This post focuses on how to reduce the noise produced by gear, thus producing cleaner recordings.
Anyone who has worked on audio with a typical desktop PC gets to know the hum and fan noise of their PC very well. There are lots of different ways to get a quieter environment, from moving the equipment to custom silencing solutions.
Move the Noise Somewhere Else
The classic solution for noisy gear is to create a ‘tape room’ that is isolated from the tracking and control area where the noisy equipment is kept. This works well for those of us with a little extra space. You’ll want a room with a nice solid door. There are extension cables for monitors, USB, and keyboards that help you to put the computer elsewhere. I used 50 foot cables to accomplish this, putting the enclosures in a closet.
Build or Buy a Quiet PC
One unfortunate truth about computers is that power produces heat and heat requires ventilation… meaning fans. But there are several companies that produce not only low noise fans, but also low noise and vibration cases such as those from EndPCNoise.com. EndPCNoise also sells pre-built low-noise computers for those who aren’t into rolling your own. A quick search on Google reveals dozens of other similar offerings.
Some laptops are quieter than others. The Apple laptops in particular are pretty noise-adverse (especially if you let the drives spin down).
Build Your Own Silencing Enclosures
You can always go the totally DIY route. Quick searches reveal several interesting case and enlosure ideas…
There’s not much reason to have PC noise in your recordings. It’s a pain in the ass to filter out of recordings and there are several good solutions to preventing it in the first place.