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Old Jun 7, 2011, 08:26 AM   #1
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the Truth about SSD's and music recording

Ok, so I know SSD's are in general, much faster and superior to traditional hard drives (well, cost and capacity notwithstanding).

But, I've heard conflicting things about how good SSD's are for music recording. Some people say they are great and provide a sustantial performance boost (as they do for most applications).

But I've also heard people mention that, because of the way SSD's work, they are inefficient for music recording?

Now, on top of this, I know about how SSD's wear down over time (but this seems to be an issue that doesn't appear to be a problem in day to day life, from what I've read), and I've heard that the SSD's provided by mac are not really that fast (for an SSD at least).

So, with all of this in mind... are SSD's good or bad for music production computers? Will they make my studio faster or "better"? Or are they problematic for music making? And I mean reasonably heavy music production. I'm not recording a symphony orchestra, but I use multiple software and audio tracks in my projects, using Logic, Ableton... and good old Garageband...


[edit: sorry if my title was misleading... I meant to put a question mark at the end of it...]
37" Palladium iMac, 7.7 GHz 14-core i9, 256 Gb Ram, 666 TB HD, 4.5" Macbook Pro mini, 16 Gb iPad, 12 Amp Dust Devil vacuum, 84 inch steel frame bed, 473 inch house.
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Old Jun 7, 2011, 11:33 AM   #2
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Speed is NOT so important. As long as you can record a 5 minute performance in 5 minutes it's fast enough. Seriously, a fast disk will not make a singer finish a song in lass time. So all you need is "fast enough". Audio data is, even if you record 24-bits at 96K in stereo only 2 x 96,000 x 24 = under 5Mbps or well under a million bytes per second. Even a slower notebook disk is many times faster than that.

But if you were to record 16 or 24 tracks then you start thinking about disk speed. But then you also start thinking about how much space this is going to use so you buy a disk array.
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Old Jun 7, 2011, 11:54 AM   #3
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The recommended way seems to be to use SSD (slc if possible) as the startup disk (OS, Apps) and a fast (10,000rpm if possible) traditional drive for audio, where your sessions are saved.
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Old Mar 22, 2013, 09:54 AM   #4
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Had to resurrect this...

I agree that SSD speed is exponentially above the threshold needed for 90% of audio recordings done today. However, my rationale for recording to SSD would be:

1) If you're mobile and doing live performance, an SSD is better at surviving drops, bangs, and toss into gig bags immediately after unplugging.

2) To save energy at home, my mac shuts down the drive after inactivity (optional of course). Then when I'm ready to record again, it has to spin up...no little seconds count sometimes. SSDs use less power by design, and wake up instantly ready to roll again.

My 4 SSDs live in a Pegasus J4, which consists of my large 2x512GB of sound libraries, 512GB for recording sessions, and 512GB for video editing. All my backup drives are 2.5" rotational drives via Lacie Little Big Disks
15" rMBP (Early 2013), 2.8GHz, 16 GB RAM, 768 GB SSD | Pegasus J4 (4x 512 SSDs)
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Old Mar 22, 2013, 11:37 AM   #5
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I use Logic on a MacBook Air with 256gb SSD and it works great. If I needed a lot of active workspace I'd use an external drive, but I just do this as a hobby with live recording of acoustic guitar and voice. I typically use 3 tracks with microphones and have enough room on the 256gb drive for audio files plus my other stuff. Every now and then I do some housecleaning and delete old stuff.

If I was doing it again today I'd get the 512gb SSD option, but that wasn't available last year when I got mine.
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