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Topic: 2 sample drives; possible?

  1. #1

    2 sample drives; possible?

    (Cross-posting in the hardware forum, too.)

    I found out that a couple of years ago, one of the stores I buy from neglected to apply a discount that I was eligible for. They themselves only discovered the mistake yesterday, and as a result, I can now order $520 worth of free stuff! (Don't you wish you were me?)

    While there are a number of sample libraries I could spend this on, my need right now is for storage. My sample drive is getting close to being full, and I think I'd like to order another hard drive for my computer.

    The only question mark here is that I don't know if there are any issues I should be aware of in using two drives for streaming samples in one computer. (I use Kontakt 2 mainly, and also have Vienna Chamber Strings, with its own sample player.) Does anyone else do this? Is it a good solution?

    Or should I just save the money toward buying a new computer for sample playback? Or maybe a Receptor?

    Or should I just take the cash and buy everyone a beer?

    Thanks for helping me decide!
    Dan Powers

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  2. #2

    Re: 2 sample drives; possible?

    IMO, obviously a more powerful computer will be beneficial. That said, for my part I fully endorse having your samples spread over multiple drives. I have multiple drives set up with sample libraries installed in such a way so that heavy use items are not on the same drive.

    This holds true not just for samplers but for items such as Atmosphere, etc. that use samples.

    You should note, however, that having decent memory is important too. That's because the samples load into memory first before disk streaming even kicks in.

    I only have 2 gigs of ram - which is all I'm planning to invest in my old computer. But between the 2 gigs of ram and multiple drives I find that I'm able to build up quite a wall of "noise".

    Another thing is that all the samples have their own drives and also the audio goes to its own drive (which is not the system drive). When I get the new computer I will just unplug all of these external drives and hook them into the new computer, so all I'll have to do is point the new player/synth installs to the new data locations.

    "Throwing" money at an old computer may or may not make sense depending on your current setup and what you plan on doing with the old box when you get a new box. In my case, the old box will still be used as it will be relegated to the rendering network.

  3. #3

    Re: 2 sample drives; possible?

    I can say that I use two sample drives on my computer, and it works great. I also use Kontakt 2. I don't have a SATA setup, or anything higher up, so I just pulled the CD drive that I don't use, and used that connection to plug a new IDE drive into, setting it to be Master, and the second drive on that line (the DVD RW) to slave.

    My two cents.


  4. #4

    Re: 2 sample drives; possible?

    I have 4 sample drives in my PC and all stream flawlessly. 2 are SATA and 2 are IDE drives. Works like a champ for me. I seperated the samples out in what I thought was an even fashion, strings/woodinds and then brass/percussion, and the other two are for 'other' types of instruments or VI's (ones that can't be separated easily) and piano.

  5. #5

    Re: 2 sample drives; possible?

    It depends (as said before) on the sampler (or player) you use for the libs.
    WIth Kontakt and Gigastudio this is absolutely not difficult to accomplish.

  6. #6

    Lightbulb Re: 2 sample drives; possible?

    Thanks for the input. Good to know I'm on the right track.

    Good point about the RAM as well. I only have 1 gig right now, but I can bump it up to 4. I'll take that into consideration.
    Dan Powers

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  7. #7

    Re: 2 sample drives; possible?

    I compose on a laptop and I carry around 3 external drives for samples. I treat them like little hardware sound modules except they say "Hitachi" instead of "Roland" or "Kurzweill."

    -Two are 7200rpm Hitachi Travelstars (2.5" notebook drives in Mad Dog enclosures)
    -One is this random little 20gb "Zling" drive (http://tinyurl.com/yox5ku) that I picked up on EBAY. I THINK it uses flash memory but I'm not certain. It's pretty quick and it's always worked fine with EWQSLO Gold. It's tiny, like 3-4 credit cards stacked together. If they had a 60, 80, or 100gb version I'd buy 10 of them.

    All these drives are bus-powered, so I don't have to carry around power cables and adapters.

    I have never had any performance issues -- my 2gb RAM runs out pretty quickly and I have to freeze tracks, but no glitch or stutter issues that I've noticed.


  8. #8

    Re: 2 sample drives; possible?

    Chris- Your Hitachi drives, are they Firewire, or USB connected? Do you have a MAC or a PC? And what sound card do you use?



  9. #9

    Re: 2 sample drives; possible?

    Interesting topic and unfortunately my answer is the dreaded "it depends on your system/setup!"

    IMO, the only reason to add more drives is 1. if you ran out of room for samples; 2. if you're experiencing "disk too slow" errors in your sequencer and/or dropouts of samples, etc.

    In your situation, I think you will be MUCH happier with more RAM. 1GB is not much at ALL in the sampling world, especially when you consider the Ram is use first for your OS, applications, and then samples. Also, if you have more RAM, you can somewhat adjust for the speed of your disk through adjusting the DFD settings to load more "front end" of the sample into ram.

    If you do decided to add another drive, your system again will dictate what type. Depending on what type of peripherals you use will dictate what type of drive to get. For example, if you use FW800 for your audio interface, its generally best to not use a FW800 drive for heavy streaming, as this can cause bottle necks on the bus.

    I'm personally on a Dual 2.5 Mac with a single dedicated 250GB 7200RM internal SATA sample drive & 5GB of RAM, and am able to run full orchestral compositions without freezing.

    This holds true not just for samplers but for items such as Atmosphere, etc. that use samples.
    Seq, you have to be careful about this logic. Though Atmosphere uses samples, it does NOT stream them. Everything is loaded directly into RAM. Thus you will see no benefits in performance having atmosphere on a 2nd drive vs your system drive. Other libs, like DKFH superior for example, are the same way. You only need to separate libs that use disk streaming from your system drive, unless of course you need the room on your system drive

  10. #10

    Re: 2 sample drives; possible?

    I'm well aware that Atmosphere doesn't stream or need to stream. There is just not that much data. But I thought that perhaps the disk might be a factor in load time. I suppose it wouldn't be a factor at all with Atmosphere since there would never be that much data (comparatively) being loaded in anyway.

    The amount of RAM definitely is a factor though. Having only 1 gig is really not enough these days. I would consider 2 gigs to be the minimum.

    Dan, you should check to see how much RAM you are using when you have your sequencer loaded up and stuff like Kontakt loaded up at the same time. Don't forget that the OS will be taking up some of that too - sometimes more than you would think (whether mac or pc). Samples, sequencer, os, all your softsynths... also all your effects. All of those are sitting in RAM.

    And all the tchachki that the os's like to load in these days. If you haven't disabled all that garbage!

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