Noise from laptop fan

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Post by lisaellenquintana » July 29th, 2016, 7:45 am

Does anyone have any advice on how to keep the noise from my laptop's fan from showing up in my recording? I've built a mini soundbooth, but it's not helping with the laptop fan. I know I can experiment with the positioning of things, but I was wondering if anyone had already found the solution.

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Post by tony123 » July 29th, 2016, 10:47 am

I'm not clear on how you're set up, but if by any chance, your laptop is on a table that can resonate with the sound your laptop makes, you might want to try finding a way to have your mic on a separate surface if possible.

For example, I have a desktop computer, and it is on a table, but I record with my mic on a wooden tray with padding to avoid vibration and echos.

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Post by DaleInTexas » July 29th, 2016, 7:05 pm

Your only sure-fire way to reduce the noise is distance.. Back in the day, I used to record to a laptop that would, at the worst moments possible, frustratingly kick on the fan. My solution was to put the laptop and audio interface across the room, and use a 20' XLR mic cable. Nowadays, I have a dedicated PC, completely outside of my booth, connected via a 10' USB cable to the interface.

Distance between the mic and laptop is the ticket. :thumbs:

There is a software solution, in many DAWs, called a noise gate. But that is a bandaid. Better to fix it at the source, than fight it in post.
Dale Latham
Down on the Poor Farm

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Post by pdyer » July 30th, 2016, 4:46 am

To add to Tony's and Dale's excellent advice, in addition to distance barriers between the laptop and the microphone help. I have a desk in my recording space with my laptop on a shelf under the top of the desk, vibration isolated, as Tony mentioned, with rubber feet. I'm surrounded by moving blankets so any noise from the laptop is blocked by the desk top and any possible reflected noise is mostly damped by the moving blankets. Works pretty well. The fan on the laptop doesn't kick on very often -- I make sure that, when I'm recording, the only application running is Audacity -- but when it does, I can't hear it in my recordings (noise from the HVAC?... that's another challenge). My noise floor is -52 dB; not where I want it but some mild noise reduction in Audacity brings it to -62 dB, which is pretty good and good enough until the new booth is ready.

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Post by MaryAnnSpiegel » July 30th, 2016, 5:03 am

And for what does get in after all that, I'd suggest you do a analyze plot spectrum in Audacity, figure out what the frequency of your fan is, and then use a notch filter to remove that.

I have two notch filters saved on my Audacity - both with a narrow bandwidth (18) - and I use them often to take out fan noise and some other high pitched whine that my hard drive makes on occasion. If you'd like instructions, drop me a PM and I can share some screen shots of how I figure out the right notches and get them set them up.


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