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Topic: Isolating a noisy CPU in a home studio

  1. #1

    Isolating a noisy CPU in a home studio

    Hi all,

    Long time lurker, coming out of my hiding spot!

    I am going to be recording acoustic guitar tracks for a music library begun to write for. My first order of business is to isolate my noisy CPU from my recording area.

    Does anyone have any tips or insights about this seemingly simple task. I am am considering moving it into a sliding door closet about 10 feet away, however I have not tested this to see if it provides sufficient noise reduction. (I read on Sweetwater.com that I should be able to use a couple of small fans to provide ventilation).

    Anyway, I thought there might be some conventional wisdom on this topic. Thanks for sharing!


    P.S. As this is my first real post on this forum, I just wanted to say THANKS to all the regular posters on NorthernSounds. You know who you are This community truly provides a wealth of honest experience, not to mention good old fashion comradery. I don't know what I would do without it! Cheers.

  2. #2

    Re: Isolating a noisy CPU in a home studio

    I don't know your exact needs but my recommendation would be to put the noisy PC in another room and use a fanless thin client that acts only as a screen.

    Some ideas that come to mind:

    if your machine uses windows xp with terminal server (or PC anywhere or Citrix/ ICA) then you could use terminal server compatible thin clients.


    all the above are commercial remote desktop solutions

    here a few compatible thin clients (mostly fanless):


    The cheapest (free) method of accessing your machine remotely is using VNC

    Amongst of the best freeVNC servers / viewers I'd suggest UltraVNC ( free and open source, thus no adware and nasty stuff attached):


    You could even build a cheap fanless thin client by yourself,
    by using mini-itx mainboards

    Or there are lots of integrators offering ready to run mini-itx machines.
    Keep in mind that if you run Windows on these boxes then it will need a harddisk (eg a small 2.5drive that contains the OS) so it will not be totally noiseless. Or alternatively there are solid state harddisks (a bit expensive but for a small installation 1GB is enough and can cost less than $100).
    Or you can use a linux selfbooting CD which loads the entire OS from CD (thus no HD required) and just start the VNC viewer from there.

    Knoppix is such a CD and includes the VNC viewer client, you can download it from here.


  3. #3

    Re: Isolating a noisy CPU in a home studio

    Lee, I agree that using longer cables is the easiest solution, but analog VGA is often limited to a few mt. A better solution might be DVI to fiber converters/repeaters, but I guess they aren't that cheap.


    I suggested the VNC/remote desktop solution mainly because it's both relatively cheap, no distance limits and in particular you can control multiple machines from within one PC.


  4. #4
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Re: Isolating a noisy CPU in a home studio

    Here are a couple of links to ideas for isolating PC noise.



  5. #5

    Re: Isolating a noisy CPU in a home studio

    Benno, Lee

    Allright, allright! Thanks very much for your ideas guys.

    Benno, you sure know your networking. Though I think the longer cable route is my best option. I'm running a G5, a standard 17 inch apple display, and an M-Box. I wonder if there are length limitations for the connections to those devices? Also, the M-Box cannot be plugged into a hub. I wonder if this poses a problem.

    I'm gonna check out http://www.networktechinc.com/ and search for answers. Perhaps talk to tech support. Thanks for the leads!


  6. #6

    Re: Isolating a noisy CPU in a home studio

    I've been using ISSORAX for a while. They work well, but for multiple computers (I have 7) heat become a hassle. I end up cranking the AC in my studio, which totally SUCKS. They would work great if I had fewer computers. I'm now moving all the computers to a seperate machine room. I think that is the best option. If that is not workable for you I'm selling 2 of these ISSORAX on e-bay(: PM me if you'd like more info. Would be a bit of overkill for a single PC though.


  7. #7

    Re: Isolating a noisy CPU in a home studio

    I do it with longer recording cables and placing the computer/recording setup on another floor in an isolated room with star-quad to the mics. But for really critical recording like for sampling you might want to place the mic preamp closer to the mics and do the long run at line level... Aphex makes a killer remote control mic preamp born for setups like that.

    Another alternative is to remote control the computer. Frontier Designs just came out with a wireless remote controller for daws that's billed as being able to allow single person daw control from within a recording booth without requiring line of sight. A lower tech solution, if you do have line of sight to the receiver and monitor, might be a wireless mouse.


  8. #8

    Re: Isolating a noisy CPU in a home studio

    Thanks for the feedback everybody. I'll let you know how it turns out. I'm gonna keep it as simple as possible and go from there.


  9. #9

    Re: Isolating a noisy CPU in a home studio

    Let us know the results. And the costs.


  10. #10

    Re: Isolating a noisy CPU in a home studio

    I had the fan on the CPU removed and a water coolersystem installed. It's very quiet.

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