This year I have a handful of big design projects on the horizon, so I went a little extra with my purchases. I picked up the Lost Transmissions library from SoundMorph, upgraded to the Pro Sound Effects Core 3 Pro Plus library and finally picked up the Krotos Everything Bundle 2 after eyeing it for years.
In addition to the work I do in the studio, I also work at other facilities in town and like to have my library with me when I travel or need to work out in the world.
Last year I picked up an OWC Elite Pro Dual mini enclosure that houses 2×2.5” hard drives and runs off USB-C power. I have a 1TB 870 Samsung SSD for a project drive and a 4TB Samsung 870 SSD for my sound library. With my latest purchases, I am out of space on my mobile library drive. Below I will discuss several storage solutions if you similarly find yourself out of space.
1. Set up a NAS (Network Attached Storage) with remote access
In the studio I have a 16TB Synology NAS (network-attached storage) that I use for onsite backup of my sound library and projects. Synology (and most other NAS manufacturers like QNAP or SNS) make it easy to set up remote access when you are away from the studio and mounts on the remote computer just like a local drive. Luckily we have Google Fiber in the studio, so I find that accessing our library remotely is fast enough for typical use, assuming the connection is decent where I am working.
Where this solution solution proves problematic is when the power or internet goes out at the studio. Being cut off from my library when I am needing to get work done is not an option.
2. Use a hosted storage solution like Lucid Link
Lucid Link is a cloud-based alternative to a locally hosted NAS. They offer a tidy app that mounts your storage volume, like Synology, the same as a local drive. With a hosted solution, your data lives on an IBM Cloud server, the chances are very low that your library will be inaccessible due to server outages.
This service does come with a monthly cost, but is scalable (they charge per TB/mo), so your volume can grow as your library does. Access speed is similar (if not better) to the performance I get from my Synology on Google Fiber. If you have less than stellar internet speeds, this will likely offer faster connection than you may get.
Where Lucid Link or a similar cloud-based solutions won’t work are when you find yourself working somewhere with slow or no internet connection. Personally I find myself working on a plane or at a café, so I really needed a solution. This leads us to a third solution.
3. Convert your sound effects library to FLAC
After my recent Black Friday purchases I was considering upgrading my 4TB Samsung SSD to an 8TB, but found it a little hard to stomach the $700 price tag. Instead I decided to convert my library to FLAC.
For those not familiar with the format, FLAC is a lossless audio format that takes up roughly half the space as .wav files. While Pro Tools does not (yet) support the format natively, audio databasing software like Soundminer, Basehead or SoundQ all do. I use Soundminer V5 Pro. Within Soundminer, there is an option to mirror a library to FLAC. As I already have a copy of my full library on my Synology NAS, I selected this as my source in Soundminer and set the target as my portable 4TB SSD. The next morning I had a copy of my whole expanded library converted to FLAC and ready to use.
I know some people might have libraries significantly larger than mine and may not fit on a portable drive even after converting to FLAC or perhaps need to have a smaller travel storage solution.
If you need to save space on your travel sound effects hard drive, the first thing I tend to cut are my raw recordings. The next libraries I tend to cut are my crowdsource libraries. While it is nice to have when space is not a concern, they tend to be large and very specific to one topic. If I know I am going to be cutting effects on the road and unable to access my full library remotely, I will try to pull effects before I leave and place them in my project folder.
For many sound designers you may not need to worry about working away from the studio, but if you work with a databasing app like Soundminer, it is worth looking at FLAC as a format for storing your files.
About Korey Pereira
Korey is the founder of Soularity Sound, a post production sound company based in Austin, Texas. He also works with Soundcrafter and other Austin-based crews. Editorial credits include works directed by Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez and David Gordon Green among many others. In 2020 he updated his studio to support Dolby Atmos mixing and has expanded into 360 spatial audio for VR. Since 2018 Korey has also been a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, Department of Radio, Television and Film where he teaches post sound. He has been an active member of the Motion Picture Sound Editors Guild (MPSE) since 2017 and in 2021 was elected to a 2-year term on the Board of Directors of the MPSE.