Macintosh Firewire hard drive for open microphone use.

Macintosh Firewire hard drive for open microphone use.

I had to create five edit bays, a few years back, for a Broadcast Journalism program that allegedly got kicked out of a college lab facility for political reasons. Each new edit room was a closet sized room, close to being square in shape which was bad for standing waves. The small size was a problem as each edit bay would have a microphone available for voice overs to video and the close in walls would throw any ambiant sound into the microphone. I had to offer close microphone use and keep all the equipment in the room noise free as much as possible. I threw up Sonex to cut down the small room tone. I knew that I had to offer the customer an external hard drive. You never edit using the internal system hard drive in the computer!

Note: I personally edit video and audio on my Mac laptop but only after I defrag the hard drive. I would never do that for a customer but would edit to an external hard drive.

I am sure there are a lot of solutions to putting in a quiet hard drive into an edit bay. My research came up with the Glyph GT series of drives. I found that the drives would work with Pro Tools M-Box (1) and Final Cut Pro. I ordered one using my company Visa card and was quite satisfied with the drive so I ordered more as money came available. My one concern was that the manufacturer used Seagate hard drives. I prefer Hitachi for the Mac. I had conversations with the Glyph salesman and he assured me that they would warantee the drives in case any got noisy. If any drive became noisy I could send it back for a quick replacement. With over a year’s experience with this model I was totally pleased. Here are the reasons:

  • No Firewire I/O malfunction. I had no problems with the Firewire interface. I have heard it stated that the Oxford chip is the best and this drive has it.
  • The drives would mount at any time. If I booted up the computer and forgot to turn on the Glyph first, it would mount right after turning on the power. I did not have to wait very long. If I did a hot swap, the new inserted drive mounted right away. (Remember to put the drive icon into the trash representing the drive you want to remove or right click on a two button mouse the drive and select “Eject”).
  • This model, GT, allows the user to use a key to unlock a handle and slide out the hard drive and slip in another drive while the power is on and you do not have to reboot the computer. In other words this is a hot swap drive which is protected from being stolen in a lab environment.
  • I loved the dual Firewire ports. (This drive has no USB ports, only Firewire). Just make sure that before you plug in any Firewire cable, you first shut down power at both ends of the cable. I think this is how a lot of Firewire devices go bad. Because I had students working by themselves in the edit bays, they often times did not follow the warning notices I posted and interfaced their Firewire drive into our systems. I always asked the customer to loop out of the Glyph drive. I really did not want the computer Firewire port to go bad. It is a lot less expensive to replace the Glyph than the computer. I never had a Firewire port go bad on the computer or Glyph.
  • The drive ran cool. This case has a fan. I do hate to have any drive getting hot. I have heard that some hard drives must recalibrate if the internal temperature changes too much. I think this just might lead to dropped frames.
  • My last point should not make this inferior to the points previously made. The support from the salesperson and technical support was perfect. The shipping was FAST. This company is in New York and yet I got their drives so darn fast I was amazed. For me, this company has it together as an integrated fully functional business.
  • Because I was purchasing for an educational institution, I was able to arm twist free rack ears for each drive.
  • The case offered a number of case screws to attach anti theft cables.

The deficiencies as I see them:

  • This model only has Firewire 400, no 800 capability comes with this model (GT). My experience is that the 400 offered enough transfer rate for all of our video and audio projects.
  • There is no USB I/O.
  • The keys to lock and unlock the slide tray are all the same. It would be quite easy for someone to easily get the master key and steal all of your drives. Each hard drive that I purchased came with multiple keys. I had to take special care not to leave any keys laying around. Because this drive is not your typical drive that just anyone is going to buy, the chances that your customers will come into possession of the key is remote. I just wish Glyph would offer different keys and make a certain pattern of key available for institutional purchase so the technicians only had to have one key to unlock THEIR drives.

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