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Synchron Player SSD/RAID Strategy
Last post Fri, Dec 11 2020 by vanceen, 7 replies.
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Posted on Sat, May 09 2020 18:43
by Jason T. Shannon
Joined on Mon, Feb 11 2013, Posts 33

I'm working on some system infrastructure upgrades to better support my VEPro/Synchron setup, and I'd like to better understand how Synchron Player executes disk reads. I have a few specific questions:

1. If I'm using a Synchron library with multiple microphone positions, does each individual microphone channel multiply voice count (I assume that it does). If it does, do these load from the disk in parallel or sequentially?

2. If the microphone channels are muted in the Synchron Player mixer, does this prevent an I/O read from the disk, or does that channel have to be completely unloaded from the player/mixer?

3. If I have multiple channels of Synchron Players in a VEPro instance, does each Synchron Player (instrument) takes turns accessing the disk IO (sequentially) or in parallel from a single SSD/disk? 

4. Expanding on the scenario above, what if the Synchron libraries were located on physically separate SSD's? Will the sample read happen sequentially or in parallel?

I'm trying to get to the bottom of whether a single high perormance RAID SSD that carries all my Synchron sample libraries would be better than multiple individual disks, each storing different libraries. I'd always thought the approach of individual SSD's would be better, but with some initial tests I'm seeing better results with the single RAID and I'd like to understand why that is the case. 

I'm currently testing a RAID0 array with multiple SSD's. There is no data redundancy in this case, but I'm not concerned because I can easily rebuild the storage volume in case of drive failure. I'm going for pure performance. Anyone else working with or tested a similar configuration?


Jason Todd Shannon

Posted on Sun, May 10 2020 14:37
by kubrick
Joined on Mon, Oct 23 2006, Posts 2


I would like to build an NAS in order  to drive my whole VSL samples collections including synchron versions via ethernet on an Mac Pro Mid-2010 (Mojave and Logic).

My question is quiet simple: is il better to use separate SSD's drives on each bays of the MacPro or using  an NAS for best results ? (Excuse my French)


Rémi Sanchez.

Posted on Sun, May 10 2020 17:38
by Jason T. Shannon
Joined on Mon, Feb 11 2013, Posts 33


In most cases, directly connected SSD drives to your onboard SATA controller will give you better results than a NAS. There are a few exceptions. 

I've done some tests with NAS configurations, with varying levels of success, and I feel like it takes alot of effort to make it work right. You have to optimize the network so you don't introduce additional layers of latency through Ethernet. 1 Gbps NIC's could actually be a bottleneck depending on your drive/controller speeds. You also have to make sure that the NAS is robust and has good onboard SATA controllers, which you will probably get only if you buy something high-end or really have some skill building server-grade components.

Beware of cheap NAS devices. Most of it is junk. The disk controllers on the MacPro will almost always smoke external devices unless you really put effort into sourcing the right hardware. 

Jason Todd Shannon

Posted on Mon, May 11 2020 09:11
by kubrick
Joined on Mon, Oct 23 2006, Posts 2

Many Thanks Jason!

"directly connected SSD drives to your onboard SATA controller will give you better results"

Posted on Wed, Dec 02 2020 14:15
by ChoPraTs
Joined on Tue, Dec 09 2008, Posts 22
Hello Jason.

This thread is quite old, but I would like to know if there are news related to this topic or more tests comparing SSD RAID configurations with independent SSD drives performances.

I recently purchased 4 NVMe SSDs for my iMac that are in an external Thunderbolt 3 enclosure (Netstor NA622TB3). My idea would be to use all 4 disks to create a single RAID 0 volume for orchestral libraries (Spitfire, East West, Vienna, Kontakt).

I know that configuring a RAID 0 with the 4 NVMe disks would improve reading speed, especially when loading large DAW projects (I’m using Logic Pro X) with many instrumental tracks (more than 400). But I do not know if it could cause any problem when reproducing the project, since the Raid would be created by software (MacOS) and I do not know if that could significantly consume processor resources when reading/playing a large amount of samples.

I’m not worried about security or drive failures, since I have another mechanical 8TB hard drive that I use as a backup of all my libraries.

I’ve read in many forums that users don’t recommend Raid configurations with SSD drives for music production/libraries. They argue that it is not necessary to create a RAID volume with SSD drives, since SSDs are very fast in themselves (in fact, NVMe are even faster). It’s also known that the access speed to the disk is more important than the reading rate for our musical purposes. But I don't know if this is still the case or something has changed in the recent years.

Curiously, all NVMe external Thunderbolt enclosures that I have seen are designed precisely to configure Raid systems. One of the purposes because I would like to have all the libraries in the same RAID volume, beyond the performance, is because it allows me to have everything in a single volume and it’s more easy to configure all the software and also for easier cloning the drive for backup.

On the other hand, if the most advisable thing is to have the 4 NVMe drives independently, even losing approximately 50% of the reading speed, the backup system should also change and I could not simply clone a single volume.

So, is there any news about this? Thanks a lot.
Posted on Wed, Dec 02 2020 16:24
by Jason T. Shannon
Joined on Mon, Feb 11 2013, Posts 33

Hi ChoPraTS,

There are so many variables involved, it is difficult to say which is the best configuration. When it comes to RAID, the quality of the controller plays a large role in performance. You will also want to consider the fact that test/benchmark results will almost always show much better performance than you will actually see in real-world practice. With that said, I think you need to test for yourself on your own system. I wouldn't look at forum comments as universally credible/applicable across all users. Everyone has different hardware, software and use cases. I suspect that most forum users "not recommending RAID" have to do with the difficulty of configuration and the risk of data corruption, particularly with RAID0. 

I recently upgraded from multiple SATA III drives to multiple NVMe drives. I tried both a RAID0 and a non-RAID configuration. In my particular case I did not see a real-world performance difference, so I settled on an independent, non-RAID configuration. I found the non-RAID NVMe configuration to be a huge performance upgrade compared to my RAID0 SATAIII configuration.

Lastly, if you are going to experiment with RAID, I can't recommend enough that you find a good controller. Intel RAID controllers are generally pretty solid. I've personally experienced too much failure from software RAID and cheap controllers to trust anything but a great controller (Intel, High Point, etc.). 

Please share what you learn. 

Jason Todd Shannon

Posted on Fri, Dec 11 2020 20:52
by vanceen
Joined on Wed, Feb 27 2019, Posts 30

I have been using two Highpoint 7101-a1 devices plugged into two PCIe-x16 slots on my X299 motherboard. Each of the Highpoints contain four NVME 1 TB SSDs, and all eight SSDs are configured into a single 8TB RAID 0 array.

I use this for all my audio files. I can't easily provide ocmparisons with other systems, but I can say that the performance is transparently fast, and the Highpoint drivers and controllers seem to be flawless.

Not affiliated with Highpoint in any way.

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