As a professional or amateur music producer, you will need to keep your files and libraries safe in the event of a failure or loss of data.
What better way to do this than to use a hard drive that’s not only convenient but also affordable, reliable, and fast.
For times when you need to copy large libraries, or even work on a different computer with your custom library, having one of the best external hard drives for music production can make work easier.
You’ll need to consider things like portability and performance.
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Need for Having Hard Drive for Music Production
When you have numerous sample files or recording and production sessions stored in multiple rives, you get some peace of mind as you can be safe if one of your drives fails.
Having backups in external drives is one of the best ways to ensure you can continue working even after a disk malfunction.
With an external hard drive, your files will be safe with you in case your computer fails. This will let you start from a sensible point with all your files instead of having to start afresh.
Additionally, with external drives, you can have multiple drives that are clones of each other to serve as a fail-safe in case the main backup gets lost or damaged.
For this, you’ll need drives that are large enough for your files and you will get even more benefits if the hard drives are using modern technology like thunderbolt or USB 3.0 for faster disk access.
As a music producer, having an external hard drive with your files and libraries can allow you to work from different DAWs (Digital audio Workstations).
This means that if your main computer fails, you can easily switch to another computer with the software you use, plug in your hard drive and access all your files.
You can even work entirely off the hard drive, and if the drive is fast enough, you can get impressive performance.
With portability, you can take your hard drive with you and be able to work while on vacation or when traveling.
3.5″ VS 2.5″ External Drives
Two popular sizes for modern hard drives are 2.5 inches and 3.5 inches. They have their benefits and are suited for different scenarios.
A 3.5-inch drive is quite large, and so any thoughts of having it inside a laptop should be abandoned. Ideally, they go inside desktops and motherboards that can have enough room to store them.
These large drives also consume a lot of power. You’d need about 6.5 to 9 Watts(W) for a 3.5” drive while a 2.5-inch HDD will take in about 0.7 to 3W. The 3.5″ drives will also need to connect to an independent power source.
2.5-Inch drives are much smaller hence the best choice when portability is necessary. They also don’t need an independent power source.
On average, 3.5-inch drives are cheaper than 2.5 Inch hard drives.
Also Read: Best External Hard Drives for Steam Games
List of the Best External Hard Drives for Music Production
When doing music production, these hard drives will come in handy as external storage devices for your media files and samples.
- WD My Cloud EX2 – Raid-Capable with Cloud Connectivity
- WD My Book – Auto Backup 3.5-inch Drive
- Seagate Backup Plus – Slim and Portable 2.5” Drive
- LaCie STHR1000800 – Premium SSD with Encryption
- SanDisk SDSSDE60-500G-G25 – Compact Rugged External SSD
1. WD My Cloud EX2 – Raid-Capable with Cloud Connectivity
A highly recommended stationary NAS. Comes with an internal processor, RAID configuration and cloud connectivity.
The My Cloud EX2 from WD is a stationary NAS (Network-Attached Storage) device that lets you back up and accesses your files from devices connected to it via a network.
Because it’s like a computer, the device has its own processor, a dual-core unit with 1GB Memory.
With the device, you get access to the Milestone Arcus software that grants surveillance capabilities with multiple camera use.
What makes this one of the best external hard drives for music production is its support for automatic backups. You, therefore, won’t need to worry yourself with ensuring your files are getting backed up, the unit takes care of it.
With RAID support, your files have an extra layer of protection against a faulty drive since in the event of failure of one drive the data that was on it can get rebuilt from backup.
Its storage capacities go up to 20 TB, letting you back up even the larger files, and with cloud support, you get remote access to your media files from anywhere.
2. WD My Book – Auto Backup 3.5-inch Drive
An affordable stationary external hard disk for desktops. One of the best per GB cost.
When looking for an affordable hard drive, this one should come to mind. It has large capacities but comes with a friendly price tag making it one of the best external hard drives for music production when you have a tight budget.
Cost aside, the hard drive uses a USB 3.0 interface for connectivity meaning that you can leverage faster transfer speeds than with the older USB 2.0.
The drive comes with support for RAID-0. In this case, data is split and stored in different drives. If one of the hard drives is lost, however, all the data therein will be lost so this is a little risky.
The drive comes with automatic backups software that helps keep your files safe and with the added encryption policies, you can keep a secure lock on your external files thus maintaining your privacy in the process.
3. Seagate Backup Plus – Slim and Portable 2.5” Drive
A basic 2.5 inch form factor portable and slim hard disk if you want to move your projects around with you.
The Seagate Backup Plus is a basic slim 2.5 Inch hard drive that’s fit for external use. Because of its small size, the device is highly portable making it one of the best external hard drives for music production.
The drive makes use of a USB 3.0 interface which allows faster data transfers to and from a computer that supports the technology. This will let you work from different devices comfortably with minimal configurations needed.
The Backup Plus slim comes with storage capacities up to 2Tb which is good for a fairly large library and with the metal enclosure, your files can be a little safer.
The best thing about this drive is that once your libraries are imported to your software, you can work off the hard drive. You’ll just need to be careful not to disconnect the cable as you may lose some work.
4. LaCie STHR1000800 – Premium SSD with Encryption
A rugged and a portable SSD. Not only does it offer super fast speeds of 950 MB/s, but is also shock, crush and water resistant.
This is one of the best external hard drives for music production and is possibly the best one in this lineup.
Being a premium SSD, you will get great performance out of it, especially with read and write speeds. For this reason, you can easily with your DAW straight from this drive.
The LaCie STHR1000800 is an expensive device with features that not only aid its performance but also enhance its durability and security.
First, read speeds on this drive can go up to 950 MB/s. This can allow you to transfer some large libraries in just a few seconds.
It has a sturdy external enclosure that is water and crush resistant. This means that your files will be safe on the drive even if you spill some water on the SSD as water seepage to its internals is not easy.
In addition to all this, you get to use Seagate’s encryption technology to protect your files from unauthorized access.
5. SanDisk SDSSDE60-500G-G25 – Compact Rugged External SSD
A highly portable compact SSD with ruggidized exterior. Resistant to water and dust.
This happens to be the most compact SSD on this list and its performance is quite exceptional as well.
The SanDisk SDSSDE60-500G-G25 brings great performance to the table as it features an SSD that allows it to transfer files with speeds of up to 550MB/s.
At this speed, you can move your files faster to and from your computer and in a little time, you can make backups of all your files.
For a small drive, it is rugged and has a water and dust resistant rating of IP55 meaning that dust and water ingress are well protected against although not fully secure.
In addition to the water and dust resistance, the hard also has some shock resistance. Because the SSD doesn’t have any moving parts, mild shocks will not cause too much damage. Besides this, it also has vibration resistance.
The drive itself is fairly inexpensive and being pocket-sized makes it one of the best external hard drives for music production. Because it’s portable and efficient, this can be a good tool for music producers.
The gist of this article is that the best hard drives for music production comes in many different flavors.
Some are full fledged NAS drives with media server features, others are portable while others, still, offer lightening fast speeds (i.e SSDs).
The bottom line is that backup for your audio projects is essential. This is particularly true if the internal storage space in your computer is low.
As is that case with most slim and portable laptops these days, they ditch out large HDDs for faster, but, small capacity SSDs. In situation like these, it becomes a necessity to invest in suitable external hard drive.