02-06-2013 11:35 PM
I've had nightmares about losing a session. Currently backing up my work on a "WD Passport" external hardrive. It's been giving me fits so I plan on buying another hardrive. Any suggestions for a good, solid, trustable brand. Is this method the best way to back up your work as a DIYer?
Also, is there anyway to back up your sessions alone and not the entirety of your hardrives content? My hardrive immediately starts to back up my entire laptop's contents without giving me an option.
02-07-2013 05:06 AM
There are many ways to backup the work. DVD and hard drives are the most common. You can even use online backup if you can justify the expense.
In my case I use my PC's internal drives. I use Sonar and it allows me to backup projects as a Cakewalk Project file. It compacts the project into a bundle which saves space and makes the project with all its details movable. Most of the work I do is my own. After mixing down I save the mixdown on at least two computers and two drives. I only save the original multitrack project on my better works where I may want to revisit it in the future. I'd need several terabyte drives to save all the projects I've recorded. I have about 30 projects partially completed now and suspect I may only save the full projects for a few of them.
As far as the best types of external drives you can use, Its hard to say which is the best choice. Its the brand of drives inside the unit that count the most. For internal drives I've had the best luck with Western Digital drives. The worst would likely be Samsung and Seagate for failures. Quality does matter and anything electro mechanical eventually fails. External drives may not see the continuous hours of rotation like an internal drive does. It may also see more head failure because the unit is mobile and susceptible to impact moving the thing around.
USB isn't the quickest port to move data either. I back up to a thumb drive allot and backing up can take three to 5 times longer than an internal drive.
One method I did find can speed the process up quite a bit. When you backup the projects as say a project bundle, first create that bundle on your hard drive, then drag and drop/copy it to your external drive. If you try and backup the bundle straight to the external drive from the DAW program it can take allot longer for the file to be successfully created. The DAW program is also locked up till the process is completed.
It may take a little longer overall because you are performing a two step process, but it is safer since you have the bundle on the internal drive till its successfully copied to the external drive and you delete it. Main thing is you can perform other tasks even if its only playing solitaire during the move from the internal to external drive.
Also some say Solid State drives make better/faster external drives. I believe they are beginning to make sense to use as the prices come down. Right now we know the longevity of a disk drive so the jury is still out on the SS drives. Firewire drives tend to be less bursty with data transfer because its a peer to peer communication port. If you have that option available it might be a good choice if you don't have good results running USB.
In any case, if the project is important, I'd also back it up to a DVD. You should have at least 10 years storage life on a good quality disk. Its just the extra time and effort you have to invest.
02-08-2013 07:49 AM
I'm working in my studio every day as a full-time job. I use external USB3.0 drives for backup. I back up the entire audio drive and the entire system drive. That said, the system drive never really changes unless I install something, so that doesn't get backed up that often. The audio drive gets backed up every day. If I leave in the middle of the day I also back it up then.
I use Acronis bacus software as it came hightly recommended to me from my brother-in-law who is a computer tech for a small company. It works great. I tried a few others, but Acronis seems to work the easiest for me. I only have it update the changes to the drive. So it's not trying to write a terabyte of data every time I back up. It's only writing what has changed which is anywhere from almost nothing to a few gigs. Makes backing up pretty quick, and I can set the computer to shut down when finished.
I will also add that USB3.0 drives are pretty damn fast. A couple days ago I had to pull up a session to run an additional stem for a label getting a remix done to a song I mixed for them. The song had about 160 tracks in it. I didn't want to take the time to drag the whole session back onto my internal audio drive, so I just tried to run it off the USB3.0 drive. It played back fine, even when 100 tracks were playing at the same time.
02-08-2013 10:19 AM
All USB/Firewire here. No Acronis.
Pimp von Hagenwil
Composer, Producer, Arranger, Engineer, MixMasterDelux
Major Label: $6000 per song, or $100.000 the album (orchestral and string session not included).
Indie/Unsigned: We give that work to Chris Carter, or another budget mixer.
02-08-2013 02:52 PM - edited 02-08-2013 02:52 PM
Chris, are you on Pro Tools HD 10? It may not have been actually playing back from the USB drive--PT may have cached the song in RAM. You could do the same thing with a thumb drive, assuming you had a big enough thumb drive.
02-11-2013 05:33 PM
As for backing up my sessions solely, and not the rest of the content of my laptop, should I stop the automatic backup feature, then drag my session work file from my hardrive to the external HD folder?
02-13-2013 05:09 AM
^^^ That's the only way I'd do it. It doesn't make allot of sense to back up your entire windows system. If you crash Windows you can always get in there via the safe mode and run System Restore. That's really rare.
Running as a DAW, You'd usually have the operating system optimized to record so you aren't going to have a gazillion junk programs, just your OS and audio programs and remove everything else you don't use every week to a month.
I have spare drives setup and ready to plug in if I crash the main drive. I haven't been doing allot of session work with others so I don't keep them up to date. I have three DAWs, One retired and two running. I can always transfer files from one to the other to keep them up to date.
One useful thing you should do is go into your VST plugins folder on your C drive and make a backup copy of all the DLL files (dynamic link libraries) in a folder on your backup drive. If your OS ever crashes and you have to do a complete install, you can copy over the Dll's over to the New plugin folder when you have all the programs loaded. You only need to copy the ones that didn't reinstall with the DAW program. And Its only good for plugins that don't require a full install.. I have a big collection of free plugins that don't require a full install so I can copy over a large amount of these Plugin Dll's and it cuts my setup time in half. The others that don't run properly I'd have to reinstall them anyway.
I backup recording projects manually. Not all projects are even worth backing up. Over time, when you have several thousand recordings done, you develop a frame of reference of what's worth the drive space and what's not.
Right now on my one DAW I have about 40 projects open in various stages of construction. That's quite a bit for me. I been coming up with allot of musical ideas and put drum tracks and rhythm parts down so I don't forget them. I do maybe 10 at a time. Then I go back and put the bass parts in, vocals, leads, keys etc. Out of that 40, I expect to mix down 30 of them. 5~10 may wind up in the trash bin, either because I lost interest, or upon retrospect, I didn't think them worthy of my talent to continue investing god tracks upon a weak foundation. If there's something creative there, I may mix it down to an idea clip file. Bits an pieces of things I can pursue when I'm in dire straits for ideas.
Main thing is when the juice is flowing, I record and build the projects up session by session. Out of my current 40 or so projects I may wind up with 30 stereo mix downs that get mastered for CD burning and saved to several different drives so I have copies. Those copies get placed in folders based on, recording quality, creativity, Performance, etc. Then Out of the 30, I may only do a full backup of the multitrack recordings for 2 or three songs that are truly worth saving and I may want to rework the original.
There is a time when you have to let go of old projects. If I want to reminisce and listen to old recordings, I can hear the stereo mix. If I want to record it again, Its highly unlikely I'd want to have the original tracks anyway. I'd want to rerecord the whole thing with fresh talent, fresh perspective, new recording gear, even new ideas for the musical arrangement. I can get all that from the stereo file even if that recording was made 40 years ago Like I have in my library of recording both digital and analog.
I also have backups for my lyrics and tab notations. If I have an original song that can be played with a band, I usually type up the lyrics and chords in a word document. I back up the word documents in a word file folder and print out a copy when I'm tracking my lyrics. I keep that copy in my current original song binder. I can rerecord the whole song just from that lyrics page with the notes I put down on it.
Having a lyrics binder saves me time for writing vocal parts too. If the poetry has a cadence to it close enough to the new song I'm recording, I've been known to reuse older lyrics in new songs, Kind of like reusing guitar riffs in songs. If the ideas fit, why not? If they don't quite fit, I may just scratch in what I can and stumble through just so long as the melody is solid. Then I'll go back and rewrite the lyrics that should have been there based on the scratch vocals I first recorded.
That's one of many methods I use. I may have dozens of versions of a song saved as stereo minnows and keep the best multitrack as a backup. Unless I really reinvent the wheel the best one is usually good enough
02-13-2013 07:59 AM
The song was not playing from RAM. It was a project I hadn't touched for several months and have mixed dozens of songs since. I'd have to have a terabyte of RAM for it to still be in there... not to mention the computer gets shut down every night.
I highly advise against simply doing a drag and drop for backup. While it works fine for archiving, it doesn't work so well for backup. Believe me, I tried. You really have to rely on backup software. I also strongly advise backing up the system drive with Windows and all. System Restore is not the most reliable in the event of a major meltdown. And if your drive is fried, it's worthless. And honestly, with the Acronis software, I double click an icon and hit the go button and I'm done. No thinking necessary. I can do it as I'm running out the door. Well worth the miniscule price the stuff costs.
I will say that while I've never had an issue with my DAW computer, my office computer has twice had issues (two different machines). The computer before this one had a hard drive that was starting to fail so I was able to slap in a new drive and restore everything onto it. Piece of cake. Then this current machine caught a bad virus somehow and it was a freakin' nightmare. System restore would not have solved anything (tried it). So I just copied the few little files I'd created in the last two days since I had previously backup and put them on a thumb drive. Restored the whole computer from the backup file and grabbed those couple documents I'd worked on from the thumbdrive and I was back in business.
02-13-2013 12:56 PM - edited 02-13-2013 12:57 PM
chris carter wrote:
I highly advise against simply doing a drag and drop for backup.
that's the way to do it, and always the latest folder all project data included, and dated such as:
2012-09-01_If I Were Your Woman
011_Gadd for 1st test arrangement recorded.npr
015_preview mix for Christoph.npr
028_seperate snare and kick Gadd.npr
2012-09-03_If I Were Your Woman_consolidated
2012-09-03_If I Were Your Woman_final mix
031_If I Where Your Women_mix_01.npr
and never delete a folder !!! but hook up a new hard drive when a drive is full.
02-15-2013 08:45 PM
Sounds more like you are archiving than backing up.....
02-16-2013 01:42 AM
can be called archiving - in our productions backup and archiving is the same - music production data on hard drives, video data on tape
often a client want to an older version of his song, or video, but with some changes, so all projects are meaningful titled
hard drive space is cheap today
02-18-2013 11:45 AM
Everyone has their own way of doing things. For me though I break it down this way:
Archiving: Archiving is what I do when a project is finished and needs to be taken off the audio drive and stored some place in case in needs to be retreived later. For that, I use a simple drag and drop. It's nothing more than a storage locker basically.
Backing up: This is what I do to protect the entire system and all projects that currently reside on the audio drive. The purpose of this isn't to later retreive a project. The purpose is to recover if there is a major system problem like a hard drive failure, corruption, computer melts, whatever. With a recovery disc and a couple keystrokes I can revert the entire machine and all hard drive data back to how it was last time I backed up (or in really bad situations, I can revert back to any backup point, like two days ago, two weeks ago, two months ago, or whatever). I can be up and running full speed in as long as it takes to copy the data over from the backup drive and it does it all automatically while I sip on some tea.
This is why I say that drag and drop combined with system restore isn't really a very good solution for backing up. drag and drop works great for archiving though. But for backing up, you really need backup software.
03-06-2013 10:27 AM
The guys who make Reaper have an excellent free utility called PathSync.
It lets you synchronize or back folders from one drive to another or across a network.
It lets you write scripts you can automate or put anywhere (I put mine on my desktop then kick it off with one click) to backup my work.
Works great, is fast and is FREE:
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