speaking as someone who has built a dozen computers over the years (and had the misfortune of loosing the masters to a whole album), you're best working from your local drive and just backing it up weekly or as often as possible to a couple of different internal drives. The hard part is not backing it up; it's remembering which one you updated last. So it's good to get a method worked out beforehand.

The drive manufacturer isn't important in terms of audio fidelity--they all just store data. You can go on New Egg.com and get a Western Digital Caviar or a Seagate with all the space you could ever use for 100 or 150 bucks. Just read the reviews and go for one that's noted for running cool and quiet.

I've got a WD 500 gb and a Seagate 750 gb in my comp that I've had for three or four years now without problems. Every so often I just copy all of my projects from the C drive over to one of the backups. Works for me. You just gotta have a system.

Edit: Oh shoot, now I see where you said MacBook. Well, if you have an eternal SATA (eSATA) connection, get an external drive that's has a connection for one of those. It's pretty much the same thing as the internal SATA. If that's not an option, you might want to look at getting a desktop PC. I definitely wouldn't trust a USB connection to an external drive.
#23
22nd April 2012
Old 22nd April 2012
  #23
Gear Head
 
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 49

nsilva is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBaaron View Post
Edit: Oh shoot, now I see where you said MacBook. Well, if you have an eternal SATA (eSATA) connection, get an external drive that's has a connection for one of those. It's pretty much the same thing as the internal SATA. If that's not an option, you might want to look at getting a desktop PC. I definitely wouldn't trust a USB connection to an external drive.
I already explained it, his only option (for an internal) is to remove the optical disk drive and put a 2nd harddrive in it's place.
#24
23rd April 2012
Old 23rd April 2012
  #24
Gear addict
 
RedBaaron's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Buena Vista, FL
Posts: 387

RedBaaron is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by nsilva View Post
I already explained it, his only option (for an internal) is to remove the optical disk drive and put a 2nd harddrive in it's place.
That's why I mentioned eSATA--it's an external connection, but performance-wise, is similar to an internal SATA drive, much better than USB. If he has the connections, adding that would be a lot easier than taking apart the notebook to replace or add on to the existing drive.
#25
23rd April 2012
Old 23rd April 2012
  #25
Gear addict
 
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 390

ds11 is offline
Yes, use a separate drive. No, do not use an external drive. Use multiple internals.

Using separate drives increases speed. Using external drives decreases speed.
#26
23rd April 2012
Old 23rd April 2012
  #26
Gear nut
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 76

AVSbeats is offline
SSD!!!
#27
23rd April 2012
Old 23rd April 2012
  #27
Gear addict
 
Joined: May 2010
Location: Sweden
Posts: 443

JimmiG is offline
To be honest, it doesn't really matter these days. Even USB 2.0 drivers transfer data at a theoretical maximum bit rate of 480Mb/s. 44.1 KHz, 16-bit stereo is just 1.4Mb/s (multiply that by 3 or so for higher sample/bit rates).

Also, your computer doesn't record straight to the disk. There's a write cache, so you're effectively recording into RAM. If for some reason the USB interface becomes saturated or the drive becomes extremely busy doing something else, there's enough of a buffer to not run into any problems. I'm pretty sure that with a modern system, you could actually defragment a drive while recording at the same time, wihout getting any clicks or pops in the audio (not that you'd want to).

The more important thing is to make sure your important data is backed up. Re-installing and activating applications and plug-ins is an inconvenience, but losing your project files is a tragedy. Keep the files backed up to at least one external drive (or other media) and at a remote location. That can be done with an (encrypted) FTP link to a friend, a cloud backup service etc.
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
mobilemozart / Music Computers
20
casey_outlaw / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording
0
manning1 / Music Computers
7
racemize / Music Computers
10

Forum Jump

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.