Best HDD for audio-video quality
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ScareDe2

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Except for the speed and noiseless feature I was not so sure my samsung SSD rendered audio-video content optimally and although I know many will argue these are just storing and reading digital informations and that there is no possible difference (OK I can take note of this viewpoint) lately I was experiencing with different HDD models and one caught my attention : WD Caviar Blue 320GB. So much that I bought a second one. The other ones that I have tested is two Hitachi, one WD Caviar (no color) and one WD Caviar green. I am not going to pretend I did measurement or went to the science lab to perform tests under strict controlled conditions, but to me, the Caviar Blue rendered the audio-video content with more vibrant colors and transparent pictures and was the most satisfying Hard Disk Drive.

One link that could interest those who believe different HDD affect sound quality : http://www.enjoythemusic.com/hificritic/vol5_no3/listening_to_storage.htm

Your thoughts?
 
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gimmeheadroom

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This is snake oil taken to high-art. Disk drives have effect on sound?

I call bull on this. Data is data. If drives didn't work the world would come crashing down. Sure I guess if you tried hard enough you could find old IDE drives that can't keep up with high res or disk controllers from 386 mobos but seriously...
 
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ScareDe2

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Let's put sound aside for a moment and focus on the picture rendition. Every side by side comparison I saw between HDD and SSD shows that SSD smooth out the picture in a dull way. HDD renders colors with more life. Look for example at 3:19 in this video and focus on the green wall and lettering, in every video I saw, the HDD renders more crisp details. And that is for every video comparisons I saw. When I swap my HDD for the SSD, I see the exact same change without touching any graphic settings (Same OS, same everything).

 
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dazzerfong

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Let's put sound aside for a moment and focus on the picture rendition. Every side by side comparison I saw between HDD and SSD shows that SSD smooth out the picture in a dull way. HDD renders colors with more life. Look for example at 3:19 in this video and focus on the green wall and lettering, in every video I saw, the HDD renders more crisp details. And that is for every video comparisons I saw. When I swap my HDD for the SSD, I see the exact same change without touching any graphic settings (Same OS, same everything).

Lol that's just smog in GTA5. Because the game loaded faster, more time has passed and therefore the atmospheric smog has passed.

Also, games that are not benchmarks are a terrible way of assessing quality. Environments change from game load to game load.
 
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manueljenkin

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Let's put sound aside for a moment and focus on the picture rendition. Every side by side comparison I saw between HDD and SSD shows that SSD smooth out the picture in a dull way. HDD renders colors with more life. Look for example at 3:19 in this video and focus on the green wall and lettering, in every video I saw, the HDD renders more crisp details. And that is for every video comparisons I saw. When I swap my HDD for the SSD, I see the exact same change without touching any graphic settings (Same OS, same everything).

I appreciate your enthusiasm but the scenario and the problems are different I guess. Slow loading, texture changes etc which are the likely causes of the changes you see in that video, don't necessarily correlate to audio I guess. I have not tried swapping things so I can't say anything, I just use my laptop as it is.

However, since you're asking about what hard drive to use for audio, imo, you'd be better off if you buffer the whole music to RAM, taking hard drive out of the equation for the most part. A general music playback would involve buffering from hard drive to ram, and then fetch from ram by cpu, then it throws to the pch which sends to the usb port. If you buffer the whole thing to ram, you'll no longer need to fetch data from hard drive anymore and you could keep it idle for the most part.

I'd recommend you to try out musicbee with the following configs as it looks in the image below.

Untick the bottom 3 relating to fade in fade out (which are ticked by default). Tick the increase buffer and load full song to ram. Make sure the player volume is set to 100% (it is 50% by default which is not ideal). Also use asio if possible, if not, use wasapi.

If you can go an additional effort and are comfortable with commandline, I highly recommend wtfplay-live. It is a live cd os meant for audio exclusively and runs on your ram.

http://wtfplay-project.org/

Alternatively, you can run most music players in ram disk but I haven't really explored that domain yet.
 

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ScareDe2

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I do agree the comparison using games can be misleading. Buffering to RAM is an interesting avenue to explore.

I got ride of my SSD and in exchange I got my hand on an older Seagate Barracuda. I quite like it. I think it is more genre specific while the WD Caviar Blue is more of an all-rounder. I enjoy listening to 60's music with the Seagate and classic rock.
 
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Seagate use to have hybrid drives which had a small integrated SSD which would store the most common used files and a mechanical for mass storage.

The issue is that a modern Sata 3 mechanical drive can sustain 100-130MB/sec, so thats not a big issue when it comes to music or video unless you´re mixing 4-8K streams or editing multitrack PCM, so i would recommend a 500gb-1tb sata SSD for the stuff you use or consume often and then a big 6-10gb platter drive for storage.
 
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SSDs are vastly superiour in almost every way compared to HDD and SHDDs. It makes no sense to prefer HDD instead of SDD.

Silent operation is a huge advantage of SSDs when you are working with audio.

Only advantages of HDDs are:
Price and rewritability.

Audio quality will obviously be exactly the same for all types of drives.
 
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ScareDe2

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I can't trust Windows but each drive I test come with the same OS with power setting set to high performance. There is differences. And it's cheap. One can buy assorted HDD lot and get many for less than 10$ each. This is what I'll be doing for the next couple of weeks. I really like testing these things. My whole audio chain is top notch anyway. Treated room with the Yamaha NS10 that I even improved by eliminating the sound reflection on the cabinet. Sound is as good as can be.
 
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Now we have someone claiming HDDs influence sound and can make images look different? Give me a freaking break. What's next, a keyboard or mouse impacting these things?

This hobby is beyond bonkers. So much delusion in it as well as people being so stubborn where one points out what they claim is impossible and is all in their head, they get triggered and cry.
 
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Nowhere in science does it say that the changes are impossible. There are some systems where you can hear your mouse moving. Most other systems, it's subtle. A dac is for all intents and purposes, a mixed signal device. Digital noise can bleed in. Some isolate it better than the others, that's all.

Regarding hdd vs ssd, idk, but if he has experience, I'd be happy to give it a try. I've moved on to laptops so SSD is the only reasonable choice there, but when I build a desktop system I could give it a try.

Ignore the naysayers, do your experiments and enjoy the results. But definitely give RAM playback a try, you essentially eliminate hard drives from the equation.
 
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RAM playbacks ? Did you mean that you store files onto the RAM and playback from it as well ? Because these Data on the drives are effected as soon as it was written and then read back from the drives. So if the algorithms from the drives are reading “L Love You” as “l Love You” then we read “I Love you”....matter of fact, the first two were both “L”.

Regardless of whatever the playback is, what matters is the algorithms that logically store and retrieve the information are out to be. The stability, the noises, the error corrections etc... and they can effect a lot of things. Even RAM are going to also have these kinds of errors called “cell interferences”

Yeah, I have heard people “Data is Data”...no, Data is binary coding, and with a bad decoder, they only means binary 0 and 1 in the bit depth of whatever was mean to be written on it.
 
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manueljenkin

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RAM playbacks ? Did you mean that you store files onto the RAM and playback from it as well ? Because these Data on the drives are effected as soon as it was written and then read back from the drives. So if the algorithms from the drives are reading “L Love You” as “l Love You” then we read “I Love you”....matter of fact, the first two were both “L”.

Regardless of whatever the playback is, what matters is the algorithms that logically store and retrieve the information are out to be. The stability, the noises, the error corrections etc... and they can effect a lot of things. Even RAM are going to also have these kinds of errors called “cell interferences”

Yeah, I have heard people “Data is Data”...no, Data is binary coding, and with a bad decoder, they only means binary 0 and 1 in the bit depth of whatever was mean to be written on it.
Agreed that dynamic RAM (like ddr used in most pc) will lose data quickly, but we do have dedicated algorithms embedded into OS'es or built into RAM for that.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_refresh

And yes you can go even crazy on that if you wish, but it's too much for me. But I can say that on a general PC, buffering everything to RAM does remove one additional stage which, imo is always better. I don't think cpu accesses storage directly, it's pretty much always pushed to RAM before it uses. Maybe someday I'll build a desktop pc and compare RAM modules on wtfplay lol 😅.

My approach is only regarding minimising access noise. There may be more, but I am unaware of actual bit errors happening in audio playback, except for complete buffer under run scenarios, which are easily audible and can be checked with a dpc latency checker.

If you have a separate storage element and a reader that is lower noise and fast enough, without needing buffer, you could possibly use that. There are dedicated sd card playback devices, which I haven't explored yet.

Note: In general PC playback, the cpu asks harddrive to throw data to RAM using dma, then it fetches from RAM and then pushed to usb via pch. If the buffer to ram is small cpu will need to keep asking storage to send data to ram every once in a while, and this causes two things - cpu does additional work, and additional hard drive access during playback. If you buffer the entire thing to Ram, this one particular task is eliminated.
 
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Now we have someone claiming HDDs influence sound and can make images look different? Give me a freaking break. What's next, a keyboard or mouse impacting these things?

This hobby is beyond bonkers. So much delusion in it as well as people being so stubborn where one points out what they claim is impossible and is all in their head, they get triggered and cry.
If you want better sound, go get a different headphone.
 
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If you want better sound, go get a different headphone.

No different than it ever was. As always, a lack of technical understanding leads to bizarre theories that have no basis in actual operational performance.

Somehow, a belief system has developed that while the entire balance of the digital universe operates just fine with current hardware, software, and error correction, audio is "special"...
 
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