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Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Will_m » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:16 pm

I've been thinking of getting some HDD silencers as I now have 4 HDD's on the go and they are by far the noisiest thing in my case. Has anyone here experienced any good reductions in noise by using a HDD silencer?

This one from 'grow up japan' seems to get good reviews but its almost the same price as some of my drives...

http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/products/harddrivesolutions/smartdrive-neo
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:46 pm

Hi Will!

Many of these silencers work well, and I’ve reviewed various PCs including NoVibes elastic mountings and solid sleeves like the model you link to.

However, in my experience it’s always worth treating the weakest link in the acoustic chain first, which is often the PC case - an acoustic silencing kit that prevents panel rattles and absorbs sound internally nearly always helps if the case itself isn’t of particularly quiet design.

Much hard drive noise also ‘escapes’ through the front, so any improvements you can make there may reap dividends, siuch as choosing a PC case with a fairly solid door that you can line with acoustic foam for instance.

Hope this helps!


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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Frederick » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:50 am

Drives make noise through airborne acoustics and vibration that resonates through the case when the hdd is hard mounted (with screws) to it.

Firstly, reduce the number of drives to 1 or 2 2TB drives of the green variety (I'd suggest WD, these are the quietest in both airborne acoustics and vibration). Secondly, suspend the drives from the 5.25" bays with multi-core elastic, see here for details.

You could try suspending the drives you have first, but I'd also suggest reducing their number to 1 or 2, as running 4 will cause excessive noise (and I can think of nothing 4 drives can do, that 1 or 2 can't do equally well, at least in desktop usage).
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:09 pm

Will_m wrote:I've been thinking of getting some HDD silencers as I now have 4 HDD's on the go and they are by far the noisiest thing in my case. Has anyone here experienced any good reductions in noise by using a HDD silencer?

Why four drives? How many TB of storage do you need permanently on-line for goodness' sake! Can't you rationalise it down to one or two (or even one big drive plus a SSD?)

Here's a silencer/cooler. Scan use these in their music computers. I don't think there's much point in anything more esoteric or more expensive. You could look at the computer cases they use too. They're effecient, and sensibly priced. And look at your computer location. It can probably be tucked away, not at ear level, and not surrounded by polished hard-wood. That makes a lot of difference.

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/scythe-himuro-aluminium-hard-drive-super-cooler-silencer-for-all-35-ide-and-sata-hdds-fits-in-525

A final few dB of noise reduction can come from simply taking a cusion off your settee and placing it between you and the computer while recording. Cheap and effective.
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Will_m » Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:54 pm

I have one OS drive with two boots of windows on it, one 2TB audio/samples drive, one 1TB video projects drive and then a 1TB back-up drive that does daily back-ups of the OS and a selection of files. All of these drives are pretty full to be honest so I'd find it hard to cut down on the space I have.

I'm using the coolermaster ATCS 840 case with loads of acoustic foam etc, the drives are in the regular rubber grommet mounts, which isolate quite well from the case, the main noise is coming from the drives themselves, hence my search for advice on HHD silencers.

I'd only use the green drives for back-up as they're too slow for sample drives, thanks for the link to the scythes wombat, I'll try and get some more info on them and see if they make much difference.
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:30 pm

Will_m wrote:I have one OS drive with two boots of windows on it, one 2TB audio/samples drive, one 1TB video projects drive and then a 1TB back-up drive that does daily back-ups of the OS and a selection of files. All of these drives are pretty full to be honest so I'd find it hard to cut down on the space I have.

Fair enough, but you've designed a workhorse computer, not a super-quiet audio workstation!
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Will_m » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:50 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:
Will_m wrote:I have one OS drive with two boots of windows on it, one 2TB audio/samples drive, one 1TB video projects drive and then a 1TB back-up drive that does daily back-ups of the OS and a selection of files. All of these drives are pretty full to be honest so I'd find it hard to cut down on the space I have.

Fair enough, but you've designed a workhorse computer, not a super-quiet audio workstation!

It's pretty quiet to be fair, its just that I'm very close to it when recording, the HDD's are the last thing standing between me and recording just room tone as opposed to room tone + computer noise. I've spent a lot of time getting the cooling right and I think the HDD silencers should be the final thing that makes it all almost inaudible.

So if anyone has any experience of the scythe silencer or any others then I'd love to hear your opinions.
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:57 pm

Will_m wrote:It's pretty quiet to be fair, its just that I'm very close to it when recording, the HDD's are the last thing standing between me and recording just room tone as opposed to room tone + computer noise. I've spent a lot of time getting the cooling right and I think the HDD silencers should be the final thing that makes it all almost inaudible.

So if anyone has any experience of the scythe silencer or any others then I'd love to hear your opinions.

Well, I'm sitting a couple of feet from a computer that uses the silencers sold by Scan. It's pretty quiet. It isn't completely silent. I don't think that's ever going to happen, unless you design a computer with completely passive cooling and SSDs. Do you HAVE to be close to it while recording? Mic cables come in all lengths.
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Will_m » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:19 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:Well, I'm sitting a couple of feet from a computer that uses the silencers sold by Scan. It's pretty quiet. It isn't completely silent. I don't think that's ever going to happen, unless you design a computer with completely passive cooling and SSDs. Do you HAVE to be close to it while recording? Mic cables come in all lengths.

Cheers wombat, the noise levels are great for just being in the room, when I'm sat at my desk I can't really tell the computers even on, its just that the room is quite small so my mics are generally quite close and pick up the HDD's quite easily. I try and be as far away as possible and have the mics facing away from the case but for things like acoustic guitar recording its hard to get that studio level of noise.

I've managed to get a scythe 'quiet drive' on ebay for £3, so I'll see when it arrives how much of a difference it could make. I was also thinking of putting the back-up drive in an esata caddy and just turning it on at the end of the day for back-ups.
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Pete Kaine » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:23 am

The ATCS has to be just about my favorite case due to it's ease of build and those lovely quiet (when undervolted) 240mm fan solution, but I just wish it was made out of something a bit more solid and less vibration prone.

It also has more mesh paneling on it than I'd prefer which can allow for drive noise leakage, which isn't helped by the aluminum drive retention bays which can be a bit prone to the aforementioned vibration. The elastic method mentioned above works really well on steel cases where the drive bays are solid enough to dampen the vibrations themselves but in this instance they might be prone to amplification of the problem.

The Growup products are good, but they are no way worth 4 times the price of the Sycthe units in my opinion. A caddie for me at least seems the best solution here as the solid metal body won't just help dampen the vibrations from the drive inside but it'll help dampen the vibrations being transmitted through the drive cage from other drive mounted outside of the caddie too by making the whole cage structure more tense once screwed in place. You did well getting one for £3!
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby uphillbothways » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:37 pm

The cheapest way to silence a PC is with long cables and a hole saw. Why bother acoustically insulating your case when masonry provides so much attenuation? Stick your case out in the hallway. £40 buys you a 10m HDMI cable and a couple of active USB cables.

If that's impractical for whatever reason, stick your computer at the back of the room behind a couple of sheets of rockwool. You can build a simple enclosure in a couple of hours that will provide huge amounts of attenuation without significantly impeding airflow.
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:23 pm

I like Frederick’s link to the list of elastic suspensions - I’ve reviewed the NoVibes one (and seen it used effectively in several SOS review PCs), but that DIY multicore elastic approach is wonderful value! :bouncy:

Oh, and my PC is sitting a couple of feet from my ears and it's difficult to tell if it's on or off (except that I'm typing this on it, which is rather a giveaway :beamup:) It uses a PaQ case in which all drives are mounted in foam suspension blocks, although I'm not sure if production of these cases is still on the go :frown:


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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Will_m » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:31 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:The ATCS has to be just about my favorite case due to it's ease of build and those lovely quiet (when undervolted) 240mm fan solution, but I just wish it was made out of something a bit more solid and less vibration prone.

Totally agree, the panels are a bit thin but after layering with some acoutic foam I'm pretty pleased with it all, the space inside is wonderful to work with and everything runs very cool even with minimal cooling. I'm going to add my £3 bargain and see if it makes a difference. I'm having a bit of trouble getting the plastic drive bay button things off though, look like they can only be broken off?

uphillbothways wrote:The cheapest way to silence a PC is with long cables and a hole saw. Why bother acoustically insulating your case when masonry provides so much attenuation? Stick your case out in the hallway. £40 buys you a 10m HDMI cable and a couple of active USB cables.

If that's impractical for whatever reason, stick your computer at the back of the room behind a couple of sheets of rockwool. You can build a simple enclosure in a couple of hours that will provide huge amounts of attenuation without significantly impeding airflow.

I'm afraid neither of these are practical options for me but I was considering building a little enclosure for the tower, little worried about increased heat though.
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:33 am

Will_m wrote:I'm having a bit of trouble getting the plastic drive bay button things off though, look like they can only be broken off?

If your patient you can line up the drive caddie mounts and secure them in, but it's a lot of messing about and they really aren't as secure as they should be. If you pinch it above and below the button you can remove it, but the spring mechanism beneath is pretty much impossible to replace once you do. Honestly I just rip them all off and use screws to fix the drives in place as it looks neater and is far more secure.
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Frederick » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:09 pm

Will_m wrote:I have one OS drive with two boots of windows on it, one 2TB audio/samples drive, one 1TB video projects drive and then a 1TB back-up drive that does daily back-ups of the OS and a selection of files. All of these drives are pretty full to be honest so I'd find it hard to cut down on the space I have.

Couldn't the OS and Video drive be conflated into one?. I'd suggest connecting the back-up by esata or some such and only powering up when necessary, to remove it's noise.

Will_m wrote:I'm using the coolermaster ATCS 840 case with loads of acoustic foam etc, the drives are in the regular rubber grommet mounts, which isolate quite well from the case, the main noise is coming from the drives themselves, hence my search for advice on HHD silencers.

Foam will only kill high frequency noise, if you're using 7,200rpm drives then it's very doubtful rubber gromets are dampening vibration/resonance well enough (esp when there is 4 of them). Easy test, put your hand on case, if you feel any vibration then dampening could be improved.

Will_m wrote:I'd only use the green drives for back-up as they're too slow for sample drives, thanks for the link to the scythes wombat, I'll try and get some more info on them and see if they make much difference.

Slow how, sustained reads on 2TB green drives are at/around 130-140mbps over the first 250gb or so, about 100mbps by 1TB mark. Access time is a bit slower it's true, but does access time affect things noticeably?
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Bogmusic » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:14 am

Hi Will
Just thought I would add my "tuppencewuth"

I have my machine mounted in the heaviest rack known to man (so moving it around is not an option)
I had similar issues as yourself which I resolved with an even down&dirtier DIY method than the bits of elastic and lots of patience solution.

Leave your HD/s unmounted and sit them on some 2" thick acoustic foam. For my temporary setup I made some heavy metal plates which rest on the foam and act as is cooling plates. This is just to avoid a build up of heat caused by the thermal insulation properties of the foam. It is a very cheap and quiet solution if you have the physical space.

I suppose if you were to do this in a machine that got moved about a bit, you could always use the double sided adhesive tape that comes with acoustic foam to secure the plates & foam to the bottom of case.
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Bogmusic » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:17 am

Hi Will
Just thought I would add my "tuppencewuth"

I have my machine mounted in the heaviest rack known to man (so moving it around is not an option)
I had similar issues as yourself which I resolved with an even down&dirtier DIY method than the bits of elastic and lots of patience solution.

Leave your HD/s unmounted and sit them on some 2" thick acoustic foam. For my temporary setup I made some heavy metal plates which rest on the foam and act as is cooling plates. This is just to avoids a build up of heat caused by the thermal insulation properties of the foam. It is a very cheap and quiet solution if you have the physical space.

I suppose if I were to do this in a machine that got moved about a bit, I could always use the double sided adhesive tape (that comes with acoustic foam) to secure the plates & foam to the case.
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby Bogmusic » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:19 am

Sorry about the resubmission
My four year old thought he would help daddy press the buttons!
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Re: Hard Drive Silencers?

Postby ef37a » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:19 am

If you do have another room that you can record guitar in and don't want to knock holes in walls the Frontiers Tranzport is a whizz. You will need a mic lead or two and maybe cans but the doors can be left open for those, the tiny crack will not let the residual noise through.

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