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Computer Hardware Audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces, control surfaces, MIDI controllers & USB MIDI keyboards (not motherboards or system components)

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Old 19th May 2011 , 01:36 PM
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Default External hard disk: how big?

Lots of reading leads me to believe that I will do better using an external hard disk (7200 rpm, Firewire 800) for recording onto. I am wondering what size you guys use or recommend.

If it helps, I have an Apple iMac and am looking at (link removed), with the top one (Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II 2TB) being the one I am thinking might do the job. Is there a better drive I should be considering?
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Old 19th May 2011 , 02:08 PM
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I've used Western Digital, Seagate & Lacie externals Lester. The (more larger and) 1TB's have given me constant, reliable results and never, ever have I had one fail on me. I too have an iMac (27") and currently have two USB externals and one firewire - all working wonderfully well. My external drives are used specifically for audio recording and storage, keeping the iMac's internal drive (primarily) free of such data.
Oh, and yes, always 7200 rpm for optimised performance, don't go (s)lower

DV do of course sell external (multi connectivity) drives and I hear from reliable industry sources that their Synergy brand drives are top notch.Eg:
http://www.dv247.com/computer-hardwa...0-esata--65476
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Old 22nd May 2011 , 10:30 AM
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I've had a number of Lacie drives fail me over the years, so I stay away from those. Glyph would be my first choice for heavy duty use but I've used other ones from WD, Seagate etc with no issues yet!
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Old 23rd May 2011 , 10:28 AM
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Just a quick heads up WD drives particularly the Blacks are renowned for being a bit on the noisy side. They have sort of tackled the issue with the Blue series but I have heard there can be one or two problems with the Blues, the Greens you get exactly what it says on the tin low power usages equals low performance. I would add also that an external caddy with eSATA on is a good call for external HDD’s transfer rates. Most large HDD’s are more or less on a par with each other quality wise however personally I would not touch Maxtor or Seagate with a barge pole ever again. I prefer Samsung myself I’ve always found them rock solid and quiet.

When you do decide which product to buy make sure that you format the external drive to the same file format as your internal HDD probably HFS+ else you could experience problems transferring large files over 4gb.




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Old 24th May 2011 , 06:31 PM
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I used to used Maxtor DiamondMax on my last IDE-based system. I run with Samsung F1 Spinpoint drives now. In my experience, the Maxtors that I've used have been superb. The one I used to use in Uni for my first computer build back in 2004 is still going strong in my partner's PC. She's had it for the last two years and I used it extensively for a long, long time up till then. It must be close to death, but no signs yet. edit 30-07-2012 (clicking of that drive has begun. It had a good run as a do it all drive)

Samsung ones have been great also. Reviews on the one I bought had the occasional user having issues, but looks like Samsung aftercare took good, prompt care of them. So if there's a problem with your instance, I think you'd know within a week or two.

I've heard bad stories stories about WD and Maxtor, but really I think people just get a bad one-off sometimes.

I've never thought of using external hard drives for audio reading/writing on the fly. I haven't educated myself on transfer rate differences between SATA/USB2.0 (Isn't USB2 now faster than firewire?) I use a 1Tb WD Green (external) for backing up.

To conclude, my best recommendation would be to look at Hitachi drives. It's what I'll be looking at next time. At the end of the day, data is data. For many DBAs, IT and database system builders I've communicated with and reviews of Hitachi drives, they've been the storage brand of choice of many servers around the world and generally considered to be the most reliable, bulletproof HDs out there.

Edit Could be wrong, but I think Apple also favour Hitachi drives and for their rep, I would expect them to be picky about drives with the lowest failure rate...
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Old 24th May 2011 , 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dariunas View Post
Isn't USB2 now faster than firewire?
USB2 is faster than Firewire (now called Firewire 400) but not as fast as Firewire 800 which is what I am looking to use. The specs for the drive I am considering are:

FireWire 800
Serial Bus Transfer Rate (1394b) 800 Mb/s (Max)

eSATA
Serial Bus Transfer Rate (eSATA) 3 Gb/s (Max)

FireWire 400
Serial Bus Transfer Rate (1394a) 400 Mb/s (Max)

USB 2.0
Serial Bus Transfer Rate (USB 2.0) 480 Mb/s (Max)
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Old 24th May 2011 , 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lester View Post
USB2 is faster than Firewire (now called Firewire 400) but not as fast as Firewire 800 which is what I am looking to use. The specs for the drive I am considering are:
On paper that's true but the average sustained transfer rate with FireWire is generally better (even 400) even though the 'max' possible rate is higher. This is important when dealing with things like audio and video that need reliable playback. I would choose FW over USB any time (and 800 is a good choice for sure!)
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Old 24th May 2011 , 09:26 PM
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eSATA looks pretty attractive. Putting a standard HD into an external caddy is really straightforward; if you can get an eSATA caddy, you might have a great solution for cheap...

...this is assuming you have the eSATA port on your machine...?
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Old 24th May 2011 , 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dariunas View Post
...this is assuming you have the eSATA port on your machine...?
YOu are quite right but I am using an iMac and iMacs have Firewire 800, Firewire 400 and USB 2 ports.
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Old 24th May 2011 , 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lester View Post
YOu are quite right but I am using an iMac and iMacs have Firewire 800, Firewire 400 and USB 2 ports.



I should have thought a little more about mentioning eSATA instead of just having a public brain fart. Of course you can add an expansion slot on the iMac but it’s a pain in the backside, requires a bit of modding and at the end of the day wont be fully hot swappable anyway, so is it really worth the hassle? Meh!

To be honest I was thinking more on the Pro, but Provided you don’t use your 800 port for anything else it should be quick enough to set up. If you do use it for other devices then provided the devices have two 800 ports you can daisy chain them or if not just pick up a FW800 hub repeater. Also the Hitachi HDD is a good call I’ve heard good things about them in countless reviews and via word of mouth.



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Old 25th May 2011 , 01:02 AM
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Thanks, Weaver, the more information the better.

Over the years everyone seems to have had different horror stories to tell of hard drives. An Amazon customer review of the Hitachi HD G-Drive Pro/7200 2TB/2xFW/eSata/USB says the opposite of what you are saying about both the Hitachi and WD drives: I researched this quite a bit so was very surprised to find it so noisy. It also stopped working after about 10 minutes - hopelessly unreliable. I bought the Western Digital MyBook instead and it is great - completely quiet and very fast with firewire.

I have read the review by Andrew Harrison for MacWorld and PC Advisor where he remarks on how noisy the Hitachi G-Drive is. As my external HD will be attached to the computer in my studio (as I don't have a second room for noisy equipment and) I don't really want to be capturing the sound of a noisy hard disk in my recordings.

I'll keep reading before I commit myself to a purchase. I am guessing that 2TB is a good size. I'd love to know what others think, especially those that do recordings and have a fair idea of how much disk space each multi-track song can take up (on average).
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Old 25th May 2011 , 04:39 AM
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Yep still awake here took an ocular migraine just after dinner and slept for a full 6 hrs so here I am still awake at half bloomin 5 .


Youíre talking on average roughly 5-10gb depending on how many tracks youíve got in your project, raw audio data takes up quite a bit of disk space. Of course youíll prolly want to bounce down to maybe a wav file or even mp3 which are smaller, mp3 being the smaller of the two so donít forget about that.

Here are some other possibilities on the pre prepared drive and caddies if cost isnít really a hindrance to you. Yeah 2tb would be more than adequate.


http://www.brighthub.com/multimedia/...les/93517.aspx






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Old 25th May 2011 , 09:52 AM
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Disk size: I reckon 1 minute of 24 bit 48kHz audio requires 8.64MB. Let's say songs average 3.5 minutes and use the equivalent of 16 complete tracks. That's 483.84MB per song, or put another way, about 2,000 songs (projects) per TB.

Which disk: I read that article again only yesterday, Weaver. I think I have read the whole internet twice through in the last 6 months. Of those top 5 recommendations, 1 has a fan, 1 is noisy, 1 isn't available in the UK, and that leaves the 2 that have received a lot of bad press about failure rates either of the disk or logic board. Which brings me (but maybe not others) back to the WD My Book Studio, which in Raid 0 (striped) is fast enough for AV, quiet, fanless, available, reasonably priced (compared with the competition). I am not sure how its greenness means low performance (as in inadequate for AV), as per Weaver's reply #4 above.

Thanks for your input, everyone. Having people say things you either I didn't want to hear or had a different opnion on forced me to double check the facts.
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Old 25th May 2011 , 12:08 PM
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Some good info and opinion, let's go 'sticky'
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Old 25th May 2011 , 02:57 PM
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If you ever use Pro Tools at all then RAID-striped disks are completely out of the question (at the moment, anyway!)

The way their DAE works makes it incompatible with RAID setups, unfortunately.
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