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SSD vs disk drives


jimmy

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Has anyone found any sonic advantages with solid state drives. I wouldn't be using this for storage as my collection is a bit large. Running i tunes with puremusic using memory play on the ssd would be how I would implement it. Music is stored on a WD external drive using usb, output is through fire wire to a Weiss Dac 2.

 

James

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The sonic advantage comes when SSD drives are used in a fanless/passively cooled externally powered audio only computer. Its the last touch by system builders applied to remove motor and bearing noise, vibration and head seeking noise from that machine. Its low level ambient environmental noise that indirectly via removal/elimination enhances the aesthetics of listening. Some HDD motors can generate stray EMF that can affect analogue components inside the computer casing by injecting noise. If the guy next door is mowing the lawns then it wont help/be noticed.

 

A secondary advantage is that they are fast and can help improve the reliability of playback of files if there is CPU contention or network latency affecting the audio computer's ability to process audio streams. Many software playback applications cope with this eventuality by allowing specification of buffer depth making this benefit in many cases irrelevant/redundant. An SSD drive will likewise power on from standby much faster than motor driven drives so your audio computer behaves more like a typical audio source. i.e its available more or less straightaway. A further benefi is that they are much less prone to failure than on a mechanical drive. This means you won't be rebuilding your OS partition at 3.00am at your next party.

 

There is some vague suggestion that SSD drives inject digital hash or noise into digital streams but that is not my experience and I would reccomend all new builds use SSD drives if you are going for a silent audio computer.

 

Music Interests: http://www.onebitaudio.com

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I just ordered a pimped-out iMac with both internal SSD and conventional drives. Although this will be a machine at work, I am going to try to determine if I can detect any audible difference to the music itself.

 

In terms of reliability and mechanical noise, as well as responsiveness, an SSD is an improvement.

 

We are going to upgrade some 2011 minis at work to SSD. These aren't used for music playback, but the conventional internal drives seem quite sluggish on what should be a snappy computer.

 

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To bad your analysis of SSDs is completely wrong. Yes they run cooler and don't make noise. But in many ways they are inferior to mechanical drives. First, their long term reliability in many applications is lower. That's because the internal memory is only good for a limited number of cycles. Second, for audio files, which are contiguous, sequentially accessed files, SSDs are not faster than standard disk drives and my be slower. Third, they slow down over time. This is because as you use them, their internal firmware that's always moving data around to get even usage (and lifetime) of its internal memory has more to do, therefore slowing io requests. Lastly, the IO performance requirements for audio are such a small fraction of a hard drive's capabilities, it just doesn't matter.

 

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Interesting discussion. I recently replaced a vintage MAC powerbook with a new MACBook Air with an SSD. I do not use it for audio. However, I can attest that it's advantages are: silent operation, cool operation, faster boot-up, and lightness. I believe SSDs will replace traditional HDs as soon as the cost drops a bit more.

 

Steve Kuh[br]Mac Mini > Glyph HD > Weiss AFI1 (slave) > modded Esoteric D70 (master) > BAT VK51SE > Classe CA400 > Harbeth Super HL5[br]\"Come on the amazing journey and learn all you should know...\"

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I've also been wondering about this. I'd been planning to install a SSD in my 2010 Mini music server as it seemed like the thing to do. Then I started reading some posts here at CA from knowledgeable folks stating that SSDs actually degrade the sound quality. I have also read elsewhere that SSDs may not be as reliable as traditional hard drives.

 

I hope others will add to this thread so that we might be able to form some kind of consensus.

 

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You are actually talking about write endurance when you mention "cycles". This is millions of write operations in modern SSD drives. You'll be dead before this impacts the drive in an audio computer. In a mechanical drive it would have long turned belly up. There's no reason not to use an SSD in a consumer audio appliance. The MTBF is millions of hours, way ahead of mechanical drives. And the sequential read of an SSD is 2 times that of a mechanical drive in similar price range, 250/MB/sec and higher. Random reads (not random writes) are the achilles heel of an SSD not sequential reads.

 

Music Interests: http://www.onebitaudio.com

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I think I'd opt for an SSD external which seems, in my system, to carry the load (as well as the rips) ... I assume though that, at this stage, an SSD 1TB or above would be pricey

 

Steve Kuh[br]Mac Mini > Glyph HD > Weiss AFI1 (slave) > modded Esoteric D70 (master) > BAT VK51SE > Classe CA400 > Harbeth Super HL5[br]\"Come on the amazing journey and learn all you should know...\"

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