View Full Version : is ultra scsi fast enough for audio?

audio buff
06-12-2001, 07:38 PM
I've got the audio bug and I'd like to get as optimal a setup as I can afford( which at the moment isn't a whole lot), without being "penny wise and pound foolish". I have a power mac 8600 with a xlr8 mach 300 and a plextor 8/4/12 burner. using toast 4.1 and 5.1 as well as peak (sounds better at importing cd audio).

I've read that it's best to get a seperate drive for audio. If I have a large enough drive, can't I just create a seprate partition for audio?

How about the cache speed of the hard drive. I read the following from logic user " the hard drive may fill its buffer faster than the host can empty it..." I have a ultra scsi drive which seems to be fine. I've been able to burn at 12x.

speaking of burning speed, is it better to burn at 4x? will this get me closer to the orange book standerd?

when I go from the mac (masushita 24x -sure- ), I find that 8x is too fast. Do I need an ultraplex to solve this problem?

last question: when I import data from a cd using peak or toast, disk warrior usually tells me that over 40% of the files are out of order. I go ahead and clean up the directory and files. However, why is this happening? when I record my record to the hard drive I get 0% errors as well as when I import only on song on a cd. Can this be fixed before having to use Disk warrior? Is this a streaming error, bad cables? Shitty ram? Help!

however I do have limits as to how f

06-12-2001, 09:11 PM

You are getting too detailed in my humble opinion.

Normally I only burn from HD. I do have a 40xPlextor (on a PTPRO). I would burn at 8X or the MAX reliable speed. Disk Warrior is not reporting any 'errors' it is simply showing that the directory struction is not as efficient as it should be. Are you running this on an audio CD? Not sure how it would work there. I normally RIP my audio disks to MP3 using SJam 1.6 @ ~ 225kbps. iTunes is great in that it can hunt for all the MP3's on you HD and its fairly easy to search and organize.

The most cost effective solution would be to get a 18GB Narrow Barracuda. If you are acustom to the stock drive this should give you
a) plenty of space
b) plenty of speed

You could make a dedicated partition for CD burning. You do not need to buy any extra cabling or cards. You can add a Miles BlueNote later to get better bandwidth (20MB/s vs. 10MB/s). You can also migrate it to another computer with the BlueNote or other narrow scsi card.

The best bang for the buck would be going with an Ultra2 SCSI (LVD) setup. This would be more expensive ($200 for card + drive) but you would get one hell of a bang.... maybe a sonic boom?-) So this could be overkill.

Another popular choice is IDE/ATA drives. You would need a card and it may never work properly on a vintage SCSI system like yours (or my PTPro). People have been fortunate and others have had the patience to smack their systems around until they work properly but others have been penny wise and pound foolish. If you do go with the IDE/ATA route, do not expect much and you probably will be suprised. You can get the card for about $100 (not sure if cabling is included) and a 30GB drive for about $150 or less. Some come with SoftRAID - they format as a pseudo SCSI drive.

So long and thanks for all the fish!

06-13-2001, 08:53 AM
when you say you have the audio bug, do you mean ripping and recording off of CDs or are you going to launch into actual HD recording?
if the former, then an external scsi drive would be fine. it's basically just to store the audio files you are ripping off (oops did i say that? http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif )
if the latter, then you would want to get the fastest, largest card drive combination possible. that would mean LVD. a miles2 card and a cheetah.

yes, it is very easy and advantageous to create separate partitions for your audio work. take a large chunk and make that your audio work partition. then make a couple of smaller ones, about 700mb, the size of a CD as your finished product holding tanks. i find that that helps me manage my files better.

we've had a whole discussion on burning speed. i think it is in the archive section under audio concerns in the forum talkback forum. basically, the key is to use the best possible media you can afford and burn no faster than 4-6X. most pro burners burn at 1 -2X, though some of the newer machines will burn up to 4X.

not sure what you mean by this question:

when I go from the mac (masushita 24x -sure- ), I find that 8x is too fast. Do I need an ultraplex to solve this problem?

finally, your directory problems are possibly linked to a semi-full HD. when your drive becomes loaded down with info, it will seek to find bits of empty space all over to write new information. that is why it is preferable to have a dedicated HD for audio. that may account for the fact that after copying a whole CD your corresponding directories are out of whack. when was the last time you defragged?

hope this is uesful to you.

[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 13 June 2001).]

audio buff
06-13-2001, 10:31 AM
Thanks for the replies folks. Michael, when I tried to burn from the stock apple cd rom ( the mastushita 24x) to the Plexwriter, I find that I have trouble using disk at once at 8x. 4x is fine. Thank both of you for your suggestions. I will start over and make a much larger auido partition.

Now, do I first get rid of the stock ram and buy high quality ram ie. acme, crucial, kingston one 128 mb and then when I can afford it, get internal granite digital cableing? I'll definitely check ou the archive.

audio buff
06-13-2001, 10:48 AM
Michael I forgot to answer your questio about hd recording or just burning cd's. I'm primarily making back ups and "best of" cd's from my existing collection. However I am in the process of trying to get protools up and running and having some fun with that. This is for fun, not my primary need.

06-13-2001, 01:26 PM
With what you have stated, I do not think getting better cabling or RAM will do much, if anything. Now if you are getting errors, crashes and/or your system is not stable (or really slow) you might want to consider this. For a short SCSI chain and 5 or 10MB/s SCSI you do not need the BEST hardware to get it working well. If you are overclocking your CPU, running Ultra Narrow drives or UltraWide (and newer standards) then you should consider the best cabling.

You really do not need high bandwidth for most audio apps. I've never used protools though. I guess if you are recording multi-track (8 and over?) and 24bit/96Khz then an LVD setup might be in order.

we've had a whole discussion on burning speed. i think it is in the archive section under audio concerns in the forum talkback forum. basically, the key is to use the best possible media you can afford and burn no faster than 4-6X. most pro burners burn at 1 -2X, though some of the newer machines will burn up to 4X.

You are talking about the AUDIO format, right? I've never had an issue burning to a 650MB disk with data (MP3, files, games, apps, utilites, etc...). My first burner was a 4x. My current burner is a 12x10x32. I hear 20x is coming out, but its ONLY 20x on the outter 1/3 of the disk. My Plextor 40x can rip at about 5x (with a G3 500) and my Yosemite can do about the same with the same Mhz G3 and the stock CDROM. Setting to AIFF increases the speed... but I forget what it is.

06-13-2001, 01:44 PM
I don't see in here what machine your are using. I've found that the Matshita (Apple) 24 X SCSI player extracts music better than a Toshiba 40 X. I have the Matshita and a Yamaha 6416S on the 10 MB/s bus of my PTP 500 MHz G3. Never made a coaster burn directly from player to burner and setting the buffer to only 2 MB. It records and plays back fine using UltraNarrow (20 MB/s) drives hosted by a BlueNote. Of course, it also does well with my dual channel RAID 0 (two Miles U2W and two X15's)

Are your devices SCSI or ATAPI (or even FireWire or USB)? The player has to feed data fast enough to keep the burner happy. The blank media is very important.

For copying the inner tracks of a music CD (AIFF) I need to slow the burn speed down to 4 X. I've needed to make a disk image, but that should burn at a faster speed.

[This message has been edited by Louie (edited 13 June 2001).]

06-13-2001, 02:54 PM

"You are talking about the AUDIO format, right?"

see topic header. nothing escapes your notice........

06-13-2001, 04:12 PM
> " However I am in the process of trying to get protools up and running and having some fun with that. This is for fun, not my primary need."

Hey audio buff, if you ever have any problems with "setting-up Pro Tools"- go to -> http://duc.digidesign.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi

You can also email me with any questions you might have concering using PT's and/or Peak.


"I made a conscience decision in a semi-conscience state"

audio buff
06-13-2001, 07:11 PM
Thanks for all the replies, I think I'm definitely headed in the right track.

I usually extract audio from the plextwriter, it sounds way better than the apple cd rom. I use the apple cdr to make a disk copy to the plexwriter. However, i was thinking of just getting the ultraplex so that everything would be ultra scsi narrow. The drive is the seagate es, an ultra scsi narrow scsi device. I'm still using the 10mb internal scsi . is the apple cdrom drive or the floppy drive slowing down my bus rate. I don't have the miles bluenote yet. I been told by others to wait on that. (I need a firewire card, video card etc.)

Should my next purchase be high quality ram or granite digitals internal cableing for my 8600. While I'd like the ultraplex, I doubt the 40x would be a whole lot faster than the plexwriter at 32x. Am I right in this?

audio buff
06-13-2001, 07:21 PM
Louie, forgot to answer your question. I've got a Powermac 8600/250 which I upgraded whith an xlr8 g3 300. I'm in the process of putting in a ultra scsi narrow seagate. the 36 es i think. I've got the plexwriter 32/4/12 and the good old stock apple cdrom driver. and i just bought cd/hd speedtools from the gurus so I can format the drive properly. the last time I formated I used the apple driver in the utilities in 9.0. then i made the mistake of using nortons speed optimizer. Click, click everytime I opened a window or an app. Now I've read what the gurus do and don't do. they don't use and optimizers. this though is the funny part. I call up seagate and get a tech person on line. "we use that optimizer no problem." sure.

thanks for your help

06-13-2001, 10:38 PM
Is your Apple CD player on the 5 or 10 MB/s bus? And is the PlexWriter on the external bus? Check your cables and termination. Check the PlexWriter on another computer. You should not be having problems.

I have both player and burner on the internal 10 MB/s bus. It really shouldn't matter because the burner only needs 900 kbs to burn at 6 X and something like 689 kbs at 4 X. The highest transfer rate I've ever seen was 3.5 burning a data CD.

Is the PlexWriter UW?

A BlueNote can give you sustained transfer rates with the UltraNarrow Barracuda of about 18-19 MB/s. You need that worse than a FireWire card. If you are having speed problems now, just wait till you get into FireWire. Slooooow.

audio buff
06-14-2001, 12:00 PM
Louie, the plextor is ultra scsi narrow internal. everything i have is internal and on the 10mb bus. I usually burn at 4x and I have been able to burn (from the hardrive) up to 12x and haven't had any problems. I only encountered the problem when I went from the apple cd drive to the plexwriter. would getting an ultraplex 40x ultra scsi narrow solve this problem? or would I need to get the bluenote as well? And better cabling ie. internal granite digital?


06-14-2001, 12:36 PM

You can have an MP3 'audio' disk. So this would be a data format, but it would play audio. So my question is valid. I havent had the time to burn any audio disks, but I can pull data off them fairly fast - without MP3 compression- 5x or faster. Of course I can burn MP3 'audio' at 8x!

I havent had a chance to burn standard audio (AIFF) disks... so I guess that could be slow.

06-14-2001, 01:21 PM
One point that I was trying to make is that CD player to CD burner burns are actually operations that require very slow data transfers, like less than 3.5 MB/s unless you have some super-fast burning device. Up till now player to burner operations should be satisfactory even on the slow, 5 MB/s bus if everything is working as it should.

I'm confused about your actual setup. The 8600 has room for only one 5.25" device I think, so you can't have both a player and burner internally. Please explain the layout.

Maybe the PlexWriter is bad. tm311 has just run into that problem.

audio buff
06-14-2001, 02:43 PM
I took out the zip drive. It died on me. Here's what's inside the bays.
first they floppy drive(should I disable this if I don't need it? does it slow the bus down?) under that the apple cd player, then the plexter which I put on top of foam to handle vibrations (the foam takes up the last bay).

thanks everybody for all the help.

06-14-2001, 04:21 PM
Hey ab,

I replaced an Apple CD-ROM with a Plextor CDRW so I don't have experience doing player-to-burner transfers, but I can comment on your last post. The floppy drive is on its own unique non-SCSI bus so it will not interfere with anything. Your setup with the burner on a foam block is probably not good. This would be useful if you were trying to dampen external vibrations but your burner is much more affected by internal vibrations originating from the spinning disc. Your best bet here is a rigid connection to a mounting tray which will minimize the amplitude of the internal vibrations.

06-14-2001, 06:23 PM
So, you have a separate player and a separate burner, both on the 10 MB/s bus. right? Unless something is faulty you should get great player to burner transfers. Have you run the Toast Speed Tests on both data and music CD's? With my 6 X burner and the 24 X Matshita, the speed tests show transfer rates starting an 1.2 MB/s for the inner tracks, going up to 3.5 on the outer tracks. 6 X requires only 900 kbs. Music tracks are a little slower.

If you don't get rates like that, check cables, bus termination, jumper settings and bad mechanisms. Do you use good media? Also do a speed check from a disk image to the burner.

[This message has been edited by Louie (edited 14 June 2001).]

audio buff
06-19-2001, 05:19 PM
Sorry I have not responded sooner. (work is where I have acces to internet and works over..time to buy a modem). Thanks everybody for your help thus far. Bilbo, I'll definitely let you know if I run into problems with protools.

Louie, I do get similar speed rates rates for inner and outer tracks. everythings is on the 10mb bus. I use taiyu yuden (that's cd-r) or the gold by mistui or kodack. The only problem I had was when I tried burning at 8x from the matshita to the plextor. buffer underun! I backed down to 4x (the plextor doesn't seem to offer 6x) and It burns fine. I'm going to give the cache more memory and then try to use cd copy at 8x for audio. ( or just extract to the hardrive and burn at 8x or 4x).

audio buff
06-19-2001, 05:56 PM
Louie, Just read a thread you wrote about the importance of having each scsi device set up properly ie id# parity on/off and terminating the final device. I'm going to check all the settings and check to scsi pages of doom. Maybe I don't have the parity on or off correctly on one of the cd-drives. I'll check this tonight.

07-23-2001, 01:00 PM
I find this very interesting as I am having the same exact problem.I am using a 9600/300 ,640MB RAM. original Matshita 24x Cd rom, Yamaha 8x8x24 CD/RW with 4Mb buffer. I can not directly record audio from the Matshita to the Yamaha without buffer under-runs .I have tried different media,software,checked cables ,scsi id's,termination etc. Best results obtained by making a disk image and recording from image.This only seems to be a problem with audio files as I have made several bootable CDs without this procedure.