Sharing the Same DAW Project Files Between Two Macs; Cloud Storage?

Aron Stokes
Aron Stokes Member Posts: 32 Member

Hello. I own a m1 Mac mini and a MacBook Pro and I'm wondering if there is a way for me to share the same DAW Project files between the two computers? I'm mainly wanting this because when I travel I'd like to be able to access the same files and folders on my MacBook Pro that I typically would at home on my desktop Mac mini setup. I typically just run the DAW Project folders/files from an external drive at home, but I have another external drive for travel and I tend to copy only currently needed projects to this one from my home external drive. This external hard drive relationship is fine, but I've wondered if it would be more effective to have some sort of cloud storage set up with the projects from the home external drive on it, so that I can easily access the files and pick up from where I left off whether I'm at home on my Mac mini or traveling with my MacBook Pro. This would help me avoid having to copy updated files back to one external drive or the other. Would working from some sort of online storage be advised or possible, or should I stick to the external hard drive system?

Best Answer

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,473 Expert
    Answer ✓

    Well you could setup something like Dropbox/Google Drive and share things via that however i've seen people have issues when using a project direct from a cloud sync folder and many developers recommend NOT to do this because sometimes you can have issues with file locking etc when doing saves or with auto-saves when the cloud service tries to sync the files.

    Typically how I do things like this (and this is again one of those things that is just easier to do on PC over mac) is instead of having a shared file I have a sync script that simply copies between computers and is set to mirrir the files but only copy the one with the newer modify date so if I sync something to my laptop and it is then edited, when I sync again the file from the laptop is copied back again. I then also have all this mirrored to a server which is then again, mirrored to a cloud backup.

    This allow a local file on multiple machines but all synched.

Answers

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,473 Expert
    Answer ✓

    Well you could setup something like Dropbox/Google Drive and share things via that however i've seen people have issues when using a project direct from a cloud sync folder and many developers recommend NOT to do this because sometimes you can have issues with file locking etc when doing saves or with auto-saves when the cloud service tries to sync the files.

    Typically how I do things like this (and this is again one of those things that is just easier to do on PC over mac) is instead of having a shared file I have a sync script that simply copies between computers and is set to mirrir the files but only copy the one with the newer modify date so if I sync something to my laptop and it is then edited, when I sync again the file from the laptop is copied back again. I then also have all this mirrored to a server which is then again, mirrored to a cloud backup.

    This allow a local file on multiple machines but all synched.

  • Aron Stokes
    Aron Stokes Member Posts: 32 Member

    Ah, okay. I had a feeling Dropbox/Google Drive could have some issues. I'm considering going with a Synology NAS drive.

  • zenluiz
    zenluiz Member Posts: 11 Member
    edited November 2022

    That is exactly what Splice Studio is for.


  • knobworld
    knobworld Member Posts: 7 Member

    We struggle with this workflow- My assistant and I work on projects together using Kontakt 7 in Logic. We own all the same NI products, but when we open the project on our respective systems, NI cannot resolve the location of the instruments without being told where they reside on the system in use. Mostly this will resolve after one of the "missing" instruments is located. And it seems that user-created Kontakt instruments are more likely to show up missing than factory Kontakt libraries. From what I have read this is actually expected behavior, but on large projects with many many instances of Kontakt, it can be a real wrench in the works.

    Any suggestions for how to make this fly would be appreciated. (We are indifferent cities, BTW, so a shared hard drive is not an option. And syncing our systems is not practical as we both work on other projects outside our collab.)

  • 6xes
    6xes Member Posts: 595 Pro

    have you tried identical drive names and folders across both computers?

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,473 Expert

    Yeah, I also see this issue with things like Battery!

    If hte exact path to the factory content is not the same on all systems it complains about missing content. When I open a project from one of my machines on another where the path is different it only seems to look in the location of the path on the first machine, pops up saying the content at that location cannot be found.

    If I manually select the factory location on the new machine and scan, it is resolved but this is a PITA and kind of why I don't use much NI stuff these days, especially Battery, in favor of other VSTs. I (and others) have raised this many times over the years in various avenues but I kind of give up raising issues these days and just either work around or discontinue using what doesnt work for me.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,758 Expert

    I do not know about Mac, but on Win one may assign folder to behave as disc. So, if Battery data (or any other data) are in folder c:\blablabla1\Battery and in other computer on d:\huhu\Battery one may respective folders make act like e.g. r:\, when missing data direct NI/Battery to r:/ and it should work since then on the both computers.

    I haven't tried it for NI, but it should work, I guess.

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,473 Expert

    Yeah I’ve done all that but still have issues. I setup heaps of mapped racks for Ableton years ago but after a new build the drive/path of my factory content has changed and although the new factory content opens just fine, everything that references the older path throws a damn error

  • Jflizzo
    Jflizzo Member Posts: 2 Newcomer

    I use the tried and true method by using Pro Tools. Save copy in, check the box for audio files, save and compress the folder. Email it to yourself. Never let's me down!

  • dapeba
    dapeba Member Posts: 1 Newcomer

    I use iCloud for cloudsyncing Ableton projects between a mac studio and MBP since two years back. Works great for my needs - the Ableton user library is synced between machines the same way, without lifting a finger. It helps if youre organised with installing new plugin versions simultaneously on both machines of course. This also means that every time Timemachine runs on one of the machines, the Ableton library and ongoing projects are backed up. Dropbox is - in my opinion - the best, fastest and most effortless cloud sync option - iCloud just happens to be cheaper. Worth a try?

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,473 Expert

    There are cases I have seen, experienced and helped troubleshoot where running a project from a synced folder can cause issues. These range from corrupt projects, errors that the project file cannot be saved, missing sound files or 0 byte files and program crashes. This may not always occur, but it depends on the project and files in use at the time.

    Most live sync services will monitor a folder for any file change and when something changes they scan the files for a change in modify date to then sync immediatly. An issue can arise where saving a large project may start updating some files which will start synching but if the program then needs to update info again in that file while it is locked during a sync process it can cause problems.

    Of course this will not always be an issue in all cases but it does happen and most companies recommend to either not place the live projects you are working on in a sync location or to disable the live sync service when working. Usually a sample/content library is fine as the files are just being read or saved to not updated, the issue is mostly when saving projects.

    For example, here is the suggested practices advised by Ableton about this issue:

    https://help.ableton.com/hc/en-us/articles/360002855960-Cloud-Storage-Best-Practices

    Company I work for BaseheadInc we also have the exact same recommendations and I see similar suggestions from many companies so it's a "proceed with caution" area.

  • amcjen
    amcjen Member Posts: 1 Newcomer

    Lots of great comments here and definitely something that should for for OP.

    One other thing I'll mention, if you're looking for a more all-in-one solution to a few of these types of challenges is Tonic Audio (https://tonicaudio.com). It has cloud storage much like Dropbox/Google Drive, which is cool, but also has some really nice features for managing file versioning--which I feel like always gets left out of discussions. Add the ability to leave feedback on particular versions of files, and it gets really helpful, especially when at the mix stage.

    It also has a ton of other features, but for this particular need, it works really well.

    And full-disclosure, while I work at Tonic Audio, I mention it here because use it all the time for just this use-case, and have quickly passed their 5GB free plan, as I participate in a lot of remixes and mixing for other artists.

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