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Silence Case, Isoraxx or quiet pc?

Member for

20 years 2 months
I'm moving into a condo I just bought (yay!), and am trying to figure out what is going to happen to my home recording rig.

However, there's a problem - the neighbourhood is too loud for me to just to record in the room, as I have been able to at my old place. It's just the odd car going by, and wouldn't be an issue when tracking and mixing, but it would easily ruin a musical performance.

There is a sizeable walk in closet, that will make a great vocal/iso booth once I've treated the walls. Nice high ceilings, so it won't get stuffy, and big enough for several seated people, at a pinch. Since 90% of the music I work on at home is electric or electronic in nature, this would be a fine for the other stuff.

The problem with this set up, is that it leaves me with no place to put my stack of computers. In the past, they have always taken over the walk-in closet, and, since the neighbourhoods have always been so quiet, I had no problem recording in the tracking room.

I figure I have two options:

1. Buy an isoraxx, or silence case, and stuff all the computers in it.

2. Buy a fanless small form factor pc or a laptop, and use it for recording. Place all the noisy pcs in the closet, and render down everything on them (synths/effects/previous sesssions) before a recording session. When the closet/booth is no longer in use, power up the noisy rig for editing, writing and production.

So, what do you think? And, does anyone have any experience comparing these two tools?

Isoraxx -
(Dead Link Removed)

Silence Case
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Thanks!!

Comments

Member for

20 years 2 months

sserendipity Tue, 10/21/2003 - 07:56
Originally posted by John Grimm (Vintage Studios):
I can't find anyone who carries the Zalman CPUF that you recommend so I'm thinking of going with a Nexus. I was trying to find one company who had all these parts but it's been difficult. I have a GA7DX+ Gigabyte board with a 1800+ chip. I'm a little bit worried about removing the current heatsink on the CPU and the other one on the motherboard. It has one of those little fans that tends to be noisy. I want to replace it with just a Zalman heatsink. Have you had much experience with changing out parts on a pre-built board. Is it hard to get the CPU clean enough to add a new heatsink? I built the computer myself and it just has the stock CPU heatsink with the peel off paper instead of thermal grease. I'm hoping to get some lower temps by using Artic Silver thermal grease this time. I have the board slightly overclocked and it's been working fine for over a year with no problems. I think I'll have to remove the motherboard to change out one of the heatsinks. :confused:
Quietpc.com has the Zalman copper/aluminum and all copper cpu block. So does silenx.com. Has anyone installed the all copper cpu cooler? Is it as sketchy as quietpc makes it sound? Is it worth the extra hassle? I was thinking of getting one and laying the pc on it's side, so the weight is directly down on the motherboard, instead of pulling to one side, as a vertical mount does.

Just be very clean and careful when you remove or ad the goop to your cpu - if your fastidious, you can do any harm. BE EXTRA CAREFUL to make sure you don't get an heat goop on the pins on the bottom side of the cpu.

I'm also overclocking a gigabyte board. By some twist of logic, I can get it to run cooler (ie lower fan speed) by overclocking it and raising the voltage a tad, than by running it at the regular speed and having the cpu workload go up. Strange.

Member for

21 years

Member Tue, 10/21/2003 - 09:11
I don't know anything about quiet PC's, but in many cases you are going to be using a slew of other gear that might also be noisy - external drives, other things that have fans, etc.

Even if they are all individually fairly quiet, the sum total of their noise could get intrusive. So I think there is merit to trying to isolate them acoustically from your tracking and mixing space.

I think it is almost as important to keep the noise floor down in the mix room as it is in the tracking room. White/Pink noise from various pieces of gear can mask one's ability to hear certain details in the mix, unless you want to mix constantly with your monitors cranked - which is also not the greatest idea.

Member for

18 years 8 months

Pez Tue, 10/21/2003 - 12:02
I've decided to try to tackle the noise at the source so I'll keep you posted on how well it goes. The SLK-800A CPU heatsink seems to be a bit better than the Zalman so I've ordered it along with some Panaflo L1A fans. One for it and an extra for the case. Most have noted a 10 degree C. cooling improvement from the heatsink and it has tons of rave reviews. I'm going to use a Zalman passive heatsink for the Northbridge to replace the noisy 40 mm fan that's on there now. My current powersupply seems pretty quiet but I'll take it apart and replace the fans if I need to, or buy another.

Member for

20 years

Tungstengruvsten Tue, 10/21/2003 - 12:21
Good start John - As for power supply mods there are lots that can be done...a couple easy ones:

If you have the punched out style fan grill(not the round wire ones that are attached with the fan screws) then use tin snips or a dremel to cut these out and put a wire one on - turbulence noise due to the fan grill and the proximity of the fan to the inside parts are a big part of PS noise. Replacing the PS fan with a Panaflo L1A 80mm and running it at 12v will probably have a drastic influence(uh, good drastic!), but depends on the wattage of your PS really...no guarantees. A good power supply simply shuts off if it's overheating...a bad one goes south.

Anyways, another trick I used on my home computer to make it's PS quieter(it's a cheapo) was to dissasemble the PS, cut out the stamped fan grill and put the fan on the OUTSIDE of the PS. So it's sticking out of the back of your case. This gives it another inch or so away from the internals and improves suction and cuts down on turbulence noise. before you mount the PS back in your case put a bit of thin adhesive foam(the stuff for weatherproofing your house)around the back inside of your computer case where the supply will be touching it. And if you put rubber O-ring washers on the screws connecting it to the case you will have significantly reduced any sympathetic vibrations the case might cause.

Member for

19 years 3 months

jdsdj98 Wed, 10/22/2003 - 12:03
So moving this discussion past power supplies and CPU fans. I've read about numerous techniques for mounting and enclosing IDE hard drives for maximum isolation, but at the root, who makes the quietest IDE drives out there? I have 2 Seagates and one Maxtor, all 7200 RPM's, and I've noticed that the Maxtor is significantly louder than the Seagates. What are others' experiences with hard drives?

Member for

18 years 8 months

Pez Wed, 10/22/2003 - 13:37
Originally posted by Eric Warren:

If you have the punched out style fan grill(not the round wire ones that are attached with the fan screws) then use tin snips or a dremel to cut these out and put a wire one on - turbulence noise due to the fan grill and the proximity of the fan to the inside parts are a big part of PS noise. Replacing the PS fan with a Panaflo L1A 80mm and running it at 12v will probably have a drastic influence(uh, good drastic!), but depends on the wattage of your PS really...no guarantees. A good power supply simply shuts off if it's overheating...a bad one goes south.

Anyways, another trick I used on my home computer to make it's PS quieter(it's a cheapo) was to dissasemble the PS, cut out the stamped fan grill and put the fan on the OUTSIDE of the PS. So it's sticking out of the back of your case. This gives it another inch or so away from the internals and improves suction and cuts down on turbulence noise. before you mount the PS back in your case put a bit of thin adhesive foam(the stuff for weatherproofing your house)around the back inside of your computer case where the supply will be touching it. And if you put rubber O-ring washers on the screws connecting it to the case you will have significantly reduced any sympathetic vibrations the case might cause.
My power supply has the wire grill already so that won't be neccessary in my case. I read with interest about the fan on the outside. I may try that if I end up replacing them. Do you know the recommended max heat for a 1800+ chip? My bios has an alarm that can be set as an extra precaution against overheating.

Member for

20 years

Tungstengruvsten Wed, 10/22/2003 - 14:29
Originally posted by Jamie Smith:
So moving this discussion past power supplies and CPU fans. I've read about numerous techniques for mounting and enclosing IDE hard drives for maximum isolation, but at the root, who makes the quietest IDE drives out there? I have 2 Seagates and one Maxtor, all 7200 RPM's, and I've noticed that the Maxtor is significantly louder than the Seagates. What are others' experiences with hard drives?
Definitely Seagate Baracuda IV's. And if you get a smaller(40GB) instead of a larger(120GB) drive it will have less platens/heads/mechanics and even less noise.

Member for

21 years

Member Wed, 10/22/2003 - 19:35
It's hard to find the 'cuda IV's these days. The V's are pretty scarce as well, but from what I've read they are pretty much the same as the newer 7200.7's (but the new ones have a few cost-cutting corners implemented). Be sure to spring for the 8mb cache versions:

http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufactory&catalog=14&manufactory=1305&DEPA=1&sortby=14&order=1

The seagates aren't the fastest around, but they are *vey* quiet.

Member for

20 years 2 months

PlugHead Wed, 10/22/2003 - 22:07
FWIW,

Finally, my SilenceCase arrived this evening - I'll try it out tomorrow, and post findings.

Cool you guys are building your own - I agree with the post(er) earlier: my efforts to put one together would be a hack job. The Silence case looks pro: I am desperate to believe something will slience my hoover G4 :)

Member for

18 years 8 months

Pez Thu, 10/23/2003 - 12:40
Plug-in, Please plug it in before you put your computer in it and give it a listen in a dead quiet room and report back to us. I'm curious how loud it is by itself since it contains fans. To me the biggest benefit of the Silence case is that it could be used for any computer that you may buy in the future. Once I get my parts in I'll install them and report back here as well.

Member for

20 years 2 months

PlugHead Fri, 10/24/2003 - 20:50
Well,

The silence case still makes noise: about 1/2 what my G4 makes, and with the doors shut, I don't hear anything but the case fans. I have a very small CR, so any fans are noticable - my AD8000 and DA7 both have fans, and they are out in the open - the silence case makes about the same amount of noise as these 2 together, and they both are fairly quiet, tho the AD8000 is louder than the DA7. Elias said to put an egg crate on the back if it is close to, or against a wall (which mine is) to avoid vibration/rattle, so I'll try that tomorrow...

IMNSHO, it a better option than fan replacement for the computer - this case will have a longer life in a studio than any computer: one thing I didn't know was how deep the unit is - it sticks out 6 inches past my desk :(

cheers,

Member for

18 years 6 months

MisterBlue Sat, 10/25/2003 - 08:47
In my long years of experience, Seagate HD's are the way to go for a quiet PC. They are by far the quietest I have seen. WD are also OK, but a tad more noisy. Forget the rest.

You can order HD enclosures but they are a bit of a pain to install (it's a long story, just believe me). Nevertheless, the certainly help if you don't want to replace your HD's. But then again, HD's are almost cheaper these days than the HD enclosures.

Once again, I got my systems very quiet with
1. Enermax power supply with dual fans
2. Zalman CPU cooler
3. Seagate HD's

I can track vocals right next to the mixing desk now - that's all the silence I need.

And again (as mentioned before), http://www.directron.com is a good and reliable source of all of the necessary things.

Good luck,

MisterBlue.

Member for

18 years 8 months

Pez Sat, 10/25/2003 - 08:48
Originally posted by PlugHead:
Well,

The silence case still makes noise: about 1/2 what my G4 makes, and with the doors shut, I don't hear anything but the case fans. I have a very small CR, so any fans are noticable - my AD8000 and DA7 both have fans, and they are out in the open - the silence case makes about the same amount of noise as these 2 together, and they both are fairly quiet, tho the AD8000 is louder than the DA7. Elias said to put an egg crate on the back if it is close to, or against a wall (which mine is) to avoid vibration/rattle, so I'll try that tomorrow...

IMNSHO, it a better option than fan replacement for the computer - this case will have a longer life in a studio than any computer: one thing I didn't know was how deep the unit is - it sticks out 6 inches past my desk :(

cheers,
I think a lot depends on the individual here. I think anyone who is building a new computer should face the noise problem from the start of their project by choosing parts that are as low noise as possible such as fans, heatsinks, hard drives and power supplies and using decoupling techniques. Where there's a will, there's a way as they say. A computer already has one box and built properly it shouldn't have to require two. Obviously a G4 is not build with low noise considerations. I would be more excited about the silence case if it was dead silent. My thought is that with 100.00 (or less) worth of parts one should be able to silence a computer pretty much to the same degree as the more expensive Silence Case. I may very well be wrong. I just received my parts yesterday so I'll let you all know the results. I like to experiment, research and tinker with stuff. If you are not like minded then the Silence Case might be the way to go.

Member for

21 years

Member Sat, 10/25/2003 - 18:17
My Isoraxx is not "dead" quiet. You can hear the fan as a very soft whirrr, and by the way, the fan speed is adjustable to minimize even that.

I think the issue is not just self-noise of these racks, but what type of noise they make, compared to what kind of noise they are preventing.

I know my UltraSCSI recording drive, my G4 itself, and back-up firewire drives can put out a lot of fan noise, but the biggest problem is when actually recording a quite obnoxious grinding and clicking is added to the usual noise floor from the SCSI drive. The Isoraxx completely eliminates the "unacceptble" drive noises. The little bit of fan noise it gives in return is much easier to deal with (if even necessary) with noise reduction software. But I almost never find it is audible on my recorded tracks.

You could always add some additional baffling to the rear fan vent too, if you want to really get dead quiet. I haven't found it necessary.