External Hard Drive Format

Hello. I need to format a drive on Mac to use with Audirvana. As I understand, Mac OS extended Journaled format uses additional CPU cycles to journal activity on the HDD during writes; I am not sure if it consumes any additional CPU cycles during reads / playback on Audirvana. Also, as I understand part of Sound Quality improvement in Audirvana is that Audirvana streamlines the playback process and tries to minimize un-necessary CPU activity. Thus, the following question:

Is there any Sound Quality difference between Mac OS Extended Journaled and non-journaled when used with Audirvana? Is there a Mac Disc format that works best with Audirvana, especially for Sound Quality?

Just use the system default.

APFS :slight_smile:

Thank you for the inputs. I thought APFS was for solid state drives. Mine is a traditional mechanical drive.

Hi there ^^

You’re right, basically APFS is optimised for SSD, but works fine with an HDD.

FYI i’ve tried both, no differences at all since Audirvana plays from RAM :wink:

I seem to remember that APFS is more efficient when it comes to storing data. When I upgraded my old 2014 Mac Mini from High Sierra to Mojave back in the day. macOS upgraded the file system to APFS (even on a normal hard disk) and that saved several gb’s of space.

I use the drives on both Mac and PC. I have a driver that can read and write Mac OS extended format on PC, but, not APFS. So, I guess, I am stuck with Mac OS extended for now.

But, the reason I asked the question in the first place is this: I have two external HDDs loaded with the same music, one is formatted with MacOS extended journaled, the other NTFS. I also have a driver on my Mac that can read/write NTFS. I use my Mac for Audirvana. I can clearly tell that there is a sound quality difference between these two HDDs with Audirvana. My first assumption is that the extra layer of driver needed for the NTFS disc requires additional CPU cycles, so, ends up degrading the sound a bit.

Thus, if that is the case, I was wondering if the same thing is happening with MacOS extended Journaled vs non-Journaled (ie the simplest) format.

I’ve formatted my external drive with ExFAT. macOS, Windows and Linux can read/write to that without issues. I’ve used NTFS in the past. But you’ll need software like NTFS for Mac to have macOS be able to write to NTFS partitions.