What External Hard Drive for Pro Audio?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by RB1010, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    #1
    hey everyone

    Im going to purchase a Macbook Pro to add to a basic pro tools/mbox set up. Im looking for a external harddrive to store my session files. What rpm is required and does anyone have any suggestions of models/brands? Im guessing the best connection would be firewire 800?

    Also would it be a good idea to store sample libraries for NI etc on the external hard drive as well?

    Cheers guys

    Richie
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Plumbstone

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    #2
    Most FW drives will be fine especially if it has FW800, I use a lot of drives in the studio and have found that Lacie are rubbish. I went through about 7 in 2 two years and now wont touch them. Have been using western digital for a couple of years and so far they've been really reliable...
     
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 2, 2008
    #3
    So the mybook studio would be ok?
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    MowingDevil

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    Jul 30, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC & Sydney, NSW
    #4
    I've got 2 external hard drives that are 5400rpm and FireWire 400 and both are fine. One is a Maxtor 300gb and the other is a Western Digital MyBook 500gb. I also added a Glyph PortaGig that is 200gb @ 7200rpm and FW 800. Its smaller and I use it for when I go on the road, its bus powered.

    I don't think you'll notice any problems w/ FW 400 and 5400rpm, they're fine for audio. However, while preferable, 7200rpm is nice but not necessary for small sessions.
     
  5. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    #5
    usb drives?

    I've been told that a usb 2.o drive is also perfectly good for recording audio on to, and that 7200 is better for audio...

    Any thoughts on this as I'm getting the new MBP which only has one firewire(to be taken up by the mbox) so a usb drive would be the cheapest solution - if its good enough.

    Thanks in advance for any help...
     
  6. macrumors 68000

    MowingDevil

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    #6
    FireWire drives can be daisy chained w/ an audio device; no problems there. I run my Duet into the HD and then into the computer.
     
  7. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    #7
    firewire better

    Thanks again MowingDevil, I have since heard that firewire is better so connecting in daisy chain will be cool solution....

    cheers
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle.Wa
    #8
    Yup, Firewire 800 is ideal. LaCie is generally recommended for us mac users in the Audio/Video/Photo scene.

    Let me recommend this one, as it has two individual drives combined in the enclosure as a RAID0 for optimum speed.

    No I am not a Lacie spokesman, I own a Maxtor FW400 :rolleyes:
     
  9. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #9
    Several things to consider:

    1. The MBP has a single FW800 port, so if you intend to use a FW audio interface you need the adapter to FW400, and chain your FW400 HD from there, you won;t be able to use FW800 HD's in this situation.

    2. Your M-box is probably USB, (unless the Pro variant), so an FW800 drive is an option. I'd recommend the LaCie triple interface models for functionality, 7200rpm is plenty. Be aware that you may need the FW400 interface occasionally, and as a hedge towards future developments too.

    3. USB drives are not rated for recording with Protools, only as Transfer drives, you will not be able to use a USB drive as a main recording drive with PT.
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    MowingDevil

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    #10
    Can you not use them (an 800 HD w/ a 400 interface) and the drive will run at 400 if I'm not mistaken?

    As far as I know daisy chaining a 400 audio interface w/ an 800 HD is the same as using the 2 ports (800 & 400) on the previous model of MBP since it only had one bus (both ports ran into this....meaning if you used the 400 port it would slow down the 800 port to 400 as well).
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

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    #11
    Also don't forget the Expresscard/34 slot, if you must, you can always add more FW800 or FW400 ports to the Macbook Pro.

    Example
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    #12
    Quick additional question for this.

    If i buy a bus powered firewire 400 drive to daisychain into my audio interface, will the firewire powering the interface also power the daisychained hard drive?


    I.e.
    firewire 400 hard drive connected to Alesis IO26
    IO26 connected to macbook.
     
  13. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #13
    For sure you can use them, sorry I wasn't clearer, but what's the point of having a FW800 drive and running it at 400?

    Any 400 drive or device in the chain will reduce the speed of transfer to 400.
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    MowingDevil

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    #14
    Yes

    Whats the point of Apple having the 800 and 400 run on the same bus on the previous MBPs? In that case people were using the 800 port and being mislead into thinking it was transfering at those speeds while simultaneously running a device in the 400 port. I purchased an 800 drive to use w/ my Duet before the new machines came out. The plan was to have my external run at 800 while recording; little did I know that wouldn't have been the case. So I was a little unhappy w/ the single port on the new MBP but in the end it turns out it didn't matter anyhow. Daisy chained or not by 800 was destined to run at 400. I suppose the only benefit of having an 800 drive now is for when I'm not using a 400 device at the same time.

    I did send in my comments to Apple requesting a 2nd FW port be returned to the MBP BUT for it to finally have its OWN bus. That way you could run an audio interface and still have an external drive at 800. That would be a *true* MacBook PRO imo.
     
  15. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    #15
    I don't even have ONE firewire port...

    Hey up,

    I've just bought a macbook (my first foray into appledom) and an mbox2. The macbook doesn't have any firewire ports on it but I thought this would be fine as the mbox connects via usb. However, first thing I read in the manual is that you should have a second HD for pro-tools audio... i could get an external HD but if it connects via usb is there even any point in doing so? Can a usb drive be fast enough to be useful in this case and if so, could anyone recommend one?

    Thanks,

    Russell
     
  16. macrumors 68000

    MowingDevil

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    #16
    You may want to try using your internal drive instead and use the usb to store your projects. Anyone know if that would be better than a USB drive? Obviously the external FW drive is optimal but thats not an option w/ the MB.
     
  17. macrumors member

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    Jan 11, 2009
  18. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #18
    Agreed, although the MBP's aren't really powerful enough to allow full productions to run or to be mixed, and so I run slave sessions on mine, then connect the FW800 drives up to an HD system for compilation and mixing. I could use dual interface drives just as readily.

    FW800 makes backup a lot quicker when not using PT.

    However you are correct, it's not an ideal solution.
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    #19
    Based on my experience, I would strongly discourage anyone from using their internal drive for audio work, especially on a laptop. There are several reasons for this, including a high amount of heat build-up as well as decreased performance due to using the System volume for large amounts of seeking (necessary in audio).

    While a USB 2.0 external drive is only a fraction of the speed of one connected via FireWire 400, it is still safer for your precious audio data than stressing the internal drive you use on a daily basis.

    Depending on your needs, USB 2.0 might not get you the track count you need. If that is the case, you should probably seriously consider upgrading to a MacBook Pro or another product that has FireWire functionality.
     
  20. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    #20
    I did the research on USB vs FireWire for about 2 weeks. FW will get you a higher number of tracks to record at the same time, but the difference on playback is negligeable... I even spoke to a Digi employee. My questions was "Do I go with the 002R (FW) or the MBox 2 (USB)? How will I be limited" All across boards everyone agreed that FW only provided a higher number of tracks to record on the interface.

    Regarding the Storage disk, I agree with the FW. It's worth the extra $20... as long as you havea 7200rpm you will be OK. I love my OWC. USB cannot tranfer as much data as fast as FW.
     
  21. macrumors 68000

    MowingDevil

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    #21
    So if thats the case, and you're only recording one or two tracks at a time...would it be better to daisy chain a FW HD through an audio FW device (Duet for ex) ....or run the Duet alone through FW and use a USB drive?
     
  22. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    #22

    I think it would be better to daisy chain the FW devices but I did not see the Duet having two FW connections so you might be limited... I don't think it is ideal to connect:
    Mac >>> HD >>> Audio Interface
    but I might be wrong on that.

    In general, you are better off with FW connections... there's a reason why Apple uses them to transfer data between computers, pro audio applications use them, higher end audio interfaces use them, etc.
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    #23
    I'm not 100% sure if this is the case for all audio interface manufacturers, but I know that DigiDesign actually recommends that you go Mac >>> HD >>> Audio Interface. I've worked in and out of studios for almost 10 years now, and have seen it done both ways and have seen it work both ways. I think they recommend putting the HD first mostly as a precaution so that if you turn off your audio interface, you won't cut the FireWire connection to your hard drive and risk corrupting data.
     
  24. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    #24
    Yes, absolutely correct. I stand corrected. I was not sure about it but I agree with Josh.
     
  25. macrumors 68000

    MowingDevil

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    #25
    Well thats the only option I have now, as you pointed out the Duet only has one FW port so it has to go at the end. So far so good.
     

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