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Audio backups and archiving

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Simple question: what system do you guys use to back up your audio and music work? I have some large Sonar projects with many tracks of audio, and they can be exported as single 'bundle' files and then manually burned to a DVD. Or it's possible to back up the projects and audio directory as a whole, but that is likely to be too big for a DVD. So it's a bit cumbersome either way. I also wonder about whether I should continue to save them as Sonar files or whether it makes sense to export them as individual tracks for forwards compatibility. (And does anybody use OMFI format?)

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It really depends on how likely you are to need to access the files years down the road and in what detail.

If you want to truly future-proof your sessions, bouncing each track twice -- once wet (with plugins & processing) and once dry -- and then also a master mix is a pretty good bet. Save those bounces along with your session folder and any other notes. That way you can open your session in the original program or import the audio into some other program. However, most people don't need to save in quite that level of detail.

Usually I find that a bounce of the final mix along with any mix stems (possibly with a dry version depending on the situation) for large projects is enough. Just save those bounces in a folder along with your session data. That way you have the original session files plus the audio bounces.

Compressing projects is also an option, but you have to be sure you can expand them again at a later date. You have to decide the tradeoff of risk vs space.

I find that removable hard-drives are a very convenient solution that doesn't contribute to DVD waste. I use an eSATA array for sample libraries. When backup time comes, I just swap out one of those drives with my backup drive. The next morning, the backup drive goes in the closet (in a fireproof/waterproof safe if you're serious) and I replace the sample drive.

The benefit is that I can backup in the middle of a project and then overwrite that backup with new data as the project progresses. I also don't have to worry about a project not fitting on a DVD, and restoring from a backup is very simple. With the cost of hard-drives these days it's not all that expensive of a solution.

Hope that helps! [smile]

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same, I have a Freecom which is about 160gigs and another two drives. I think it's the best way, you can do it on the fly even when you are working. Not that I need huge amounts of sound backed up, mainly scans of scores (deterioration with age and because I smoke etc..) and .sib format files. Now we have blu-ray so that might change (doubt it, I still listen to my walkman)...

Have never tried OMF, I'm guessing this is if you need to open a project in a different application than the one you created it in? OMFG...

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Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
Anybody else have any opinions? I'm just throwing my audio folder and project files onto an external hard disk for now, since bouncing everything from each project takes too long.


This solution should be fine. Again it really depends on your needs. I find it is always a good idea to save at least one bounce of your full mix. It's a good reference and a safety in case you can't open the original session. Oh, and also do a sysex dump from any outboard synths. That way you can get the original settings back exactly as you left them.

If you want a little more transportable flexibility you can also bounce your mix stems instead of each track. The number of stems you have really depends on the project. For a full orchestra you can have as few as five stems (one for each section). Again this depends on the project and your needs.

Final note: Backups are easiest right at the end of a project. It's also helpful to create a little text file with any important notes like
- outboard gear settings
- how it was delivered to the client
- any special recording techniques used
- anything out of the ordinary that would be good to know when restoring the backup

Some projects have only a few lines of notes like:
Client requested two versions @ 48k/24bit:
1. full stereo mix
2. full stereo mix minus guitar solo
Reverb = PCM 90 - settings in sysex file.

Others may have a page or more.

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