Hard Drive for recording

Discussion in 'Computing' started by Mad John, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. Mad John

    Mad John Active Member

    Nov 25, 2001

    I have been haveing a delema recently in the weighing factors that concern purchaseing a 24 track digital Hard Drive Recorder.

    At first I just wanted to expand from my exsisitng analog 8 track machines, so I thought a good posibility were the going models we all know about - Mackie, Alesis, Tascam, ect......Then quite a few Pros turned my head towards Radar. I have to admit I had never heard of them. The quility of Radar sounds like the direction I would like to go, however I am an arcieviest and friends have warned me about the HORRORS of hard drives and the hassel for backup.

    What are your views? My main delema is in understanding how to back up exsisting 24 track masters.

    What can they be trasfered to? I feel very very insicure comming out of an analog only tape family.

    On one hand I am excited about augmenting to 24 tracks. On the other, the "tape mediuem" has me cocerned about the long jev-a-tea of the hard drives.

    Is there some one who can calm me down with some facts about (for lack of a better word) "tape storage?" and how presevation can best be secured!

    Thank you in advance,

  2. Mike Simmons

    Mike Simmons Active Member

    Nov 5, 2001
    Home Page:
    Hi Mad John!

    Hard drives crash. Hard drives are inexpensive. Why not buy a BIG backup drive? If your data/session is on a "work drive" and a "back-up" drive then you are pretty safe. If you want real-time back up you can get that too (anybody have a favorite???). In any event a good hard drive utilities program like Alsoft "Disk Warrier" can be a life saver in a data recovery situation.

    If you need an archiving set-up you have a lot of choices (I tend to archive on CDR cause it has a "verify" step). I'm hoping to back up onto DVD in the future in order to take advantage of the lager storage capacity of the dvd discs.

    Take care and good luck!
  3. coldsnow

    coldsnow Active Member

    May 14, 2001
    Mogadore, OH
    The alesis machine lets you use any standard hard drive. For $60 you can record 3 albums worth of stuff at 24 bit 24 tracks, and for another $60 back it up to a second hard drive. I can't think of cheaper media.
  4. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    Curious is on the money - yes, hard drives crash - not as often as you might think though. My current DAW has two drives, a 10 gig IDE for program storage/boot, and an 18 gig Ultra2 SCSI for recording. I've been backing up critical parts to the IDE after recording (faster) then burning CDR's after session (slower, but more permanent) CDR's, as long as you don't store them in the oven with bricks on them, are nearly indestructable with any degree of reasonable care. DVD's should be about the same, I'm headed that way with the next DAW. Right now, I'm recording at 20 bit, working and saving at 32 bit, all at 44.1 - I intend to move up to 32/96 with the next system, which will have 8 IDE drives (two of which are removable)and firewire for CDRW and DVD-RW.

    The Tascam HDR (MX-2424) uses SCSI (Ultra2 I think) for its optional drives, and has some limitations as to what will work. This makes backup drives kind of expensive compared to IDE drives. It does allow at least one kind of CDRW as an option drive - the downside of that is speed and capacity. You would pretty much have to do backups after the fact and swap several CDR's to accomplish backup of a very large project. This is why I'm looking at DVD-R - one project, one disk (two, just to be really safe)The plan is, finish the session, then just drag/drop the entire folder with that project onto the DVD-R, and go away. The other advantage to this is clients who come back every other month to work on their project - the night before, assuming they call you first, just load the DVD back onto the working hard drive and take up right where you left off.

    To put the "crash" thing in perspective, remember analog tape sheds, stretches, breaks, sticks to heads if you put too many passes on it, loses highs if your heads don't get de-magged often enough, etc - point is, ain't nuttin' perfect 'cept you 'n me, and lately I'm wonderin' 'bout y'all... :=)

    If you're planning on a stand-alone HDR, I would get whichever one(s) that allow two different backup methods, fast and permanent. (2nd hard disk, and optical) I hang out regularly on the Tascam forums, since I have some of their gear, and the general concensus on the MX-2424, even from some serious Nashville analog types, is that it sounds great. Beyond that, ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances, sorta like the rest of life... Steve
  5. tundrkys

    tundrkys Guest

    This is a little off topic, but what do you think about just burning a session to CD/DVD. I am thinking about long term. Let's say I am a budding Songwriter, and I work at home now, compsing and what not. Five years from now, if I want to go back and try to dig up those old ideas, maybe a harddrive will work, maybe not. if I where able to put a song/project onto a couple of CDs, or DVDs, then it would be there. Swapping hardrives is cool and everything, but is there something wrong with burning CDs?
  6. Mad John

    Mad John Active Member

    Nov 25, 2001
    Thank you all for the wonderful replies!

    Forgive me if I seem a little slow to catch on, but I really know nothing about Hard Drives and Computer type gear.

    Let me get this stright, because it seems a little hard to believe. Are you saying that 24 tracks on a hard drive can be transfered as "information" to a CDR?

    Also, do you buy a new Hard Drive when all the time is used up (like a real Master tape) and then back up the exsisting information of that 24 channel master to the CDR?

    If that is the case, I understand the concept.
  7. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Well-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    digital rule #1. It's not backed up in digital unless it's backed up AT LEAST twice. period. If not, you WILL get bit someday. For me, it's at least twice, to two harddrives. ALL THE TIME. And usually to CDR, on top of that .
  8. droog

    droog Active Member

    Nov 3, 2001

    any information on a hard drive can be copied to a cdr, in fact you can even run some programs off a cd, as though it was a hard drive

    the only difference (for now), is that you can't write to a cd on the fly, like you can to a hard drive (it's still too slow, but it might change)

    in other words, yes, you can copy 24 tracks of audio to a cd, as long as it's under 700 mb (that's where dvd's are better)

    otherwise, you may need to use a stuffit sort of utility to split the file into 2 or more bits, and back them up individually, or just divide your files into logical folders, and put them back together later (note, make sure to make good notes, it helps five years later)

    it might be easier to get a couple of hard drives (they are cheap and getting cheaper), and record to one and back up daily to the other, then weekly/monthly back up to cd/dvd (or whatever)

    there's no data on long-term storage using above, because they've only been around for 10 yrs or so, but i regularly pull out cd's from 5 years ago(when i started burning), and they seem fine

    hope it helps
  9. Mad John

    Mad John Active Member

    Nov 25, 2001
    Max, bless you! That is exactly what I needed to know. It is interesting and some what frightening to consider the whole Digital assumption: that storage on a compact disc can last as long as 100 years!

    I like your idea very much! Useing 2 hardrives with a couple of CDs seems like a secure method.

    My palms still sweat and my heart still flutters slightly to the idea of CD storage and the like, but as mentioned earlier, analog storage and durability certainly have their problems as well.

    I am sure it will be fine! It will take a little time for me to get out of (I think it is) 1978!
  10. suspec57

    suspec57 Guest

    from experience, it was the best idea to go hard drive. cheaper, more space, easy to transport, more possibilities. and yes they do crash (barely on my half) what i found is that the ones that had the most crashes were the ones that used their systems for more than just music and did not have the proper setup such as good coolance, installing too many unneeded programs, ect. and for the issue on backing up: shouldn't you back up all your work regardless of what medium for the, just incase theory? and also on the issue of saving sessions on to cd or dvd... nothing wrong with it but as much as possible try to save in a .bun file as well.
  11. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Well-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Never, Never, Never ever use any form of data compression (that's what stuffit is) on your Audio files (which by the way are the overwhelmingly majority of what you'll be backing up).
  12. Mad John

    Mad John Active Member

    Nov 25, 2001
    Record Man, I agree. You dont want to do anything other than provide a clean trasfer of the Master tracks information. Nothing should be added at that time, all aplications should be done with "spare copies!"

    I am sure I will get the hang of it. All of this technology keeps changeing so fast! I just hope for all of our sakes that nothing goes wrong with the properties at hand.
  13. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    There are many possible backup solutions that vary in cost, speed, ability to handle large amounts of data, and reliability.

    In my (Mac) world, firewire drives have gotten so cheap that I've got about 300GB of various drives that I use for "temporary' storage, and can easily justify adding on another 100 GB at the drop of a hat if I should need to.

    But I use DDS4 with Retrospect software for more permanent archiving. The advantage over CDR's is mostly a matter of scale: the tapes I buy hold 12 or 20 GB apiece, as opposed to 650 MB on a CD. Yeah, CD's are cheap, but if you are backing up data from 48 track sessions, you'll need a million of them, and have to sit there loading them in one at a time. With DDS4, you start the backup and go to bed. Xfer rate is about 120MB per minute on my system (UltraSCSI).

    The advantage of using a software system like Retrospect with a rewritable media is that if you are doing back-ups on an ongoing project, it only writes the data that has changed since the last time you backed up. Obviously, that's far more efficient than rewriting all the data everytime you do a backup.

    So it's mostly just finding a system that best suits your needs. If you are mostly backing up stereo (2 track) sessions, CD's should be fine, because you are not talking about massive amounts of data. But it's not uncommon for some multitrack recording projects to turn into 20+ GB, even more true now with higher sampling rate options (like 96/192k). In which case CDs would be a nightmare! Especially if they are not rewriteable.
  14. Mad John

    Mad John Active Member

    Nov 25, 2001
    Barry, thank you for your support. I have a strong feeling that I will be getting a Radar sometime towards the end of the summer.

    Can some one at IZ help me with the type of package that I need?

    I would love to figure out what is right for my Studio!

    Are your payment plans as friendly as they look?
  15. bhenderson

    bhenderson Guest

  16. Yes hard drives crash, yes, hard drives are cheap.
    CD/DVD? Well, that may be the defacto standard today, but who's to say that it will be 5 years from now? Remember 5-1/4" floppies? Try and find a 'puter with a 5-1/4" floppy in it today.
    Heck, I have some old documents archieved on an old IBM 10" format floppy!
    There's really only ONE archival system that has proven to be readable for many years through many changes in technology:
  17. mapostel

    mapostel Guest

    Now that's a good suggestion ! :D
    Delivering a session backup on a truck...
  18. leelove

    leelove Guest

    John, first all of send me an email lee@3dnet.com and I can give you some real world experience on Radar hard drives and backup. I can also help you out with some comparison info.

    ... Getting a little too commercial......I snipped this section(SD)

    I know a lot of people on this thread have recommended backing up to hard drives but I disagree with that approach. I use 4.7 or 9gig DVD-Ram backup on the Radar.

    It is interesting that some people suggest using hard drives as a backup yet at the same time they defeat their own argument.

    If hard drives crash why would I want to use another one as a backup ? Hard drives are still the most mechanical device on a computer and yes they do fail. But more importantly they are not permanent. You put things on hard drives that get changed. I prefer a more semi-permanent medium that is not prone to getting erased.

    ... a little more commercial snipping...(SD)

    John look forward to hearing from you.

  19. mapostel

    mapostel Guest

  20. droog

    droog Active Member

    Nov 3, 2001
    someone, please, correct me if i'm wrong, but stuffit doesn't affect the information embedded in audio or visual files, it only affects the description of the files, that's why if you attempt to stuff an audio file, you'll notice it doesn't make much difference to the size

    this is very different to the audio-compression s/ware, like mp3 stuff, where, indeed, you're throwing away useful bits (i have, though, wondered about using that process as an effect (thinning sort of effect))

    i was, actually, referring to the capacity of stuffit to split a file into 2 or more parts (used to be very handy in the days of floppys, admittedly, not at all useful now)


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