- Solid state drives are a preferable option to hard disc drives since the latter will end up breaking when used for DJing duties.
- Storage capacity also counts especially if you need to store multimedia files.
- Security measures and file recovery services are also important as are transfer interfaces.
Finding the best external hard drives for DJs can be tricky if you don’t know where to start. In addition to ample storage and great transfer speed, you want to ensure your device can withstand the vibrations of your killer playlists. But the highest-quality equipment can also run for thousands of dollars.
So when you’re looking for the right hard drive, what should you look for? We’ve reviewed several affordable models for the DJ lifestyle. Here are our top six picks for the best external hard drives to consider before your next show:
- Best Overall: Samsung SSD T7
- Best Performance: SanDisk Extreme PRO
- Best Value: Crucial X8 Portable SSD
- Best for Durability: LaCie Rugged Pro SSD
- Best Capacity: Western Digital My Book
- Best Overall: Samsung SSD T7
Best Overall: Samsung SSD T7
The Samsung SSD T7 isn’t new to the external hard drive market; the device was released in 2020. So what makes this the best one overall? It’s proven in every category, and no hard drive has beaten it. The Samsung T7 is multi-functional, has excellent download speed, enough storage for playlists, and the durability you need at an affordable price.
The solid-state drive comes in three capacities, up to 2 TB (enough for 30,000 hours of music). It uses a USB 3.0 interface, which isn’t the latest on the market but does allow it to work with any operating system without sacrificing download speed. And our favorite part? The T7 is slim enough to fit comfortably in your hand, making it easy to carry with you from gig to gig.
This Samsung model is in a solid state, so there are no moving parts inside the drive. While this gives it a longer lifespan, it’s not exactly the pinnacle of durability; you’ll need to handle this device with care in humid or dusty settings. You can find the Samsung T7 1 TB model for $140.
Check out the Samsung SSD T7 on Amazon.
Best for Performance: SanDisk Extreme PRO
If you’re at the top of your field or manage multimedia displays, there’s no better hard drive than the SanDisk Extreme PRO. The device features a state-of-the-art transfer interface for moving data in a flash. And its design makes it impervious to the vibrations of your booming stereos.
The SanDisk Extreme PRO comes in three sizes, ranging from 1 TB to 4 TB. But what good is all that storage if you can’t move it easily? The SanDisk Extreme PRO comes with a USB 3.2×2 transfer interface, which practically doubles its speed compared to our top pick. The downside about this interface is that it’s so new that most computers don’t accommodate it yet. But that shouldn’t stop you from buying the device; you can still use USB 3.2 for great download speeds.
What makes the SanDisk Extreme PRO one of the best external hard drives for DJs is its ingress protection (IP) rating. With an IP55, the SSD can resist most dust and moisture. In addition to its solid state design, you can feel safe that this device will hold up to the elements. The 1TB model goes for $310.
Check out the SanDisk Extreme PRO on Amazon.
Best Budget Option: Crucial X8 Portable SSD
- Incredible performance with read speeds up to 1050 MB/s
- Works with Windows, Mac, iPad Pro, Chromebook, Android, Linux, PS4, and Xbox One with USB-C 3.1 Gen2 and USB-A connectors
- Beautiful and durable design, featuring an anodized aluminum unibody core. Drop proof up to 7.5 feet. Extreme-temperature, shock, and vibration proof
- Backed by Micron, one of the largest manufacturers of flash storage in the world
Going head-to-head with other hard drive giants in the market, Crucial X8 Portable SSD is for the budget-conscious. The X8 is one of the best external hard drives for new DJs. You get all the benefits of a quality SSD for almost a third of the cost (only $100 for 1 TB).
When getting into tech, brand names reflect a level of reputation that new companies just don’t hold yet. But upon further review, the Crucial X8 attempts to claim that level of prestige. The device has transfer speeds comparable to Samsung and durability you can trust. It even comes with a 3-year warranty, similar to all the big-name companies.
So how does the Crucial X8 get away with its low price? The hard drive doesn’t have encryption protection. So while you’re saving money with a device that works as well as any other, you do take a risk with your files corrupting. If you’re considering the Crucial X8, back up your files from time to time.
Check out the Crucial X8 Portable SSD on Amazon.
Best for Durability: LaCie Rugged Pro SSD
- Harness top Thunderbolt 3 speeds with the 1TB Seagate FireCuda NV Me SSD for playback/recording of up to 2800MB/s on 6K, 8K, and super so-so video
- Tackle any terrain with extreme IP67-rated water resistance, three-meter drop tolerance, two-ton car crush resistance, and dust resistance in a palm-sized external SSD Drive
- Includes a Thunderbolt 3 cable for easy connectivity with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 on IPAD, Mac and Windows computers
- Take advantage of a one-month complimentary membership to Adobe creative cloud all apps plan for access to awesome photo and video editing apps
- Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included five-year limited product protection plan featuring Rescue Data Recovery services
If protecting your files is of utmost importance, you’ll want to consider the LaCie Rugged Pro SSD. Not only does this solid-state drive have one of the sturdiest designs on the market, but LaCie also offers some of the best security you can find. Tie all that in with its Thunderbolt 3 interface and you have one beast of a hard drive.
The LaCie Rugged Pro is IP67 rated, making it impervious to dust and allowing it to be submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes. Its silicon-on-metal design can even withstand the crushing power of a two-ton vehicle. On top of that, LaCie offers a 5-year protection plan that includes the company’s Rescue Data Recovery service.
The device also uses the Thunderbolt 3 transfer interface, allowing users to move files at a rate of up to 2,800 MBps. However, much like the SanDisk Extreme PRO, you’ll need a computer that accommodates Thunderbolt, or you’ll have to settle for USB 3.0. This is one of the best external hard drives for DJs, period. Expect to pay $420 for 1 TB of storage.
Check out the LaCie Rugged Pro SSD on Amazon.
Best Capacity: Western Digital My Book
- Massive capacity, up to 18TB capacity (1 1TB = one trillion bytes. Actual user capacity may be less depending on operating environment.).date transfer rate:600.0 megabytes_per_second.Operating...
- Includes software for device management and backup with password protection (Download and installation required. Terms and conditions apply. User account registration may be required.)
- 256-bit AES hardware encryption
- SuperSpeed USB (5 Gbps); USB 2.0 compatible
Now maybe you’re storing several multimedia files and light displays and also full-feature movies, where storage capacity is critical. The Western Digital My Book is the only HDD on our list because, while SSDs are superior for withstanding the vibrations of large performances, anything over 4 TB can cost thousands of dollars. The WD My Book only costs $540 for 18 TB.
This device is a workhorse despite having much slower transfer speeds. It has a USB 3.0 interface and multiple ports for communicating with several other devices. You can even use it to charge your phone or power bank.
Let’s not mince words here; the WD My Book is designed as a desktop HDD. If you plan on using it for DJ settings, you’ll want to set it up in a secure area ahead of time. The device does have moving parts inside, so make sure it’s as far away from your speakers as possible.
Check out the Western Digital My Book on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best External Hard Drives for DJs: Step-by-Step
When choosing an external hard drive, there are four main considerations.
- Storage capacity
Let’s review each one in more detail.
The main objective of an external hard drive is to transfer files from one location to another. It only makes sense that if you’re looking for one of these devices, it can easily hold the files you want to transfer. While music files aren’t very large, you might consider an external hard drive with ample storage if you’re working with video or multimedia files.
Once you decide on the storage capacity you need, consider the transfer interface. This is how the files transfer from your hard drive to your devices. Most hard drives use updated interfaces, such as USB 3.0 or 3.2. Others like the WD My Book have USB 2.0 capabilities, resulting in a slower transfer speed. There are more advanced transfer interfaces (3.2×2 or Thunderbolt 3), but they’ll only work if your connecting device is compatible.
You’ll also want to consider the security of your files. Many large manufacturers build in 256-bit AES encryption to protect your data from hacking. While this is seen as the industry standard for external hard drives, it’s still possible to lose your files. Companies like LaCie go even further, offering File Recovery services.
The cost of these devices can vary significantly, even more so when considering the best external hard drives for DJs. You can feel safe working with an affordable model if you’re just starting. However, when you’re at the top of your game, the added durability and security that comes with top-of-the-line equipment might be worth the investment.
What to Know Before Buying an External Hard Drive
Not all hard drives are built the same. While some careers might have more flexibility when choosing a model, the selection is rigid for DJs. One of the major differences in today’s hard drives is their internal structure. It’s critical for those working in the music industry.
Traditionally, hard disk drives (HDD) were used to store and transfer files. These use mechanical pieces to read and write data onto a hard disk. However, their limited speed required new technology to keep up with the times, resulting in solid-state drives. These use electronic memory chips to store data, allowing nearly instant access to them when read.
The biggest issue with using HDDs for DJing is their mechanical nature. Because of the device’s exposure to vibrations, it’s more likely that the pieces inside will wear down or break. This makes SSDs almost non-negotiable. However, they do tend to cost much more than HDDs, so you’ll have to consider how you plan on using the device if budget is a concern.
Using the Best External Hard Drive: What It’s Like
When testing these external hard drives, transfer speed is a decisive factor. All the devices read music without an issue, although it took the WD My Book noticeably longer to upload 4k video. Users also recognized a slower transfer speed in the Crucial X8 when it reached its storage limit. The SanDisk Extreme PRO was only tested at its USB 3.2 interface, as users couldn’t access the matching USB 3.2×2 technology.
After testing transfer speed, users considered the hard drives’ portability. They noticed only marginal differences in the LaCie and Crucial, being slightly larger than our top pick. It seemed strange to some that the Crucial X8 was bigger than most with trim features. The WD My Book needed a designated pack to move safely, which seemed somewhat of a hassle for those not using its massive capacity.
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Last update on 2023-09-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API