Portable Storage for Mobile-to-Desktop Audio Production Workflows


If you make music, you know that you can’t control when your creativity flashes into existence. Thankfully, the ability to follow the meandering muse is becoming easier and easier via increasingly powerful smartphones, tablets, and user-friendly production apps. With the portable power they give, you can be on a plane or in a train making music and stacking tracks instead of just sitting there being angry that your inspiration lacks the consideration to be well-timed.

So, let’s say that you’ve got these musical ideas in your phone or tablet and you have deemed them worthy of further development; it’s time to take them into the studio. Maybe it’s your own studio or maybe it’s someone else’s in which you want to collaborate. You need a reliable and easy way to get your content from your mobile device to the studio computer, whether it’s a desktop, laptop, or wild supercomputer. Who knows, maybe you’ll even want to get studio tracks back to your mobile device for more fine-tuning later! Some people claim, “I’ll just email the goods!” Not so fast—audio files consume significant space! Problems such as attachment size limits, Wi-Fi connection problems, and slow network speeds await you. Physical storage solutions such as flash drives and hard drives negate the need to worry about those issues. There are many qualifying products from manufacturers such as Lacie, Seagate, Western Digital, Delkin, SanDisk, Lexar, Kingston, Sony, and OWC. Let’s break them down into two categories, based upon whether you intend to use them with iOS or Android devices.

For Use with iOS Devices

Lightning on Mobile Device, USB on Computer

The SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive and the Lexar JumpDrive C25i offer storage functionality for iOS devices and Mac and Windows computers. By incorporating a Lightning connector and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A connector, the iXPand and JumpDrive C20i allow you to switch from using the flash drive with your Lightning-equipped iPhone or iPad to a computer outfitted with a USB Type-A port. So smooth, so easy.

SanDisk 128GB iXpand Flash Drive

You Don’t Know or Care What Connector is on the Mobile Device or Computer

In this scenario, enable your wizard mode and go wireless. Yes, wireless external drives have materialized from dreams into cool reality. This WD My Passport Wireless Pro SSD features a built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi module, an integrated rechargeable battery, and a USB charge port (for charging your mobile device). The workflow it empowers you with is shockingly straightforward. Connect to the wireless SSD via its Wi-Fi, then transfer your files. Later, connect the computer to the wireless SSD via its Wi-Fi and transfer your files. Since it provides a dedicated Wi-Fi connection, you don’t have to worry about speed issues or dropouts caused by a much-reviled ISP. As a sweet bonus, the WD My Passport Wireless SSD has a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port and cable for easy connection to a computer not outfitted with Wi-Fi. Hot dang! If you’re fiending for something that offers similar convenience with the space-saving attractiveness of a flash drive, give a glance to the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick. It has built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi and a USB 2.0 Type-A connector. So, you can connect to it wirelessly or use it as a conventional flash drive with computers!

WD 500GB My Passport Wireless SSD

For Use with Android Devices

You Don’t Know or Care What Connector is on the Mobile Device or Computer

Once again, wireless wins in this situation! Both wireless products previously mentioned would work just as well with Android devices.

USB Type-C on Mobile Device, USB on Computer

If your mobile device has a USB Type-C connector, the easiest approach is to get portable storage with a matching connector. The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive is a flash drive with two connectors—one USB Type-C and one USB Type-A. Its Memory Zone app can be downloaded from the Google Play store and allows your mobile device to access the SanDisk external storage. The Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C functions as an OTG-enabled flash drive. Like the SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive, it has USB Type-C and Type-A connectors. Rad! You can easily use either flash drive with your USB Type-C mobile device, then switch over to a USB Type-C or Type-A-equipped computer. Now, OTG. What’s OTG? It stands for On-The-Go and it’s a USB standard that allows mobile devices to act as a USB host. Simply put, it allows your Android thingy to utilize external USB thingies, such as flash drives!

SanDisk 64GB Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C Flash Drive

MicroSD on Mobile Device, USB on Computer

If your mobile device has a microSD slot, you might find it supremely convenient to store files directly on it. However, later you’d need a way to get stuff and/or things from the microSD card to a computer. The Seagate 2TB DJI Fly Drive does that quite handily. You can simply pop your microSD card into the DJI Fly Drive’s UHS-II microSD card reader, then connect it to a computer equipped with USB Type-C. Other slick solutions include the Delkin Devices USB 3.1 Gen 1 Universal Memory Card Reader, which has a multi-format SD card reader and an attached cable with a USB Type-A connector. Since it supports microSD (and many other SD card formats), the necessary operations will seem suspiciously similar: pop the microSD card into the card reader, then connect it to a computer equipped with USB Type-A.

Seagate 2TB DJI Fly Drive External Hard Drive

Micro-USB on Mobile Device, USB on Computer

If you currently feel ostracized and deflated because your device has a micro-USB port, don’t bury hope in the grave just yet! The SanDisk Ultra Dual m3.0 and the Sony USB On-the-Go Flash Drive are miniscule in size, but grand in functionality. Both are OTG-enabled and have micro-USB and USB Type-A connectors. You know what that means! You can use the same flash drive with your mobile device or a computer.

Sony 64GB USB On-the-Go Flash Drive

If you’re in the market for a massive amount of space, you may be tempted to get a traditional external HDD (hard disk drive). However, be very aware that, to interface your Android device with standard USB storage devices, not only is USB OTG necessary, but sufficient power must be supplied to the external disk, as well. If you go the route of large-capacity external drives, you’ll need a special adapter, such as the StarTech Micro-USB to USB OTG Host Adapter, which allows you to connect a USB Type-A device to your micro-USB-equipped mobile device. Also, you’ll need an external hard drive that uses its own power supply rather than bus power. Two examples include this OWC Mercury Elite Pro External Hard Drive and this Lacie d2 External Hard Drive, which come with a power supply and USB cable. If you were so inclined, you could connect the external hard drive and your mobile device to the StarTech adapter and have a plenteous 4TB of storage. Nice!

StarTech Micro USB Male to USB OTG Host Adapter Female


Whether you use your mobile device to create music or record podcasts or audio for video, external storage devices can make your audio life easier. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the annoying “Storage Almost Full” messages! Take a little time, investigate your options, and feel free to share other cool solutions you’ve found in the Comments section!

Don’t forget to check out all of the hard drives and storage solutions available at B&H. Click this link for more information.

Share a photo of your current hard drive on Twitter with the tag #HardDriveWeek for a chance to win a new hard drive!

1 Comment

For a moment I got excited and then I looked at the Operations Manual!  What is really needed by a traveling photographer is a portable hard drive that will create a wireless, local-area network, allowing one to exchange data in the field without need of streaming via the internet!  There are many times when one is isolated from the internet and streaming is not an option.  Such a system is certainly not novel.  such linking is often done with remote controlled systems such as drones.  But I either haven't looked at the correct sites or portable drive manufacturers haven't figured it out yet - nor have the camera manufacturers!