USB Flash Drives for recording???

Has anyone tried this???

I have seen postings refering to using external hard drives (USB 2.0) with a computer (Laptop for example) to record the N-track Wav files to.

I was curious if anyone has tried to do this with a USB flash drive such as the Sandisk Cruzer??? If so how did it work???

I am not sure how these compare to standard USB hard drives as far as speed and throughput go??? I have seen these in 2gig and 4gig versions, so if their pspeed is acceptable it might be a good alternative, at least for small or medium projects??? Comments???

Hi PhantomII:
It sounds like a great idea to use USB rev.2 drives for the storage of .wav files for a “Project”.

I’ll continue to say that I haven’t done the arithmetic on this but I believe that the streaming of the files from the place where the files are stored to the audio card’s converters are very crucial to properly moving blocks of data so that they are reproduced without, interruptions… That is without “Skipping-and-Drop-outs”… and all… Now, it’s O.K. and quite easy to stream two-track audio files from one place to another cause a two-track audio file contains around 10 megs. of data per minute. If you now multiply that by say 16 tracks, it now is quite a respectable flow of data for say the best working/stable DAW’s to handle…

I know I’ve moved two-tracks mixes of 16 bit/44.1khz. files from USB Flash drives… but I have never considered moving a complete project from the mini-curiser I have…

If my arithmetic is correct… Let’s say a typical 16 bit @ 44.1 res. .wav file contains ~50 meg. of data… So, 16 x’s 10 meg. is something like ~160 meg. of data… per minute. If the specs. of the drive will through-put that much data per minute, then you have a storage drive that should work for the Streaming of audio data…

I stand corrected on the numbers I’ve posted… :O ???

I somehow think there’s more than the .wav file data being “Streamed” while the multi-track editor is repro’ing the files?? What about, IT? somebody??

I can see it’s certainly worth a try to load a flash drive with as many tracks from a project as can be loaded to one and see if the tracks will stream from it without any “Glitches”… in the audio reproduction…

To try this… All that needs to be done is… Load n-Track and "Point the time-line to where the files are store’d…


Though I have not really investigated spec’s etc (Was hoping for the easy way out by getting an answer here), my assumption is that writing and reading data from a flash drive (RAM) should in theory be faster than reading and writing to a mechanical drive where seek times and rotation speed can have a significant impact. Anyway, In theory, it sounded like a good idea. Let’s hope some more knowledgeable than I come to comment!

While you guys were arguing about theory and specs I did a little experimenting and had limited success.

I used a 512mb Memorex Traveldrive with about 400mb free space, designated it as my working directory and copied a couple of drum loops to it. I opened a new n-Track song, saved it to the flash drive, and brought in the two loops (each 2 bars 4/4 at 140bpm, 24bit stereo). I arranged copied and pasted teh loops until I had a backbone about 1:20 long, recorded right and left rhythm guitars, bass, four track of harmony guitars for the 8 bar “chorus.” Copied the whole thing so I had 2:40 and recorded a long solo guitar track for the "verse."

There is a consistant playback glitch exactly halfway through every chorus which occurs even when the drums are soloed and no other tracks are playing (read muted tracks is turned off). The glitch is not in the drum wav file. It occurs between teh 2nd and 3rd iterations of the file. I actually didn’t notice it at first (you know how it is sometimes when you’re jamming) but it gets recorded on every track that plays through that part and so is magnified with each track. It happens only with the chorus drum file, not the verse - weird. I have no plugins or effects going.

Another thing I noticed is that selecting and dragging files on the timeline was annoyingly slow.

I did not do any experimenting with buffers or any of that stuff other than shutting off “read muted tracks” to try and figure out where the glitch was coming from. I did notice that my lag indicator never flashed on while I was recording. I’ve got it set to show at >10.

It would be interesting to read about other experiments, with other brands of flash drive. I only bought the Memorex because it was on sale and I wanted a cheap way to cary my resume with me and so wasn’t even looking at any specs.