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rom661

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I have been working on a system using a MacBook as the source. I recently changed to a Mac Mini, just because I wanted to be familiar with both as a solution for our customers in our retail audio store. I purchased a Western Digital MyBook Pro 1Tb drive to use as a high capacity drive. My intention was to mirror my iTunes library with 500/500. I have not used the drive as yet, but I have configured it and the noise was roughly comparable to a 747 revving up. My Microcenter salesman assured me it was quiet. OK, I'm stupid. It may not be as bad for normal use - I have been reluctant to transfer my files to it so far.

 

My quandry is that I specifically purchased it because of its firewire capability. Gordon Rankin strongly recommends that you not use USB because of potential confilicts between the source and the USB outputs. I have an Airport Extreme that would allow me to locate the drives on a different floor of the house, but I am operating under the assumption that Gordon knows what he is talking about. The Extreme allows me to use a USB drive, but not a firewire. I have looked at some of the comments on the forum but can't find anything that addresses the firewire issue. Apple's soon to released Time Capsule looks interesting, especially paired with the Mini, but again only USB. If I have missed something on the site, sorry, but please direct me towards it.

 

Thanks

 

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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Hi Rick - Gordon's comments are right on and he was talking about external disks connected directly to the computer. If you connect a disk to the Airport Extreme you don't use the USB bus of the computer so Gordon's suggestion about firewire doesn't come into play. This configuration uses the network interface of the computer, not the USB bus.

 

Does this clear it up?

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Yes and it is going to make life much easier. Thanks. I was shocked at how loud it is when the fan kicks on to a higher speed. I was looking at the Time Capsule that is coming but every comment seems to indicate that it is designed purely for automatic backup as opposed to being an additional drive. Any thoughts?

 

I hope the move from direct connected firewire to USB connected to an Airport Extreme is straight forward for this PC thinking guy. Thanks again.

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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The Time Capsule will definitely work for regular file storage and would be pretty slick because of the built-in WiFi 802.11n router. Personally I prefer something easily upgradeable, but it all depends on your customers of course. Chances are they wold just call someone to take care of it for them. The Time Capsule isn't upgradeable so a switch to different storage would be necessary. Not the end of the world, but not as easy as the Drobo connected to an Airport Extreme where you just add more disk and do nothing else.

 

 

from Apple.com

 

Wireless drive sharing

 

 

 

Time Capsule also works great as a wireless hard drive whether you have a Mac or PC. It sets up in a snap, giving you a networked hard drive you can use for storing and sharing any kinds of files.

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Got the 500/500 Western Data Raid drive setup in another part of my house next to the Airport Extreme and cable modem. Seems to work fine except that ripping disks to the external drive takes almost twice the time, based on my internal clock and the noted rip speed, approximately 10X before to 5X now, based on AIFF files.

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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Yeah, the rip speed is much slower, but when ripping a complete library for the first time I would connect the drives locally. Then reconnect to the Airport Extreme for future rips which shouldn't be as much.

 

I created a startup script to automatically connect the air disk when the Mac boots up. Let me know if you need a copy of it. Very handy.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Yeah, your timing is good. I reconnected it direct tonight. I did a quick calculation as to how old I would be when I am done ripping. Almost as old as markr! (In other words a month or so of ripping)

 

I would love the script.

 

Thanks

 

rom

 

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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it from you. I'll let you know.

 

Rick, I selected the Iomega Ultramax drive for my music storage. To make it short, the drive is so quiet that you have to check the power light to make sure it's on. The other considerations were many: I wanted a fanless, all aluminum drive case to avoid noise and to insure the best heat dissipation possible. The particular model I chose has nearly every conceivable type of connection possible: e-SATA, Firewire 400 AND 800 as well as USB, and it is already formatted for use on Macs.

 

Unlike Chris, I am not a big fan of multi-drive storage cases, but there are an array of these available in this line. I have elected to load my Ultramax 750, then use Disk Utilities to clone two more volumes just like it. One of the cloned volumes will be stored off the premises in case of fire.

 

I have also created a clone of my Mini's internal drive on yet 2 other externals, and again, one of these will be stored off premises.

 

You can learn of the spectacular qualities here: http://tinyurl.com/ytrass

 

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That sounds ideal. It is so hard to know how to weigh recommendations from people in other applications. Right now the Western Data MyBook is connected direct via Firewire to my Mac mini. I am scared to death of all the warnings about corrupting your files in iTunes. Not to be a pest, but can you give me an idea of how to safely go about it? The combination of new iTunes user, new network user and new Mac user is kind of frightening.

 

Thanks for your suggestion. I was thinking about using the other drive as purely backup.

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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Chris knows more about the ins and outs of iTunes than anyone else I know.

 

iTunes is so easy to learn and almost foolproof, so, as Chris has mentioned elsewhere, there's really no need to be searching for something better; it's likely that nothing better exists anyway. The more one uses the program the more he learns about some of its subtle but useful qualities. In terms of using the database to your best advantage and to demonstrate this, let's say you want to hear Ella Fitzgerald singing "Mack the Knife" and only that one song. Sure, you could find it among a list of other songs that have the word, Mack, in them by typing just "Mack," but why bother? All you have to enter in the search box would be "Ella Mack" and your library would drill down to that one song only, even if you also had both Bobby Darin's and Louie Armstrong's versions. It's great to have this kind of database flexibility; imagine how useful this is when you collect classical music, and have 12 complete sets of the Beethoven Symphonies.

 

There's not a whole lot that can break in this program either, and, presumably, there's no limit to how much music you can actually store in one iTunes library — even that 3 million album collection that's available on ebay wouldn't phase it, if there were a disk array large enough to hold it all.

 

Backing up or cloning your iTunes library manually (as opposed to a RAID system like Chris uses) isn't that difficult either. You can use the Disk Utility software that comes with every Mac, to clone your music drive, or you can use one of several third party options like Super-Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner. The size of your music files might mean that it will take several hours to complete this process, so as Lord Chaos mentioned to me a few months ago, it might be best to run a cloning operation overnight. If you are continuously adding lots of new music to your drive, a RAID system like the DROBO Chris recommends is surely the way to go. In my case, though, I have more music than I can ever listen to, so while RAID is more convenient but expensive, it will be simple enough for me to add an occasional new music purchase to my backup disks on a weekly basis. Having your backups in separate enclosures also means that you can rotate these just like you do the tires on your car. So, unlike a RAID system that keeps the drives on and in a single enclosure, the MTBF will always be greater.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

SGB (or anyone else that wants to chime in),

 

Following up on this older thread, I'm assembling my system and am still deciding on a brand of hard drive. It will be in the listening room, so quiet is key. Are you still liking the Iomega Ultramax? I know you have the 750GB which is probably plenty, but I'm considering the 1TB. My only question there is that the 1TB appears to be two 500GB drives linked together. Anyone have any opinions as to whether this is good or bad? Seems like twice the opportunity for failure to me. (BTW, my second HDD choice at this point is a 1TB Seagate Freeagent Pro - opinions, compare and contrast?)

 

Thanks,

TheOtherTim

 

 

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It's rare to find a kit that has both a quiet case and a quiet disk, so I would recommend considering getting separate components.

 

Generally, the more platters a disk has and the faster it spins, the louder it is. Likely, two 500GB disks will be louder than one 1TB disk. Check out web sites about silent computers for the latest info on quiet drives. Start with http://www.silentpcreview.com

 

The case is often the noisiest part (because it acts as a soundboard), so check out suspension methods for mounting disks or sound-dampening foam constructions. Is it possible to hide the disk in a cabinet? In that case I would get an all metal, fan-less case. Alternatively, find a big, old case (even a computer case) and put disks in it. There will be plenty of room for sound-dampening measures.

 

2.5" disks are considerably quieter than 3.5" disks. They come in 500GB versions. There are some very nice enclosures available.

 

Good luck!

 

Best - MM

 

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Hey Tim - I would stay away from the 2x500=1TB drive. You're exactly right about twice the opportunity for failure. If one drive goes it is highly likely you'll lose the data on both.

 

You should check out the Freeagent product you mentioned. You may be able to demo one at a brick & mortar store to see how loud it is. I've hear they are really good units.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Great choice Tim. The Oxford Semiconductor 924 (OXUF924DS) is a really great chip and probably the best around right now. I have an external drive with the exact specs as this drive. I purchased the disk separate from the enclosure just so I could have all the features I wanted. It looks like you've found it all in one package.

 

Please let us know all about it once you spend some time with it!

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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So, a quick follow-up report with my initial impressions of my new OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Quad Interface (doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, does it) 1TB hard drive. You can see the specs at the link in my earlier post. Oxford chip, Hitachi drive. As the name would imply, has connections for eSATA, USB, FW400 and FW800. Nice feature is that they include one of each kind of cable. Out of the box impression - solidly built, nice all aluminum enclosure. Front grill resembles that of a Mac Pro. Comes pre-formatted for Mac, so it was truly plug and play, literally. Created a Music folder and "Consolidated" my music to it. Ripped a 52 minute, 520MB CD to it via FW800, AIFF with error correction, took about 6 min 30 sec. (is that good, bad, average?). Drive is quiet. Not silent, there is that soft whisper/hum if it's a foot away from your ear, but not as loud as the drive in my DVR. In a rack or on a shelf I doubt if you could hear it. Runs warm but not hot. So, so far so good. Very good actually. Will post updates if anything comes up.

 

TheOtherTim

 

 

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Hey Tim - Wow, a Hitachi drive on the inside. When manufacturers can get away with something cheaper they usually do. Not here evidently!

 

As far as speed goes FW800 is blazing and I doubt it will slow down your rips as opposed to an internal drive. I bet the disc drive with error correction will be the bottle neck. I'd be interested to read the difference in speed between the FW800 and your internal drive when you rip a cd.

 

Also, can you let us know if you hear the drive while listening to music at all. I'm guessing that's the most important factor. At least it is for me :-)

 

Thanks for the update Tim.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Reducing noise and providing adequate cooling are probably the two most important issues for those who need to have their storage devices in the listening room. Having handled a couple of hundred disks over the years, I would highly recommend giving some serious thought to the temperature issue, because high temperature is the number-one killer of hard drives.

 

To that end, I would advocate a semi-DIY storage solution. A large case that can hold 5.25" inserts should be a good start. An old computer case would work fine (an empty MacPro case would be great), but dedicated storage enclosures would be good too. A rack-mounted model would be great as it fits nicely into an audio rack. For the true aficionado, an empty amplifier case from your favorite brand would be the coolest. Equip the case with 80-mm or 120-mm fans (get those that are quieter than any drive). To mount the disks, special inserts are available; some suspend the drives, others encase them in rubber molding, others again wrap aluminum or copper around them and mount the drives on rubber feet. The idea is to reduce any vibrations that could be transmitted to the case, which would amplify any noise being generated by the drives. The case could be fitted with noise-absorbing foam on the inside.

 

Finally, the disks should be high quality. The easiest way to recognize those are to look at the warranties. Some disks come with 5-year warranties.

 

I believe such a solution is not more expensive than getting a couple good-quality drive enclosures for individual disks, while providing the utmost in terms of noise-canceling and drive cooling.

 

Best - MM

 

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Hey MM - Thanks for the thoughts. I've done some similar stuff over the years. It is actually kind of a fun challenge to piece together such a solution. The one I hadn't thought of is using an old amp "case" to hold the drive(s).

 

On second thought my NAS solution works so well with the disk stored outside my listening room that I'll never go back to physically connected disk!

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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  • 1 month later...

Following up once again on this fairly old subject, here are my further opinions of my OWC Mercury-AL Quad Interface 1TB hard drive. I still have a very high opinion of its build quality and speed. Fanless, it runs warm but not hot. Chris, you asked about noise. I will have to say that noise could be a issue for some. As I said before, it is very quiet, but there is a soft whir, enough that you could detect it during song breaks or very quiet passages in classical music. Any volume to the music at all, and it disappears. I have mine on an open shelf off to the side. If you had it in an enclosed piece of furniture I would bet you wouldn't hear it.

 

I'm sort of picky, so I think I'm going to hang it off an Airport Extreme in another room. I want to get a new router with N band capability, so what the heck. I'll lose the FW800 connection, but oh well. Still a really great HD IMHO and a good value for what you get. I plan on still using it as my primary drive, and buy another generic 1TB as an occasional manual backup to be stored off-site. This is supposed to be one of the quietest drives out there, so barring a custom solution with the drive hanging from surgical tubing inside an acoustic foam filled titanium enclosure, I think I'm a candidate for the wireless-in-the-other-room solution no matter which drive I would choose.

 

TheOtherTim

 

 

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Hey Tim - Thanks for the followup. Quiet sure is a relative thing when you're talking about audiophiles and their listening spaces. I prefer to just get the drives out of the room with the Airport Extreme and be done with it. It sounds like you're going that way as well. I'll never go back to direct attached storage!

 

By the way, I also gave up a FW800 connection that was blazing fast. Still worth the trade off though.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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  • 4 months later...

Hi GM - Good question. It kind of depends on what options your considering.

 

Internal drives can be a dead end and less functional compared to a NAS unit. I have access to one library from all my computers through the NAS. I would have to share the Mac drive and leave it on all the time for this functionality.

 

Also, if you go with an external 2 TB drive instead of the 2 TB internal solution you can always connect it to an Airport Express to make it a NAS. The internal disks have your hands tied on many levels.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Hello Chris,

Thanks for your speedy reply. Do you ever sleep?

Yet I don't get the 'dead end' bit or having my 'hands tied on many levels'.

Could you elaborate on that?

I'm going to have one Mac Pro replacing my Jadis JD1 drive in what you could call an old-fashioned set-up connected to an external DAC. And having looked at the price of the TouchScreen modified 20'' Apple Display ($1 600 + P&P to France + Customs!), I think I'll get a Macbook instead.

GM

 

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Hi GM - First, I don't ever sleep! With readers in over 150 countries and every timezone there are people posting at all hours of the day and night! You should see my inbox if I let it go for any length of time.

 

Internal drives are a dead end for a few reasons. You are limited to a small number of drives and expansion is usually non-existent. When you get a new computer it can be a nightmare to move everything over from the old drives compared to just connecting to an external NAS unit. If you want to move to a laptop music server you'll need the external drives anyway. Accessing internal drives on a Mac Pro from different computers with different operating systems does not work well sometimes. When 2 TB drives come out it will likely be a pain to upgrade the internal drives without losing data and still take advantage of all the drive space. With a NAS you just pull out the old and pop in the new drives one at a time and your done.

 

 

Don't get me wrong, anything can be done and internal drives make many people happy. I just think they are a short term solution that isn't very versatile.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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