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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
Just speaking generally, I've had considerably better luck if I use a USB stick that has an outer casing made of metal. The plastic ones seem to split more often and cause mounting issues.

The stick that became unreadable was a metal case Sandisk 128g, I paid a little more for it because I wanted it "road worthy". The disk refused to mount although the system knew it was there but couldn't see anything on it. Mac Disk Utility told me it repaired it but it really didn't. Oddly enough the stick still seems to work but I had to reformat it. It won't be used for any huge sound content files again.

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I AM the department of redundancy department.

Many years ago, when I was new with Computers, and writing my first Band-in-a-Box styles on an Atari/ST computer, the computer crashed wiping out all the styles I was working on.

I was saving them to floppy disk and transferring them to an IBM/PC because they used the same format. But BiaB for PC was still in the DOS5 era, and I hated DOS (I have typos built into my fingers - standard equipment). Floppy disks formatted on the IBM/PC worked in the Atari, and most of the time disks formatted on the Atari worked on the PC.

The computer crashed while writing to the floppy and the disk became unreadable. I had to re-do everything from scratch, and perhaps they even turned out better.

Starting the next day I'd save my work on one floppy, then a second floppy so that I had two identical disks.

To this day, I save two or more copies of everything important. I like to save a copy off-premises as well.

Insights and incites by Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
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The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
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Just had another USB stick go dead last night, although it was a cheap stick a company used to hand out PR at NAMM many years ago. Not surprising, I guess.

There's an interesting article if you want to know more about what makes them tick, but it seems to me that the underlying technology is more like a bucket-brigade analog device than a digital device like a hard drive. One of the reasons I trust optical storage more is because it's writing actual data in a layer, whereas NAND memory depends on storing charges - transistor gates capture electrons, and move them into "floating" transistor gates. It all sounds pretty sketchy to me compared to hard drives, but then again, hard drives can have mechanical failures.

It really is true that digital data doesn't exist unless it's stored in at least two places smile

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I implemented an optical backup at my office 20+ years ago, back when CD's were $10+ each and write speed was 2x. I was careful about what we bought, usually opting for gold which was rated to last 25-50 years. In reality, the discs started going bad in about 10 years. That was with storage in a dark file cabinet in an air conditioned room. We evolved through DVD and eventually to HD and Blu-Ray for backup. When the price of standard HD's dropped it became easier and cheaper to just back up to multiple external hard drives. Over 20 years of experimenting with backup media the worst fail I had was using SSD's. What a disaster. They would sometimes fail after a month in storage. They were extremely picky about what computer they were connected to. Motherboard BIOS and Windows version were critical. It really turned me off on SSD's and it was years before they became stable enough for serious use. I still refuse to use an SSD as backup though most every computer and laptop I have now uses SSD as the main. My main DAW has SSD for boot, but 4 large platter drives for data.


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My new laptop has an SSD (my first one) and I'm amazed at how fast it is. Open and app and it just pops up on the screen. It's a ThinkPad so I hope they put a quality drive in there.

I'm still doing multiple backups with internal style magnetic hard drives popped into my USB 'toaster'. And I don't trust 'the cloud' for backups.

I belong to the department of redundancy department.

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
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The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
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The 2013 MBP I bought new was the first computer I had with a SSD. It's still going strong but quite a while back I bought a USB drive reader/writer that is a flat unit with a cover and a SSD that could be put in that computer if a fail occurs. I use the Carbon Copy Cloner program to keep a bootable mirror image of the computer's drive. I try to update the clone often and actually had to use the clone once when an update screwed up the computer although I hadn't been keeping up and was reverted back several months.

On my backing track MOTU setup I'm using a Thunderbolt 2 Transcend 256G SSD for my all important Digital Performer files. Every time I work on them (and I've been doing a lot lately) I backup those files to a USB stick but also over the network to the PC that is sitting next to me on my bench. It recently occurred to me that I don't have a direct replacement for the Transcend SSD so I started looking and discovered Thunderbolt 2 is near impossible to find now. Searching through my previous orders I found that I could still get one though and, in fact, was able to order a 512G model of the same drive for less that the 256G would have cost.

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It now looks as though the problems I've had recently actually link back to my MBP. Quite a while back the USB port on the right side became intermittent and flakey. Not long after that the speaker on the right side crapped out and has the broken cone sound. The problem appears to have crept over to the left side USB port now. The Thunderbolt 2 ports seem to be the only reliable connections at this point.

Well, that's just not going to do, I need this computer for our upcoming gigs and the USB connection is essential for the Krome keyboard I play and use for backing tracks plus the little Akai LPK25 I use for transport controls. I went to "mac of all trades" and ordered a model that's two years newer and has twice the SSD space and RAM. It's half the price of a new one but also it still has the Thunderbolt 2 ports I need for connecting to my 828x and external drive without the need for adapters. I've been spending many hours creating more tracks for our next gig and a failure would really upset me!

Last edited by Greg Mein; 03/12/21 08:07 PM. Reason: Redundant info
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I use backing tracks in my duo http://www.s-cats.com

I bring two of them for my backing tracks. Both powered up at all times on the gig so if something happens on the gig, I switch the USB to the second computer and the show goes on.

I use Windows computers, because in an emergency, I can go to dozens of department stores and get a replacement.

I save my tracks as a high bit rate MP3 and use Windows Media Player to play them. That way if I need to buy an emergency computer, it is ready right out of the box.

I use nothing but ThinkPad computers, because they are almost bulletproof. I just retired one that I bought in 2002. The other 2002 computer retired a couple of years ago because I dropped it, broke the hinge, and they don't make replacement parts.

In all these years I've had two ThinkPad failures:

1) The hard drive started making a mechanical noise on the gig so I switched to the backup between songs

2) The CMOS battery failed, I didn't know at the time I could boot the computer by setting the date manually. The repair cost $5 for a 'coin battery';

There is more than one right way to do this. This is my way.

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
There is more than one right way to do this. This is my way.

Notes

Our methods are quite different but then so is our presentation. I couldn't play a wind instrument to save my life but my wife plays flute and the EWI 5000. We both play keyboards but for her it's the main instrument while I mostly play guitar. 95% of what my system spews is midi and that's where the USB comes in. I'm using plugins, sometimes with automation, on my vocal and guitar and the Thunderbolt interface helps keep that running smoothly as Firewire had in earlier years. Superior Drummer 3 is in a plugin track and being played by a midi track.

I'm disappointed with my MBP but I have gotten eight years of good service from it being my main machine. I've had worse MBP experiences, the 2008 model I bought new was a real turkey and the motherboard crapped out after a couple of years. Turned out that was a common occurrence on that series. These things are expensive and that was really upsetting. Overall though the Macs I've been using over the years have made for a smooth experience.

I always have PC's around also, there's a Dell desktop sitting next to me and I have a Dell laptop over by the lounge chair that I turn on occasionally. I wouldn't rule out using a PC again if this Thunderbolt 3/USB-C thing is here to stay for a while. Up until recently Digital Performer was Mac only. I wouldn't be able to just grab another computer though, I need the driver for my Korg Krome, the MOTU 828x interface software, Superior Drummer 3, transfer licenses for some plugins and probably some other things.

I know we don't have the large repertoire that you do. At this point there are probably 50 songs we can do. My wife is a skilled musician but doesn't have the experience of playing 100's of songs in different bands and being able to pick up and improvise with others the way I do. At the end of the day, although I've put much time and effort into it, it's a hobby for us and is actually going along real well. We've become established and always get call backs.

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I've never played an EWI. I play the Yamaha WX series. There is a new Roland controller out that I'd like to try, but it's expensive and due to both COVID and the adult market we targeted, we've been out of work a year.

There was a time when I used to play sequences on a sequence player, and later a laptop that fed the sequences into a rack of sound modules.

One day, on our last Christmas party of the year, the sample player in the rack started acting up. If the rack was jarred, even lightly, it would turn off and on again and have to access the floppy disk to reload the samples. That took about 3 minutes. On that sampler was a Fender J Bass and a lot of drum sounds that I recorded myself.

I took it to the shop the next day, the tech put a probe in it immediately followed by a spark and some smoke. He said I'd have to send it back to the factory. The factory was closed for the Christmas vacation, and would not open until a few days after New Year's Day.

We had a New Year's Eve party that was booked two years in advance and paid 5 times our normal rate. At that time there would be no way for the club to get a replacement band. The demand far exceeded the supply.

There was no way I could re-assign and balance the 500 or so songs I had at the time to my other sound modules in time for the gig. The drum notes were all different, the volumes in respect to velocity were also very different. So I started calling music stores. Nobody locally had one, so I started in Miami and worked my way north. I would have flown to Seattle, Washington and back if that's what it took to make the gig happen. Fortunately I found one in Melbourne (about an hour North of me) that had one. A customer ordered it, and then changed his mind.

We made the gig, and I decided how to solve this. I could get spares of everything, but it was a 10 space rack full of gear, and I couldn't see any way to bring that to the gig for this kind of circumstance.

That's when I decided to go mp3. I know that took some flexibility out of our performing, but we gain some fail-safe. So on my 2002 ThinkPad I bought a couple of USB to Audio interfaces and started recording every sequence at home. In a few months I was done and made the switch.

I also started thinking about a power amp failure, so I ditched the power amp and bought powered speakers, first Carvins and now EV's

What else could go wrong? Sax, flute or guitar failure seemed a potential but unlikely problem. I decided I could cover those parts in an emergency with the WX5 Wind MIDI controller and my VL70m physical modeling synth, so I bought an extra controller and have a spare VL mounted in the rack.

Now the only thing that can fail big-time is the mixer. I have a couple of passive mixers I built that I can mix a number of inputs in, so if I have half the mixer I'm OK.

With the mixer I'm using, the failures have always been one channel or the other, and they have been extremely reliable. I do have 4 of them. One in my recording rack, one on stage, and two spares.

I've been gigging as a pro since 1964. For most of my life it has been my primary or sole source of income. So far I've never-ever missed a gig or even missed the downbeat.

The show must go on.

Notes ♫


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
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