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Author Topic: I know it is impossible but..my new SSD sounds different than my old SATA drive  (Read 2681 times)

Thomas W. Bethel

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I know it is impossible and we are working with "1" and "0" but my ears tell me that I have much better transient response from my newly installed SSD work drive.

Here is what I have

Custom built computer

SSD drive for the main drive and and new SSD drive for a work drive. Both are Samsung EVOs

Windows 7 Pro with all the updates

8 Gigs of memory

2 SATA drives for work drives.

Quad Core Intel processor chip NIVIDA Video card

RME audio card.

Wavelab 8.5.3 for my DAW

If I play a file off the SATA drive it sounds great. When I play that same file off my SSD drive I can hear so much more of the details and the space around the instruments. Not sure what is going on. I know from an engineering standpoint they should sound exactly the same...but they don't.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
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Thomas W. Bethel
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djwaudio

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Seems hard to believe, but you never know.  Did you capture the different signals and do a null test?
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Seems hard to believe, but you never know.  Did you capture the different signals and do a null test?

The files are identical. The sound coming off of them is different and I am not the only one to notice. My two interns also noticed the difference without my coaching. We are going to setup a double blind test to confirm.
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
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Hermetech Mastering

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Do remember reading that SSDs were a nono for recording audio, can't exactly remember why, but then I also remember reading that the issue had been sorted. Sorry, not much help I know!

Thomas W. Bethel

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Do remember reading that SSDs were a nono for recording audio, can't exactly remember why, but then I also remember reading that the issue had been sorted. Sorry, not much help I know!

There seems to be some reports early on that SSD were not, for some reason, good at recording audio but I cannot find anything past 2013 that condemns them for recording and actually most reports/people psoting say that they are great.

I have not done the double blind test because we have been very busy with a large transfer and restoration project but maybe later this week.
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
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drb

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Some factors that may contribute to playback differences of identical data between HDD and SSD could be:
  • Jitter in playback from reading the data from the HDD due to increased and variant read latencies -- if this were the case, the fault would more likely be with the playback software for not having a realistic buffer.
  • If the analog audio out interface is inside the computer, EMI from the HDD servo's (or even the spindle motor) could be injecting noise into the sound card as the hdd arm is moved to seek and read data
  • Similar to the point above, mechanical vibration from the HDD seek activity could be causing a component on the sound card to vibrate (oscillate) in an undesirable manner.
I note these. At first I thought highly unlikely, but still possible. There are probably a few other really esoteric factors that may be considered as well.

I would recommended capturing the output of each playback with another audio interface and DAW to compare and analyze to see what is different.
One simple test would be to use a simple sine wave test tone for your playback source. It's regular, and predictable. When working with regular music, it can look effectively random and can be hard to see problems on a scope without using advanced analysis tools.





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Thomas W. Bethel

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Some factors that may contribute to playback differences of identical data between HDD and SSD could be:
  • Jitter in playback from reading the data from the HDD due to increased and variant read latencies -- if this were the case, the fault would more likely be with the playback software for not having a realistic buffer.
  • If the analog audio out interface is inside the computer, EMI from the HDD servo's (or even the spindle motor) could be injecting noise into the sound card as the hdd arm is moved to seek and read data
  • Similar to the point above, mechanical vibration from the HDD seek activity could be causing a component on the sound card to vibrate (oscillate) in an undesirable manner.
I note these. At first I thought highly unlikely, but still possible. There are probably a few other really esoteric factors that may be considered as well.

I would recommended capturing the output of each playback with another audio interface and DAW to compare and analyze to see what is different.
One simple test would be to use a simple sine wave test tone for your playback source. It's regular, and predictable. When working with regular music, it can look effectively random and can be hard to see problems on a scope without using advanced analysis tools.

Thanks for the insight.

Right now we are overwhelmed with transfer work but as soon as we get clear I am going to do as you and other have suggested.

I found a lot of articles that were written when SSD drives first came out extolling their virtues and problems but the current crop of SSDs seem to be pretty stable and don't have most of the problems that plagued the original drives.

Again thanks!

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Thomas W. Bethel
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Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
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Minty Pig

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Thomas

why do you say it is impossible ? I believe there is a fundamental difference in the drives in that the mechanical Sata drive contains a motor and moving parts whereas the SSD drive does not ; so even at the most basic level when replaying the same music from the the two drives the mechanical drive is also creating it's own low level of physical background noise plus possibly creating EMI from the motors.

What may be impossible is if the files contained on the two drives sounded different when transferred onto a third party machine with a separate SSD and then replayed.

Well this is my wild theory at least  :)

All the very best - Andrew
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Thomas

why do you say it is impossible ? I believe there is a fundamental difference in the drives in that the mechanical Sata drive contains a motor and moving parts whereas the SSD drive does not ; so even at the most basic level when replaying the same music from the the two drives the mechanical drive is also creating it's own low level of physical background noise plus possibly creating EMI from the motors.

What may be impossible is if the files contained on the two drives sounded different when transferred onto a third party machine with a separate SSD and then replayed.

Well this is my wild theory at least  :)

All the very best - Andrew

Interesting. Thanks for the heads up. Still backlogged but will get around to trying some different things in a few weeks. Thanks again!
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
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KAyo

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I've had a 250G SSD as C for yonks now, and SATA's as D,E,F  and D'link NAS REDDrives for network back-up and it does and has always sounded the same, no matter what drive or where I play the file from in SoundForge. (Tested before writing)

Seems interesting, but, un-plausible with my limited knowledge etc..
hmmm ...


KAyo



PS: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec09/articles/applenotes_1209.htm
      http://www.recordingreview.com/blog/computer-recording/ssd-hard-drive-results-on-a-recording-computer/
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ggidluck

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Similar here. I am using an SSD for the system drive and SATA drives for projects.
One thing to be mindfull of is that if an SSD drive goes bad you lose everything off of it. With hard discs there is some possibility of forensic recovery of the disc. (so good backups are needed in any case).
But with the system drive being SSD, the OS can be reinstalled onto another one, you just have to deal with the plugin re-install nuisance and licensing.
As far as speed, I seem to be able to work off of either type of drive. No issues.
Windows 7 and 64-bit here. No plans on changing anytime soon.
Finally put XP away last year. I went from XP to Win7 32 bit then to Win7 64. I could have skipped the Win7 32-bit entirely but I did not have the hardware at the time.
Still running a Multiface for the SPDIF I/O. No driver issues on the 64-bit system with the older gear.
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KAyo

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Yup.. Same here. Win7 64bit and I have the C: SSD set-up to back itself every 7 days to the NAS, so, in case of a C failure, I roll back to an event within the 7 day mark. A loss I'd have to live with. But, at least no re-installations etc..

Ciao'
KAyo
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Twerk

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Yup.. Same here. Win7 64bit and I have the C: SSD set-up to back itself every 7 days to the NAS, so, in case of a C failure, I roll back to an event within the 7 day mark. A loss I'd have to live with. But, at least no re-installations etc..

Ciao'
KAyo

Curious why you chose 7 days instead of every day.
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KAyo

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I agree, one would ponder, as to why?

My reasons were merely based on my needs at present. My Audio Computer is completely different from my personal computer and having visited what I do on the Audio computer, I prefer the NAS to do a weekly only, on that computer.

Mind you, the NAS is busy doing backups from 3 different computers and keeping the REDDrives from not overly heating, is my main prerogative. I think they can handle it, but I best not over estimate their durability, and burden them all day..

This cycle has been going good for the last two years and it been working for me.


Ciao'
KAyo
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Jerry Tubb

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I know it is impossible and we are working with "1" and "0" but my ears tell me that I have much better transient response from my newly installed SSD work drive.

Here is what I have

Custom built computer

SSD drive for the main drive and and new SSD drive for a work drive. Both are Samsung EVOs

Windows 7 Pro with all the updates

8 Gigs of memory

2 SATA drives for work drives.

Quad Core Intel processor chip NIVIDA Video card

RME audio card.

Wavelab 8.5.3 for my DAW

If I play a file off the SATA drive it sounds great. When I play that same file off my SSD drive I can hear so much more of the details and the space around the instruments. Not sure what is going on. I know from an engineering standpoint they should sound exactly the same...but they don't.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

Kudos for admitting that you hear a difference, in digital taboo area with identical files!

Could it be that HD performance, vibration, buffering, etc can affect those transients?

I had a similar incident about 15 years ago, between an internal HD and an external Jaz HD.

Ive always suspected there is a little more to the mechanics of it.

Scott Hull & Bernie Grundman have both made interesting statements in similar areas.

Best, JT
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