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Using PC as a file storage unit for SFX libraries edited on Mac
Old 6th November 2019
Here for the gear

Using PC as a file storage unit for SFX libraries edited on Mac


Has anyone had any experience hosting all your sound effect libraries on a 'slave' PC and having your main DAW (connected via gigabit ethernet) communicating with it to work with sound design.

Here's my setup:
iMac (host) with internal SSD with sound effects all stored on external SSDs at the moment.
PC Slave used for music sample hosting currently, but with several bays available for additional SSDs to be added.

So basically, I'm wondering if it's possible to have the PC host everything and my iMac running Logic Pro X pull from that as a networked computer. I have run out of USB sockets (including on hubs) on the iMac and I'm trying to avoid excessive daisy chaining to add more storage devices.

Anyone doing a similar thing? Any issues I might have?
Old 13th November 2019
Here for the gear

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
Old 13th November 2019
Gear Guru

It's been a looong time since I did this, but I did set a studio up with two rooms with Mac based PTHD systems accessing a file server for SFX and backup/archival placed in a machine room. The server was running Win 7 and it was all connected using ethernet going through a switcher. It had a 5-drive Raid 5 array as well as both DDS4 tape and DVDRW for archival. I believe I used "Samba" / "SMB" or something to get things to show up properly on the network.

In my experience it worked great when it was working. Just give access as needed and point to folders and then you could index files from the client Mac which in that case was done using Soundminer software. So in that case after updating databases all searching was done using Soundminer, but we could still drag/drop files where applicable on the PC from the Macs. Conversely the file server also accessed the relevant volumes on the Macs and ran backups every night to the Raid array.

The problems I ran into with that config was MacOS updates messing with SMB. I know it wasn't on the Windows side of things because that machine got close to zero updates. So at some point I just sort of threw my hands up in the air and told the studio owner that I'm an audio engineer, not an IT guy, so he should get someone that's fully proficient at both setting up DAWs and IT stuff to come in and reset / maintain the facility. That guy ended up basically 'bypassing' the server so now the two rooms are basically "islands" in a sense. I personally think that was a step backwards but whatever.

Anyway, unfortunately all that was a while ago and I don't use Logic so I don't know how to help much more than that.
Old 13th November 2019
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by pmjbaumann View Post
So basically, I'm wondering if it's possible to have the PC host everything and my iMac running Logic Pro X pull from that as a networked computer. ...
I'll take a shot at offering some useful commentary:

If you're satisfied with the ~110MBytes/sec throughput that you're getting across gigabit Ethernet now, then there aren't any new surprises that await you as you expand the quantity of SMB shares on your network.

Only the lower latency of SSD's compared to HDD's remains as a benefit over a 1-gigabit network connection, so the cost per terabyte in HDD's may be a much more cost-effective approach to hosting the music samples.

If are implying that "have the PC host everything" includes having the audio project wave files created/recorded across the network, I surmise that it won't work at all. [It's intriguing enough for me to attempt a test of this concept, but I can't try it this week. ] From the little I've learned about the way DAWs tend to interact with the disk I/O, I suspect the time constraints are too tight for network extension of the primary recording/playback of projects.

If I do the testing, it'll be on a 10GbE link, so that will answer the question of whether a Thunderbolt2-to-10GbE adapter would be something to consider for your implementation. Sonnet makes one for $200USD. There are plenty of 10GbE NICs available for the PC side on eBay for less than $60USD.

EDIT: Never mind. I won't be doing the testing. Apple has warned us away from using shared network volumes:
[ ]
- Audio files might not be edited in the Audio File Editor.
- Fades might not be created or updated.
- Playback may stutter or have other issues.

Last edited by MediaGary; 14th November 2019 at 04:06 PM.. Reason: Apple Support says don't do it
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