“Ah kids today, they don’t know how lucky they are”. How many times have you heard that? However, when it comes to how easy it is to capture, store and retrieve media then that cliche may well be a truism. My first recording device was a Tascam Portastudio and capturing audio was down to TDK SA90 cassette tapes. When I grew up then it was 2” Ampex tape reels, they cost a fortune and handling and storage was a challenge.
I remember one poor engineer who was working on a big album for a well-known act and using two 24 tracks with SPMTE sync on a track of each machine. During the middle of a vocal take he tried to do a drop in of the chorus, trouble was he had inadvertently armed the track with the SMPTE stripe on it! These days it would be as simple as CTRL Z and everything would be back to normal.
Today, 99% of data is stored on hard drives; they are cheap, small and are almost indestructable, however when it’s this easy we can still assume that every time we fire up a drive then it works. This is not always and when it does go wrong, then you’ll be in tears. Here are our top 5 habits of good data storage.
- You get what you pay for. Cheap drives are exactly that, cheap. The manufacturer has to save money in all sorts of places, be that the platter, chassis or comms port. Buy good drives and do your research on what works best for recording. With Facebook, Twitter and Forums then you have no excuse to say you didn’t know.
- Label everything well. The amount of Pro Tools sessions I’ve tried to navigate with every file called “Audio X” is too many.
- Respect your drives. They may seem to be hardy things, but they ain’t, handle drives like you would handle a vintage tape from your favourite album.
- Back up - no joking apart, get another drive, get a Gobbler account and back-up everything, if your don’t then you’ll be sorry.
There’s our top 5, what about you? Any more tips?