[ Tips & Tricks ] Music, Computer, Backup ... EtCaetera


yeah i now i will probably at some point stop with this [Definitive] thread series :stuck_out_tongue:
Please don’t post optimization advises if you don’t know what you’re doing… (it can be worst sometime) I’m a graphic designer, i have assembled PC computers for years, i’m on MAC since my studies in Graphic Design. I’m not a developer except for website so my knowledge in coding stick to web languages. Bios setup, Compatibily issues and get a working system. I don’t care of fixing software, registry… i do not care anymore at least. So that’s my way of thinking “Computer” now.

General Computing Advice

  1. If possible try to have a computer dedicated for Audio
    [without the use of network on this one, if only one device try to use a tablet for browsing, email etc… and keep your music computer mostly WIFI-RJ45 OFF]
  2. Get an external hard drive for Audio Libraries and useful audio stuff
  3. Get an external hard drive for important file storage. Try to Never save anything on your system hard drive
  4. Move, relocate, or symlink Every User location relative to music production or software
  5. Always make an image disk of a clean install + system updates + only software you absolutely “need” or “use” and only original (bought things) no warez stuff on the clean initial state !!!) that’s your Backup ! Put it safely stored on at least 2 external hard Drive (You can make a clean install of your computer and start to apply this advices now… take 2 days OFF and write everything you do on a piece of paper)

I recommend to buy important stuff and things you use a lot. At least Operating System, Daw and your absolute VST list the one you always need or launch at any time.
Install your operating system (if windows then a antivirus and a firewall at least if you can connect to network after installed those protections), make system updates, install your DAW, install restrictive list of system tools (zip, rar, backup software Acronis do good backup software and on mac Superduper, Carbon Copy Cloner… Data Backup), install restrictive list of audio tools (audio editor, batch software if needed … sample convertor if needed…), install rectrictive list of VST instruments and effects, Uninstall the good way antivirus and firewall, MAKE your BACKUP (don’t install in your clean state every hardware drivers because they always be updated in time and it’s better to install once these things so do that after your image disk)

  1. Start to cleaning/optimizing things after the first image disk / backup. Doesn’t became the computer psychopath-maniac only the one who think nicely, the one who can recover things because he had prepared himself to the computer drama (trust me it’s always happening at some point)

  2. Learn to be “Organized”, keep things cleaned, named, well structured. Always have in mind that binary can be corrupted so try to save as much as possible (save twice and keep those backup updated), try to save midi files, presets, recordings-samples, groove, refill, … PER PROJECT)

  3. Track background tasks and LIMIT THEM. Banish every system optimizer !!! (you have your clean initial state image disk (Backup) trust me you’re SAFE… the most you can actually do is only that part. (essential one)

  4. Limit network connectivity on your audio computer (sorry i repeat but it’s important. AVOID every distraction ? yes ! network is a HUGE one anyway…

PC Relative Computing Advice
If you not used your PC to Network, Browsing … no need of antivirus and firewall. “Plus”, you have your backup you can restore it at any point ! the moment you apply what i said earlier : you never save things on your system drive… and you relocate user relative data on an external drive so everything important is on external drives (data or audio).
Install always the last drivers for your device and hardware
Use the best buffer size according to your system
Any energy saving option should be deactivated or set to “none”.
Programs that are running in background can cause issues (limit them)

Bonus :

MAC Relative Computing Advice
Disable Energy Saver
Turn Off Wi-Fi
Disable FireWire Networking,
Disable FileVault Protection
Disable Automatic Updates
Disable App Nap (right click on app… DAW or other software that processes audio or control changes) and check the corresponding box.
Disable Spotlight Indexing for audio disk (reserved for record) ProTools user (Don’t do that one)
Repair Disk Permissions & Maintenance tasks (sometimes with ONYX or something)
Activate Journaling for Your Audio Drives
Install always the last drivers for your device and hardware
Use the best buffer size according to your system
Programs that are running in background can cause issues (limit them)

Bonus :

Critical insight to 2018 MacBookPro
Advice Mac Nauts : 10.12.5 is available!
Stability of OB 1.15 on OS Sierra

Never make a Backup like your system now… and think it will be efficient and sufficient. it’s not a CLEAN STATE BACKUP. You need to perform that one from the ground up. (Clean Install)

IMPORTANT : If you plan to doing it, read carefully, take more informations on the subject or ask me in PM, and SAVE everything important on your machine before. I’m not responsible for any data loss.


Few other things for MAC Users
You can set icons, personalized folder etc… it’s super cool, look nice but don’t overdo that ! it can slow the system if too many.

You can personalized your Midi Device Pictures. For that open Audio and Midi configurations it’s builtin MacOS Tools. it’s a matter on device plugged appears and then double-click and set a picture. For that just put your prepared image (PNG prepared) in this location (Macintosh HD/library/audio/MIDI Devices/Generic/Images) use that location for setting IMG on Logic Pro X tracks too :

And then you will have that :

Try to note somewhere, where you plugged your device, try to keep the USB port or USB hub port where you plugged your device… because there’s a memory of that… but sometimes it failed and you will have junk in the MIDI devices…

The place for Musicians Icons is here :


I prepared Elektron Devices Icons for Logic Pro or MacOS MIDI Device (Studio MIDI Tool) you can download it here :

EDIT : fixed A4 missing it’s now included


I have an in windows and disabling processor halt state removed micro stuttering if the track count gets higher.
I experimented with hyper threading on and off, but came to the conclusion that it’s relative to your usage profile.

Abelton Live uses a core per track, the ideal would be 4 tracks if you have 4 cores. If you introduce the 5th track, the load is then shared one one core. It depends on your plug in CPU consumption if hyper threading benefits you. If you use lot of low CPU cycle plug ins then hyper threading is beneficial, with a few high CPU plug in its better to disable hyper threading.

My general advise is to color code your cables. Synth one gets green for example where midi, audio and power cable gets a green sticker on the device and both ends of the cable and the power supply as well. The risk of killing A4 with Octatrack power supply gets considerably lower.

For backup I use Synology nas, it’s really great and easy to use, you can time machine to it if you have a mac or sync folders on windows.

Stay away from Abelton Live standard reverb, get Valhalla or use the convolution reverb in Abelton live.

Record always as dry as possible. If you don’t like the direct sound without FX change it or leave it out.


Very valuable advices. Still i’m not a huge FAN of Time Machine. I do not care so much on Incremental Backup. Time Machine on MAC take a lot of ressources, not usually reconnected well on other harddrive than the AirPort Time Capsule sold by APPLE. My advice is to AVOID Time Machine on MAC and use proper backup software like SuperDuper or CCC Do a Physical backup or an ImageDisk (Method i choose but i make it uncompressed…).

The Restore procedure is EASY. You Shut Down. Click on CMD+ R and maintain it until the Restore capabilities is launched. Go in utility disk : Erase Macintosh HD partition (not volume)

Go in Edition / Restore
Select the external hard-drive and find your whateverYouCalledTheBACKUP.dmg and Restore

5-10mn and you good to go, install Drivers and Make Music (i also make a folder called install-after-restore-Bckup and i put always in it thing like drivers and stuff… C6, Overbridge, Soundcard drivers, midi keyboard drivers etc… so you have that to verify / download most updated version and replace it in this folder / installed after and you ready to go…)


Read the book mixing secrets from Mike senior if you haven’t done yet. Stay away from too much youtube advise, often the techniques are too cheesy or widely known that it doesn’t help you finding your sound, spend the time experimenting with what you have.

If you learned something, practice it until it’s clearly part of your arsenal.

Some midi faders are good so you set volume blindly while mixing. Gear and vst doesn’t make you musical it’s your know how and feeling.


Agreed. i will probably make a post with Definitive ressources for newbies soon
With good books, good tutorials etc… things i find valuable in my personal quest and things wheremost people are agreed as good practices

(Anyone make tutorials nowadays… not always good advices… Exactly like HEALTH pay attention to informations sources and read about author to see if you can trust them)

I think the Start Point is to Define what you like, what you would like to make, find your way and design your sounds / Experiment (that part take time and you need to take it the good way), A bit of knowledge in Rhythm and Musical Harmony, Basic knowledge in Mixing but focus on Music Creation rather to fall in the science and GET LOST Yourself in years rather to actually making Music. PAY ATTENTION TO THAT. Sometimes it’s better to create a lot and make mistake rather to get lost to define what’s good and what’s wrong. There’s no rules, there’s only Hears and Taste you will always find your audience, after that… it all about love and straight & respectful strategy (or no strategy at all)


Agreed too. Gears and VST are nothing without You, so You are the Key element



As usual thanks for everything, the package is missing the a4 :slight_smile:


i PM you @mcmullers
EDIT : OH yes exactly i will update it that’s because i find the analog keys as icons more obvious on my system to see i use Analog Four / Analog keys but you are right


Thanks for the advices!

I’ve just received my new MBP 15" 256GB. I’m quite new to SSD’s since my previous laptop was from 2010.
I’m considering buying an external SSD for my projects or samples but these are still quite expensive and I don’t know if I’d really benefit from it.
Would you recommend the use of external thunderbolt HDDs ?

I’m having a look at Lacie hard drives: http://www.lacie.com/professional/rugged/#table
There is quite a difference in transfer rates but also in prices between the SSD and HDD lines.
Is it worth the price ?


256GB is the perfect SSD size. When you will taste SSD you will not want to go back to HDD. You can perfectly record on your SSD. The only thing you need to have in mind is you have only 256GB. When you start to get 200GB in used it’s really time to move things/clean things. (that’s the lazy way but it’s ok)

The better is to buy a HDD in USB3 working nearly as fine as thunderbolt, but if you have money go. Rugged Lacie is cool but my configuration is not like you. But the Road you still going to take should suit yourself better.

Mine is that. 256GB for my Operating System. Every VST User folder is symlink on a Audio HDD (2 TO USB 3) and my studio libraries (from VST) are installed on this HDD. Sample too, collection and my personal Sample collection folder.

Then I have a Data HDD usb3 (3 TO) Where is stored Data unlinked to Music. Like Software setup, my documents, Backup (which is stored also on Audio HD)

I Record audio on my SSD system. But i never let something on my SSD drive, i always move things to Data HD or Audio HD. My desktop is usually empty (when it’s not it’s temporary) same for Music, Movies, Download, Documents etc… Why is that ? Because when i want to restore my backup i don’t want to think if i will loose something in the process. As i modified my way to working on a computer i never loose something now.

Edit : You can buy a small External SSD for record audio if you want, you setit up as your work hd in your software where it’s temp, rec audio etc… if you want.

I also make backup for Audio HD >> Audio Clone HD (never in used only here in drama case)
I also make backup for Data HD >> Data Clone HD (never in used only here in drama case)
Now you can say wow you’re psycopath :slight_smile:


Life of an SSD drive is very usable in Time. But you still must have in mind it’s limited. it’s comfortable but it’s limited. So every write/read start to eat the life span. So to Economize the life of an SSD is to pay attention to it.
The less you format, the less you write on it, the more longer you will keep it. (but don’t worry, it’s very a long time… it’s theory, i have mind since two years, and i restore backup quite sometimes and write audio on it, and health report is ok)

I use that for reporting on SSD : https://binaryfruit.com/drivedx
If something start to decline i send back the HDD before a drama happen.
Also it’s impossible to have 100% everywhere, at the moment you green it’s perfect or close to it.


Thanks a lot!
I think that the current line of SSDs in the MPB are really efficient! I did some research on gearslutz and people seem to say that with such performance in the internal SSD it should be okay to record on the internal drive.
I think no external SSDs actually reach the writing and reading performance of the MPB 2016. So it’s seems like a shame not using this efficiency.
Not sure I’d benefit from an external SSD since my projects aren’t usually big.


Yeah it looks like the SSD in the new MBPs benches at around 1200 MB/s write speed which is pretty crazy and around double the limit of USB3. Thunderbolt has higher bandwidth though so you can expect those sorts of speeds from thunderbolt externals within the next year or two, this tech is advancing really quick now.

Although now that I read your question properly, I’d say it’s not worth it to get an external SSD just for backing up projects because the speed is unnecessary there. Just grab a cheap 1TB USB external and call it a day.


Thanks! I don’t know really know yet how I’m going to work. Thunderbolt and SSDs are still too expensive for me. I grabbed a 1 TB LaCie rugged USB 3.0 Type-C on which I’ll store my projects and I’ll certainly work on it too. (once I move my projects from my SSD to it). I also ordered a 3TB desktop drive which will be my backup of everything, including movies, itunes. (I also have two other HDDs to backup my future project drive and samples drive). I’ll backup my system drive on the 3TB.


Safe decision. From this list i recommend Carbon Copy, Superduper, Data Backup… All in this list is nice but it’s more synchronisation backup between 2 harddrive. (which is recommended) BUT, i prefer to keep empty space for saving. So i backup macintosh HD to an image disc in the form of “studioJan17packages.dmg” i put it on “Read only image” and no compression. I restore it with the boot recovery method CMD + R and then by the Disk Utility. If interested i can make a whole PDF explaining the procedure. (i use SuperDuper, principle is the same on the other one)


Only if it doesn’t take too much of your time! Would be really great;)
Do you backup your system to an image disc after you installed your DAW and plugins or do you prepare a folder with the important DMG’s ready to be installed on the clean system and then backup this ?


Start from 0, when receive the computer. Nothing done on it, no internet or such a thing. If already things are used, made. Nice to start from a clean state by reinstalling OS. Then, you activate MacOS Firewall. Make system updates. Install very important Software you use (DAW, Audio Editing, Batch software, Zip/Rar software etc…), install very important VST you use everytime you make a session (exclude all warez things if you use) with their libraries on an external drive (Komplete from NI take huge amount of disc for instance)

In a folder in Documents you can put your Hardware drivers. Make you backup THEN.

So if you restore your backup and need to work. But the place have no internet connection you can still working. But, i like to usually go on internet and check the availability of updated version of this folder just then the restored backup is accomplish, first time the computer reboot. I then, install all drivers to work

I include in the backup, only things i trust, only things i really need. I exclude everything which is regularly updated (like drivers)

Make sense to you @HotLoveDrama ?

Also i keep important computer relative life in iClouds (mail, contact, calendar, bookmarks etc…) and website password in 1password. So i rely on those when it’s time to restore everything. it’s updated automatically when you connect to them.
(of course i keep a backup from each part as well on my data HD but icloud is reliable i never loose something)