Here is what causes and how to cure computer noise in records

Noise in audio recording from computer fan

Noise in your recordings – your fans are the most probable cause

If you are making Audio recordings near your computer, and you have noise in your recordings, well, your computer itself is the most probable cause. The fans specificly.

If your computer is not powerful enough, it will heat up when you are using it, even more when you are pushing it to it’s limits. Kind of like a car, the faster you drive, the more heat is generated from your engine. And the engine of your computer is it’s CPU. The CPU has a cooler that cools it when it gets hot, it consist of a metal radiator and a fan right on top of it. Now, if you haven’t changed your cooler, and you are with your stock fan, chances are that it’s a small 80mm fan. Fans usually go in several different sizes, 80mm, 120mm or 140mm are the most common ones, and the thing about fans is that, the smaller the fan is, the more noise it makes. In order to compensate for the air flow that it needs to provide, small fans need to spin at higher speeds, 80mm fans spin at 3000 to 6000 RPM (Rotations Per Minute) and this is what makes them noisy, unlike the bigger fans, I have 120mm fans in my computer and they spin at 1000 to 1500 RPM, and I can barely hear them.

Now there are a few things that you can do, before you consider replacing your cooler with a bigger one (and a bigger fan).

  1. Open your computer and clean it from the dust, if you haven’t done that from a long time, dust tends to stick on the fan blades and it also blocks the airflow in the radiator itself, which makes it harder to get cooled -> CPU can’t cool fast enough -> that makes the fan spin faster, trying to compensate
  2. Change your thermal paste – again, if you haven’t cleaned your computer in a long time, it’s time to do it, the thermal paste is a thin layer between your CPU and the radiator, it serves as a heat conductor and increases the heat flow from the CPU to the radiator, it’s very important what kind of thermal paste you use, plus it’s not hard to change it! You can do it at home, you don’t have to spend money on a “specialized service”, the whole cleaning process will take you less than 30 minutes.
  3. Consider the location of your computer – make sure that your computer is not on a surface that is covered with some kind of carpet or cloth. This will prevent the fans on (if you have such on the bottom) from being able to intake as much air as they need -> less fresh air -> more heat inside the computer case -> fans spinning faster -> noise. Also, make sure that it’s not in a sealed or small space, the reasons are the same, this prevents the intake fans to get as much fresh air as your computer needs
  4. Try to leave your computer opened on one of its sides, this may help, I have left my computer opened ever since I bought it and, in my case at least, this helped to keep it cooled

P.S. Don’t keep your computer and your microphone on the same surface, no matter what you do, the microphone will pick up noise! (From the vibrations that will spread through the surface!)

P.S. You may also want to get a Pop-Filter for your microphone, here you can find out how you can make one at home for free.

P.S. You can remove noise with a free tool called Audacity.

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