Looking For The Best External Hard Drive For Music Production?

Here’s a look at our favorites, including our top pick the – Samsung T5 Portable SSD – 500GB.

#1 Best External Hard Drive For Music Production

 

Unless you’ve dropped over $5,000 on a new iMac Pro, producing music will probably require significantly more disk space than the laptop in your backpack. That goes for most creative media production—music, film, and graphic design—they’re all data hogs that work in gigabytes. If you don’t have enough disk space, your programs will run slower and slower, and at some point, your computer will start to crash.

Believe me, as someone who has had their laptop crash mid-project multiple times, I understand there’s no worse feeling than losing all of the work you’ve done over the last hour because you forgot to hit save. The struggle is real!

 

What to look for in an external hard drive

A quick Google search will reveal that there are tons of external hard drives and manufacturers to choose from. Having a wide selection is a good thing, but it can definitely feel overwhelming. Hopefully this will make the process a little easier for you!

Before we dive into the top 5 external hard drives for music production, it helps to understand some of the technical jargon. Here are a few tips on what to look for when choosing the best external hard drive for music production.

  • Disk space – you want to buy an external hard drive with enough disk space that you won’t outgrow it anytime soon. 500 GB would be my floor, though I’d personally prefer at least 1 TB. After that, the more the better! If you get an external hard drive with 2 – 4 TB, you can be sure that it will last you a very long time.
  • Portability – this is only important if you need access to your music files in multiple locations (e.g. at home and in the studio). If that’s the case, be sure to get an external hard drive that isn’t too large, heavy, or bulky. It doesn’t need to fit in your pocket, but you’ll probably want a slim profile that easily fits in your backpack or shoulder bag.
  • Read/Write speed – this will dictate how fast your external hard drive is able to upload and download files.
  • Security – your music is a valuable digital asset, and you need to keep it safe. Hard drives with password protection and hardware encryption add a few extra layers of security in case your device falls in the wrong hands.
  • USB connection – USB A cables have a rectangular interface, while USB C cables have rounded edges. Inside the cable, transfer speed is dictated by the model. USB 1.0 has a low speed rate of 1.5 Mbit/s, while USB 3.0 is much faster with 5 Gbits/s. Make sure the external hard drive that you purchase matches your computer or mobile device’s USB ports, and whenever possible go for USB 3.0 cables for faster transfer.
  • Warranty – having a manufacturer’s warranty makes me feel a little safer when I purchase a product. In most cases, the longer the better, as it’s more protection for you and a nod from the manufacturer that they’re confident their product will last longer.
  • Formatting (Mac vs PC) – I’m sure you already know this, but Apple and Microsoft haven’t played nicely together since, well, never. Most external hard drives are naturally formatted for PC, but you can reformat them for Mac.

 

Samsung T5 Portable SSD – 500GB – USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA500B/AM)

best Samsung T5 external hard drive for music production

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If you’re looking for premium quality, speed, safeguards, and all of the above wrapped in a package that can fit in your pocket, then this is the one for you. The Samsung T5 Portable SSD is built to be safe on all levels—it has no moving parts, a shock-resistant aluminum body that can handle normal drops, and an internal AES 256-bit hardware encryption for digital safety.

It’s wicked fast with read/write speeds of up to 540 MB/s, which is 4.9x faster than the average external hard drive. The package comes with a USB C to USB C cable, and a USB C to USB A cable. It’s compatible with PCs, Macs, smartphones, and other mobile devices, so you can use it universally across all of your devices. It also comes with a 3-year warranty from Samsung. Here are some highlights that made this among the top best external hard drive for music production.

Highlights

  • 500 GB Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • 9x faster read/write speeds of up to 540 MB/s
  • Fits in your pocket at 2 inches long and 2 ounces in weight
  • Password protection with AES 256-bit hardware encryption
  • Includes USB Type C to C and USB Type C to A cables
  • 3-year warranty

 

WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0 – WDBU6Y0040BBK-WESN

 

top rated WD 4TB external hard drive for music

 

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The WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive is a great option if you’re looking for pocket-size portability, maximum storage, and an easy plug-and-play setup. This external hard drive has up to 4 TB of disk space with USB 3.0/2.0 compatibility. Note that it’s formatted for plug-and-play with PC, so Apple users would have to reformat the hard drive for Mac OSX. Here are some highlights that made this among the top best external hard drive for music production.

Highlights

  • Fast data transfers with USB 3.0
  • 4 TB HDD
  • Plug-and-play functionality for Windows
  • Fits in your pocket
  • One-year warranty

 

Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB Portable Hard Drive – Black (HDTB320XK3CA)

best Toshiba Canvio hard drive for music production

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If you don’t need all 4 terabytes of the WD 4TB hard drive, the Toshiba Canvio Basics Portable Hard Drive is another great pocket-size solution. With 2 TB of disk space you’re getting less storage room, but that will save you a bit on the price tag.

This external hard drive is plenty fast with USB 3.0 (also compatible with USB 2.0), and it draws power from your PC, so you don’t need a power cord. It’s preformatted for plug-and-play with Windows devices, no software installation necessary. It also has an internal shock sensor and ramp-loading technology to protect the hard drive, and a one year warranty from the manufacturer. Here are some highlights that made this among the top best external hard drive for music production.

Highlights

  • 2 TB HDD
  • USB 3.0 (compatible with USB 2.0)
  • Preformatted for plug-and-play with Windows
  • Compact, smudge-resistant design that fits in your pocket
  • Internal shock sensor and ramp-loading technology to keep your data safe from drops
  • One-year warranty

 

Seagate Expansion 2TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STEA2000400)

best Seagate external harddrive for music production

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Seagate is a name that you can always trust in the data storage and protection industry. You’ll get an ample 2 TB of storage space with the fast transfer speeds of USB 3.0 (also USB 2.0 compatible).

The compact design may not fit in your pocket, but it’s easily small enough to carry with you anywhere you go. Like the other options we’ve discussed, it comes pre-formatted for plug-and-play startup with Windows, though it can be reformatted for Mac OS X. Here are some highlights that made this among the top best external hard drive for music production.

Highlights

  • 2 TB HDD
  • Superfast transfers with USB 3.0 (compatible with USB 2.0)
  • Windows plug-and-play; reformat for Mac
  • Compact, smudge-resistant design that fits in your pocket
  • Internal shock sensor and ramp-loading technology to keep your data safe from drops

 

BUFFALO MiniStation 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive HD-PCF1.0U3BD (HD-PCF1.0U3BD)

bets BUFFALO MiniStation external hard drive for production

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If you’re on a budget, this is a great pick. The Buffalo MiniStation is compact and portable, but it doesn’t compromise an ounce of durability. It’s military-approved for dust, water, and drops thanks to a rugged design. It comes with a USB 3.0 cable, and it’s compatible with both PCs and Macs. Here are some highlights that made this among the top best external hard drive for music production.

Highlights

  • USB 3.0 built-in cable
  • Compact
  • Compatible with Mac and PC
  • Military approved for drops, water, and dust

 

Takeaways

The Samsung T5 Portable SSD is hands-down the best external hard drive on the list. If you’re looking for data protection inside and outside, lightning-fast transfer speeds, universal compatibility, and a device that fits easily in your pocket, I’d highly recommend it. If your budget requires a more affordable option, the question will come down to how much disk space you need. If you’re looking for 4 TB, go with the WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive.

If you’re okay with 2 TB (which should be more than enough for most people) I personally like the Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB Portable HD as it can also easily fit in your pocket for maximum portability.