Quick Tip: Sidechain Compression in Studio One

Robert Anthony recently started using Studio One 2.5 in his studio, and has been exploring the DAW’s bread-and-butter features. In this quick tip, he shows you how to set up for sidechain compression.

View Tutorial: Quick Tip: Sidechain Compression in Studio One

Best of Tuts+ in March 2013

Each month, we bring together a selection of the best tutorials and articles from across the whole Tuts+ network. Whether you’d like to read the top posts from your favourite site, or would like to start learning something completely new, this is the best place to start!


Psdtuts+ — Photoshop Tutorials

  • Create a Heroic Firefighter Painting in Photoshop

    Firefighters do so much to help keep us safe. In this tutorial, we will honor our firefighters by creating a digital painting that depicts a firefighter coming to the rescue. Let’s get started!

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  • Why You’re Not as Popular as You Should Be

    With so many artists competing for the same work, getting noticed can be a challenging task. As the editor of Psdtuts+, I have had the opportunity to interact with some exceptionally talented artists and designers from all over the world. This proximity to so many artists has given me a unique perspective, and over the years, I have been able to make a lot of observations about what it takes for artists to increase their visibility and to raise their online profiles. In this article, I wanted to share several reasons why you might not be getting as much attention as you should.

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  • Create an Adorable Children’s Illustration

    What child wouldn’t love a real-life teddy bear to have as a friend? In this tutorial, we will show you how to create an adorable children’s illustration using digital painting techniques in Photoshop. Let’s get started!

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Nettuts+ — Web Development

  • Round Table #1: Should Exceptions Ever be Used for Flow Control?

    I’m pleased to release our first ever round table, where we place a group of developers in a locked room (not really), and ask them to debate one another on a single topic. In this first entry, we discuss exceptions and flow control.

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  • Pro Workflow in Laravel and Sublime Text

    Not too long ago, I built a handful of generators for Laravel, which ease the process of various tasks. Today, thanks to help from Gaurav Narula, we’re turning things up a notch with the release of a new Sublime Text plugin that leverages the power of Artisan and the generators from directly within your editor.

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  • The Command Line is Your Best Friend

    The command line can either be your best friend, or your worst enemy. It simply depends on how you use it, and what you use it for. If you’re one of the many people who cringe at the mere thought of using the command line, then you’ve come to the right place!

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Vectortuts+ — Illustrator Tutorials


Webdesigntuts+ — Web Design Tutorials

  • Your Logo, as a Web Font Ligature

    Let’s look at an alternative approach for displaying logos on a web page. Normally, you’ll approach the challenge by using an img tag. Perhaps you’ll use image replacement through CSS, perhaps you’ll even venture into SVG files, but have you considered what’s possible by designing your own web font ligature?

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  • How They Did It: The Accessibility Project

    Perhaps you, or someone you know, has experienced the difficulties of computer interaction for the impaired. In general, operating systems and software suites have made provisions for accessibility for hearing-impaired audience, vision-impaired audience, and internationalization; however, the open web hasn’t caught up as quickly. Many sites ignore accessibility completely.

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  • Fireworks in the Real World

    There’s a very good chance you know what Adobe Fireworks is, especially if you regularly use Photoshop or any of the other Adobe products. There’s an equally good chance you’ve never really taken the opportunity to see how it can help your web design workflow, even if you’ve always meant to. This session is here to put that right. Follow Leigh Howells as he demonstrates exactly what Fireworks can do for you in the real world.

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Phototuts+ — Photography Tutorials

  • How to Shoot Video on Your Canon Rebel

    The explosion of filmmaking since its democratization in 2008 has meant increasingly cheap ways of exploring the possibilities of motion pictures. One of the most popular cameras in recent times for beginners to start shooting on is the Canon Rebel series. Today, I’m going to take a look at the basics of getting your Rebel rolling, and provide some ideas on how to improve and develop those first attempts.

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  • How to Turn a Photograph into a Dynamic Panograph

    Panography was created to depict the way we naturally see. The way our eyes pick up on the details of a place or subject, then arrange them into a single image. The scale of detail you choose to create depends on the final image you see. Today, we’re going to take the style and techniques of panography and apply it to images we’ve already taken.

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  • Understanding & Using Ansel Adam’s Zone System

    The Zone System is an approach to a standardized way of working that guarantees a correct exposure in every situation, even in the trickiest lighting conditions such as back lighting, extreme difference between light and shadow areas of a scene, and many similar conditions that are most likely going to throw off your camera’s metering giving you a completely incorrect exposure.

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Cgtuts+ — Computer Graphics Tutorials


Aetuts+ — After Effects Tutorials

  • Make a Magnificent Magnifying Glass That Really Works

    In this tutorial we are going to create a beautiful Magnifying Glass in After Effects. Using just one null object as a Controller we will be able to change all the parameters: Size, Distance, Rotation, Blur, Shadow, and Background. Everything is going to be automatic, and this will save you a bunch of time when animating!

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  • Download A Free Tool for Making Animated Alphabet Blocks

    Do you want to create a fun video for kids in just a few minutes? Check out this free After Effects® project file that will help you create words in any language and animate them in a colorful way. The project template is set up with a visual interface that makes it easy for beginner After Effects® users to customize. Take a look at the video tutorial for an overview of the template options, and get ready to spark your viewer’s imagination!

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  • How to Animate Retro Pixel Art in After Effects

    Pixel drawings are really small compared to an HD video canvas. This tutorial explores the common failure points when bringing your pixel artwork into a 1080p comp in After Effects. Scaling and looping are covered as well as a workflow for preparing your frames for animation in the free sprite editor ASEprite and Adobe Photoshop.

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Audiotuts+ — Audio & Production Tutorials

  • Mixing With Headphones

    For some people it is not practical to use loudspeakers to mix their music tracks. It might be that their neighbours are easily disturbed, or their acoustic environment is not up to scratch. Despite the fact it is not usually recommended, many people make decent mixdowns using only headphones.

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  • Extracting MIDI from Audio in Ableton Live 9

    Ableton Live 9 has arrived, and among its new features is the ability to convert melody and drums into MIDI. In this tutorial we show you how to use these features, as well as some of their limitations.

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  • Setting Up Your MIDI Controller Inside Studio One

    Studio One 2.5 is quickly becoming my go to DAW in my studio. If you are new to Studio One or are using the free version PreSonus has made available, I want to show you how you can quickly set up you MIDI controller inside of Studio One, if it is not in the list of preset devices.

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Wptuts+ — WordPress Tutorials

  • Check Out the New Recommended Resources on Wptuts+

    We’ve added a new page to the site, which will help WordPress pros grab top quality software, tools and services. It’s filled with our favorite WordPress resources. You can jump straight over to our Recommended Resources page here on Wptuts+ or read on for further information.

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  • A Beginner’s Guide to Enqueuing jQuery

    In this post, we’re going to review a few concepts around jQuery and WordPress to make sure that we, as developers, are not only working to build our products correctly, but that we also know how to properly diagnose problems as they arise in our customer’s sites.

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  • Cross-Site Scripting in WordPress: What Is XSS?

    In this two part series, we’re going to take a look at what cross-site scripting really is, its dangers, how it impacts WordPress development, and then practical steps that we can take for testing our themes and plugins.

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Mobiletuts+ — Mobile Development Tutorials

  • Geofencing with Core Location

    With the release of iOS 4, the Core Location framework received a significant update by providing support for geofencing. Not only can an application be notified when the device enters or exits a geofence, the operating system also notifies when the application is in the background. This addition to the Core Location framework fits neatly in Apple’s endeavor to support multitasking on iOS. This opens up a number of possibilities, such as performing tasks in the background through geofencing and that is exactly what this tutorial is about.

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  • Create an Unblock Puzzle Game – Interface Creation

    In this tutorial series, you’ll learn how to create an unblock puzzle game. The objective of the game is to clear the path for the square to get out. Read on!

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  • Decoding the iOS 6 SDK Available Now!

    Rockable Press is proud to present our latest release: Decoding the iOS 6 SDK. Written by five seasoned iOS experts and packed with almost 500 pages of essential iOS 6 development fundamentals, this great new eBook will quickly get you up to speed with the iOS 6 SDK and all the fundamental changes that occurred to Xcode and the iOS device landscape in 2012. Get your copy now!

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Gamedevtuts+ — Game Development

  • 3D Primer for Game Developers: An Overview of 3D Modeling in Games

    Almost every major game released these days is made in 3D or uses a heavy amount of 3D assets. While there are still many games made in 2D, even platforms like Flash are now integrating 3D. In this bumper-length article I am going to explore what separates games from other mediums that use 3D art, and cover some of the important topics to consider when making 3D art for games.

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  • How to Learn Flixel

    Flixel is a free and open source 2D game development framework written by Adam “Atomic” Saltsman (Canabalt, Hundreds) in AS3 for making Flash games. It is a very mature, flexible and robust library. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the platform and its capabilities, and share tutorials, plugins, and suggestions to get you started developing games with it.

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  • From Zero to Pitch: A Walkthrough for Game Designers

    Would you believe me if I told you that after you finish reading and participating in the activities established in this article, you will have a game designed and ready to be developed? Yes, I know it sounds inconceivable, but trust me – this series of unconventional exercises will explain the workflow of designing a brand new game from zero to pitch.

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Mactuts+ — Mac & OS X

  • Quick Tip: Combine PDF Files in Preview

    Have you wondered if it was possible to merge similar PDF files together into one file without downloading third-party software? Well, turns out you can–and it’s really simple, too! In this screencast we show you how to easily merge your PDFs into one document using Preview.

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  • Go Paperless With Doxie

    If you’re wanting to reduce your paper clutter and digitise your old bank statements and receipts, a Doxie scanner is definitely the way to go. In this guide we’ll show you how to get the most from your Mac and Doxie.

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  • 9 Hazel Rules to Increase Your Productivity

    Hazel, a folder monitoring application, has long been a favorite among many a Mac enthusiast. Hazel will automatically take action on your files, using the rules you create, keeping your folders in order. If you’ve wished that all of your downloaded music or any other sort of files would just do what you wanted them to, using only the power of your mind, well, this is the next best thing. We’ll look step-by-step at how to create a rule from scratch and then set up nine rules you can customize for your needs.

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Crafttuts+ — Craft & Handmade

  • Make Your Own Mini Macrame Succulent Egg Decorations for Easter

    I’ve been thinking about a simple and contemporary way to add a little Easter decoration to my home as I don’t really want bunnies and eggs everywhere! These mini succulent egg decorations fit the bill nicely for me with a bit of macrame, some dip-dying, cute succulents, and of course eggs.

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  • Transform an Old Sweater Into an Adorable Bunny Softie for Easter

    Do you have a favourite sweater that you can’t wear anymore because it (a) shrunk in the dryer; (b) got a stain or (c) developed a hole? If you can answer ‘yes’ to one (or more) of the above, don’t despair. With this tutorial you will learn how to transform and re-purpose an old sweater (or a charity shop find) into a very sweet Easter bunny plush. Let’s get started.

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  • The Prettiest Egg Decorations to Make This Easter

    Easter is just around the corner and this pretty project will inject some colour into your decor. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to dye brightly-coloured eggs and embellish them with sweet silhouettes. You can download our free silhouette pattern to make the project super-easy. Read on for the full instructions after the jump.

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FreelanceSwitch — Freelance Jobs & Information

  • 40 Attention-Getting Post Topic Ideas for Your Freelancer’s Blog

    Blogging is not a hard-sell environment. Readers expect to get useful information in posts, not pitches to hire you. So what can you write about? Quick tip: Provide useful or interesting information your prospects can use, and your readers will keep coming back — and some may end up becoming your clients. Here are 40 specific ideas for quick-and-easy blog topics that will attract quality prospects and then keep them interested.

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  • Google+ Networking: Circles and Communities

    Social networking is all about staying in touch with friends and making new contacts. On Google Plus, you add friends by putting them into your circles. You meet new people by hanging out in Google Plus communities.
    In this article, I give you a freelancer’s guide to who you should add to your circles, how to meet new people in communities, and how to use communities and circles as a marketing tool.

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  • The Incentives that Will Convince Subscribers to Sign Up for Your Email Newsletter

    There are a lot of options on what incentives you can offer to potential readers. Before leaping in to creating any type of incentive piece, make sure you know exactly what will attract your audience. If necessary, survey a few of the people you’d most like to sign up for your list about what they really need.

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Tuts+ Premium — Creative & Technical Skills

  • WordPress Widgets: Front To Back

    In this course, we’ll review the process of building custom WordPress widgets using the WordPress API and advanced development techniques. This course begins at ground zero, and assumes that you have no experience with WordPress widget development. Stick with me for a few hours, and you’ll learn a lot! Let’s get to it.

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  • Django Unchained

    In this course, join me, Christopher Roach, as I walk you through the creation of a simple Hacker News clone. Along the way, you’ll learn all the basics, including working with views, templates, the ORM, and even some of the more powerful features of the framework, like setting up the admin app and handling AJAX calls.

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  • Digital Drawing Fundamentals

    Whether you’re an ambitious illustrator or an experienced designer, almost everyone wants to improve their traditional drawing skills. Kirk Nelson is here to do just that! As an experienced digital painter and designer, Kirk walks you through the building blocks of digital drawing, shapes and shading, composing and perspective, and much more. Grab your tablet or stylus and let’s get started.

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View Tutorial: Best of Tuts+ in March 2013

Workshop #270: Flay by Novo Amor

This track has been submitted for your friendly, constructive criticism. What useful feedback can you give the artist? The floor is yours to talk about the track and how they can fix problems in and improve upon the mix and the song.

Download audio file (NovoAmorFlay.mp3)

Description of the track:

This song is part of a music project/artist called Novo Amor, it is taken from the Debut EP ‘Drift’. The song was written and recorded in the summer of 2012 using all live instruments and microphones.

All composition, playing and production is done by myself in my childhood home in Mid Wales, UK. The gear used includes an iMac using Logic Pro 9, SE 2200 a microphone, AKG Perception 120 microphone, Shure PG48 Microphone and an Audio Technica ATM41HE microphone.

Mixing was also done in Logic, though a lot of the audio was left quite raw to keep the natural sound of the room. Plug-ins used include Fab Filter compression and EQs, a range of Flux plug-ins and general logic multiband compression, delay units and Space designer. Mastering was done using Flux plug-ins and Ozone 4.

I hope you enjoy the song and if you wish to hear more then you can download the EP for free and ‘Like’ on Facebook. Thanks. Ali

Lyrics:

(Verse)
My eyes, heavy under water,
rusted in the rain,
I let go of all the ones i know,
thoughts of shame,

My ties broke in my hands,
colors bleeding out,
i let go of all that i once knew,
causing pain

(chorus)
So i flay my love, have i had enough?
its not ok to go and say you dont know
So i flay my love, have i had enough?
its not ok to go and leave me alone

(Verse 2)
Her eyes, heavy under slumber,
dusk falls in bane,
she threw away all that we once drew,
now i’m lying out of frame

(Chorus 2)
So i flay my love, have we had enough?
its not ok to go and say you dont know
So i flay my love, have we had enough?
its not ok to go and leave me alone

Oooo….

End

Artist’s website: novoamor.bandcamp.com

Terms of Use: Users can stream the track for the purposes of giving feedback and can also download for free.


Have a listen to the track and offer your constructive criticism for this Workshop in the comments section. Feel free to offer any type of advice – arrangement, mix, lyrics, performance. And remember to play nice – be constructive!

Need constructive criticism on your own tracks? Submit them for a workshop using this form. Most but not all submissions are published. There may be a wait of up to two months.

View Tutorial: Workshop #270: Flay by Novo Amor

Hard Drives and Audio – Hardware Considerations

So you are ready to move into the digital age of recording. No more using your dad’s old two-track—it is all Pro Tools now baby! Until you realize your hard drive cannot be used for recording. In this tutorial we will take a look at the hardware aspects of hard drives and how it relates to us as musicians and audio engineers. So if you are ready to save some data keep on reading!

While many musicians rarely think about hard drives, if you do any form of recording you really should. Whether you use tape or disks, when you record something you need to store it somewhere, and you need to make sure it will preserve your recordings without a problem.

Sure hard drives do not need to be baked in an oven, stored in a certain direction, or come with all the other headaches tape does. But that is not to say that hard drives do not have their own quirks and headaches.


RPMs

The most basic requirement for standard hard disk drives (we will get to solid state drives later) is how fast that big old disk can spin. The faster the disk can spin the easier it is to retrieve the desired information from the drive quickly.

For audio this is paramount, as we need to work in as close to real time as possible with potentially hundreds of tracks. While some computers can load an entire session in RAM most people do not have that luxury and need to stream it from the drive.

So how fast is fast enough? With traditional disk based hard drives generally speaking you need at least a 7200 rpm drive in order to properly stream data into your DAW. You can (in theory) use a cheaper 5400 rpm drive and still record, however it will put more strain on the computer and you will more than likely set yourself up for playback errors. Or worse, errors while recording that are now permanently in the audio file.

5400 rpm will work for the system drive (the drive in which your OS is installed) but an audio drive really needs to be at least 7200.

Important Concepts

  • RPM determines how fast the information can be read from or to the disk.
  • 7200 rpm is faster and more reliable for audio.
  • 5400 rpm should only be used for a system drive if used at all.

Disk Cache

Another key component of a hard drive is its hard disk cache (sometimes also called buffer). To keep things simple, it is essentially a small bit of RAM built into the drive that communicates between the hard disk and the system RAM.

The more cache we have the more we can stream data to our DAWs without any potential hiccup in the process. Now do keep in mind the most you will typically see on a hard drive is about 64 mbs of cache, which is not a lot of data in uncompressed audio terms, but it still helps to take off strain off the system and keep everything running smoother.

Important Concepts

  • Hard Disk Cache helps keep information flowing between RAM and the hard drive.
  • As with RPMs, the more cache the better.

Connections

One of the most obvious but often misunderstood aspects of any hard drive are the available connections. With such a wide array of options available, determining what is best for your scenario can prove to be tricky.

When in doubt, the fastest connection is always safest, but that does not necessarily mean it will be faster for your computer. While Thunderbolt might be the fastest and USB 1.0 the slowest, it all really depends on how the system as a whole is setup. Just because you have a smoking fast engine in your car doesn’t necessarily mean the highway will let you go as fast as possible.

Generally speaking, if you are using an internal hard drive then you will almost always use SATA in one form or another. If your motherboard supports up to the latest SATA spec then you can be transferring up to 6 Gb/s. There are options for SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) but you will generally not be seeing these in audio as they are quite pricey, and are usually used in servers. For external drives you will most commonly have access to USB, Firewire, eSATA, and Thunderbolt.

Here is a list to better describe the benefits…

  • USB—Up until USB 3.0 it was generally considered the slowest of the available data interfaces. With USB 3.0 it now allows for full bidirectional data transfers at speeds up to 5 Gbps. What is important to realize here is that you need a true USB 3.0 port on your motherboard or it will not function properly. While the higher speeds are nice, the important aspect is the bidirectional data transfer. Unless you do not need to hear yourself while you are recording, you will need to write info to your hard drive and then simultaneously read it for playback.
  • Firewire—Also known as IEEE 1394, Firewire was the long standing professional data interface for audio and video. Why? Because from its inception it has been a bidirectional data interface. Firewire also adds less overhead to the CPU than the older USB counter parts. While USB 3.0 has faster transfer speeds, Firewire is still a perfectly viable option for audio. In addition you currently will be able to find Firewire on older computers where as USB 3.0 is strictly a new technology. However Firewire is becoming progressively more rare to find as Apple has all but discontinued it in its computers
  • eSATA—Standing for external SATA, eSATA offers a SATA connection to external drives. While the specs are slightly different, eSATA provides a fast standard of communication to the outside world. Unfortunately eSATA is a slightly more professional connection that you will not find as common on consumer grade computers. In addition, unlike Firewire and USB it requires an external power supply to run. However do keep in mind you should never power an audio drive from the computer, it puts unnecessary strain on the system and can potentially lead to audio drop outs.
  • Thunderbolt—The new kid on the block, Thunderbolt provides potentially the highest amount of bidirectional data transfer available. However it is very new and requires the appropriate hardware in order to achieve those high levels. Because of its superiority and somewhat rarity outside the Mac world, anything supporting Thunderbolt is going to be expensive. Unless you are running 192 kHz sampling rate, you simply will not need that large of data transfer capability for the cost. But do keep a watchful eye as the prices drop!

SSD

The biggest news in hard drive land came recently with the advent of the super fast solid state drives. Lacking any mechanical parts, SSDs can achieve greater speeds than their hard disk counterparts are.

However do keep in mind that they can and will fail just like a traditional hard drive. The issue with SSDs can arise when you constantly write over the contents of the drive. When this is done too much you actually start to wear down the drive’s ability to store information; remember there is no big disk anymore!

At the moment the jury is still out whether the effect is a serious problem or simply negligible. In any case, using a SSD as long term storage drive may not be the safest approach.

What is important to keep in mind with SSDs from a functionality stand point are the read and write speeds. Just as with RPMs, having faster read and write times allows for a smoother and less error prone recording experience. SSDs are almost exclusively an internal format that uses some form of SATA for data transfer. You can find some external SSDs but they are expensive and will use the Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 interfaces which you may or may not have on your computer.

Important Concepts

  • SSDs are faster, but depending on read and write speeds it may not be quite as fast as you may think.
  • The price per gig is much higher for SSDs.
  • SSDs can be great as a working drive since it keeps everything so fast but may want to be avoided for long term storage; especially given the current cost.

Conclusion for Now

So where do we stand now? For audio, hard drives are simply unavoidable in this day and age and the more you know the better off you will be. Keep these key concepts in the back of your mind when selecting or using a hard drive…

  • The faster you can read and write from the hard drive the better.
  • Always try to use a bidirectional data interface if you need playback while recording. If you do not, turn off playback in your DAW.
  • Keep in mind your available data interfaces. If you are traveling a lot from studio to studio you cannot necessarily count on every studio having the same ports, particularly Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 at the moment.
  • The more disk cache available on your drive the better.
  • If using a SSD, try to keep it as a working drive and not a long term storage drive. Make sure you constantly back up your work!

Next time we will continue to look at hard drives and move more into the software side of the issue. Thanks for reading!

View Tutorial: Hard Drives and Audio – Hardware Considerations

Antress Plugin Showdown

In this tutorial we will look at how to approach weeding through the cornucopia of plugins. We will break down a free plugin pack from Antress and find out which ones you should consider using and which ones will clutter up your effects list.

View Tutorial: Antress Plugin Showdown