HD speed for recording audio?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by fustercluck, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. fustercluck macrumors member

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    #1
    I have heard that it's necessary to have a 7200 rpm drive for recording digital audio. I just ordered the 17" MBP C2D with the 100 GB 7200 rpm drive, but am wondering if I would have acceptable performance with a 160 GB drives.

    Any audio pros out there care to weigh in? I would be using an m-audio FW device...

    Thanks much for any help.
     
  2. fustercluck thread starter macrumors member

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  3. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #3
    For audio production, the important factor is sustained throughput. A 7200RPM drive is really necessary for maximal performance, although unless you're getting into 16+ tracks, you should be fine. Keep in mind that if you're streaming audio tracks and samples, these will both put stress on your drive

    The other thing to keep in mind is that you don't want to record audio to your system drive, if possible. The issue is that you need your drive to be dedicated to streaming audio, and not messing around with other system-related functions. So, I would have an external FW drive for audio recording. That's why I don't think the 7200RPM option for the internal drive is that important for audio work. Oh, and partitioning wont help; you need a dedicated drive.

    Right now, I have a 160GB 7200 RPM FW LaCie drive on my Intel iMac. I put all my audio and samples on this drive, although I'm looking for another FW or USB2.0 drive at the moment to use for sample streaming (since my music is highly sampler-driven). The system disk is just for applications and general storage (i.e. iTunes, Word documents, photos, etc).

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

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    #4
    It's not absolutely "necessary" to have a 7200 rpm drive just to record a couple of tracks of audio. The casual, non-pro GarageBand user will be fine with a 5400. However...

    ...the added spindle speed becomes more important with higher numbers of tracks. If you're going to be doing 8-16 or more simultaneous tracks of audio, a 5400 rpm drive is going to have a hard time keeping up with all the data streams-- and when it eventually fails, then you hear a "dropout" (no audio for a split second). This is bad for audio recording, for obvious reasons.

    So if you're using Logic Pro, ProTools or other "professional grade" app to make some serious choonz, the 7200 is the right choice. You can archive your other files on an external USB2 drive, since your M-Audio's using the FW port.
     
  5. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

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    #5
    Edge100 and I are presenting the same basic answer, but Edge's additional advice to have a separate drive dedicated for music files cannot be understated.

    My current rig is Cakewalk SONAR 5-based (yes, it's a Wyndoze PeeCee), and my music files are also on a separate physical drive. You don't want to have an unexpected dropout in your music just because the OS decides it needs to do something else with the system drive.
     
  6. fustercluck thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    Awesome advice - thanks to both of you.

    To be honest, the bulk of my music is sequenced using samples - I do a lot of orchestral composing so I use orchestral sample libraries. Occasionally I may want to add something 'live' (not sampled), e.g. voice, or whatever. I don't plan on recording using tons of audio tracks.

    Thus, it probably makes more sense for me to get the 160 internal and opt for an external 7200 rpm drive.
     
  7. SRSound macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I dont know if your question was answered already or not but...
    Most pro apps (pro tools) require the program to exist on a system drive and then additional dedicated drives for audio only (at least one). For low track counts and a basic program like Garageband, one drive should be fine, but i wouldnt reccomend less then 7200rpm
     
  8. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #8
    Erm: depending on the sample library you have and whether the samples for your project will all fit into RAM (using the word "orchestral" implies *not*) -- heavy use of samples can beat on hard drive performance bigtime.
     
  9. NewSc2 macrumors 65816

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    #9
    I used to record with my 5400rpm drive on my Powerbook all the time -- albeit only 1-2 channels at a time. For sample handling, etc. 5400rpm was fine too. Of course these will depend on what audio resolution you're recording at.

    If you're going to be recording lots of channels at a time, you'd want something faster, but you could always go with an external drive -- which is preferred.
     
  10. fustercluck thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    I suspect I'm going to need an external drive anyway. The stock 7200 rpm drive in the MBP is only 100 GB, which isn't enough for a large sample library + system + apps + necessary other files.

    Would it make sense to have my sample libraries on an external FW 7200 or 10k rpm drive AND record the occasional audio track on the same drive? Is that possible?
     
  11. SpanklyMcDoodle macrumors member

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    #11
    Prm

    We are talking about the NEW 5400 PRM drives right?
    I was looking at this and I would like to know if the 5400rpm drive in the testing was PRM or not. Please post links if you have any.
    Thank you.:)
     
  12. crees! macrumors 68000

    crees!

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    #12
    Quick question. I already have a ton of loops installed on my system disk. Is there an easy way to move them to an external drive and have Garageband/Logic recognize the new location? Does anything else besides the samples need to be moved?
     
  13. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #13

    There are two ways to do this (AFAIK):

    1) Replace the folders containing the loops with aliases to their new location on your external drive

    2) Move the loops to the external drive and re-index them within GB/Logic (usually done by dragging the folders containing the loops onto the loop browser in BG/Logic).
     

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