Optimize Pro Tools: Use An External Hard Drive

2010 Jan 18, 2010

Looking to get the most out of your Pro Tools system? Do your sessions tend to slow down when you get a few tracks in there? Do you get error messages a lot? Here’s a simple tip for you that will help. Buy and use an external hard drive alongside your internal system drive. This can be either firewire or USB 2.0 (depending on what ports your computer has) and can come in any size of course.


How will an external drive help?

Here’s the idea: your main system drive is where your operating system, programs/applications, and plugins are installed. When you record in a Pro Tools session, you are saving the audio onto your hard drive. As you begin laying down more tracks, Pro Tools is trying to not only operate the software and plugins off of your system drive, but it’s trying to read from and write audio to the same drive. This tends to bog the drive down causing errors or slow system performance.

The solution is to use a separate hard drive designated as your Audio drive. You install Pro Tools and all your software on your main system drive like normal, but when you create a new session you save it to your external drive. Now when you record audio it will be writing to one drive while your system drive is free to run Pro Tools. It’s a beautiful thing.

Other perks


Not only will having an external drive help system performance, it helps your mobility. If you record on a friend’s system or in another studio you can bring your drive and record the session there while leaving your main computer at home. Then just bring the hard drive back home, hook it up, and Pro Tools will read the session perfectly.

Some Options


Here just a few options for good external drives to look into. At the end of the day all that matters is that it works with your computer and is quiet!

Western Digital 500GB – $89
Lacie 1TB (i.e. 1000GB) – $109
Super portable Western Digital 320GB – $89

Discover The 6 Steps for Creating a
Radio-Ready Song from Scratch"

Enter Your Email Below To Receive The Free 17-page PDF,
"6 Steps To A Radio-Ready Song"

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.