External USB HD use w/ N?

Hello all. New user here. I was wondering if any of you have used an external USB HD to record with N. I am thinking that if I purchase a faster external HD then N will run better while recording. Any advice on this? Something makes me think that the USB HDs are merely for “backing-up” the CPU’s original HD. Please let me know. Thanks!

P.S. - I upgraded to 24-bit version 4.0.5 and am now having lots of problems with the program (freezes/ crashes much more than before). Any advice on this issue? I am using also an external USB soundcard (Novation SpeedIO w/ ASIO Drivers). Thanks!

I am not familiar with the Novation product. n-Track freezing and crashing could be faulty drivers for the Novation. Do you have a built-in soundcard to test with? This a laptop or desktop system?

If you already have a USB audio device hanging onto your PC’s USB buss, I WOULD NOT go the USB route for an external hard disk. FireWire would be a better choice all-around IMO.


Hi Guyute, welcome. I endorse gtr4him’s reply; USB 2.0 is not that great, it rarely if ever achieves the theoretical data transfer rate. I use a Toshiba laptop with a Tascam US-122 USB audio and midi external thing, and a Western Digital firewire external hard drive for the recording files, samples and soundfonts for instruments etc. This works fine. Usually it’s better to have samples, waves and song files on a separate hard drive so the poor C drive doesn’t have to hunt between the OS, the program (n) and the data. I have found that using any other USB device (apart from a harmless little mouse) can cause problems. The M-Audio Audiophile USB I used to have was terribly sensitive to the point where I traded it for the Tascam.
Hope you get it all working; it’s a great program.
TusterBuster :;):

First, make sure Windows is up to date. There were several issues with XP and USB. I don’t remember which service pack fixed it… next, go to the laptop manufacturers site and look for updated USB drivers and install them if available. Finally, go to
MusicXP and do the tweaks they recommend to get XP in shape for DAW work.

These are just recommendations that may or may not help! I could never get the Tascam I have to work with my wifes laptop. Pops, crackles and skipped audio. (Sound familiar?) Fortunately, I have another laptop available to me for portable/field use.

Good luck!


i would strongly encourage against using the usb/1394 drive as a primary working drive… however, i think it would be a great candidate for a storage device… use your local hard drive for the current project, and then move the files over to the external drive when you start/open another project…

another option is to move to serial ATA (SATA)… you’ll find that drives’ spindle speeds can reach up to 10K and are available in capacities near/same as external drives…

just some thoughts…

best of luck!


Isaac, not to be argumentative or anything… OK maybe a little… :p Bunches of pro studios use FireWire drives for primary tracking drives. Granted they are the high dollar Glyph’s but hey…

TG :)

PS I wouldn’t tackle a serious project for a paying customer with it… but for grins one evening I recorded 16 tracks of 24/48 to my USB2.0 backup drive. It worked… but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it…