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Best external hard drive for streaming samples?

2399 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Mar 22, 2013 5:51 AM by Scorpii RSS
Big Scottish Bloke Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 18, 2011 8:57 AM

Hi all,


It's my first time here, so be gentle!

Will soon be getting my new imac and wonder if its best for me to have all my sample libraries on an external hard drive, rather than the internal 1tb?

Should I  keep the internal one just for audio and projects?


And what do folk think the best type is? Firewire? USB 2?


I've got loads of stuff like Spectrasonics, East west Play, I need a good drive!





  • loungery Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    hi there,


    don't use the internal drive for audio recording etc...

    only keep the programs running there.

    use an external usb 2 drive or firewire 800 from lacie or something equal powerful.

    and put all your audio material over there.


    don't buy a cheap hard disk it won't make you happy!!!



  • QtheMusic Calculating status...

    If you are running EastWest, Kontakt, etc, and you want to record large audio projects with lots of tracks, you are always going to struggle with your drives. Maybe the new thunderbolt interface will be a game changer, but as it stands, I reckon the only really viable option for working like this is a MacPro with internal drives, system drive for running the OS, sample drive(s) for running your VI's and a separate drive for your audio.


    If you must go with Imac (for aesthetic reasons, I assume) then don't expect an external USB drive to give you steady un-interupted service. USB is not designed that way. Data burst speed is good, but audio requires steady stream consistency, and firewire is a much better option. Presumably, the various drives would need to share the firewire bus, so this would be a concern for multiple drives.


    If your are like many of us, you will end up with more sample libraries than will fit on one drive. Hollywood Strings is over 300gig!

  • Kikonda12 Calculating status...

    Hi BSB,


    I'm trying to do exactly the same thing that you are, tho it's a couple years later.  Did using an external drive work?  Did you try using a thunderbolt drive?





  • The Art Of Sound Level 5 Level 5 (5,650 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 20, 2013 10:14 AM (in response to Kikonda12)

    Just to correct/update the information given a couple of years ago in this thread...


    Do NOT use USB2 Ext Drives for streaming Audio.... Too slow.. and are CPU intensive in the process.


    Use only FW800 or Thunderbolt Hard Drives.. and make sure the drives themselves are a minimum of 7200 RPM Hard Drives... and not 5400 RPM or 'Green' or "Variable Power' Drives..


    Some SSDs these days can also be used.... but often, the Price/Size Ratio is out of wack.. and so it can be financially better to purchase a good quality FW or TB 7200 RPM HD  or two.. instead...


    I have not really tried out using USB3 HDs myself so I cannot reallly comment personally about those and their performance in regards to heavy Audio Streaming... compared to FW800 or TB.


    Personally I use Gylph FW800 7200 RPM Ext HDs.... (via either the FW800 ports on my Macs or theThunderbolt to Firewire Adapter available from Apple) for all my Audio work and have no issues at all, even with very large,  very HD intensive projects... Gylphs are a little more expensive that your typical 'off the shelf' Standard Ext HDs.. but they seem to be more reliable over time.. are sturdily built, have good quality cooling systems built in (Very important when dealing with HDs) and they come will excellent warranties.. including Data Recovery should the Drive fail (and all HDs will fail at some point.....)


    Disclaimer: I do not work for nor have any other connection with Gylph other than i am a satisfied owner... and have been so for many years now.

  • Scorpii Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)

    Hi, Big Scottish Bloke.


    You might want to consider more than one ext HD.


    One for recording your tracks and another to stream the samples.


    On my old MBP I used 2 ext esata Lacie Hds with an express card interface and never had any problems.


    I've now got a new mac mini, so I swtiched to thunderbolt.


    If you buy a 4 or 6 tb Raid drive like Western Digital my book, you can erase the raid setup with ythe Mac's disk utility and then partition each of the 2 drives inside the case  into any configuration you want. This way one have one case but inside an audio drive for your tracks. Another separate drive for your samples,


    You can also set up a partition for Time Machine and any other external storage needs you might require.


    Thunderbolt speeds should give you no problem and you will only have a single cable and one ext box connected.


    Hope this helps,






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