5 Best External Hard Drives For Music Production

Now that you’ve upgraded your entire studio to the fastest possible computer, it’s time to upgrade your external hard drive. The importance of having a fast external hard drive cannot be stressed enough.

SSDs are so important because they enable fast read/write speeds which allow you to backup and archive files much faster than traditional internal or external hard drives.

​​Another reason why SSDs are very important is that ssd prices have dropped dramatically over the past few years.

This means that ssd technology has become accessible for everyone! You can easily pick up an SSD without breaking the bank now(“which ssd should I buy” article coming soon). I personally use a Samsung ssd because Samsung SSD’s are some of the fastest SSD’s around.

What is an External HDD?

Most of the time due to prices concern HDD is recommended for creators like musical productions and youtube videos but, buying an external SSD will dramatically increase the workflow and save some time.

In terms of performance, my choice is going to be SSD. But, for higher storage like 1TB to 20TB, you should go for an external HDD, not for SSD.

Secondly, size plays a very important role when it comes to picking out an external hard drive for music production. I

f you’re just starting out with your studio setup then I recommend you get an external hard drive that has 2TB or more storage space just so you have enough space to keep all your files safe in case one of your external hard drives fails.

When it comes time to upgrade to a new internal hard drive or ssd then you will already have plenty of room on your existing external hard drive for storing all your backup files and/or projects! Also, if you plan on upgrading to an internal ssd then you’ll also have plenty of room for storing all your ssd backup files.

Best External SSD vs HDD?

Another thing to consider when it comes to picking out an ssd or external hard drive is that ssd prices are currently the lowest they’ve ever been compared to their per GB price.

So, if you’re looking for a good ssd I would pick one up right away before ssd prices go back up! You can get yourself a cheap samsung ssd here .

An important question to ask yourself before purchasing any type of hard drive/ssd is whether or not it will fit inside your computer case. If you want more information on figuring that out then check out this article about SATA cables.

Your next consideration should be ssd speed. The Samsung ssd you see in the link above is one of the fastest SSD’s on the market and has some of the best reviews! Lastly, you need to know how much data you currently have stored on your ssd or external hard drive.

You can find out how much storage you currently have by going to my computer and right-clicking your ssd/external hard drive and clicking on properties. From there you will get an overview of how much space is being used vs free.

Here I have listed some of the best-selling SSD and HDD external drives for you after spending hours and hours.

You should consider going with an SSD as HDDs are not much faster and impressive.

5 best external Hard Drives for music productions

SAMSUNG T7 Portable SSD 500GB

The T7 Portable SSD looks and feels like a well crafted mechanical hard drive, but acts like a fast USB 3.2 Solid State Drive. You can transfer files in seconds with the blazing-fast USB 3.2 speeds up to 450MB/s (3A+).

The durable aluminum unibody design has no moving parts and withstands drops up to 2 meters thanks to its cushioning bumper frame.

And it’s available in sleek black or metallic gray color options that match your style whether you’re at home, work or on the go!

Capture life as it happens with Super Fast speeds! Powered by Samsung V-NAND technology, get real-time 4K UHD video recording up to 560MB/s, with no drop in speed.

Whether you’re on the move or stuck waiting for a bus, T7 Portable SSD gives you full HD entertainment at speeds up to 450MB/s.

It’s ideal when you need to edit your latest creation with your computer in the background, without worrying about where to save files!

samsung t7 portable img credit (amazon)
  • TRANSFER IN A FLASH: Transfers files nearly 9.5x faster than external hard disk drive (HDD). Reads up to 1,050 MB/s / Writes up to 1,000 MB/s on USB 3.2 gen 2 supported devices.
  • SAMSUNG RECOMMENDS users to download the latest firmware update via the included Portable SSD Software 1.0 to ensure optimal performance.

Features:

  • Super Fast speeds, with up to 450MB/s in real-time 4K UHD video recording.
  • New metal unibody design in two color options.
  • Full HD entertainment on the go, up to 450MB/s.
  • USB 3.2 port (compatible with USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2).
  • Compatible with Windows 8 or later, Mac OS X 10.6 or later using reformatting function available in SSD management tool – Automatic backup software for easy data management (optional download required).

Advantages:

  • The T7 is a well-built drive that has no trouble withstanding drops from 2 meters thanks to its bumper frame. I’ve been personally testing it for several days, and can definitely confirm that this claim is accurate.
  • The drive also features an aluminum body which helps dissipate heat effectively. During my usage I had the drive laying flat on top of my laptop, using it as external storage, while writing/copying files at the same time. The drive got fairly warm, but not hot by any means. It was actually pretty pleasant to hold…the bottom was warm too! 🙂
  • This is a big deal since many portable SSD’s are housed in plastic enclosures, which cannot dissipate heat properly. So you often end up with a plastic brick that is burning hot in certain places.
  • The metal unibody design looks great too, and the T7 comes in two different color options which match perfectly with Mac or Windows, respectively. It’s definitely an eye-catcher when you have it hooked up to your laptop!

Disadvantage:

  • Mixed performance.
  • Some of the results were very good, while others left me wanting more out of the T7. This is one area that really needs improvement on Samsung’s part. You can’t have some great benchmark scores, but micro-benchmarks are downright poor. Please fix this in your next version, Samsung! 🙂

SanDisk 1TB Extreme PRO

SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD is the fastest most durable road-ready portable storage available. The next generation of our best performing USB-C and USB 3.2 technology takes speed to the extreme with speeds up to 10 times faster than standard portable hard drives*. Capacities up to 1TB mean you can take even your largest files with you, while an all-new protective metal design makes it perfect for rough trips.

The SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD is not only built like a tank and capable of keeping up with the fastest computers on the market, but it’s also big enough to store your entire gaming library or terabytes of photos, videos, and files. With capacities up to 1TB*, this is one drive that can handle it all.”

Features:

  • USB-C and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 for fast data speed
  • All-metal design is durable and water resistant (IP55)
  • Capacities up to 1TB with SanDisk Extreme PRO SSD

From gamers streaming and storing their favorite games to creative professionals capturing countless memories on set or on location and enthusiasts sharing adventures over long distances on the go, reliable storage that fits in your pocket gives you peace of mind wherever you are.

Pros

  • IP55 protection from water and dust
  • Fast USB-C and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 transfer speed (up to 10Gbps)
  • Capacity up to 1TB (2048GB) *1
  • Durable all-metal design for rough trips

Cons

  • Hardly any!

Extreme Speed for Professionals🎉

The SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD is designed for speed and capacity, giving creative professionals more room to stash multiple project files while backing up their work at record speeds. Whether transferring a 4K movie in just over 30 seconds* or quickly accessing photo libraries on long-term storage** – this professional-grade portable SSD delivers faster transfer speeds than even standard external hard drives.

Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive

If you read through negative Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive reviews online, they are full of stories like the one above, where someone spent $100 or so on an external hard drive that stopped working properly after a few months. In this review, we take a look at why these types of problems happen and if their is a way to avoid them.

seagate ssd (amazon credit)
  • Easily store and access 2TB to content on the go with the Seagate Portable Drive, a USB external hard drive
  • Designed to work with Windows or Mac computers, this external hard drive makes backup a snap just drag and drop

Features:

There are not many features on the hard drive. It has 1 terabyte of data space, enough for most people’s needs, but it is lacking some other key features that others have, such as being able to connect to home networks or being able to backup stored data.

Those two features are available on our Editor’s Choice award winner, the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB External Hard Drive , which costs only $10 more than this model.

Price: For a long time it was priced at $100 or so, making it too expensive for its value. Just like many products inflation eventually caught up with it and now you can find it for under $50 online . Yet its price fluctuates often between $40 – under $60, which is still a bit much for its value.

Construction: Like other Seagate products, the hard drive uses a thin plastic casing that doesn’t support itself well and tends to come apart after months of use (you can see an example in the video below).

There are better alternatives such as our Best Buy award winner, the Toshiba Canvio Connect II 3TB External Hard Drive , which costs only $20 more than this model.

What To Look For In A Portable Hard Drive:

If you read through many negative Seagate Portable 2 TB External Hard Drive reviews online, you will find that others who have experienced similar problems recommend getting something like the Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5 16mAh Portable Power Bank or Anker PowerCore+ 10050 . This tells us that the main problem is that the hard drive may not work properly with other devices, which we can confirm based on our own experiences.

Pros

  • Easily store and access 2TB to content on the go with the Seagate Portable Drive, a USB external hard drive
  • Designed to work with Windows or Mac computers, this external hard drive makes backup a snap just drag and drop
  • It is affordable, coming in at well under $50 online (although it fluctuates often)

Cons

  • Stop working after few month of use as many people complained.
  • No key features to connect with home networks.

Cons:

Many consumers who own this hard drive complain that it stops working after only a few months of use – Its construction makes it difficult to support itself and tends to come apart if you move it around too much – There are no key features, such as being able to connect to home networks or being able to backup stored data – It is not compatible with other devices easily

Recommendation: If you are looking for a cheap portable hard drive that works well then the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB External Hard Drive may be better for you. You can find it online for under $60 and it comes with a lot of small features that make it work better.

Recommendation: If you are looking for a large capacity portable hard drive, then you may want to consider getting the Seagate Backup Plus Portable 4TB External Hard Drive . It has the same price as this model but over twice as much storage space at 4 terabytes

LaCie Rugged USB-C 5TB External Hard Drive

This drive is sturdy and has passed drop tests in the lab. It features a USB-C connection and bus power for Mac and Windows computers so you can use it with your laptop without needing an additional power supply. The 5TB capacity holds approximately 500 hours of 4K video. Rugged, durable design

4K video editing is a snap with this LaCie Rugged USB-C drive. It includes a free one-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan so you can edit your photos and videos directly from the drive.

The drive comes with USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to Thunderbolt 3 cables for compatibility with more devices.

lacie rugged ssd (amazon credit)
  • Quickly and easily connect to the latest Windows and Mac computers with Rugged’s reversible USB-C cable, or legacy computers using the included USB 3.0 adapter

Features:

  • Rugged, bus-powered design
  • USB 3.0 interface
  • USB-C connection with data speeds up to 5Gbps
  • Also compatible with Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Includes free one-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan

Advantages:

  • Rugged
  • durable design

Disadvantages:

  • No USB-C to USB-A and Thunderbolt 3 cables included

Pros

  • Very rugged design (waterproof, dustproof, shock resistant)
  • Bus-powered without extra power adapter required
  • Comes with free one-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan
  • 3 years warranty included (from manufacturer)

Cons

  • Short Thunderbolt 3 cable provided
  • USB-A cable not included
  • No USB-C to USB-A and Thunderbolt 3 cables included

Ease of Use, Performance:

The drive is bus-powered, which means it doesn’t need another power supply. Just plug the USB-C cable into your Mac or PC laptop and you’re ready to go.

It’s compatible with Thunderbolt 3 ports, but you’ll need an adapter to connect it to a standard USB-C port. Measuring 6 by 2.5 by 0.6 inches and weighing 1 pound, it’s small enough to carry with you on the go.

Summary: LaCie’s Rugged USB-C drive is bus powered and can be connected to a laptop or tablet via its single USB-C port. It comes with a short Thunderbolt 3 cable, but you’ll need to supply your own USB-A cable. It can be used with Mac, Windows and Chrome laptops.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable 1TB

The Backup Plus Slim comes in 500GB 1TB , 1TB 2TB and 4TB storage capacities, all of which can be used via the USB 3.0 port on your computer or laptop and by using Seagate’s Dashboard software you can choose to backup stored data such as documents, music, videos etc and copy and paste between devices if you’re looking for a portable solution without having to use cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud .

There are other features such as Lyve (which allows you to access content from smartphones, tablets and computers), Family Dashboard (helps keep your family’s digital stuff organized) and Social (allows you to share pictures by tagging friends in pics taken with the drive).

All these features do work well but we won’t include them in this review as we feel that this is a hard drive not an OS.

The device itself feels very solid , has a matte type finish on the top and bottom, with the front having Seagate’s logo.

The back gives you your standard regulatory information found on most devices these days along with two USB 3.0 ports which are used to connect to your computer for data transfer or charge another device using the Backup Plus Slim .

It can be used both ways up but it does have one drawback, if you’re using it as a stand and accidentally knock it off its position then it could damage the actual USB port since there is some give in the design of the product making it somewhat unstable when lifted from that side.

lacie rugged ssd (amazon credit)
  • SECURITY FIRST: Securely and easily manage photos, videos, movies, and more with password activated hardware encryption
  • STYLISH & SPACIOUS: Stylish tone-on-tone fabric design works seamlessly with USB-C and USB 3.0 laptops and PCs

Features:

  • USB powered
  • Ultra-slim design
  • 3.0 connectivity for fast transfer speeds
  • 2 year limited warranty in the USA and Canada, 1 year in other countries.

Design: The lead is a decent length at 1 metre but could be a few inches longer to make it easier to use from a variety of positions when charging or transferring files especially when you take into account that it’s not equipped with an AC adapter either in the box or available as an accessory which would have been nice. Instead, you’re provided with a USB 3.0 cable to connect your computer/laptop to the drive itself and we do wonder how many people will lose this cable considering others we’ve seen such as our Transcend StoreJet 25.

Pros

  • Fast file transfer speeds
  • Very portable
  • Good value for money Cons:
  • Build quality could be better

Cons

  • Build quality could be better.
  • It can feel flimsy when moved or picked up
  • seems uncomfortable

Overall the Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable 1TB is a very well built device which will not only hold your data securely but, thanks to its fast USB 3.0 transfer speed, it’ll also allow you to save or retrieve your files quickly.

Seagate Ultra Touch HDD 2TB External Hard Drive

The Seagate Ultra Touch HDD 2TB External Hard Drive – Black USB-C USB 3.0, 1yr Mylio Create, 4 month Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan and Rescue Services (STHH2000400) is an exceptional product with great quality at a reasonable price.

It comes perfectly packaged to preserve its quality while in transit, which was excellent considering the long trip it had to endure before it got to me. The external hard drive has several qualities that are worth mentioning.

lacie rugged ssd (amazon credit)
  • PLUG & PLAY: The perfect external hard drive for Windows or Mac, simply back up files with a single click or schedule automatic daily, weekly, or monthly backups (Reformatting may be required for use with Time Machine)

First, its small size allows for easy transportation, meaning that I can bring it with me anywhere I need so I am never without my files. Its black color makes it aesthetically appealing for people who want their external hard drive to be noticeable but not necessarily draw too much attention.

The Seagate Ultra Touch HDD has a solid feel, which means it can withstand quite a few drops or bumps if necessary without losing any of its contents or having any performance issues.

The hard drive also has an appealing design that is very easy to use; it only takes plugging in the USB-C cable and then accessing it across devices for its contents to show up.

Setup was painless and didn’t take much time at all, and I had no problems using the device after setup either as everything worked perfectly fine right away with no additional input needed from me. There were no compatibility issues when transferring data between different operating systems such as iOS or Windows 10, both of which are easily accessible on my computer.

Features:

2TB storage capacity, USB 3.0 connectivity with USB-C compatibility, 6.8 cm (2.7″) ultra-compact design, durable black metal enclosure.

Pros

  • Very affordable  
  • Compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems  
  • Solid performance with no lag in transferring files

Cons

  • The included software isn’t necessary to use the device but is nice to have in some cases

The Seagate Ultra Touch HDD 2TB External Hard Drive may have a few cons, but its pros definitely outweigh them by a longshot. The product is affordable and comes with a variety of great benefits such as compatibility with most devices and easy-to-use functions for those who prefer to use it that way.

WD_BLACK 1TB P50 Game Drive SSD

WD_Black 1TB P50 Game Drive is a solid-state drive designed specifically for gamers and creative professionals. It has been built from the ground up to be an ultra-portable device that goes everywhere you go.

The slim size sits neatly in the palm of your hand or slips easily into your pocket so it can accompany you on all of life’s adventures. Keep photos and videos safe when taking a trip down memory lane with friends and family.

WD_BLACK 1TB is compatible with PlayStation 4, PlayStation Pro, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch and PC. It also includes downloadable software for Mac computers. The drive comes preloaded with a one-year complimentary membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan (worth $9.99) so you can easily back up photos and view them from anywhere with an internet connection or save them directly to your drive for easy access without using up valuable space on your computer’s hard drive.

lacie rugged ssd (amazon credit)
  • Shaped by performance with SSD speeds up to 2000MB/s to decrease load screen times and get you into the game faster. | Based on read speed. 1 MB/s = 1 million bytes per second. Based on internal testing; performance may vary depending upon host device, usage conditions, drive capacity, and other factors.

WD_Black 1TB P50 Game Drive has a stylish, compact design that looks as great as it performs.

Features:

  •  The SSD that goes everywhere you go
  •  Slim size Sits neatly in the palm of your hand or slips easily into your pocket
  •  Keep photos and videos safe when taking a trip down memory lane with friends and family
  •  Preloaded with 1-year Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan (worth $9.99) for PC users

Pros

  • Fast load speeds, regardless of operating system
  • Long battery life
  • Comes with a free Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan for PC users

Cons

  • Expensive as compare to other brands.
  • Cheap plastic body

It- Expensive compared to other portable external solid-state drives on the market currently. Some have reported that these have been hard drives in cheap plastic cases, as opposed to the metal casing used in previous models.

Crucial X6 500GB Portable SSD – Up to 540MB/s

The Crucial X6 500GB portable SSD is an ultra-fast, high capacity storage device that features blazing fast speeds of up to 540MB/s* so users can quickly access, edit, and transfer files. Available in 1TB capacity, this stylish external solid-state drive comes with a USB Type C port for compatibility across devices.

Once connected via USB Type C Cable, the X6 automatically goes into UASP mode (USB Attached SCSI Protocol), which delivers performance over 20% faster than traditional USB 3.0 connections. Its durable metal casing helps protect against knocks and bumps while on the go. It also includes encryption software** to easily secure data stored on your drive using TCGal 2.0 or Microsoft’s BitLocker. And with 1TB of storage space*, users can conveniently store and carry their entire media library, work files, photos, videos, etc., while on the go.

crucial mx500 Credit (amazon)
  • HUGE CAPACITY: Up to 4TB, storage capacity – enough for up to 20,000 photos, 100 hours of video, 6,000 songs, or 400GB of documents with room to spare

Features:

  • Up to 540MB/s read and up to 500MB/s write speeds (1TB Capacity)
  • Metal casing protects drive from bumps and drops, while on-the-go
  • Encryption software* makes creating reliable backups easy
  • Available in 500GB, 1TB & 2TB capacities
  • USB Type C connector is compatible with devices with a Type C port or traditional USB ports
  • Formatted NTFS for Windows OS; comes pre-formatted for immediate use.
  • Mac compatibility coming soon.

Pros

  • The X6 is stylish looking with its metal housing
  • It’s very fast, over 220MB/s read speed. Faster than most portable SSDs
  • Supports USB Power Delivery so it can be charged without a laptop
  • The attractive price point of $150 USD for 500GB capacity

Cons

  • No SD card slot or USB Type-A port

Summary: Overall, if you’re looking for a lightning-fast 500GB portable SSD that’s stylish and compact then the X6 has got you covered. And don’t forget it supports USB Power Delivery so you can juice up your devices without a laptop.

Most of the SSD do not have moving parts, so there is no wearing out in case of normal use. But if you are using it for a long time without rebooting your computer every day or running disk utilities, cleaning it manually will help to make your drive last longer.

There are utilities for this task, but it is not recommended to use them as some information might be destroyed along with the drive’s data. But if you have some very sensitive files on your drive and want to clean them out, deep scan will do a better job than a standard format.

There are specific software for SSDs and some features might not be available depending on your drive’s type and firmware.  

TRIM support means that the operating system can tell the SSD which sectors contain data, so it can handle them appropriately to make sure you get the best performance out of your drive.

SSD don’t need defragmentation because there are no moving parts. Some manufacturers recommend to turn this function off in order not to shorten the lifespan of the drive, but others see no issue with letting your OS handle this task automatically.

Ryan MacWha

I am Ryan! I write about performance-driven and reliable SSDs. I can save your time in decision-making. How about you?