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Quiet Thunderbolt hard drive for sample libraries
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Software  
Author Quiet Thunderbolt hard drive for sample libraries
moog man
I am purchasing a new iMac and am looking for a quiet Thunderbolt hard drive to store sample libraries. Logistically I unfortunately often have to record audio in the same room as the computer.

I have had good experience with MacSales drives in the past but they are loud.

I'm wondering if I should just pony up for a solid state drive as from what I gather they run ultra quiet and don't require fans? Otherwise I'd be looking to use a 7200 rpm drive. Probably need 500gb at a minimum but I always like to leave room for expansion so 1TB is more ideal.

Many thanks for any recommendations!
mt3
SSDs are all quiet, so are iMacs.
SSDs don't last long, so focus more on backup and redundancy.
oisin
unless your running some very big instruments libraries i imagine a usb3 drive would be fine. especially if you have different drives on different ports (for samples / recording / etc). i used to only buy firewire drives but eventually switched over to portable usb3 drives (from any of the major brands) and have never looked back.
waveglider
Upgrade to SSD, keep a backup somewhere and you will have the best performance with a thunderbolt interface. Prices and reliability have improved over time. You can get a 1tb SSD for around $300
nostalghia
When I updated my aging (2008) Mac Pro (Firewire, USB2) to a newer (2014) iMac w/Thunderbolt & USB3, I knew I would want external drives for streaming samples (Ivory, drum kit plug ins, Kontact) and for Time Machine backups, iTunes library, etc. Also needed a way to get a long enough Thunderbolt cable to a Focusrite Clarett 8Pre audio interface (has to be at end of chain, has only TB in, not out) in a rack on the other side of the room.

So I got a Drive Dock from OWC: OWC Drive Dock
About $257 at Amazon or B&H Photo.

Has two slots for holding bare (cheap) SATA and/or SSD drives-each slot can take a 2.5" or 3.5" drive. Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 connections. Quiet fanless operation (although you'll hear some "spinning" noise from the drive itself with SATAs, none from SSDs-you could put the dock in a closet or make an enclosure for it if conventional disk drive noise bugs you).

I put it on the floor between my iMac on a desk and the rack with the Focusrite, so it also acts as a Thunderbolt cable extender. It's been working great with a 3TB SATA drive and 500GB SSD. Easy to swap out drives and transfer files from one slot to the other, I copied files from all my old internal drives from the Mac Pro to the new SATA drive very quickly.

Between using Thunderbolt for audio and SSD for sample streaming, I have no noticeably latency at all. Hit a key, hear piano note with zero lag.
moog man
Cool idea—I had never thought of this. Given my samples never need to go mobile this could work really well. Do you ever have issues with dust? That is probably the only issue I could think of but I suppose I could always put it in some type of enclosure to prevent that issue.

It sounds like SSDs are the way to go, both for speed and noise. I don't mind plugging in some 7200 RPM drives for backups and turning them off during recording.

nostalghia wrote:
When I updated my aging (2008) Mac Pro (Firewire, USB2) to a newer (2014) iMac w/Thunderbolt & USB3, I knew I would want external drives for streaming samples (Ivory, drum kit plug ins, Kontact) and for Time Machine backups, iTunes library, etc. Also needed a way to get a long enough Thunderbolt cable to a Focusrite Clarett 8Pre audio interface (has to be at end of chain, has only TB in, not out) in a rack on the other side of the room.

So I got a Drive Dock from OWC: OWC Drive Dock
About $257 at Amazon or B&H Photo.

Has two slots for holding bare (cheap) SATA and/or SSD drives-each slot can take a 2.5" or 3.5" drive. Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 connections. Quiet fanless operation (although you'll hear some "spinning" noise from the drive itself with SATAs, none from SSDs-you could put the dock in a closet or make an enclosure for it if conventional disk drive noise bugs you).

I put it on the floor between my iMac on a desk and the rack with the Focusrite, so it also acts as a Thunderbolt cable extender. It's been working great with a 3TB SATA drive and 500GB SSD. Easy to swap out drives and transfer files from one slot to the other, I copied files from all my old internal drives from the Mac Pro to the new SATA drive very quickly.

Between using Thunderbolt for audio and SSD for sample streaming, I have no noticeably latency at all. Hit a key, hear piano note with zero lag.
nostalghia
Nope, no dust issues to date, had the dock since December. Probably would not have put it on the floor if it didn't need to be halfway between my iMac and gear rack on other side of the room, but zero problems.
I use a Swifter or some canned air on it every few months to keep dust bunnies from building up.

Bare SATA drives are sealed quite well, and the dock has hinged doors that cover the slot when there's no drive inserted, and each door has a smaller "cutout" for 2.5" SSD drives as you can see below.
I got the HGST 3TB drive at local Micro Center, highly recommended. SSD (slot 2) is a Crucial, bought from B&H Photo along with the Drive Dock.

moog man
Super! Really appreciate the insight thumbs up

nostalghia wrote:
Nope, no dust issues to date, had the dock since December. Probably would not have put it on the floor if it didn't need to be halfway between my iMac and gear rack on other side of the room, but zero problems.
I use a Swifter or some canned air on it every few months to keep dust bunnies from building up.

Bare SATA drives are sealed quite well, and the dock has hinged doors that cover the slot when there's no drive inserted, and each door has a smaller "cutout" for 2.5" SSD drives as you can see below.
I got the HGST 3TB drive at local Micro Center, highly recommended. SSD (slot 2) is a Crucial, bought from B&H Photo along with the Drive Dock.

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