Best place to install sample libraries

I am about to install on native instruments Kontakt should I install it on an external hard drive via u_s_b 3. o or should I install it on the internal c drive? I have a 7200 r_p_m hard drive on my computer.

Also is there a preferred folder to install 3rd party vst in?

2tb external

1tb internal. Both 7200rpm.

Also, would external be better, in case I upgrade my laptop in the future?

Install the Kontakt VST and the standalone on your c: drive. In any folder you want (see below.) You might as well just accept the default location.

Install all your Kontakt libraries on your USB 3.0 external drive. Do that BEFORE you add them to Kontakt.
Third-party VST’s (except for VST3’s) can be installed in any folder you want, on any drive you want, as long as you tell Cubase where they are:

Devices > Plug-in Information > VST 2.x Plug-in Paths

The -general- tradition has been that 3 drives is optimal:

  1. Executable
  2. Projects
  3. Sample libs

If you have 2 drives, probably combine 1 & 2 and put sample libs on external drive.

There are variations depending on how much RAM you have, caching, etc.

The key idea is to make sure that all yer drives have enough throughput.


If you really want the best performance, consider installing the libraries on a second internal SSD drive. Internal drives are faster than external. Never install the libraries on your system drive, unless absolutely necessary.

So, is it okay, if I have my sample library, and my projects, both on the external USB 3.0 Drive? I will be recording onto that drive. Thanks

Well actually I would not advise that. It depends upon how much you use sample dependent material and how many audio tracks you want. If your drive is trying to search for a lot of audio tracks whilst also coping with the demands of streaming Kontakt 5 and BFD3 you will struggle. Keep the recording and sample streaming on separate drives. External USB3 drives can transfer a lot of information but there is a more restricted bandwidth than an internal drive. Think of each application as a hole in your bucket. The more demanding the application, the bigger the hole. The water that you pour into the bucket will increase in proportion to the number and size of the holes and you will get to a point where you cannot pour in enough water to keep the bucket level constant. This will be when you get problems with stable performance.

Three internal drives on a computer is the optimum level. System drive - Sample drive - project drive. Solid state drives look great on paper but have not yet proved their reliability. However I am sure someone out there will disagree with me on that point.

I do disagree, definitely. Man we are almost in 2014…I just use SSD drives (Samsung 840 pro). I suggest you to do some research about SSD and I bet your 5 years old opinion will change :wink:

Well that serves me right for sticking my head above the parapet.
I probably should have mentioned size versus cost. They are still fairly expensive.
However, my other points still stand.

I have SSD’s as OS drives in ALL my computers. They’re a godsend and they’re very reliable. However, I have terabytes of sample libraries and it would be insanely expensive if I had to transfer everything onto very large SSD’s.

And for what gain? While switching from an ordinary drive to an SSD as your OS drive is definitely a DRAMATIC improvement (applications load instantly, drive operations are lightning-fast, reboot is just a matter of seconds etc.), moving your sample libraries to SSD would only gain you marginally faster load times. But unless you load new instruments all the time, it’s not going to make any significant difference. Cubase loads all the instruments in a project once, when you open it. If it takes 40 seconds instead of 20 (or even if it’s 4 minutes vs. 2), it’s not going to change my life and it sure isn’t worth spending thousands to move all my sample libraries to SSD.

To the topic of libraries, kontakt and harddisks (sorry, folks, not gonna join SSD pro/cons conversation)

Anyway, the way I found it to be working to the max is the following:

I have 4 internal disks, not counting OS disk.
I split all the libraries between all for disks for the purpose of not fighting for IO.


Basses on Drive A
Strings on Drive B
Drums on Drive C
Brass on Drive D

Kontakt is becoming zooming fast and disk IO usage dropping x 4, especially with third-party high-end libraries

My two cents

Getting SSDs for all my EastWest libraries was a massive improvement for me. I used to fire up my template when I woke up in the morning and would still have to wait another 15 minutes or so for it to finish after I was done getting dressed and preparing and eating breakfast. So it took about an hour to load everything on mechanical HDDs. I bought SSDs for the bigger libraries, and now everything’s up and ready to go in about 20 minutes. Not to mention that the libraries are actually playable live now and take up less memory.

It’s a ~66% improvement, probably even more considering the other things that speed affects as well, so I think it’s worth it.

Whenever I invest in a big library now, I also factor in the cost of an SSD that can contain it.