Portable HDD for on site recording
If, like me you are scratching your head on which HDD to get for your onsite audio recording (of for that matter a desktop solution) then you may find this article useful. Over the years I have tried many makes and models of HDD, most of which don’t deliver what they promise either in performance or reliability, so what SHOULD you get? Personally I have tried all the common off the shelf brands with varying results but over 6 months or so most fall over at some point with my LaCie rugged 320G 7200rpm drive falling me on site, on a job! A reformat was the solution LaCie offered, very helpful with a days work on there. But one name kept appearing here and there and it, was Glyph but the price had always put me off. After pulling my hair out with my constantly failing LaCie drives I got in contact with a pro company that specialise in supplying the likes of me. I found a company called Rent a Raid and spoke to Neil there about my experiences, all sounded a familiar scenario to him having been in the business for many years. The problem with the off the shelf typical HDD, be it a portable or desktop, is that the technology that ‘talks’ to your machine, the bridging chipset, is just cheap and cheerful, fine for the average home user, a hard disk is just a hard disk after all with most performing pretty much the same. So, what does a £190 Glyph Portagig 50 500G 7200rpm drive do that’s so different?
Well, as just mentioned, the Bridging chipset. Glyph use a very high quality Oxford 934 Bridging Chipset which makes their drives connectivity seamless, reliable and very quick. The Portagig 50 also offers 2 FW800 ports so, if you have a new MacBook Pro with only one FW800 port (like me) you can put the drive in the chain to your audio interface (RME FF800 in my case) so the drive has plenty of power via the FW buss and saves me mucking about with a USB connection for data and a second for power (Glyph drives also come with a external PSU should you need it), it does also have a USB and a eSATA port on it but I should mention that if using the eSATA you will need to supply the drive with power from either the FW800 port or via the PSU it comes with.
The drive it self is a very well built housing with no fans, it runs pretty much silent, just make sure it has some air moving around it. All the ports on the back are solid with zero movement when plugin in or removing cables, another impressive bit of attention to detail. All in all I wish I had got one ages ago, sure the price may look expensive (well it is!) but after going through a selection of other efforts it would actually be cheaper to buy wise the 1st time.
So, if you are looking for a HDD for your studio set-up be it bedroom or pro, defiantly speak to a company who supply the like of us day in day out, they are specialists for a reason. There is no worse feeling than loosing your audio recording session as the day wraps up, sure it could still happen and you should always back-up asap but eliminating poor bits of kit out of the system lower the odds.