External HDs

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External HDs

Postby Donald S » Sat Feb 04, 2012 17:22

I've been using Mercury Elite drives from OWC (via FW800) for a couple years. But these new small drives look tempting for field use and some are even bus powered! Has anyone experimented with the 5400 or 7200 models?
Cheers!
Don
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Re: External HDs

Postby Perfect Record » Wed Feb 08, 2012 19:09

I'm guessing you're talking about 2.5" drives in small enclosures?

For location work where there's no room for problems, I want to go with the fastest drives I can find. The thing I worry about is how well a drive will operate as you are approaching capacity and files become fragmented.

I guess I don't worry so much about finding tiny drives as I worry about all the zillions of little fragile cables we need these days for our location kits.
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Re: External HDs

Postby Donald S » Wed Feb 08, 2012 19:50

Thanks for the reply. The 2.5" drives come in 7200, and bus powered, which would make life a little easier. I like the big metal mercury elites in the studio, but they use an external power supply which I would rather not deal with in the field. Have you tried any bus powered drives? SSD's?
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Re: External HDs

Postby Perfect Record » Thu Feb 16, 2012 20:23

Donald S wrote:...Have you tried any bus powered drives? SSD's?


Since I'm recording multitrack at 88.2, SSD's wouldn't be large enough to be cost effective. As for buss power, I'd rather not draw any more current through the computer than necessary, especially if I'm running a couple of drives.

For location I really like the LaCie quad interface drives. They're very fast, and I can connect FW800 to my Mac laptop on location, then eSATA to transfer back in the studio. I do use a semi small Hitachi drive for backup before I leave the location venue. I also keep a full backup OS on that drive, just in case.

The difference in size and weight between a mini drive and a good portable drive isn't that great in the grand scheme of things.

The bigger thing I worry about though is, with the transition from consoles and tape decks to computer based recordings, we have an insane number of little power supplies, adaptor cables, specialty data cables that we need to keep track of. Misplace one critical cable and you can't make your recording. The old days of just needing a box of XLR cables and power cables is gone.
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Re: External HDs

Postby Donald S » Thu Feb 16, 2012 20:56

[quote="Perfect Record"][quote="Donald S"]...Have you tried any bus powered drives? SSD's?[/quote]
For location I really like the LaCie quad interface drives. They're very fast, and I can connect FW800 to my Mac laptop on location, then eSATA to transfer back in the studio. I do use a semi small Hitachi drive for backup before I leave the location venue. I also keep a full backup OS on that drive, just in case.
.[/quote]
Thanks for the reply. I assume that you're putting the LaCie between the mac and the interface? I have heard of one company that makes a drive that has a simple IEC connector on the back instead of using a wart. That would help cut down on the little stuff that can easily get lost and easily ruin a job. I always have the fear of leaving the PMX dongle at the studio so I installed Reaper just in case!
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Re: External HDs

Postby Perfect Record » Thu Feb 16, 2012 23:40

Donald S wrote:Thanks for the reply. I assume that you're putting the LaCie between the mac and the interface? I have heard of one company that makes a drive that has a simple IEC connector on the back instead of using a wart. That would help cut down on the little stuff that can easily get lost and easily ruin a job. I always have the fear of leaving the PMX dongle at the studio so I installed Reaper just in case!


For the moment I'm using Metric Halo 2882 on the Mac as an interface. There's a FW pass through on the Metric, so I can go either way. Usually the drive is at the end of the chain, because I have a second drive attached for backups.

Granite Digital may sell enclosures that have built in PS that support FW or SATA. It's been a long time since I bought a drive with a built in supply.
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Re: External HDs

Postby tim » Fri Feb 17, 2012 15:58

Hi Don,

Look at the Avastor quad-interface drives:

http://www.avastor.com/HDXoverview.htm

No wall-wart, FW 400/800, eSATA, & USB 3.0. We've been using them for years.

Best wishes
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Re: External HDs

Postby Perfect Record » Fri Feb 17, 2012 19:19

[quote="tim"Look at the Avastor quad-interface drives:[/quote]

Tim,
Great looking enclosure! They say "ultra quiet fan". Everybody says that... are the fans truly quiet? Do you have any idea of what drives they're using?
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Re: External HDs

Postby tim » Fri Feb 17, 2012 23:25

Hi Preston,

The fans are quiet for the most part...about 90% of the time. It seems that every now & again they get a bad batch of fans, which ramps up the noise a bit. Having said that, the other nice design feature of the Avastors is that the enclosures disassemble and re-assemble in seconds....with no tools. So, if you manage to get a noisy enclosure (seems quite rare these days) you can swap drives/enclosures easily. On location in a very quiet control room, I'm pretty happy leaving these drives on the floor underneath my laptops.

They have always used a combination of either Hitachi or WD drives....although not the top of the line in either case: I've seen WD Caviar drives in there, or what Hitachi used to call the Deskstar series. If you contact Avastor directly (ask for Steve) he may agree to build you out some special orders using WD RE4 drives. But it takes a little longer (& costs a good bit more).

Tim
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Re: External HDs

Postby avi » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:28

HIghly recommend the Avastores.
Being able to rapidly take the enclosure apart and pop a different drive in - with no tools required - has been useful on more than one occasion, and I'm a big fan of keeping all gear with IEC power connectors. Another little thing that makes life a bit less complicated.

In the UK, though, they are rather expensive, esp. compared to say a Lacie d2 Quad.

Back to the original question - I have in the past used bus-powered small drives (even at 5400rpm) for 12-16track chamber / large ensemble recordings recording with no issues at all. No standard practice, but it has been done...
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