iTunes question...about external HDD/USB3

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by akdj, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. akdj, Jul 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013

    akdj macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #1
    Good morning,

    I've got a question regarding iTunes...and I think this is the appropriate forum for the query...much more traffic than the 'Digital Audio' subsection.

    I run a mobile entertainment business and have for 22 years. We've gone from vinyl to casette an mini-disc---to CD and now, obviously digital sources for our music library. Til now, we've used iMac 21.5" models....simply because of their ability to have a larger 1TB+ HDD in them. Our 'music' library is over 800GB....and 106,000 'songs'....I put music and songs in quotes because there are several 'mixes' of Ice Ice Baby...and plenty of other popular dance songs. They're unique, not redundant...but there's also probably 20-25,000 different SFX, speeches, and other audio snippets for use during live shows.

    I'm switching over to rMBPs. The 15" models....I've got two of them, and the second I bought with the 768GB SSD, assuming I'd cull the library down to maybe 25,000 tracks....put it 'inside' the computer and take advantage of iTunes 'Match'. Not gonna happen...just too much work and trying a couple of the iTunes 'cleaner' programs did more harm than good (not to mention 300GB of 'interaction' on my ISP over the course of about 9 days of tryin to go through everything----that's the length it took the software before it crashed about 90% from finishing. Sorry...sidetracked

    The idea now....we've got a pair of 15" rMBPs and a pair of MBAs. Both Airs have the 256SSDs in them...so there's no option, again, to put the library internally in the computer. So....now I've taken the libraries from the iMacs and put them on 1.5 and 2TB external HDDs...bus powered, so nice and small and no power cord. Obviously...with this change, I'm a bit nervous....everything went well both adding to the libraries and showing iTunes where the libraries live on all 4 computers. Each has it's own external HDD. However....my question is this. Can I duplicate the library HDD for each computer to a second HDD? It would obviously be necessary to 're-fresh' the pair each time we updated the library....but that wouldn't be an issue with two USB ports per machine. I'm just curious....with an exact (Carbon Copy Cloner) copy of the HDD....would iTunes STILL see the library identically in the case one of (the primary) HDDs failed? We do over 100 shows a year, 70% are weddings...20% corporate events, birthdays and reunions...and 10% (about 10 shows a year) are bigger....1500-5000 people parties to give you an idea of the size. Obviously, dead air isn't a choice. We've got dual redundancy with our iPads hooked in as well as a pair of CD decks and a rack of 300 compilation CDs that go out with each system (we run 4 systems at a time some evenings at 4 different events). I'll have to splurge for another pair of rMBPs and Airs and I want to make absolutely sure I'm confident on these externals. Knock on wood....I've had a single failure of an external HDD using them over 10 years but never in this capacity....always for personal back up and other files as well as iTunes library and audio backups.

    We also do a lot of video production in Alaska...but most of that is done on our MacPros and Dell Precision desktops. We have a pair of 2011 (17") MBPs we use with dual drives (SSD and HDD in place of the OD)....for field work and all of our DMX lighting control for the shows with video.

    Does anyone have experience with this? Redundant HDDs of their iTunes library...and if carefully 'sync'ed' will they 'read' the same way by iTunes when calling on a song (The XML files in the host machine...will they be identical)?

    I don't know if I'm wording this correctly....the speed is definitely fast enough for disc access and no delay playing music from the externals....I'm just tired of carrying the iMacs everywhere!!! We used them primarily because my 42 year old eyes are getting tired....the rMBP has changed all that....and saves me almost 30 pounds carrying the rigs around, as well, the iMac isn't made for portability obviously!!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm not against buying an external 'array' in RAID if that's a better idea....but the less clutter, the better. An external array would obviously require power, etc.

    Thanks in advance

    Jer
     
  2. Risco macrumors 68000

    Risco

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #2
    Wow, very long winded post there. From what I gather you want to have the same library on multiple hard drives, correct? If so then what you can do is copy the iTunes media folder to the HD you want. Then on each Mac keep the rest of the iTunes folder residing on your main HD. Then just point iTunes to the correct media folder in preferences. All the playcounts / playlists / library file etc will reside on your main HDD which you can use Time Machine to backup.

    This is how I have my external network drive set up. I do it this way as if you host the whole iTunes folder on network it makes browsing / loading really slow. Hope this helps!
     
  3. akdj thread starter macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #3
    Thanks Risco
    Sorry...it did get long-winded. My hope is to have identical, external HDDs for EACH laptop with the same library on each. Using the "Add to Library" function, it transfers the XML files to the laptop and shows iTunes 'where to look' for that specific song---however, my biggest fear is one of the external drives goes down. If that is to happen, I'd like to have a separate external with the identical library on it....that way I can quickly plug the second external in without missing a beat (actually...as explained in the OP....I have redundancy with Spotify on iPad/MBP...as well as a pair of CD decks). Essentially, I want redundancy with the library. I don't care about play counts, play lists, etc. I just want to be sure if I have an external HDD failure, I've got a second ready to go without having to again----'Add to Library'. With the library this large, it takes about 10-12 hours to go from 'zero' to full importing and processing the XML files to the computer (again, using external drives, not the internal).

    Til now...we've used the internal iMac's HDD....and I'm done carrying them around. We are switching the rMBPs and obviously there isn't enough internal storage to house this library.

    IE---I need an identical clone of each external library on two separate drives that when or if one goes down, I can plug the 'backup' in and the host computer sees the exact same library without having to 'Add to library' again;)

    Hope that makes sense!

    J
     
  4. Risco macrumors 68000

    Risco

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #4
    Ok, well in that case as long as the HDD is named the same and has the same path then iTunes will not need to add again. Just do as I said before and have the media folder residing on the external HDD with the main iTunes folder residing on the main HDD. Then when you open iTunes it will automatically find the drive.

    If you put the whole iTunes folder on the external HDD it will be mega slow when browsing. You best bet for peace of mind is to make a small media folder with say 100 tunes on two different external hdd. Then try loading iTunes and it should show all the music without adding again.
     
  5. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #5
    Hey AKDJ, a couple of things...

    1. I've been a DJ for 17 years now and I've always used a laptop and external HD combination successfully. USB 3 will provide you with plenty of speed and reliability. Don't worry about making the change from the iMac to the rMBP or going from an internal HDD to an external HDD. You will be just fine and your 42 year old back with thank you for it. :)

    2. Using a program like Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper, or even Apple's Disk Utility will enable you to make an exact clone/copy of your external HD thereby providing you with a back up in case of failure. These drives will be identical and thus if you exchange them iTunes will not know the difference. Obviously, you will want to do thorough testing, but in my experience that is exactly how it will work.

    Just out of curiosity, how did you settle on iTunes for your DJ work as opposed to using one of the many professional DJ programs that are available? I use Virtual DJ and have been pleased with it. I do sometimes use iTunes to play through a set playlist (like prelude or dinner at a wedding), but for mixing and general party use I find the multiple decks that a professional program offers to be a better fit.

    Enjoy your new set up, I think you will be very pleased with the choice you have made.
     

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