Using an external hard drive with Traktor
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  1. #1

    Default Using an external hard drive with Traktor

    I'm getting to the point where all my music will no longer fit on the internal hard drive in my laptop.

    I'm wondering what the experiences are playing music from a hard drive.

    I'm a mobile DJ so reliability is a BIG issue.

    Is there anything I should know about using an external hard drive to house all my music? Should I go with powered, or USB powered? Will the size make a difference in terms of latency or reliability? What about the difference between USB 3.0 and 2.0?

    Any insight would be helpful guys.

  2. #2
    DJTT Tankard fullenglishpint's Avatar
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    I've used externals with no problems, and self powered has been fine. Just make sure it's a good one (WD, Seagate, Lacie etc).
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  3. #3
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    Get a good one. Go for a Western Digital I have had many external drives and my WD is the only one that hasn't crapped out on me yet. I say this because I recently kept all my MP3's and WAVs on an external drive that I purchased 6 months ago. Just last week it started not working quite right. The next day I started to hear the dreaded clicking of a failing hard drive

    Your system will most likely reading from this drive constantly and writing to it a good deal . Make sure it can stand up to the demand. Also if you have an eSATA port, FireWire or USB 3.0 spend the extra money for a drive that supports that connection as it will increase you load times by a lot. When I was loading tracks into Traktor from my external it would take sometimes 5 seconds before I would even see anything 10 seconds to get a full waveform view. While on the laptops HDD it would take 2-3 seconds at most to get a song fully loaded. Just my 2 cents.
    Traktor Scratch Pro 2, 2X Stanton STR8-80, 2X Denon DN-S700, Akai APC40 + APC20, DDM4000, KRKRokit 8, HD25-II, iPad (Touch OSC)

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by bartboy View Post
    Get a good one. Go for a Western Digital I have had many external drives and my WD is the only one that hasn't crapped out on me yet. I say this because I recently kept all my MP3's and WAVs on an external drive that I purchased 6 months ago. Just last week it started not working quite right. The next day I started to hear the dreaded clicking of a failing hard drive

    Your system will most likely reading from this drive constantly and writing to it a good deal . Make sure it can stand up to the demand. Also if you have an eSATA port, FireWire or USB 3.0 spend the extra money for a drive that supports that connection as it will increase you load times by a lot. When I was loading tracks into Traktor from my external it would take sometimes 5 seconds before I would even see anything 10 seconds to get a full waveform view. While on the laptops HDD it would take 2-3 seconds at most to get a song fully loaded. Just my 2 cents.
    How do I find out if my laptop is USB 3.0? I'm on a PC.

    Also, have any of you experienced audio dropouts while playing from a hard drive and moving it at the same time.

    Before I started using Traktor, I was using Torq with an external. At a gig someone spilled a drink near the hard drive, so I picked it up, but all of a sudden the track that was playing started making a loud buzzsaw kind of sound that didn't go away until I closed Traktor and restarted.

    Anyone have an issue like that?

  5. #5
    Tech Guru Chilly's Avatar
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    i've always used external hd's. right now i'm using a wd mypassport studio fw800

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor PartyMcFly's Avatar
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    Recently I replaced the DVD burner in my DJ laptop with a 320GB SATA hard drive using a third party adapter for the drive bay. This is one route you can go. It was not trivial to obtain and install, however. NewmodeUS makes the one I used, and I remember an SSD swap article for MacBooks in the blog archives sometime back that would have more info.

    If reliability is a big issue, know that slower hard drives have a significantly lower failure rate than faster ones. If you simply have to have a 7200 RPM drive, get two and make regular backups.

    There are a couple of USB hard drive enclosures out there that have excellent durability to protect your drive while packing/moving/unpacking. TurntableLab sells one that physically resembles a rock, but it's made of high-density rubbery plastic of some kind. A friend of mine had this huge orange enclosure for his Serato drive that resembled an iPod case. It was pretty nice, saw him drop it on the floor on more than one occasion. Of course there's a premium to pay, but protection/durability is the first thing I look for in any piece of equipment I can't just leave on a table for its entire lifetime.

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    A USB 3.0 connection looks like a normal USB connection but is blue. USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with 2.0 and 1.0. I wouldn't recommend physically moving the disk while plugged in no matter how great a drive it is. Just buy a big enough drive I've never really had any problems with self powered drives but if you can go for one with a power supply and have it not be to much of a hassle I would go for the power supply one. They are much easier to fix if anything does go wrong.
    Traktor Scratch Pro 2, 2X Stanton STR8-80, 2X Denon DN-S700, Akai APC40 + APC20, DDM4000, KRKRokit 8, HD25-II, iPad (Touch OSC)

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    DJTT Tankard fullenglishpint's Avatar
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    If you're using Traktor, the whole track is loaded into the RAM anyway so moving the drive for a few seconds shouldn't be a problem.
    TSP 2 | Serato DJ | Live 8 | MBP (SSD + HDD) | AIAIA TMA-1 Fool's Gold Edition | 1200 Mk2s | MidiFighter | KRK RP5
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    Tech Guru Cybertrash's Avatar
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    Why not just upgrade the internal HDD? No matter what, you're going to get higher read speeds with an internal SATA connection than an external USB 2.0 (there *are* laptops with 3.0 out there, but they're not too common).

  10. #10
    Tech Guru JonathanBlake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tokenasianguy View Post
    I'm getting to the point where all my music will no longer fit on the internal hard drive in my laptop.

    I'm wondering what the experiences are playing music from a hard drive.

    I'm a mobile DJ so reliability is a BIG issue.

    Is there anything I should know about using an external hard drive to house all my music? Should I go with powered, or USB powered? Will the size make a difference in terms of latency or reliability? What about the difference between USB 3.0 and 2.0?

    Any insight would be helpful guys.
    Transcend ShockProof 1TB 3.0 EHD. Works like a dream. All USB3.0 externals are powered - one of the reasons for the increase in speed. And yes, 3.0 IS 10 trimes faster than 2.0. I run my S4 through the USB3.0 port - not for speed, but for stability. No issues. I do NOT however gig with the EHD. For me its just one more thing that CAN be an issue. Prep my set in advance by just clicking and dragging between EHD and ASUS HD (500GB). EHD always in gig bag just in case.
    356 reasons why

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