PC Gear Lab

5 Best External Hard Drives for Recording Studio in 2020

Recording studios tend to generate a lot of audio data. This leads to the need for a secure and reliable storage solution for the files that are generated.

To keep up with the workflow, the people working in the studio will need to invest in the best external hard drives for recording studio.

There’s also the need to get one that has the features you need and can provide extra ones. At the same time, you will need to watch costs especially when starting. Here are some things to consider before purchasing one.

List of Best External Hard Drives for Recording Studio in 2020

The following hard drives, in our opinion, are excellent for any recording studio.

  1. WD Elements Portable – Basic Affordable External Hard Drive for Recording Studio
  2. Seagate Backup Plus (STHP5000401) – Large storage and Automatic backups
  3. Samsung SSD T5 – 540MB/s External SSD with Metal enclosure
  4. LaCie D2 Desktop Hard Drive – Expensive 7200RPM Large Capacity drive
  5. Glyph Studio S1000 – Production-grade 7200RPM drive

1. WD Elements Portable (WDBU6Y0020BBK) – Basic Affordable External Hard Drive for Recording Studio

This drive would work very well in a recording studio that does not need their external storage devices to have cutting-edge features. It is a basic drive that’s good at what a hard drive should be good at, storing files.

It comes with storage capacities that range from 500GB to 2TB. For users with few files, getting one of these will be beneficial.

Being a 5400RPM drive, you don’t get very fast performance. As such, disk read and write speeds fall at around 100MB/s and 95MB/s respectively which is more than enough for basic use.

The drive comes formatted in NTFS which is great if you use Windows OS. For Mac Support, a simple reformatting will allow you to make full use of the hard drive.

Being a basic drive, you get no protection features against shocks and water damage so you’ll need to take good care of it yourself.

This is the best external hard drive for recording studio is all you need is basic file storage.

2. Seagate Backup Plus (STHP5000401) – Large Storage and Automatic Backups

The Seagate Backup Plus is a portable external hard drive that has very large capacities. This makes it one of the best external hard drive for recording studio.

To keep the hard drive safe from physical damage, the device has a brushed metallic enclosure. This will protect the delicate components inside from some external damage.

To further keep your files safe, the device has a feature that allows users to schedule automatic backups.

This will ensure that even if you forget to do manual backups, the drive takes care of keeping your library synched with the backup.

You get a USB 3.0 interface for connecting with your computer and this lets you leverage some decent transfer speeds of up to 120MB/s.

The maximum size of the drive is a whopping 5TB capacity unit that has enough space to grow the recording studio’s library significantly without having to start deleting files or to get a new hard drive.

Another thing about this drive is that it is very affordable. It may have entry-level features but the large storage space is very appealing.

3. Samsung SSD T5 – 540MB/s External SSD with Metal Enclosure

When you’re looking for the best external hard drive for recording studio and you’re considering portability and performance as the main factors, this is a great choice.

The Samsung SSD T5 is a great drive for creatives because it allows them to work efficiently and take their files anywhere, they go.

This is so because the device is small enough to fit comfortably inside a pocket while maintaining SSD-level performance.

It uses Samsung’s V-NAND technology to deliver transfer speeds of about 540MB/s. this is of course made possible by the USB 3.1 interface that’s used to connect to computers or other compatible devices.

With these speeds, you can easily work straight off the drive itself without suffering any performance issues.

The case is compact, metallic, and sturdy enough to protect the drive’s internals from physical damage thus giving you peace of mind when carrying it around.

Storage capacities range from a small 250GB Unit to a much larger 2TB drive that’s more expensive. Regardless, at its performance, moving files around with this drive is worth every penny.

4. LaCie d2 Desktop Hard Drive – Expensive 7200RPM Large Capacity External for Recording Studio

When you need a more stationary solution for data storage that has a lot of storage then opting for the LaCie d2 desktop hard drive will be a great choice.

This 7200RPM drive was not built to be portable, instead, it sits on a desk. It displays great performance and has a good price considering you get massive storage space to save your recordings in.

Being a professional hard drive, you get a lot of features that can improve your workflow. The HDD operates at speeds of about 240MB/s. While it’s not as fast as SSDs, it’s much faster than regular 5400RPM drives and is more than equipped for most tasks that hard drives are used for.

With this, you get a USB-C port accompanied by a Thunderbolt connector for rapid data transfers.

The case has an aluminum construction that works to reduce noise and vibrations that may hamper your recording sessions.

You get a 5-year warranty for data recovery. This gives you peace of mind in case you ever lose your work.

Having enterprise drives with lots of space makes this the best external hard drive for recording studio.

5. Glyph Studio S1000 – Production-Grade 7200RPM Drive

When you need a hard drive that’s specifically built for production then the Glyph Studio S100 is the best external hard drive for recording studio.

It’s disk spins at 7200RPM which means file seeking time is reduced significantly for faster performance. At the same time, the fan spins quietly. This prevents the device from generating too much noise that could otherwise interfere with your recordings.

The drive is USB3.0 compatible, allowing you to connect to most USB host devices and its aluminum case gives it added durability and protects the internals from damage in case shocks are experienced.

With this, you get data speeds of up to 184MB/s. This is sufficient for copying and storing files and will even allow you to use external libraries when running your software.

The drive has support for Firewire which will allow you to attach music processing gear to the drive and transfer files directly. This can improve your productivity greatly.

The drive is rack-mountable so if you have very many of them, it will be easy to organize, connect, and use them.

Also Read:


Why Go for an External Hard Drive for a Studio?

An external hard drive makes most sense particularly if your recording studio is based around a laptop.

Since a laptop has very limited expansion capability, an external hard drive becomes a necessity.

An external hard drive can be used to automatically backup your system so that it an accident were to occur, your precious data would remain safe.

If you have a desktop as your main workstation in your studio, then you have choose to have internal hard drives instead of external ones.

However, while internal hard drives are cheaper as compared to external hard drives, their lack of portability can be issue for some.

What to Look for in an External Hard Drive for Recording Studio?

When looking for an external hard drive to use in a recording studio, there are a few things you’ll need to consider in order to get the best one.

Failure to look at these aspects could leave you with an expensive hard drive that has features you don’t need or in the worst case, a cheap one that can’t do everything you’d like it to do.


SSD is the way to go if you want higher performance. But if you want higher capacity for cheap, go for HDD. Source: Techradar.com

Because recording is a real-time task, you would need a hard drive that can keep up with the number of files and data being generated.

Performance is even more desirable when the software you use is saving files to the external file directly.

Lags here can lead to a poor workflow that may leave your clients with a bad experience.

Of course, this is a relative, if you plan to actively store and retrieve files from your Hard Drive all the time than a higher performing hard disk would be the way to go.

In fact, for faster accessing and transfer speeds, SSDs are the way to go. Unfortunately, the faster the performance,e the more expensive the drive.

Storage Capacity

If you don’t want to suddenly run into a warning that you have run out of storage space in your external drive when you need it then one with ample storage should be considered.

Larger capacity drives are expensive, but if all you want to do is store large volumes of files, you can pick an HDD over an SSD since they are much cheaper and tend to have more storage.

If you just need an external hard drive for storing and archiving your recording studio work, then an HDD would work just fine.

An external HDD is certainly slower than and SSD by many folds, however, it offers a lot of capacity for cheap.

Best External Hard Drives for Recording Studio
2.5 external hard drives are portable and do not require an external power source. Source: WD Elements

It should also be noted that a 3.5″ HDD requires an external power source, but offers a lot of storage for cheap. A 2.5″ external HDD, on the other hand, does not require an external power source, is slime and very portable.

Backup and Security

This is very important for a drive that stores files you use for your trade if working in a commercial recording studio.

In the event of a loss of your drive, you wouldn’t want unauthorized people to see your files. Therefore, investing in a good hard drive that supports file encryption is recommended.


A hard drive that holds important files should be well capable to handle falls and shocks without taking significant damage that can result in data loss.

May external hard drives are rugged and if you intend to travel to different places with the drive, getting one that can survive harsh handling will be beneficial.

If you want to use an external hard drive for recording studio as well as move it around with you, then we recommend you look for hard drives that are shock proof and also have ingress protection for water resistance and dust resistance.

This will ensure the longevity of your hard drives.


Desktop Hard Drive
Desktop hard drives are large and require an external power source but they are the cheapest. Source: LaCie d2

The key determiner for most purchases is the cost of the device. When getting a hard drive for a recording studio, you may also want to consider the cost so that you don’t overspend, especially when you need to buy other gear.

The cost generally boils down to:

  1. You are getting an SSD or an HDD?
  2. What is Capacity?

An SSD is naturally expensive due to its faster performance. On top of that, there are different variants of SSD. A SATA SSD is slower but cheaper than the an NVME SSD.

The capacity, of course, directly correlates with the price tag of any hard drive.

Final Words

Here we reviewed some of the best external hard drives for recording studios. It should be noted that whether you need to performance or capacity would depend upon your needs.

If you need a high capacity hard drive for archiving your recording work, then speed would not be a concern and you can simple go for a large HDD.

However, if you want to frequently store and access files all the time, then SSD in our opinion is the way to go.

Unfortunately, SSDs are expensive, therefore you have to gauge your budget carefully.

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