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Do hard drives sound different?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by wuwhere, Aug 25, 2014.
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  1. wuwhere Contributor
    I have an Oppo 95 with a 2TB Hitachi 3.5" eSATA HDD in a SATA Thermaltake enclosure as my music files storage. I swapped it with a 500GB Seagate 2.5" eSATA HDD in the same SATA Thermaltake enclosure. After listening a few songs, I thought they sound different. So I searched on line for "do hard drives with music sound different". I found this http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f7-disk-storage-music-library-storage/hard-drives-make-difference-sound-18190/
     
    There is a comment there that said the Seagate has a "relaxed" sound compared to Hitachi which is what I was hearing.
     
    I guess you can do your own experiment.
     
  2. PurpleAngel Contributor
     
    I'm finding it hard to believe the brand of hard drive changes the sound of the music.
    In the link the person is reinstalling different versions of windows and doing fresh installs.
    So there is just more factors involved then just the hard drives.
     
  3. wuwhere Contributor
     
    Not just brand. Continue reading that thread. The 3.5" draws more power compared to 2.5". I swapped the 3.5" because it was mechanically noisier. I wasn't expecting the difference in SQ.
     
  4. SilverEars
    After reading that thread, I'll probably stay away from that forum.
     
    The OP coxhaus should look up the word placebo.  His posts are beyond ridiculous.  Read this:
     
     
  5. wuwhere Contributor
     
    Yea, him. And the eSATA cables. But there are other good posts there about hard drives which I'm interested in.
     
  6. SilverEars
    I have a feeling that people that sells audiophile junk is carrying on that thread.
     
  7. linglingjr
    A different hard drive will have no effect on sound quality.  
     
    Where is that thread (that became pretty well known all over the internet on several forums) where some guy claimed that audio files stored on a hdd sound worse and worse over time as the hdd spins?  He had some word for it, it as pretty amazing.
     
  8. dvw
    The problem is you guys don't how to properly prepare a hard drive for critical listening. Like cable in order for them to reach their maximum potential they have to be demagnetized. Use one of those CD demagnetizer on the HDD. You'll might get a rich dark sound.
     
    anetode likes this.
  9. mikeaj
    Yes, hard drives sound different. Listen for yourself.
     
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1402-page6.html
     
    As in, the drives themselves: the character and loudness of seek noise, vibrations, air whooshing.
     
  10. ab initio
     
    The 10k and 7200 hard drives tend to have more of a whirring sound.
     
    the 5400 hard disks seem to click more, but maybe that because all of the 5400 drives I've used are at least a few years old---and old drives are usually really noisy.
     
    SSDs are dead slient
     
    You can find 2.5" hard disks for laptops that are also pretty quiet.
     
    That said, unless your hard disk is failing, it almost certainly isn't anywhere near as loud as a floppy drive. Heck, floppy drives can even make music of their own!
     
    If you have lady gaga coming from your hard disk, run!
     
     
    Cheers
     
  11. bigshot
    This thread needs an Irony Alert.
     
  12. castleofargh Contributor
    a hard drive sounds warmer because it's summer. also maybe you need to let your new hard drive burn in? ^_^.
     
     
    seriously just forget about it and enjoy your music.
     
  13. SunshineReggae
    And here I was thinking that I was imagining things when I switched from some red SATA cables to black ones. The red ones definitely seemed to bring out the warmth more, almost a syrupy, analog sound.
     
  14. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    SSD's can sound better only because you don't get any mechanical noise from it, thus lower noisefloor. I can't isolate that though when comparing my laptop (SSD), smartphone (microSD) and computer (3.5in HDD) because of the base reason that, mechanical noise or not, I have four fans running on the desktop computer anyway and will always be noisier than the HDD. Overall the smartphone sounds best and is the more focused interface to begin with, since it doesn't need a 500w PSU or 90w brick to run a quad-core CPU+GPU or a quad-core APU, much less two intake fans, rad fans in push-pull, and two fans on the GPU's heatsink.NAS in another room can be enough to isolate the noise (people don't realize it given other ambient sources, but run a HDD at 1am and chances are you'll hear the mechanical noise on an older/more worn drive). In any case, the thing is, lower ambient noise means blacker over all background.

    As for one HDD sounding warmer than another...placebo. Show someone a better-looking drive, like a WD Black Hybrid or a metallic SSD, and you prime them into thinking these will sound a lot better.
     
  15. ab initio
    Look, let's put this ridiculous notion that
    Claim:
    to rest, okay?
     
    Here's how it works, when you play digitial music, the audio file being played is requested from the storage drive. The audio file is copied from the storage medium into the computer's memory (RAM) from where it is processed by the audio playback software (e.g., digital volume control, DSP, EQ, etc...) and sent to the OS's audio kernel where the OS mixes all the sounds together (audio from a player, sounds from mouse clicks, etc...) and that is sent to the sound card where the sound card can implement its own processing (DSP) and will finally clock the PCM words to the onboard DAC.
     
    The file is not played directly from the hard disk. It isn't. The hard disk has nothing to do with audio other than long term storage. The audio is buffered through program memory and then buffered again in the soundcard/DAC before finally being clocked out at the DAC by the DAC's clock.
     
    The only thing in your computer that affects sound quality is: 
    • The soundcard/DAC which includes can be subdivided into
      1. The quality of the digital to analog electronics
      2. (The quality of the power supply in the soundcard/dac and how well it rejects power supply noise) times (the quality of the computer's or dac's power supply)
      3. (The quality of the electronics in the soundcard/dac and how well it rejects electronic interference) times (how much EMI/RFI is being generated in your computer)
     
    Please notice that this list distinctly lacks any reference to the hard drive.
     
    Cheers
     
    kraken2109 likes this.
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