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Microphone Month 4

Hard drive usage in recording

“If I’m recording my voice and guitar, how big of a hard drive do I need?”

While there are simply too many factors involved here that we, and you, may not fully know until your project is finished, we can let you know how many finished minutes you can expect to get from a hard drive. The following stats show how many megabytes are used for one (1) finished minute (mono) of digital audio based on sample rate and bit depth:

• 44.1kHz @16-bit = 5.29 MB/minute
• 44.1kHz @24-bit = 7.94 MB/minute

• 48kHz @16-bit = 5.76 MB/minute
• 48kHz @24-bit = 8.64 MB/minute

• 96kHz @16-bit = 11.52 MB/minute
• 96kHz @24-bit = 17.28 MB/minute

• 192kHz @16-bit = 23.04 MB/minute
• 192kHz @24-bit = 34.56 MB/minute

You could assume that voice and guitar will require two tracks, but if you record the guitar in stereo you are up to three. Taking that to more of an extreme, the following figures show how many minutes of 24-tracks of digital audio will fit on to an 80GB hard drive based on sample rate and bit depth:

80GB Hard Drive
• 44.1kHz @16-bit = 316.86 minutes
• 44.1kHz @24-bit = 209.9 minutes
• 48kHz @16-bit = 289.36 minutes
• 48kHz @24-bit = 192.9 minutes
• 96kHz @16-bit = 144.68 minutes
• 96kHz @24-bit = 96.46 minutes
• 192kHz @16-bit = 72.34 minutes
• 192kHz @24-bit = 48.22 minutes

Be careful not to underestimate your needs. For maximum performance, you should use a drive at least 30% larger than your estimated need. This ensures that you will have the room necessary for operation overhead and extra files generated during mixing and editing.

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